This video says about itself:
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.
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
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.
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:
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
This video is called Okinawa protest at Henoko base.
By Ben McGrath:
Protests in Japan denounce US military presence
27 May 2015
Japanese protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Tokyo on Sunday to demand the removal of a US base on the island of Okinawa. Numerous rallies have been held recently, both on the island and the Japanese mainland, to oppose the US military’s presence in the country.
An estimated 15,000 people took part in Sunday’s protest, denouncing plans to move the US Marine Corp Air Station Futenma base to a new location at Henoko, which is currently being constructed. Futenma is located in the city of Ginowan, while Henoko sits along a less populated coast in Okinawa. Many people held banners reading, “No to Henoko.” They demanded the base be removed from the prefecture altogether.
One protester, Akemi Kitajima, told the press: “We must stop this construction. The government is trying to force the plan, no matter how strongly Okinawa says ‘no’ to it.” The demonstrators also expressed opposition to US plans to deploy CV-22 Ospreys to the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo.
A larger protest took place on the previous Sunday, when 35,000 people gathered on Okinawa to oppose the base relocation plan. The protests began that Friday and continued throughout the weekend. On the Saturday, demonstrators marched around the Futenma base and were joined in other cities across the country by approximately 2,600 others. Besides their opposition to the base, people shouted slogans, such as “Oppose enhanced Japan-US defense ties,” directed against Japan’s turn to militarism.
Plans to move the Futenma base have been in the works since 1996, following the 1995 brutal kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three US servicemen, which resulted in widespread anti-US protests. Other, less publicized crimes by US personnel have also stoked anti-US sentiment.
Okinawa, however, is on the front lines of any conflict with China. A majority of the 47,000 American troops stationed in Japan are on the island, strategically located in the East China Sea adjacent to the Chinese mainland. Okinawa plays a key role in Washington’s “pivot to Asia,” designed to surround China militarily and economically subordinate it to US interests.
There is little chance the Obama administration would agree to relocate the Marine base off the island, especially at a time when it is engaged in provocations with China. The relocation of the base, which was outlined in a 2006 agreement between the US and Japanese governments, has provoked persistent protests. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to office in 2009 promising to revise the agreement, but the Obama administration refused point blank to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, and worked to undermine him. He was forced to accept the 2006 deal, then resigned in June 2010. His DPJ replacement, Naoto Kan, quickly reaffirmed his full support for the US alliance.
The current Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government has not only made clear that the base relocation will proceed. It has stepped-up the remilitarization of Japan, acting in concert with Washington as part of the US “pivot” against China.
The recent demonstrations have been organized by citizens groups with ties to the Okinawan prefectural government. Governor Takeshi Onaga was elected last November as an independent, largely on his opposition to the Futenma base and its relocation. He is formerly of the ruling LDP and draws support from the conservative Shinpukai faction that left the LDP due to its support for the Okinawan bases.
Okinawans have for decades had a strained relationship both with Japan and the United States. Known as the Ryukyu Kingdom until it was annexed by Imperial Japan in 1879, the island saw heavy combat at the end of World War II, during which more than 100,000 civilians were killed. Following the war, Okinawa remained under direct US control until 1972, two decades after the US occupation ended in the rest of Japan.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Japan: Onaga demands air base plans halted
Tuesday 24th March 2014
OKINAWA governor Takeshi Onaga instructed Japan’s Defence Ministry yesterday to suspend work at the proposed site of a US air base.
Mr Onaga claimed a concrete anchor thrown into the sea for a drilling survey of a reef at the designated site had damaged coral.
He took office four months ago after winning an election over a predecessor who had allowed the Henoko site to be developed to relocate the base.
Mr Onaga said the prefecture needed to conduct an independent survey to assess the damage and demanded the ministry stop activity in a week.
The relocation is intended to address safety and nuisance concerns.
But Okinawans want the Futenma air base moved off the island completely and warn the construction would endanger marine life.
JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the governor of the southern island of Okinawa clashed yesterday over relocation of the controversial Futenma US air base: here.
‘No to US bases!’: Thousands march against military presence in Okinawa: here.
This video is about Okinawa‘s folk music.
From daily The Guardian in Britain:
With Barack Obama visiting Japan in April, resentment at plans for the US Futenma military base is finding a musical voice
Justin McCurry in Okinawa
Thursday 17 April 2014 15.50 BST
If an island of 1.4m people can be summed up in a sound, it is that of the sanshin. Where there are people on Okinawa, a Japanese island almost 1,000 miles south of Tokyo, the distinctive tones of the three-stringed instrument are never far away.
Music is deeply rooted in Okinawa’s tragic place in Japan‘s history and the conduit for its modern grievances against the glut of US military bases on the island. As Barack Obama prepares to visit Tokyo to meet Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, later in April, the anti-war message of sanshin players such as Shoukichi Kina and Misako Oshiro is back in vogue as the subtropical island confronts its biggest political challenge since it reverted from US to Japanese rule in the 1970s.
In his mid-60s, Kina cuts a controversial figure as spiritual leader of Okinawa’s activist musicians. Since the release of their first single Haisai Ojisan (Hey, Man!) in the 1970s, Kina and his band Champloose have done more than any other artists to secure Okinawan music against competition from mass-market Japanese J-pop and the more innocent musical motifs of the mainland folk genres minyo and enka.
