Robert Kajiwara asks UN to investigate human rights violations in Okinawa

 

 

 

Transcript:

 

Robert Hernandez Kajiwara

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

c/o International Committee for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

#443 94-245 Leoku St.

Waipahu, Hawaii 96797

contact@PeaceForOkinawa.org

www.PeaceForOkinawa.org

The 41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
The 41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

June 25, 2019

Thank you Mr. President. We noticed in the oral report by the High Commissioner that there was no mention of self-determination, which is crucial to the peaceful settlement of disputes regarding territorial sovereignty. A complaint on this matter was filed to the Human Rights Council on February 16, and on June 4 we received a request for further information.

Since time immemorial Okinawa was an independent nation known as Ryukyu. In 1879 Japan illegally annexed Ryukyu against the will of Ryukyuans. Japan shortly after did the same to many other countries, such as Korea, China, and the Philippines. After World War II all of those nations were given back their independence – except Ryukyu.

During World War II Japan used the Battle of Okinawa as a cover to commit genocide against Ryukyuans, during which Japanese soldiers purposely murdered thousands of Ryukyu civilians, and forced thousands others to commit suicide. Overall at least 140,000 Ryukyuans were killed during a timespan of just a few months, amounting to between one-fourth to one-third of the population.

Today Japan is once again preparing to sacrifice Ryukyuans by placing an inordinate amount of military forces in Ryukyu, which comprises less than 1% of Japan’s total territory, yet contains 70% of its military. In the event of another attack from one of Japan’s enemies, Ryukyu will again be annihilated.

Ryukyuans have long been peacefully protesting and trying to reverse this inordinate amount of military build up in our home islands. We urge the Human Rights Council to support Ryukyu in this matter; hence, it will be sending a message to the world that peaceful actions are the Council’s priority and violence is not the only action that gets the Council’s attention. The very foundation of the UN must not be undermined and rendered obsolete. Therefore, we strongly urge the Human Rights Council to assist Ryukyu and to ascertain the fact that Ryukyuans have suffered from prejudice, discrimination, and genocide. Your time and consideration are much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Robert Kajiwara

President

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

Circulation: 200,000

c/o International Committee for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

Why the Military Base at Henoko, Okinawa is Bad For Everyone

Why the Military Base at Henoko, Okinawa is Bad For Everyone

 

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.

Peace For Okinawa Coalition Requests Representative Tulsi Gabbard Stop Okinawa Military Base

 

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.

Sincerely,

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

Leadership Team

Circulation: 200,000

Robert Kajiwara

President

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

 

 

press release June 10 2019 Tulsi Gabbard Peace For Okinawa CoalitionPeace For Okinawa Coalition letter Tulsi GabbardPeace For Okinawa Coalition letter Tulsi Gabbard page 2

United Nations Responds to White House Petition to Save Henoko, Okinawa

UN response to White House petition Robert Kajiwara Okinawa Henoko

 

United Nations Responds to White House Petition to Save Henoko, Okinawa

June 5, 2019 For immediate release

はいさい ちゅー うがなびら、

I am writing to inform you that on June 4, 2019 I received a response via email from the United Nations Human Rights Council regarding the White House petition to save Henoko, Okinawa. I had originally submitted the petition, along with an official complaint to the Council, first on February 13, 2019 via post mail and then on February 16 via email.

Then as already announced, I, along with Catherine Jane Fisher, will be speaking with the UN Human Rights Council in person from June 24-28. Attached below is a copy of the email response from the Human Rights Council, along with the original complaint and the documents of further readings I sent.

I am pleased that the United Nations Human Rights Council appears to be taking the matter seriously. My advisor in the United Nations has informed me that the Council does not respond to all of the complaints it receives, so a response is a very positive sign, and that they are asking for more specifics so that they can conduct a credible investigation into the matter.

The response from the Human Rights Council asks for more information regarding the domestic attempts to solve the issue (i.e., attempts by activists, attempts by the Okinawa Prefecture Government, etc). The UN has requested this information be sent as soon as possible. Therefore, anyone who has anything they would like included, please send it to me immediately for review.

Please note that my complaint was not only about Henoko, but also about the bigger issue of the Government of Japan’s prejudice against Ryukyu / Okinawans.

I look forward to the UN investigating the ongoing human rights violations and genocide occurring against Okinawans.

