Friends of the Earth – 2019-01-20 20:34:39
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Oppose
Any New Military Bases on the Okinawa Bay
Friends of the Earth
(January 19, 2019) — The US military is attempting to build a new base in Okinawa, Japan. This base threatens precious ecosystems, endangered species, the democracy of the Okinawan people, and the livelihoods of its Indigenous community.
In order to build the base, millions of tons of soil and sand must be dumped into the Oura Bay. Helipads are already being constructed in a remote area that contains important biological diversity and is home to a small Indigenous village.
The people of Okinawa overwhelmingly oppose this disastrous project. But so far, the Trump Administration has ignored this opposition. Congress could step in and oppose the military base — but we need the help of Friends of the Earth members like you demand that they act!
The environmental impacts of this base would be devastating. It could disrupt the habitat of more than 5,300 species, 262 of which are endangered. This includes critically endangered dugongs and recently discovered large colonies of blue coral.
Moreover, studies suggest this site is not even structurally suitable for the planned construction. Moving this military project to completion would be far too costly and far too dangerous for the environment.
But this isn’t just about the environmental impacts — it’s also about the democratic will of the Okinawan people. Twice recently they’ve elected governors who called for the removal of the US Marine base. In August, 70,000 people rallied against the base, which is now the site of regular demonstrations and blockades.
The protestors are now facing a backlash. A 64-old-old antiwar activist and others have been detained for more than 70 days for protesting the new US military base, despite the protest being peaceful. Their detention is in violation of Japanese law and human rights.
The US has no business pushing such a disastrous project that has such overwhelming local opposition. Now Friends of the Earth members around the globe are rallying to speak up against this unjust disregard for the Okinawan people’s democracy. Will you make your voice heard?
Despite legal fights and local opposition, dumping into the Oura Bay is already occurring, and it’s already causing harmful impacts. Endangered dugongs previously seen in the Bay have not been spotted since the site’s construction commenced.
And the impacts go beyond the immediate area. The unique subtropical forest spans the mountains in northern Okinawa and is a refuge for many rare species endemic to the region. This project puts threatened species at even greater risk.
In short, this base is an attack on Japanese democracy, the Okinawan people, and the local environment. But Members of Congress will only listen and change course if they feel pressure from their constituents like you. Will you stand up for the democracy and the will of the people of Okinawa?
I urge you to speak out against the construction of a new US military base in Okinawa, Japan. The people of Okinawa overwhelmingly oppose this environmentally disastrous project. Twice recently they have elected governors who called for the removal of the US Marine base.
In August, 70,000 rallied against the base, which is now the site of regular demonstrations and blockades. Construction also threatens a small Indigenous village.
This US military base will devastate the Oura Bay. Millions of tons of soil and sand will be dumped into the Bay, which contains sensitive mangrove forests, tidelands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
It is a habitat for more than 5,300 species, 262 of which are endangered, including critically endangered dugongs and recently discovered large colonies of blue coral. Harmful impacts are already being felt just from the preparatory activities.
I am counting on you to use your power in Congress to stand up for Okinawa’s people and their environment in the face of devastating circumstances caused by the development of a US military base. I ask that you publicly oppose the construction of the military base in Henoko, Okinawa Prefecture, and use the power of your office to work to stop it. I appreciate your support and look forward to your response.
Kate DeAngelis, Senior international policy analyst, Friends of the Earth