To view articles in English only, click HERE. 日本語投稿のみを表示するにはここをクリック。点击此处观看中文稿件한국어 투고 Follow Twitter ツイッターは@PeacePhilosophy and Facebook ★投稿内に断り書きがない限り、当サイトの記事の転載は許可が必要です。 にメールをください。Re-posting from this blog requires permission unless otherwise specified. Please email to contact us.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Yoshio Shimoji's Letter to New York Times 下地良男のニューヨークタイムズへの投書

(Photo of the ocean of Henoko by Shimoji Yoshio)

New York Times printed Yoshio Shimoji's letter to protest the U.S. and Japanese Governments' decision to go back to the 2006 agreement to build a new base in Henoko. The letter was reported in the May 30 edition of Ryukyu Shimpo, which is pasted below.

The U.S. Air Base on Okinawa

Published: May 28, 2010
To the Editor:

“Japan Relents on U.S. Base on Okinawa, Reneging on a Campaign Promise” (news article, May 24) characterizes Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s announcement that the United States Marine Air Station Futenma would be moved to northern Okinawa — as originally agreed to — as “a victory for the Obama administration and a humiliating setback for Mr. Hatoyama.”

Obviously, in this squabbling, the Hatoyama administration succumbed to the Obama administration’s all-out pressure to stick to a 2006 bilateral agreement. Mr. Hatoyama had raised Okinawans’ expectations during the last election campaign by saying that Futenma’s functions must be moved away from Okinawa.

The Obama administration should remember, however, that its victory is self-defeating as well because it contradicts the principle of democracy that Washington advocates in dealing with “undemocratic” and “unenlightened” nations.

The overwhelming majority of Okinawans are opposed to any plan to keep the base on Okinawa, as Washington is fully aware. How dare Mr. Obama ask Mr. Hatoyama to act without regard to the wishes of his compatriots?

Yoshio Shimoji
Naha, Okinawa, May 24, 2010





Sunday, May 30, 2010

Okinawa's Voice Reconfirmed, and Reinforced

Nago Citizens' Gathering on May 28 to protest the U.S. and Japanese Governments' joint statement to build a new base in Henoko. 1,200 people attended. (photo from Dugong Keijiban blog.)

Latest Mainichi Shimbun poll
, conducted from May 28 to 30 with Okinawans:

84% of Okinawans oppose a new base construction in Henoko.
6% agreed.

Support for Hatoyama: 8%
(drop from 63%, in November 2009)

71% don't think Marines are needed in Okinawa
15% think they are needed.

50% think US military bases in Okinawa should be reduced, and 41% think
they should be removed.

55% think Japan-US Security Treaty should be changed into a Peace Treaty,
and 14% think it should be abolished. 7% think it should be maintained.

Okinawans' anger and oppposition to the new base plan are accelerating.

Gavan McCormack, Co-ordinator of Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Professor of Australian National University concluded his speech on May 28 in Oslo, Norway, at PIO(Peace Research Institute) saying:

“Tokyo cannot roll tanks into Nago, like the Soviet Union into Budapest or the PLA into Lhasa, to crush resistance and impose something so plainly against the will of the people. Neither Tokyo nor Washington can do this. The new base should not, can not, will not be built.”

2010年5月30日 19時39分 更新:5月31日 0時52分

毎日世論調査:辺野古移設に反対84% 沖縄県民対象

米軍普天間飛行場=沖縄県宜野湾市で2009年10月11日、本社機から野田武撮影 米軍普天間飛行場(沖縄県宜野湾市)を同県名護市辺野古周辺に移設する日米合意を受け、毎日新聞と琉球新報は28~30日、沖縄県民を対象に合同世論調査を実施した。辺野古移設に「反対」との回答が84%に達し、「賛成」はわずか6%だった。鳩山内閣の支持率は8%と1ケタにとどまり、昨年10~11月に実施した合同調査の63%から大幅に下落。「最低でも県外」「地元合意を得ての5月末決着」の約束を破る形になった鳩山由紀夫首相への不信感が沖縄県民に広がっていることを示した。




Questions about Cheonan Sinking Part II 天安艦沈没事件の疑問 パート2

See HERE for the previous post of the list of material available in English on the questions about the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, and letters by a civil society group in Korea and a Presbyterian Church in Korea.

(Added June 1)
******A Bloomberg news reports polls says one out of four South Koreans don't believe the report of the multinational investiation team, and there seems to be great generational (perhaps digital) divides.

South Korea Faces Domestic Skeptics Over Evidence Against North

(Added May 31)
******Finally, we have another Japanese voice about this issue. