From WEEKLY MDS No.933, April 21, 2006 logo

Permanent Giant Base in Nago "Agreed upon" / Voice of Intolerance from around Japan and World

Worst plan for base with massive military force

On April 7, Defense Agency Director-General NUKAGA Fukushiro and Nago Mayor SHIMABUKURO Yoshikazu agreed upon a plan for construction of a new base with V-shaped runways in the coastal area at Camp Schwab. This new plan effectively enhances the Henokozaki plan agreed upon in Japan-US talks last October in size, providing a worst case of base enhancement that would make way for turning the northern part of Okinawa's main island into a permanent fortress.

No one is taking in the mayor's excuse, "considerations are given to the principle of no flight over residential areas." Every single Okinawan knows that the US military does not comply with rules concerning flight courses, learning enough from US Marine flights to and from Futenma Air Station. With duplicated runways, convenience for US troops would also be doubled, and both of them would be used for sally ports in emergency.

Severer damage to natural environment would also be resulted. Reclaimed areas would be greater in the shallow sea of Henoko on the west and Oura Bay on the east, which would cause fatal loss of precious feeding grounds for dugongs. Even Director-General Nukaga has to admit that a greater ratio of the fields of sea grass would be sacrificed.

Aiming to promote joint overseas dispatches of troops

This "agreement" was obtained by high-handedly pressing the mayor to abandon his own election pledging to reject the coastal scheme so that the discord might not affect the scheduled submission - by the end of April - of the final report for transformation and realignment of US forces in Japan. In the background, there lies the impulse of the Japanese government and global capitalism toward the transformation of Japan Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops into invading forces through Japan-US military integration.

The new project to construct a base in Nago is not equivalent to relocation of Futenma Air Station. It is a scheme to build a leading-edge stronghold for invasion, complete with 1,800-meter long runways (two runways instead of one!) capable of accommodating the US Marine's next-generation flagship aircraft MV22 Osprey. Facing Oura Bay, a naval port will be constructed with a water depth no less than 20 meters so that even a nuclear carrier may touch down. The base will also include "Combat Aircraft Loading Area" for loading guns and bombs on helicopter gun ships.

The Japanese government and global capitalism aim to establish a Japan-US integrated overseas troop dispatch system through deployment of SDF troops to the US Marine's staging points. To that end, they have already started SDF and US Marine joint drillings. Also, the SDF will have new units, its own storming units or central quick-response forces. The Japanese government has announced introduction of a fast transport vessel aimed at emergency deployment of combat forces to areas of conflict in line with the US military authority's priority on the operation of fast transport vessels at the new Nago base.

Japan and the US will jointly knock down fronts against global capitalism in order to protect oil and other overseas vested interests - this is what the Nago new base project actually signifies.

Raising voices for project cancellation from around the country

However, this gigantic base construction project is faced with hurdles after hurdles.

The government only succeeded in forcing Mayor Shimabukuro and his followers to give in. The will of the Okinawans is manifested in the congregation of 35,000 residents in a March 5 Okinawans' protest rally. An opinion poll has indicated that the ratio of people against the coastal scheme has reached 72% of Okinawa Prefecture's population, according to the November 15, 2005 issue of Okinawa Times. In Ginoza Village, a neighboring community, one out of five residents joined a 1,000-protester rally against the coastal scheme on April 4.

Voices of the public against the military realignment remain strong everywhere in the country. "I will not change my stance unless the government shows a vision how it is to resist the idea of having bases permanently," says the mayor of Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture. The mayor of Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, says, "It is the collective and unchangeable will of our entire locality to oppose the planned relocation." The times have changed; Okinawans are not the only population the government needs to subdue.

As shown by the fact that the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) has issued recommendations at its convention twice already, the international public opinion will never overlook a reckless plot that would endanger dugongs.

Concentrate indignations from around the country and the world to win cancellation of the Nago new base construction project. (April 10)

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