"Message from Okinawa" (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Tue Dec 19 18:40:02 MST 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 10:20:37 +0900
> From: ic3t-kwt at asahi-net.or.jp
> Subject: "Message from Okinawa"
> Dear friends,
> I hope this message finds you well.
> The Japan Peace Conference 2000 in Okinawa was
> successfully held from 30 Nov. - 3 Dec. 2000 in Naha
> city, wtih 5 interenational guests: Joseph Gerson
> (American Friends Service Committee, USA), Francesco
> Iannuzzelli (Peacelink, Italy), Lim Samjin (Green Korea
> United), Ismael Guadalupe (Committee for the Rescue
> and Development of Vieques, Puerto Rico), Maria I.
> Reinat-Pumarejo (Institute for Latino Empowerment,
> Puerto Rico), Hiroshi Suda (Japan Peace Committee),
> and 1,500 Japanese delegates.
> Please find following the statement paper issued
> by the panelists of the International Symposium.
> We are going to take next steps to establish a global network
> of solidarity for the solution of the U.S. base problems.
> Looking forward to your suggestions and responses.
> Let us keep in touch !
> With best regards.
> Tadaaki Kawata
> Japan Peace Committee
> ===============================================
> on the International Symposium of
> the 2000 Japan Peace Conference
> "Message from Okinawa :
> Let us promote international solidarity
> for the eradication of damages caused by U.S. bases"
> 1 December, 2000
> Naha, Okinawa
> 1. International Symposium of the 2000 Japan Peace Conference
>  "Message from Okinawa:  Let us promote international solidarity
> for the eradication of damages caused by U.S. bases" was held in
> Naha City, Okinawa from 30 November to 1 December, 2000. The
> following panelists presented their views: Joseph Gerson
> (American Friends Service Committee, USA), Francesco Iannuzzelli
> (Peacelink, Italy), Lim Samjin (Green Korea United), Ismael Guadalupe
> (Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, Puerto Rico),
> Maria I. Reinat-Pumarejo (Institute for Latino Empowerment,
> Puerto Rico), and Hiroshi Suda (Japan Peace Committee). There were
> also written reports submitted by the American Friends Service
> Committee (Hawaii), Luisa Morgantini (MP of European Parliament,
> Italy), Arab NGO Coordinating Center (Egypt), Anti-Base Coalition
> (Australia), Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace,
> German Peace Council / German-Japan Peace Forum, and the Nuclear
> Free Philippines Coalition.
> 2. The panelists visited Nago City on 29 November prior to the
> symposium and met the residents fighting against a plan to build
> a new U.S. marine base and expressed their cordial solidarity to their
> struggle. At the meetings, participants stressed the need to strengthen
> and develop international solidarity and cooperation against a new
> U.S. base plan. They met Tsuneyosi Miyagi, deputy mayor of Nago City
> and called upon him to withdraw the city's decision to accept a new
> base, based on the will of citizens shown by the referendum, as well
> as on the stand to defend safety and interests of the citizens.
> 3. The damage inherent to U.S. military bases abroad includes danger
> of war and infringement of sovereignty; devastation of environments
> and peoples' health; destruction of private and commercial properties
> and noise pollution. Military accidents, including release of radiation,
> have cost human lives and endangered the food chain. Peoples' lands
> have been confiscated to build bases, sometimes in violation of
> international law. "Host" communities - and especially women - have
> been traumatized by intolerablly high rate of crimes, including rape
> and sexual harassment. While U.S. bases in each country have their
> own histories, size, form, and role, they not only have in common
> served as steping stone for military interference and intervention
> for U.S. hegemony. They are also the root cause of constant violations
> of human rights, destruction of peoples' life, and environmental
> pollution. The panelists emphasised the following:
> - Japan : There are some 130 U.S. bases with 40,000 troops all over
> the country, which include Marines, a carrier-centered task force,
> and an expeditionary air force. There are no other countries in the
> world which host such "forces of assault". They are conducting
> aircraft night landing practices, low altitude flight exercises even
> over the urban residential areas infringing Japanese domestic law,
> and live shelling exercises. Thus outrages of "extraterritorial" privilege
> by U.S. forces are openly conducted as if they were in one of their
> "colonies". In Okinawa, where 75 % of U.S. bases in Japan are
> concentrated, the situation is much more serious with frequent
> aircraft accidents and atrocious crimes, huge noise and environmental
> destruction. Concern is expressed internationally that a plan to
> build a new U.S. Marine base in Nago, ignoring the will of residents,
> will damage important elements of the natural environment where
> rare species such as dugongs live.
> - Korea : There are 95 bases with 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea,
> which cover a total area of 80,000 acres. Due to these bases,
> the Korean people face the real threat of environmental disaster
> and human abuses.The Korean people, including government agents,
> are fornidden to access U.S. bases, and are denied the right know
> the environmental situation. Currently the U.S. has no responsibility
> to restore environment when moving into another place. The U.S.
> military has caused environmental destruction, including dumping
> toxic formaldehyde in the Han River in February 2000. And, at the
> U.S.Air Force's Koonni Range, for half a century, continuous bombing
> exercises have been carried out just as in a war. 11 people have been
> killed from bombing accidents. The noise has destroyed the health
> of the residents.
> - Vieques : Vieques is an island-municipality off the east coast
> of Puerto Rico. Its 9,300 inhabitants are sandwiched between an
> ammunition facility on the western end of the island and the inner
> range of the weapon testing and training facility. These facilities
> occupy 26,000 of the entire 33,000 acres of Vieques land. As a result
> of military exercise and war games, Vieques faces intense ecological
> damage, a high incidence of cancer, noise pollution, incomparable
> levels of poverty, general distress of the population, and the
> destruction of its flora and fauna. The Vieques situation is particularly
> sensitive since the navy's military games involve chemical and nuclear
> weaponry. Puerto Ricans have clearly expressed their desire for the
> withdrawal of the naval facility through acts of civil disobedience,
> sustained protests and political lobbying. Yet the U.S. persists imposing
> its will on the people of Vieques. Many people are awaiting trial in
> Federal Court after having been arrested in civil disobedience protests.
> - Italy : The U.S. bases in Italy and the Italian Bases available for NATO
> operations represent the strategic point for the offensive intervention
> policy of the U.S.A, as happened during the recent war against Yugoslavia.
> The presence of nuclear weapons, the patrolling of nuclear powered
> vessels, and the military exercises have caused accidents, environmental
> damages and many civilian deaths. The bases are also a violation of
> engagements taken in Rio de Janero 1992 World Summit, as they infringe
> bio-diversity and the precautionary principle. This applies both to the
> nuclear arsenal and military operations involving nuclear-powered units.
> - USA : Base damages are not limited to foreign military bases, but
> they are prevalent in U.S. communities all over the country. These are
> largely unknown to the U.S. people. U.S. citizens need to become
> conscious of how militarized U.S. society has become with the huge
> military budget and hundreds of military bases in their communities
> and arounf the world. U.S. citizen have the responsibility to know
> how U.S. troops and bases impact people in "host" nations as well as
> to work in solidarity with people fighting to prevent war, to assit
> their struggles for freedom from military colonialization, and to
> end the damages caused by U.S. bases.
> 4. On the eve of the 21st century, we can not tolerate the world wide
> damage caused by U.S military bases from the view point of world
> peace as well as of independence of nations, defense of democracy,
> human rights, life, environment, and of local communities. The bases
> stand in opposition to the achievements of peoples' struggle for peace
> and progress in the 20th century including the Universal Declaration
> of Human Rights, which states that "Everyone has the right to life,
> liberty and security of person" (Article 3). Already, in many parts
> of the world, people have been struggling to protest against the
> outrageous activities of U.S. bases and to defend their human dignity.
