June 10, 2019 For immediate release
MEDIA ALERT: Peace For Okinawa Coalition Requests Representative Tulsi Gabbard Stop Okinawa Military Base
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition has made a formal request to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D – Hawaii) to take measures to cease the construction of the military base at Henoko, Okinawa.
Gabbard is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Readiness subcommittee. She is currently running for President and has been outspoken against regime change and unnecessary wars.
The formal request, made on June 4, comes after months of dialogue between the Peace For Okinawa Coalition and dozens of members of Congress, as well as members of the United Nations and numerous non-governmental organizations.
“This provides Congresswoman Gabbard the opportunity to backup her claims of pursuing peace, diplomacy, environmental protection, cutting unnecessary government spending, looking out for the best interests of troops, and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,” said Robert Kajiwara, president of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition.
Kajiwara’s petition to stop the base at Henoko has over 211,000 signatures on it, including from celebrities such as Dr. Brian May of the rock band Queen. The U.S. and Japan governments are nevertheless pushing ahead with the construction.
The base at Henoko has long been derided for a number of reasons, including lack of necessity, high costs, structural infeasibility, environmental degradation, danger to U.S. troops, and human rights violations. The indigenous Okinawan people are strongly opposed to the base. In the U.S., opposition to the base has come from both democrats and republicans. The late Senator John McCain referred to it as unnecessary, unworkable, and unaffordable.
“If Congresswoman Gabbard sponsors this bill, it will likely garner her the support of hundreds of thousands of our followers, as well as followers in the many other non-profit organizations that we collaborate with,” said Kajiwara. “Likewise, if she refuses, it will likely garner criticism and even attacks from many who are counting on her to pursue peace, the environment, and indigenous rights.”
Jan R. Weinberg, the Peace For Okinawa Coalition’s Special Advisor on Demilitarization points out:
“There are scant references in American media related to the consequences of the United States, through a succession of administrations (Obama and Trump), support for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire to “reinterpret” Article 9 (against the will of the people) of the Japanese Constitution, which had previously served to deter Japan from engaging in offensive military preparedness and engagement. The undue burdened placed on the Okinawan people, who are unnecessarily placed in harms way, is just one result among many, of this nefarious collaboration.”
The letter to Congresswoman Gabbard is attached in full. The Peace For Okinawa Coalition encourages members of the press and the public to contact Congresswoman Gabbard’s office for comment.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard
c/o Dave Chun, Guido Weiss, Jonathan Spangler
1433 Longworth House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
June 3, 2019
Dear Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard,
Due to the fact that you are on the Readiness sub-committee of the House Armed Forces Committee, the Peace For Okinawa Coalition requests that you sponsor a bill to stop the construction of the military base at Henoko, Okinawa. We believe that you are the best person to sponsor this bill due to your outspokenness against regime change and unnecessary wars, as well as due to your ability to work on bipartisan issues such as this.
The military base at Henoko is strategically unnecessary since the marines would not be used in the event of a conflict in Asia. This base is catastrophically damaging to the environment, a drain on taxpayer dollars, further exacerbates hostilities with China and North Korea, and most importantly, against the will of the indigenous Okinawan people.
The issues surrounding the Henoko military base are increasing anti-U.S. sentiment in Okinawa, and may very well result in Okinawans demanding a complete removal of U.S. military forces if nothing is done to protect the well-being of the Okinawan people.
Our petition to stop the base has over 211,000 signatures from people who are angry that the U.S. government has so far ignored our calls to stop the construction. The longer the construction continues, the more damage will be done to Okinawa’s environment, as well as to U.S.-Okinawa relations.
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition has received widespread media coverage both nationally and internationally, and if you sponsor a bill to stop the construction of the Henoko military base, it would draw a lot of positive publicity for your presidential campaign, especially since it would back up your claims to pursue peace and diplomacy, cut wasteful government spending, protect the environment, and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. This would ensure most of our 211,000+ signees will support your campaign, and will likely inspire many other peace organizations to do the same, many of whom we are working with.
The base at Henoko would be dangerous for U.S. soldiers due to its poor soil conditions, as well as to its location directly over a major earthquake fault. Supporting this bill to stop the base would also demonstrate your sincerity in looking out for the best interests of the U.S. troops.
We hope you will take this seriously. Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you.
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition
Nelson Del Pino
Acting Director / Special Advisor on Public Relations
H.E. Leon Siu
Special Advisor on Human Rights, International Relations, and Indigenous Politics
Jan R. Weinberg
Special Advisor on Demilitarization
Catherine Jane Fisher
Special Advisor on the Rights of Men, Women, and Children
Teiko Yonaha Tursi
New York Area Liaison / Survivor of the Battle of Okinawa