Thursday, March 4, 2010

US for OKINAWA and Peace Boat create Study Program to Okinawa!

Are you interested in learning more about the U.S. military base issue in Okinawa? Do you want to help prevent the dugong from becoming extinct in Japan? Do you want to hear the reason for local people's opposition to military bases with your own ears? If you answered yes to any of these questions then please join *US for OKINAWA Peace Action Network* on an active study program of Japan's subtropical south this April.

US for OKINAWA is joining local residents in Ginowan City, Okinawa in asking the U.S. government to shut down the dangerous Futenma Air Base located right in the middle of their city. The base has endangered the lives of the local residents through military accidents, and lacks a buffer zone around it to protect surrounding schools, homes, hospitals and businesses. The U.S. and Japanese governments have agreed that the base poses an unacceptable safety risk to Ginowan City, but the U.S. government insists that closing Futenma is contingent on constructing--and Japan paying for--a new military facility elsewhere on Okinawa island. Because nearly 20% of Okinawa is already occupied by U.S. military facilities, this demand does nothing to lighten the burden on the local people.

In addition, new construction plans include inundating the environmentally fragile bay around Camp Schwab, the Henoko district, with dirt and concrete to vastly expand the base at the expense of unique coral reefs and the feeding ground of a gentle ocean mammal called the dugong. The U.S. (as well as some Japanese officials) insists that the construction must go through, despite fierce opposition by the majority of residents in Henoko. We want to listen to the voices of the local people and help them be heard both in Washington and mainland Japan.

In cooperation with Peace Boat and local partners in Okinawa, US for OKINAWA is organizing a study program to Okinawa from *April 1st to April 5th*. The goal of the study tour is to witness firsthand what is really happening in Okinawa, and to help raise more awareness of the base issue both in mainland Japan and in the U.S. and other countries.
We will be visiting U.S. military installations in Ginowan, meeting public officials in Ginowan and Henoko, listening to local testimonies, and visiting the beautiful bay of Henoko that is scheduled for destruction.

If you are interested in the study tour please contact Jonathan Yamauchi of US for OKINAWA at: jonathan.yamauchi[a]gmail.com. Please note that this program is not-for-profit, and costs are being kept to a strict minimum. Organisers are now in discussions with local partners to set the price of the programme, and more information will be available soon.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, and for further detailed information about the program.

Niheideburu, thank you!

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