“Our job as musicians should be to celebrate the good and do something about fixing the bad,” said Kina, who some have called Okinawa’s answer to Bob Marley. “That’s why I hate the military bases here, but I love Americans.”
Though it accounts for less than 1% of Japan’s total area, Okinawa is now home to about 75% of US bases in Japan and half its 50,000 troops. Military facilities take up a fifth of the island. Obama and Abe are expected to discuss the controversial relocation of Futenma, a sprawling US marine base, from a heavily populated part of Okinawa to an unspoiled location on the island’s northeast coast, as the allies attempt to lessen the island’s military burden. The move is opposed by most islanders, including the residents of Nago, whose city lies near the proposed site for the new base.
The spirit of resistance pioneered by Kina is to be found in the more eclectic music of Tatsumi Chibana, a quietly spoken 33-year-old university graduate and perhaps the most visible of Okinawa’s new generation of rebel artists, fusing traditional sounds with rock, reggae and hip-hop.
After a US military helicopter from the Futenma US marine base crashed into Okinawa International University in 2004, Chibana was moved to write his best-known song, Tami no Domino (People’s Domino), a collaboration between his band Duty Free Shopp and local rapper Kakumakushaka.
The incendiary lyrics reflect the feeling of many residents towards the ever-present threat to safety posed by the island’s 27,000 US troops and their hardware: “Surrounded by weapons in the land of disorder; what the hell can you tell me about peace in a place like this?”
Most of Chibana’s music eschews the sanshin and other traditional instruments, but his background looms large, he said. “I’m always aware of my Okinawan identity when I make music. OK, so I wasn’t brought up listening to folk songs, but the spirit of that old music is in mine. It doesn’t matter whether I play reggae, hip-hop or rock, it’s still Okinawan music.” …
Like Kina, Chibana occasionally sings in the Okinawan language Uchinaguchi – an artistic choice that renders his lyrics unintelligible to many Japanese, but which exemplifies the island’s historical and emotional sense of detachment from the mainland.
In the 16th century, where the sanshin’s origins lie, Okinawa was part of the Ryukyu kingdom, which, while politically independent, had tributary relations with Ming dynasty China. Forced annexation by Japan came in the late 1800s, followed in the 1940s by the carnage of the Pacific war.
Less than a century after it was forcibly made part of Japan, Okinawa was the scene of one of the second world war’s bloodiest battles. An estimated 240,000 Japanese and Americans died, including more than a quarter of Okinawa’s civilian population, after US forces invaded in June 1945. Japanese troops distributed grenades to civilians, urging them to commit suicide or risk being raped and murdered by American soldiers.
“There are lots of songs about how terribly the Okinawans were treated in the war,” said John Potter, the author of the only English-language book on Okinawan music and a prolific blogger on the subject.
Okinawa’s return to Japan in 1972 – almost three decades after the war – fuelled the local sense of “otherness” from the mainland.
Not all Okinawan musicians draw inspiration from the island’s bloody past, Potter said. “Many songs come back to what a fantastic place Okinawa is. Lots of artists sing about their culture and being island people, and their pride in being different.”
Poverty – Okinawa is Japan’s poorest prefecture – and the looming clouds of conflict sent many people in search of new lives overseas, creating a diaspora whose youngest members are making their presence felt on the island’s contemporary music scene.
Lucy Nagamine, a Peruvian-born singer whose grandparents left Okinawa shortly before the war, learned classical Ryukyu music from her grandmother and picked up her deceased grandfather’s sanshin at the age of 10.
Before settling in her ancestral homeland several years ago, Lucy often sang for Okinawan immigrants in Peru who were desperate to preserve the emotional ties with home. “Now I’m here in Okinawa, away from the country of my birth, I know how my grandparents and other immigrants felt,” she said in between songs at her regular venue, a restaurant in Naha.
“In those days immigrants had nothing to do except sing and play the sanshin. It was a central part of their existence, and why music and the Okinawan lifestyle are closely intertwined, even today.”
Less polemic are Nenes, a group of four whose lineup has gone through several reincarnations since they were formed by the legendary artist and producer Sadao China in 1990. Nenes perform classic Okinawan songs for groups of tourists from the mainland.
One rare departure from their otherwise “safe” repertoire is their stirring version of Keisuke Kuwata’s Heiwa no Kyuka, which simmers with resentment over Okinawa’s bloody wartime sacrifice. “Who decided this country was at peace,” the song asks, “Even before the people’s tears have dried?”
“Now that we’re confronting the base issue again, this is a good time to sing about peace,” said 24-year-old Mayuko Higa. “It’s important that the people who come to see us perform know why it’s an important subject here.”
Nenes’ tourist-friendly melodies can seem a world away from Kina’s ceaseless quest for social and political change, an artist who implores the world’s armies to swap their weapons for musical instruments. His decade-old feud with NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, proves that Japan’s mainstream media and firebrand politics can be uncomfortable bedfellows.
“They demanded that I drop any references to peace from my performance,” Kina said, his arms in motion again as he recalls his incredulity. “I refused, of course, and they haven’t invited me back since. The message for Okinawan musicians has always been that if you want to get on in this industry, then keep your mouth shut. But I’ll say what I like.”
Candidate Opposed to US Bases Wins Landslide Victory for Okinawa Governor: here.