Senator Angus King (Maine) remarks about Okinawa

Mr. Jon Olsen, a supporter of both Hawaiians and Okinawans, contacted me today to let me know about a response he received from one of his U.S. Senators, Senator Angus King, of Maine. The response was regarding a letter that Mr. Olsen had sent asking the Senator to create a Government Accountability Office to investigate any construction work that may occur on U.S. bases in Okinawa.

The letter is part of a letter-writing community campaign started by Veterans For Peace – ROCK. You may send the letter if you like at the link below:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-representative-and-senators-to-create-investigation-before-another-base-is-built-in-okinawa

 

senator angus king.jpg
U.S. Senator Angus King (Maine)

 

Mr. Olsen gave me permission to post the reply he received from Senator King publicly.

Here is Senator Angus King’s response:

 

Dear Jon,

The U.S.-Japanese alliance represents one of our most important
relationships in the Pacific, and as a member of both the Senate Armed
Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, I receive
regular updates on our bilateral relationship and related military
operations. U.S. service members have been stationed on the island of
Okinawa since World War II, and the island provides a key strategic
location for U.S. military capabilities that act to ensure the
security of our regional Allies and partners, including Japan, Taiwan,
and South Korea, while deterring aggressive behavior from potential
adversaries.

I am aware that the U.S. military presence and relocation of Marine
Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma in Okinawa has been a source of
disagreement in Japan, and I recognize the perspective of
representatives of Okinawan communities. You may be interested to know
that, in 2017, my staff met with members of the Okinawan Assembly to
hear their perspectives on this issue, firsthand. Central to my
understanding of this issue is that the planned relocation of MCAS
Futenma to Camp Schwab in the more remote area of Henoko, is the
result of a bilaterally formed Special Action Committee on Okinawa
(SACO). In fact, the relocation represents a broader U.S.-Japanese
joint effort to reduce the base-related burdens on local residents,
and the Supreme Court of Japan has ruled against Okinawa Governor
Takeshi Onaga’s efforts to block the relocation.

Since the relocation plans of MCAS Futenma are the result of bilateral
collaboration between the U.S. and Japan, and I believe that the U.S.
military presence in Okinawa is strategically important, I do not plan
to call for an investigation of the Henoko Base construction plans at
this time. While I know this is not the course of action you desire, I
am thankful for this opportunity to explain my assessment of the
situation. Should issues related to Okinawa come before the Senate
Armed Services Committee or Select Committee on Intelligence for
consideration, I will keep your perspective on the issue in mind.

Best Regards,
[image]
ANGUS S. KING, JR.
United States Senator

 

 

 


 

Don’t like Senator King’s response? Let him know: https://www.king.senate.gov/contact

@SenAngusKing

What percent of Okinawans have signed the petition?

Hi everyone. Rob Kajiwara here, still in Washington DC. I wanted to take a moment to clarify something. I heard some people who had watched this video down below had misunderstood something I said regarding the percent of Okinawans who had signed the petition to the White House to try to save Henoko.

 

After having watched this video, some people were saying that I had said that only 10% of the signatures on the petition came from Okinawa. This is not true. What I said was that only around 10% of the Uchinaanchu population on Okinawa had signed the petition. This is very different.

The Uchinaanchu population of Okinawa / Ryukyu is currently around 1.4 million. (This does not include the Uchinaanchu living overseas. It also does not include the U.S. military currently stationed at Okinawa, nor does it include other foreigners.)

According to my own estimates, around 10% of the current population of Uchinaanchu living in Ryukyu / Okinawa have signed the petition. 10% of 1.4 million is 140,000. Currently the petition has over 200,000 signatures, meaning that the Uchinaanchu currently living in Ryukyu / Okinawa are responsible for roughly 70% of the signatures on the petition right now.

But some people had misunderstood what I said in the video, and thought that I meant that just 10% of the signatures on the petition had come from Okinawa. If that were true, that would mean only around 20,000 Okinawans had signed the petition.

So you can see that the difference between the two is really large. 140,000 is fair larger than 20,000. So I just wanted to clarify this.

Please continue to share the petition! Thanks for all your hard work.

http://bit.ly/StandwithOkinawa

Do Okinawans want to protect Henoko?

As I write this I am at Honolulu International Airport waiting for my flight. I am heading to Washington DC for a press conference and rally in front of the White House on January 7th to celebrate the closing of our petition asking for a stop to the landfill at Henoko, Okinawa.

We currently have over 178,000 signatures, which is great when you consider the total lack of U.S. interest, and the heavy censorship we have been receiving from Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. Many people have worked very hard to help share our petition as much as possible, and I thank each and every one of them.

However, if we truly want to save the sea at Henoko, we need to have more widespread support. There are 1.4 million Uchinaanchu living in Okinawa, with 300,000 more living overseas. We have also received many signatures from Japanese, as well as from other people living internationally. So when you consider these things, 178,000 signatures is actually a very small number. We should have much more than that.

Governor of Okinawa Denny Tamaki recently received over 300,000 votes in the recent election in September, promising to save Henoko. Polls suggest that 80% of Okinawans openly oppose the construction of the military base. Why, then, can we not get more signatures for this petition? We should have 400,000 or 500,000 signatures easily, instead of only 178,000.

It is clear that less than half of the people who voted for Governor Tamaki have signed the petition. Why have they not signed? There should be many more signatures on the petition, because it is open to anyone 13 years old or over, and any ethnicity or nationality.

It is true that because we passed the 100,000 signature threshold, we are guaranteed a response from the White House within 60 days after the closing of the petition. However, there is no guarantee as to what type of response we will receive. The more signatures we have, the better our chances are of getting a favorable response. The more signatures we have, the more likely it is that we will get a faster response. The more signatures we have, the more press coverage the petition will receive, and this is what will get more Americans to support Okinawa. The more press coverage and support we have, the more pressure there will be on the U.S. government to help Okinawa.

I am afraid that with such a small percentage of Okinawans supporting the petition, that the U.S. will continue to ignore the Okinawan people. I’m willing to go to Washington DC and speak with U.S. lawmakers and do what I can to help Okinawa. But with such little support from Okinawa itself, there is very little that I can do.

So I’m asking: Do Okinawans actually want to protect Henoko? Do they want the construction of the military base to stop? If so they need to voice their opinions right now and sign the petition. It closes on January 7th, Eastern Standard Time.

Link to the petition:

http://bit.ly/StandwithOkinawa