New orchid species discovery in Okinawa, Japan


This video from Japan says about itself:

THE TROPICAL DREAM CENTRE in OCEAN EXPO PARK OKINAWA

Over 2000 orchids are displayed throughout the year. I went there in March 23rd 2012, taking photos.

From Kobe University in Japan:

Two new species of orchids discovered in Okinawa

April 10, 2017

Summary: Two new species of parasitic plants have been discovered on the main island of Okinawa, Japan. They have been named Gastrodia nipponicoides and Gastrodia okinawensis.

Two new species of parasitic plants have been discovered on the main island of Okinawa, Japan. The discovery was made by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science), who named them Gastrodia nipponicoides and Gastrodia okinawensis. Details of these findings were published online in Phytotaxa on April 7th.

Plants’ ability to photosynthesize is often taken as one of their defining features. However, some species choose instead to live a parasitic existence, attaching to the hyphae of fungi and exploiting them for nutrients. These plants are known as mycoheterotrophs. Since they don’t engage in photosynthesis, they only appear above ground during the brief period when they are in fruit or flowering. In addition, many of the species are small, making them very hard to find. Even in Japan, one of the most advanced countries in the world in documenting its flora, many mycoheterotrophs remain unclassified. Professor Suetsugu is one of those involved in documenting their distribution and classification.

Professor Suetsugu discovered the two species in March 2012 on the main island of tropical Okinawa, during a joint field survey with independent botanical researchers Mr. NAKAMA Masakazu, Ms. WATANABE Tazuko, and Mr. WATANABE Hiromitsu. This group continued to examine the plants with additional support from independent researchers Mr. TOMA Tsugutaka, Mr. ABE Atsushi (researcher at the Okinawa Churashima Foundation), and Professor MORIGUCHI Mitsuru (Okinawa University Faculty of Humanities).

Their investigation revealed that both species are related to Gastrodia nipponica of the Orchidaceae family, but they can be distinguished by differences in the “lips” on their petals and in the column (an organ found in orchids that fuses the male and female parts, the stamen and the pistil).

The plants were recorded as new species and named Gastrodia nipponicoides and Gastrodia okinawanesis. G. nipponicoides reaches 3-6cm in height with 1-4 blackish brown flowers, each about 15mm long. G. okinawanesis is taller at 10-17cm, with 1-4 light brown flowers, each about 20mm in length.

Mycoheterotrophs live a parasitic existence within forest ecosystems. As parasites, they can only survive in rich, stable ecosystems with resources to spare. The existence of these species is evidence of far-reaching underground ecosystems that include a network of fungi that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Last year the Yanbaru forests were designated as the Yanbaru National Park, and the discovery of these two species further demonstrates the importance of this habitat.

Close US Okinawa military bases, demonstration


This video says about itself:

25 December 2016

Dozens protested U.S. military bases in Japan and called for the closure of U.S. bases in Okinawa. Demonstrators carried banners reading “Get Out! Marines“.

World’s oldest fishhooks discovered


World's oldest fishhooks, photo National Academy of Sciences

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Fishhooks, oldest in the world, found in Japan

18 September 2016

Archaeologists have found the oldest fishhooks in the world in Japan. They were in a cave on Okinawa island and are estimated to be 23,000 years old.

The hooks are made from a sea snail‘s shell. From this discovery archeologists conclude that fishing techniques have existed already much longer than expected, and were used in more places in the world.

Eels and frogs

Okinawa was first inhabited around 35,000 years ago. Scientists wondered how people there survived all the time. The fishhooks have answered that question.

In Sakitari cave researchers found also remains of eels, frogs, birds and small terrestrial animals. They conclude from that these were also on the menu of the first inhabitants of Okinawa.

East Timor

Until now, scientists assumed that the fishhook was invented about 16,000 years ago.

They based themselves on a find in East Timor in 2011. In the northern part along the coast hooks were found which were made of shellfish.