Sincerely,

Robert Kajiwara

President

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition

Circulation: 200,000

Email: contact@peaceforokinawa.org

Website: www.peaceforokinawa.org

Dear Mr Robert Kajiwara,

 

We acknowledge receipt of your complaint submitted to the Complaint Procedure of the Human rights Council. After a careful review of the content of your communication, we kindly request you to provide the following information as soon as possible, which you can send by e-mail or registry mail.

 

Please note that it is for the author of a complaint to substantiate his /her allegation and to provide the necessary information and documentation in support of his/her claims. In this regard, your complaint should be more precise in the exhaustion of domestic remedies. This information as presented is not sufficiently clear in order to enable us to process your complaint.

 

Therefore, you are kindly requested to provide a clear picture of the steps taken by or on behalf of the alleged victims to exhaust domestic remedies. Please provide details on the procedures which have been pursued, including recourse to the courts and other public authorities as well as human rights institutions, the claims made, at which time, and what the outcome was.

If the domestic remedies have not been exhausted on grounds that their application would be ineffective or unreasonably prolonged, please explain the reasons in detail.

 

Please note that without this documentation, the Chairperson of the Working Group on Communications of the Human Rights Council‘s Complaint Procedure will be unable to consider your complaint.

 

Yours sincerely

 

The Secretariat of the Human Rights Council’s complaint procedure.

Press Release – UN Geneva Presentation

press release 5_27_19 UN Geneva copy

 

May 27, 2019 For immediate release

Robert Kajiwara and Catherine Jane Fisher will be speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council from June 24-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Robert Kajiwara, President of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition, will be requesting UN intervention in the current situation in Okinawa surrounding the military bases at Henoko and Futenma, where thousands have called for their immediate closure.

“Okinawa is a perfect example of a peaceful movement for change,” said Kajiwara, a fourth-generation Okinawan Hawaiian. “We have always used peaceful methods to assert our rights. If the UN is unwilling or unable to intervene in a non-violent situation such as this, they are by default encouraging violence, and if they encourage violence, then the very purpose of the UN is rendered obsolete.”

On December 8, 2018 Kajiwara started a petition calling for a stop to the construction of the base at Henoko. The petition quickly garnered over 100,000 signatures in its first ten days, and currently has over 211,000 signatures. Both the U.S. and Japan governments, however, have ignored the petition, as well as the many other calls for the construction to stop, including a referendum held in Okinawa in February 2019 in which 72% of the population voted against the base and another 8% voted undecided.

Catherine Jane Fisher, the Peace For Okinawa Coalition’s Special Advisor on the Rights of Men, Women, and Children, will join Kajiwara in speaking at the UN. Fisher, who was born in Australia and moved to Japan with her family during the 1980s, was the woman who first broke the silence of rape in Japan in 2002.

Fisher advocates for victims of heinous crimes committed by US Military personnel on the island of Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan which have occurred for over 70 years. Fisher has also exposed the lack of action by the government of Japan to properly handle cases of sexual violence and ensure the support and well-being of victims.

Kajiwara and Fisher previously spoke together on February 20 at the National Diet of Japan in Tokyo.

The Peace For Okinawa Coalition is a U.S.-based multi-national, multi-ethnic non-profit think tank and cultural organization aimed at promoting peace, diplomacy, justice, and human rights through advancing Okinawan history, culture, language, and issues.

Email to Representative Tulsi Gabbard

Dear Representative Gabbard,

I saw this video you put out on social media recently:

I would like to ask you to also stop the genocide against Okinawans that Japan is committing (with help from the U.S.).
One thing you can do to help Okinawa is to please stop the construction of the military base at Henoko, Okinawa. This base is bad for many different reasons that my team and I have spoken in person with several of your advisors (Guido, Dave, and JK) about. Our petition has over 211,000 signatures on it so far demanding the construction be stopped. Roughly 19,000 of those signatures have come from voters in Hawaii. Our supporters have come not only from Okinawans, but from many other ethnic groups as well, such as Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Pacific Islanders, and whites.
Though the White House guaranteed a response to our petition within 60 days, we still have not received a response and it is past the 90 day mark. 211,000 people are demanding a response! We ask that you please contact the White House and ask them to respond! And we ask that you please do something to help Okinawa!

Here is a link to our petition:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-landfill-henoko-oura-bay-until-referendum-can-be-held-okinawa?fbclid=IwAR3_2zBhlPJOr1arCuApky2MtUkXVMD0gz7_kJrwTp7jPGneQnpBXxOiylw

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Robert Kajiwara
Director
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition