The Guardian June 28, 2000

Okinawan People Need Your Support

The G8 Summit Meeting is to be held in Okinawa from 21-23 July, and the 
Japanese Peace Committee has issued an international appeal for solidarity. 
Please circulate this Appeal to your members and friends as widely as 
possible to achieve the broadest support.

Their appeal states:

This small group of islands, (Okinawa) is like a colony, burdened with US 
military bases as has never been seen on the territory of any other 
sovereign state in the world.

There are huge US bases in Okinawa, which occupy more than 10 per cent of 
the whole territory (20 per cent of the main island). These bases were 
built in violation of international law.

The US Military forces occupied Okinawa during the Second World War and 
built their bases by force. Surviving citizens were sent to concentration 
camps and their land taken without payment. It was a clear violation of The 
Hague Convention that prohibits the confiscation of private property even 
during war, and obliges payment for property requisitioned even in the case 
of military necessity.

Since 1953, houses have been bulldozed and burnt. US Forces outrageously 
requisitioned large areas of land just after the end of WWII. Today, their 
bases are the root cause of the violation of human rights and the security 
of the Okinawan people.

According to Japanese Government statistics the number of crimes committed 
by US soldiers during the last 30 years has reached around 5,000. More than 
10 per cent of them are violent crimes such as murder, burglaries and 
rapes. However, neither Japan's domestic laws nor US laws are applied to 
the US Forces in Japan. US soldiers committing crimes are protected. 

Those who are disturbed by noise pollution by US planes amount to 37 per 
cent of the whole of Okinawa's population. Airplane crashes and burnings 
take place often.

This situation infringes the norms of the international community envisaged 
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to 
life, liberty and security of person". (Article 3).

It is clear that these bases constitute a threat to the peace of Asia and 
of the world.

Okinawa is the only place in the world where the US deploys the Marine 
Corps outside its territory. The Marine Corps face the Korean Peninsular 
and China with the task of an advance attack on other nations. Thus Okinawa 
is made an important stronghold of the US Forces in Asia and the Pacific.

Moreover the US administration is reinforcing its military bases in Okinawa 
based on the military strategy of a pre-emptive attack and of interference. 
It plans to build a modern base on the beautiful seashore of Nago City, to 
be the venue of the G8 Summit Meeting.

It is obvious that such a situation infringes the principles of the United 
Nations such as the peaceful solution of conflicts, respect for 
sovereignty, non-interference into internal affairs, and so on. It goes 
against the current of peace in Asia and the world.

The nations of the G8 declare that they share the common "values" of 
democracy, human rights, and peace. Okinawa, where they are coming 
together, is a spot where these values are violently trampled. 

The last G8 Summit Meeting in the 20th century being held in Okinawa, both 
the Government of Japan and the United States should immediately start 
actions for the reduction and removal of the US bases in order to normalise 
the situation in Okinawa.

The Okinawan people have been fighting against the burden of US military 
bases and for their release from them. It is high time that their demand be 
immediately realised. 

Japanese Peace Committee

We, the undersigned, support the demands of the Okinawan people and express 
our cordial solidarity with them.

Please attach:

1. Your full name
2. Name of organisation.  Position if any.
3. Address
4. Message or comments
Fax to (+81-3-3451-6277) (Tokyo)

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