U.S. Activists, Organizations and Academics Call for Justice for Okinawans, Removal of Military Bases

CONTACT: Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Director, alli@codepink.org
Sam Ritchie, CODEPINK Communications Director, sam@codepink.org

More than 80 U.S. activists, organizations and academics have released a letter calling on the U.S. government to seek justice both for the young Okinawan woman recently raped and murdered by a former U.S. Marine and for all Okinawan victims of crime perpetrated by Americans stationed at the military base there. They further call on the government to honor the wishes of the Okinawan people by closing the bases on Okinawa and withdrawing from the island.

Letter:

We are horrified by the recent rape and murder of a young woman from Okinawa by a former U.S. Marine. Crimes against Okinawans by U.S. military personnel — including sexual crimes and the recent murder of a young woman — and damage caused to the environment by the presence of U.S. military bases have been occurring for over 70 years. The U.S. has had a presence in Okinawa since the end of WWII and currently 33 U.S. military facilities and about 28,000 U.S. military personnel remain on the island. 

Many of us have been to Okinawa, and stand with the peace-loving people there in demanding the complete withdrawal of U.S. military bases from that beautiful island. Further, we urge the Obama administration to hold discussions with Okinawa Prefecture Governor Onaga to address these crimes and to shut down U.S. military bases.

BACKGROUND: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, with U.S. support, is shredding Article 9, the peace and anti-war provision of the Japanese Constitution, hopes to use Henoko Bay, on the northeastern shore of Okinawa, to build a massive U.S. Marines base and a military port. Henoko, home to vibrant coral reefs, is filled with bio-diversity and is the home habitat for the endangered dugong, a cousin to the manatees. The plan to close Futenma Air Base, which is located in densely populated area, in exchange for the U.S. base in Henoko, has been delayed until the year 2025. According to General Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, the delays were “partly due to demonstrators and a lack of support by the government of Okinawa.”

Between 70-90% of Okinawans oppose the U.S. military bases on the island. For many years, Okinawans have non-violently protested to end the military colonization imposed on them. From entering live-fire military exercise zones to forming human chains around military bases, they have made clear that the continual growth of militarization by both the Japanese and U.S. governments is harmful, unjust, and must be stopped. 

Activist Signatories (list in formation):

Christine Ahn, Women Cross DMZ
Jim Albertini, Jim Albertini Malu 'Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
Michael Beer, Nonviolence International
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Diana Bohn, Nicaragua Center for Community Action
Jacqueline Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation
Michael Carrigan, Community Alliance of Lane County
Noam Chomsky, American linguist, Peace Activist, Philosopher, Professor
Nicolas J S Davies, Author, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
Rev. John Dear, Campaign Nonviolence
Pete Shimazaki Doktor, HOA (Hawai`i Okinawa Alliance)
Dan Ellsberg, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Jodie Evans, CODEPINK
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance
Carolyn Forché, Poet, author
Annie Isabel Fukushima, Ph.D., University of Utah
Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Joseph Gerson, Co-Convener of International Peace and Planet Network for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World
Alan Haber, Megiddo Peace Project
Melvin Hardy, Peace Action 
Barbara G. Harris, Granny Peace Brigade
Thomas Harrison, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Mark W. Harrison, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
Madelyn Hoffman, New Jersey Peace Action
Matthew Hoh, Center for International Policy
Martha Hubert, San Francisco CODEPINK
Eriko Ikehara, Women for Genuine Security
John Junkerman, documentary filmmaker
Kyle Kajihiro, Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Jeongmin Kim, Ph.D Candidate, NYU
Peter King, Human Survival Project
Gwyn Kirk, Women for Genuine Security
David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Joanne Landy, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Miho Kim Lee, Eclipse Rising
Rev. Dr. Unzu Lee, Women for Genuine Security
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Network of Spiritual Progressives
Julie Levine, Topanga Peace Alliance
Charles Douglas Lummis, Veterans For Peace Ryukyu/Okinawa
Jerry Mander, International Forum on Globalization
Kevin Martin, Peace Action
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK
Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace
David McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International
Rev. Bob Moore, Coalition for Peace Action & Peace Action Education Fund
LeRoy Moore, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
Grace Morizawa, National Japanese American Historical Society, San Francisco
Michael Nagler, The Metta Center for Nonviolence
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy
Satoko Norimatsu, Peace Philosophy Center
Koohan Paik, International Forum on Globalization
Charlotte Phillips, Brooklyn For Peace
Terry Kay Rockefeller, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
David Rothauser, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Coleen Rowley, FBI agent and former division legal counsel (retired)
Arnie Saiki, IMI PONO
Emily Siegel, Interfaith Peace-Builders
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
John Steinbach, Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee
David Swanson, World Beyond War
Nancy Tate, LEPOCO Peace Center
Aaron Tovish, Mayors for Peace
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colnel and former US diplomat
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

Academic Signatories (list in formation):

Prof. Herbert Bix, Professor, Binghamton University
Prof. Philip Brenner, Professor of International Relations and Director, Graduate Program in US Foreign Policy and National Security, American University
Prof. Alexis Dudden, Professor, University of Connecticut
Prof. Gordon Fellman, Profesor, Brandeis University
Prof. Norma Field, Professor, University of Chicago
Prof. Irene Gendzier, Prof Emeritus, Boston University
Prof. Laura Hein, Professor, Northwestern University
Prof. Annie Isabel Fukushima, Assistant Professor, University of Utah
Prof. Paul Joseph, Professor, Tufts University
Jeongmin Kim, Ph.D Candidate, New York University
Prof. Pete Kuznick, Professor, American University
Prof. John W Lamperti, Professor, Dartmouth
Prof. Elaine Tyler May, Professor, University of Minnesota
Prof. Steve Rabson, Professor, Brown University
Prof. Wesley Ueunten, Professor, San Francisco State University
Prof. David Vine, Associate Professor of Anthropology, American University USA
Prof. Marilyn B. Young, Professor, NYU
Prof. Stephen Zunes, Professor, University of San Francisco

Interviews with signatories can be arranged by contacting Alice Kurima Newberry at alice@codepink.org or (206) 280-3448.

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