Military base in Okinawa, Japan should go

This video says about itself:

14 September 2015

The governor of Okinawa has said that his prefecture will nullify an order approved to carry out landfill projects for a new US base. Governor Takeshi Onaga was elected last year on promises to fight the move. He says the approval given in 2013 by his predecessor for preparatory landfill work has “legal defects”, and that the local government will revoke it.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Okinawa governor seeks to halt building of US airbase

Tuesday 15th September 2015

THE governor of Okinawa prefecture said yesterday that he was taking steps to halt work on a new US military airbase on the Japanese island.

Takeshi Onaga, elected last year on promises to fight the move, said that approval given in 2013 by his predecessor for landfill work had “legal defects” and that he had begun the process to cancel it.

“We will take all possible measures to block base construction in Henoko and this is the first step,” Mr Onaga said at a news conference at his office in the prefectural capital of Naha.

The comments could set him on course for a legal battle with Japan’s central government.

US Marine Air Station Futenma is located in the city of Ginowan, part of the larger Okinawa City metropolitan area, and has been occupied by US forces since before the end of World War II.

Islanders oppose its presence not only for the noise and danger of flights but because of a string of assaults, rapes and murders of Okinawans, especially women and girls, by US troops based there and at other facilities

They oppose the move to a less heavily populated site at Henoko, which they say will simply shift the problems elsewhere, and want the base removed entirely.

Tokyo suspended the land reclamation work on August 10 to allow for a month of talks to reach a compromise with the Okinawan government.

But with no agreement reached, work resumed on Saturday despite fierce protests by residents.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the reclamation work would continue as planned, calling Mr Onaga’s protest “regrettable.”

The Defence Ministry, which is in charge of the work, is reportedly considering the possibility of filing for an injunction if Mr Onaga revokes approval for the work.

Three-quarters of US bases in Japan and more than half the 50,000 troops are on Okinawa, which lies in the Ryukyu chain of islands that stretch south-west from Japan’s southern tip toward Taiwan, facing China to the west.

JAPANESE POLICE dragged away elderly protesters yesterday as work resumed on a new US military base on the southern island of Okinawa. Some 300 demonstrators, mostly pensioners, held a sit-in protest at the entrance to the site to call for the base to be moved off the island entirely. Others gathered offshore in canoes: here.

JAPAN’S militarist government took the island province of Okinawa to court yesterday over its objections to the unpopular US base there: here.

Huge pro-peace demonstration in Japan

This video, recorded in Japan, says about itself:

Huge Protest in Tokyo Rails Against PM Abe’s Security Bills

30 August 2015

Members of the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy-s (SEALDs) protest against the revision of the pacifist Article 9 [of the Japanese constitution] outside the Parliament building.

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered near Japan’s parliament building on Sunday to oppose legislation allowing the military to fight overseas.

From Reuters news agency:

Sunday August 30, 2015 10:45am EDT

Huge protest in Tokyo rails against PM Abe’s security bills

TOKYO | By Kiyoshi Takenaka

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered near Japan’s parliament building on Sunday to oppose legislation allowing the military to fight overseas, the latest sign of public mistrust in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s security policy.

In one of Japan’s biggest protests in years – organizers put the crowd at 120,000 – people of all ages braved occasional rain to join the rally, chanting and holding up placards with slogans such as “No War” and “Abe, quit”.

Demonstrators swarmed into the street before parliament’s main gate after the crowd size made it impossible for police, out in heavy numbers, to keep them to the sidewalks. A second nearby park area also filled with protesters.

The rally was one of more than 300 this weekend in Japan protesting Abe‘s move to loosen the post-war, pacifist constitution’s constraints on the military.

“Sitting in front of TV and just complaining wouldn’t do,” said Naoko Hiramatsu, a 44-year-old associate professor in French and one of the Tokyo protesters.

“If I don’t take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to explain myself to my child in the future,” said Hiramatsu, holding a four-year-old son in her arms in the thick of the protest.

Abe in July pushed through parliament’s lower house a group of bills that let Japan’s armed forces defend an ally under attack, a drastic shift in Japan’s post-war security policy.

The bills are now before the upper chamber, which is also controlled by Abe’s ruling bloc and aims to pass the legislation before parliament’s session ends on Sept. 27.

Abe’s ratings have taken a hit from opposition to the security bills. Media surveys showing those who oppose his government outnumber backers, and more than half are against the security bills.

“We need to make the Abe government realize the public is having a sense of crisis and angry. Let’s work together to have the bills scrapped,” Katsuya Okada, head of Japan’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, told the Tokyo rally.

The demonstration was the biggest in Tokyo since the mass protests against nuclear power in the summer of 2012, after the March 2011 Fukushima atomic disaster.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

See also here.

Large protests took place in Tokyo Sunday against the military legislation currently being debated in the upper house of Japan’s legislature or Diet. These demonstrations are a sign of widespread anti-war sentiment in Japan and opposition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s backing of the US war drive against China: here.