> People with conscience should learn the reality of base damages and
> listen to the voices of their victims. The eradication of base damages
> should be tackled urgently and jointly by the broad range of people
> the irrespective of differences in thought, creeds, politics, or their
> opinions about military alliance. Peace movements need to work on
> thistask by mobilizing different social and civil movements and
> forces inclusive of various political trends.
> 5. As long as bases exist, their negative impacts can not be eliminated
> completely. It is necessary to remove U.S. foreign military bases in order
> to finally eradicate base damages. In the Symposium, the determination
> was expressed to fight for the future removal of all U.S. foreign military
> bases.The participants also pointed out the problems of agreements on
> the status of U.S. forces (such as Japan-U.S. SOFA and Korea-U.S. one)
> which allow the outrages of U.S. force by ignoring domestic regulations
> of "host" nations as well as life and security of residents. It was
> stressed that revision of these unfair agreements is urgently needed.
> 6. It was stressed that the hegemonic strategy of the U.S. maintaining
> 100,000 troops in Asia and similar number in Europe, with a vast
> number of military bases, is the background to today's base problems.
> The U.S. military alliance system has become much more dangerous
> with a new Japan - U.S. Guidelines for Defense Cooperation and with
> NATO New Strategic Concept. Ignoring the U.N. decisions, the U.S. aims
> to conduct preemptive military intervention by mobilizing allied forces.
> The contradiction of the U.S. strategy with the recent trend for peace in
> Asia, as represented by the North - South summit meeting of Korea is
> becoming much clearer. Under these circumastances, U.S. foreign bases
> are losing the ground for their continuted existence.
> 7. The solution of base problems posed by the U.S. bases has become
> a new international agenda at a time when the world stands at the
> crossroads of war or peace towards the 21st century. And there is a
> growing possibility of developing united efforts and cooperation
> among national movements for this task. From Okinawa, which
> suffers from the heavy burden of U.S. bases, we call for the promotion
> of international solidarity for ending the damage caused by U.S. bases
> and for their removal.
> Joseph Gerson
> American Friends Service Committee, USA
> Francesco Iannuzzelli
> Peacelink, Italy
> Lim Samjin
> Green Korea United
> Ismael Guadalupe
> Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, Puerto Rico
> Maria I. Reinat-Pumarejo
> Institute for Latino Empowerment, Puerto Rico
> Hiroshi Suda
> Japan Peace Committee
> (in Japanese alphabetical order of the name of counties)
> -------------------------------------------------------
> (Annex)
> Suggestions for further activities
> The following suggestions for further activities were made
> during the symposium, which should be discussed and put into
> concrete actions.
> - to develop resources for grassroots activists to learn about
> the impacts of military bases as well as about movements for
> the eradication of base damages and for the withdrawal of the
> bases in different countries (also data on environmental damage,
> information about most effective actions of civil disobedience)
> - to develop networks to regularly exchange information and
> to communicate and respond to solidarity appeals from anti-
> base movements world wide.
> - to link peace movements with economic justice movements
> making connections between U.S. economic and military
> globalization.
> - to organize international joint campaigns including a signature
> campaign for the cancellation of the plan to build a new U.S.
> Marine base in Nago City, based on the residents' opposition
> as well as recommendations of IUCN Assembly (October 2000)
> about the protection of Dugongs.
> - to organize grass-roots, regional, and national forums on
> the impacts of U.S. foreign military bases (if possible, inviting
> victims and experts from affected nations).
> - to organize an International Day of solidarity for the people
> suffering base damages and for peace (a day of simultaneous
> actions worldwide). A rally in Washington DC of the
> representatives of these people.
> - to promote the exchange of information between the movements
> for fundamental revision of governmental agreements that allow
> U.S. force to enjoy "extraterritorial" priviledges.
> - regular exchange of delegations to exchange and disseminate
> information about each movement and situation.
> - legal actions over the violation of sovereignty by foreign
> military forces, and monitoring on their activities.

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