Today marks the 70th anniversary of Operation Iceberg which is more commonly known as the Battle of Okinawa. A battle in which perhaps as many as 200,000 people, many of them civilians, died premature and often painful deaths over a period of 82 days of intense fighting on the small subtropical island of Okinawa. However although nearly 70 years have passed since the end of WW2 the people of Okinawa are still struggling to gain control of their land and future.
The U.S. has maintained a large military presence on the island since it first landed there 70 years ago. During this time there has been an unbroken string of crimes committed by U.S. servicemen the most infamous being a case in 1995 where three U.S. servicemen kidnapped, beat, and gang raped a 12 year girl. In addition to the numerous crimes there have also been many training accidents which are inevitable when you operate a military base right in the middle of a densely populated city.
Instead of closing the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and the many other bases which still litter the island of Okinawa nearly 70 years since the end of WW2 and nearly 25 years since the end of the Cold War the current plan, which is opposed by the vast majority of the people in Okinawa, is to move it to a less populated part of the island. Less populated by people but home to a biologically diverse ecosystem and populated by dugongs and other endangered species which rely on the grass beds and coral reefs the U.S. intends to build a military base on top of.
If the U.S. really wants to promote democracy and human rights then why doesn’t it insist Japan hold a referendum in Okinawa on the issue of U.S. military bases and whether or not to relocate the Futenma Air Station to Henoko. I hope you will join me and many others in actively supporting the closure of Futenma and halting the destruction of endangered ecosystems and construction of unwanted military bases on the beautiful and peaceful island of Okinawa. I remind you there are much better things the U.S. could be spending money on.
For more information please view the link below:
If you’re a U.S. citizen please consider sending a letter to your government representatives.