Scholars from Europe, the US and Japan Have Spoken: US Is Not a Third Party

They put on a big “third party” act, but their deceit is overwhelming. I’m talking about the U.S. government’s attitude towards the new base in Henoko.

Seventeen intellectuals from the USA, Europe and Japan have sent a letter to President Obama. It demands the abandonment of the plan to transfer the U.S. Air Station Futenma to Henoko.

As the letter says, last year in the town of Nago, near where the construction would take place, a mayor opposed to the base was re-elected, and at the gubernatorial level, the anti-relocation candidate Takeshi Onaga was elected as well. In the Lower House elections throughout the prefecture, every pro-base member lost their district, while those in opposition to the base won. From the perspective of democracy, there is no stronger way to send a statement. If the U.S. is a country that champions the cause of those who uphold democratic principles, putting a halt to the base relocation is only logical.

Until now, the U.S. government has repeatedly claimed, “this [the Henoko relocation] is a Japanese domestic issue.” However, as one intellectual pointed out, the reality is that the U.S. government has been putting pressure on the government of Japan. The U.S. is the very party that most wants to see this base relocation carried out, and I’d like to see them stop with this cowardly masquerade of trying to hide behind smokescreens.

When you look at the damage done to Okinawa — whether it’s the criminal scandals, noise pollution, environmental degradation — the U.S. military is the cause every time. The act of pretending that it’s somebody else’s problem is pure deceit.

What is being called into question is not just the Japanese government, but also America’s lawless, unjust behavior. Whether it’s the U.S. bases built immediately after World War II or the bases built in the 1950s on land confiscated via coercive “bayonets and bulldozers” tactics, every single Okinawan base is in direct violation of The Hague Convention treaty outlawing the seizure of private property under a military occupation.

The U.S. has been in continuous violation of this international law throughout the 70 years that have passed since the end of World War II. In spite of this, they are trying to — of all things — force upon us a fresh rebuilding of their expansive, lavish bases.

This isn’t just some problem with the Japan-U.S. alliance. It’s the rare sort of inhuman violation of human rights that’s fit for the history books.

I think that the majority of American citizens are unaware of this situation. It’s not well known internationally, either. If this state of affairs became common knowledge, the U.S. and Japanese governments probably wouldn’t persist with such shameful behavior. For that reason, this recent statement from educated individuals is re-assuring support. I respect their sense of conscience.

Citizens wounded after being forced by the Japanese government to work at Henoko keep popping up one after another. This is the second coming of an era of “bayonets-and-bulldozers”-style shadow rule by the U.S. military. Under Governor Onaga’s lead, the whole prefecture needs to work to spread awareness of this situation internationally, and make this crisis common knowledge. I want to see the unjust tyranny of both of these governments brought to light on an international stage.

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