Amid the worsening global economic slump and sharpening geo-political tensions, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is accelerating his remilitarisation agenda. While the government is pushing legislation through parliament to evade constitutional restraints on the armed forces, the Japanese defence ministry is requesting another 2.2 percent rise in its budget next year to a record 5.1 billion yen, or $US42 billion: here.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is preparing to ram its widely unpopular security legislation through the Diet, or parliament, this month despite continuing protests and mass opposition. The bills will formalise Abe’s “constitutional reinterpretation” last year to permit so-called collective self-defence—that is, Japan’s military involvement in US wars of aggression. Further anti-war protests took place last weekend, including in Tokyo’s Shinjuku shopping district on Sunday, as well as the cities of Sendai, Osaka and Fukuoka: here.

Japanese people block government’s Fukushima waste dumping plans

This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Fukushima Remembered”, Miyagi Delegates Spoke @ SCCC. March 10th 2012. Pt1

March 10th, 2012, San Clemente Community Center. Two delegates from Miyagi, Ms. Kyoko Suagasawa and Mr. Hirohide Sakuma, spoke to the community of San Clemente. Moderated by Gary Headrick. Interpreted by Yushi Yamazaki, and Umi Hagitani. Sponsors and endorsers of the events include: Citizens Oversight Project, Peace and Recourse Ctr. of S.D, Residents Organizing for a Safe Environment (ROSE), San Onofre Safety (SOS), San Clemente Green, S.D. Coalition for Peace and Justice, Talk Nukes, Occupy Encinitas, Occupy San Diego, Ocean Outfall and No Nukes Action Committee.

From the Mainichi Shimbun daily in Japan:

Angry Miyagi residents block gov’t survey of candidate nuclear waste disposal site

KAMI, Miyagi — Local residents here blocked an attempt by Environment Ministry officials on Aug. 28 to inspect a candidate site for the disposal of waste contaminated with radioactive substances that have leaked from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The ministry was unable to begin surveys on three candidate sites in the Miyagi Prefecture municipalities of Kami, Kurihara and Taiwa as of 1 p.m. because the Kurihara and Taiwa municipal governments had agreed to accept surveys on condition that the ministry simultaneously launch them in all three municipalities.

The ministry aims to complete its drilling surveys on the three sites before winter snowfalls, and hopes to select a site from among the three candidates by the end of the current fiscal year.

The Environment Ministry had notified the three municipalities on Aug. 27 that it would launch surveys at the three candidate sites.

In Kami, Mayor Hirofumi Inomata, municipal government officials, as well as about 200 people including members of an association of 50 groups opposing the construction of the disposal facility, gathered on a road leading to the site in the Tashirodake district of Kami at around 6 a.m., and blocked the street with a banner expressing opposition to the project.

At around 8 a.m., 16 Environment Ministry officials arrived at the scene to conduct a survey — the first since October 2014 — only to be met by protesters.

The ministry officials confronted the mayor as protesters raised their voices expressing stiff opposition to the construction plan.

“We’d like to go ahead with the survey as planned,” a ministry official said.

“This area doesn’t meet the requirements for a candidate site,” the mayor responded.

About 20 minutes later, ministry officials withdrew from the scene, but one of them said the ministry was determined to go ahead with the survey.

“We must ensure that specified waste is disposed of in a stable manner as early as possible,” the official said.

Fukutsugu Takahashi, leader of the anti-disposal site association, which includes a local agricultural cooperative, criticized the construction plan.

“It’s wrong to bring materials contaminated by the nuclear power plant to a beautiful mountain like this,” he said.

As of the end of June, some 3,404 metric tons of rice straw, sludge and other waste containing cesium with a level of radioactivity topping 8,000 becquerels per kilogram — designated under a special measures law as specified waste — is being stored at 39 locations in nine municipalities in Miyagi Prefecture, according to the ministry. A disposal facility that the ministry is planning to build would store such waste.

August 28, 2015

Morphological defects in native Japanese fir trees around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant: here.

Japanese butterflies sick from Fukushima radiation

This 2014 video is called Mating dance of butterfly Zizeeria maha okinawana. This is is Okinawa, in the south of Japan, far from the Fukushima pollution.

From Nature journal:

Body size distributions of the pale grass blue butterfly in Japan: Size rules and the status of the Fukushima population

Wataru Taira, Mayo Iwasaki & Joji M. Otaki

Published online: 22 July 2015


The body size of the pale grass blue butterfly, Zizeeria maha, has been used as an environmental indicator of radioactive pollution caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident. However, geographical and temporal size distributions in Japan and temperature effects on size have not been established in this species. Here, we examined the geographical, temporal, and temperature-dependent changes of the forewing size of Z. maha argia in Japan. Butterflies collected in 2012 and 2013 from multiple prefectures throughout Japan demonstrated an inverse relationship of latitude and forewing size, which is the reverse of Bergmann’s cline.

The Fukushima population was significantly larger than the Aomori and Miyagi populations and exhibited no difference from most of the other prefectural populations. When monitored at a single geographic locality every other month, forewing sizes were the largest in April and the smallest in August. Rearing larvae at a constant temperature demonstrated that forewing size followed the temperature-size rule. Therefore, the converse Bergmann’s rule and the temperature-size rule coexist in this multivoltine species. Our study establishes this species as a useful environmental indicator and supports the idea that the size reduction observed only in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011 was caused by the environmental stress of radioactive pollution.

Livestock offspring contaminated by Fukushima radiation: here.