Okinawa protest against United States military base


This video says about itself:

Japanese Protests at U.S. Military Base in Okinawa

20 August 2016

Police removed demonstrators that were blocking the entrance of Okinawa’s U.S. military base. They were protesting against the U.S. construction of helipads in a nearby village.

Murder, rape around US military base in Okinawa


This video from the USA says about itself:

US military contractor murders another Okinawa woman, Japan furious

20 May 2016

By James Tweedie:

US ex-marine held for woman’s killing

Saturday 21st May 2016

Abe ‘outraged and speechless’ at latest in string of atrocities

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined the governor of Okinawa in outrage yesterday at the latest murder of a local woman apparently by a US military contractor.

Former US marine turned civil contractor Kenneth Shinzato was arrested on Thursday in connection with the disappearance of Rina Shimabukuro on April 28.

Ms Shimabukuro’s boyfriend told police she went for a walk that evening and never returned.

Mr Shinzato was arrested after police found the victim’s body at a forest location he gave them, but he had not yet been charged yesterday.

However, local media quoted sources close to the investigation saying he had admitted strangling and stabbing the victim.

“I feel extremely strong outrage,” Mr Abe told reporters.

“I have no words to express, considering how the family feels.

“We urge the US side to take thorough measures to prevent the recurrence of such events.”

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga said he was “outraged” and that the death of the woman broke his heart.

“As I look back at all the developments to date, I’m simply speechless,” he said.

US ambassador Caroline Kennedy said: “We will double our efforts to make sure this will never happen again,” while the US State Department said the military was co-operating with police.

Two months ago a US Navy sailor admitted raping a woman at a hotel on Okinawa and US servicemen have committed numerous rapes and murders of Okinawan women and children since occupying the island towards end of World War II.

The island is home to more than half the 50,000 US troops remaining in Japan since the war.

The litany of outrages — compounded by the US military’s insistence on trying suspects by court martial rather than in Japanese civilian courts — has fuelled strong opposition to the US military presence.

Mr Onaga has been among those leading mass protests against the planned relocation of US Marine Air Station Futenma from its present unsafe location in a suburb of the capital to a more remote spot, demanding instead that it be closed altogether.

This video from Japan says about itself:

20 May 2016

Protesters rallied in Tokyo, Friday, condemning the alleged murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman by an American contractor working at a US military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Stop killing Japanese dugongs for militarism


This Greenpeace video says about itself:

Okinawa, Henoko Bay, Save the Dugongs 2015

22 February 2015

Time is running out for Henoko Bay and the last surviving dugongs of Japan. Please help by adding your name:

Petition: www.greenpeace.org/henoko

———

H.E Ms Caroline Kennedy U.S. Ambassador to Japan,

Henoko Bay is the home of the last remaining dugongs in Japanese waters. It is estimated that there are as few as a dozen left in existence.

We understand that the concrete slabs have already started being dumped into the dugongs‘ primary habitat. We urge you to intervene and halt further construction until a sustainable solution is found which guarantees the survival of this last group of IUCN red-listed dugongs and protects coral reef and dugong’s seagrass food supply.

We stand with the local Okinawan people who have voted to elect a prefectural government which is opposed to building a U.S Marine base on this environmentally critical site in Japan.

You have stood up for environmental protection before. We know you can do it again.

Underwater footage copyright is owned by Diving Team Rainbow (c) 2015

From Greenpeace:

Save the dugongs

The last few Japanese dugong could be about to disappear. Henoko Bay in Okinawa is home to 262 endangered species including the very rare dugong, blue corals, sea turtles, rays, and all six species of clownfish found in Japanese waters.

But their marine home is under threat. Unless we take action now, the Japanese government is going to destroy Henoko Bay to create two new airstrips for a US military base!

The majority of people in Okinawa already see the insanity of this. The local Governor is also on side, but they need you to add your voice – to deliver a message, straight to the Prime Minister of Japan.

Will you join us?

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.