Why the Military Base at Henoko, Okinawa is Bad For Everyone
1. Necessity – The base is considered strategically unnecessary by many, including members of the U.S. government and military, since the marines would not be used in the event of a conflict in Asia.
2. Cost – The base is running billions of dollars over budget.
3. Environmental Destruction – The location of the base would destroy a coral reef filled with hundreds of rare and endangered species, including the Okinawa dugong. It is the second-most biodiverse reef in the world, only behind the Great Barrier Reef.
4. Water Poisoning – Studies have shown dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals (PFOS / PFAS) have been detected in the water near U.S. military bases in Okinawa, as well as elsewhere around the world. This has led to a rise in a number of serious health problems including thyroid disease and risks to pregnant women.
5. Feasibility – The base is considered to be unfeasible from an engineering stand point due to the poor soil conditions at the construction site, as well as due to the location occurring directly over a major earthquake fault.
6. Safety – Due to the engineering concerns of the location, the base would needlessly endanger the lives of U.S. soldiers.
7. Human Rights Violations – The indigenous Okinawan people are strongly opposed to the base, and have peacefully and democratically expressed their opposition. To ignore this is to send the message that peace and democracy do not work.
8. Diplomacy – If the U.S. wants to maintain amicable relations with Okinawa, it needs to work with Okinawans and protect their well-being.
9. Peace and Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific – The base would unnecessarily heighten tensions with both China and North Korea, harming peace and trade talks with both.
10. Economy – Military bases are a heavy burden on Okinawa’s economy. The military contributes just around 5% to Okinawa’s economy, while taking up over 15% of Okinawa’s land, including around 30% of its arable lands.
11. Tourism – The extremely scenic and biodiverse coral reef at Henoko is a good location for eco-tourism. Destroying the reef would remove this eco-friendly tourism opportunity.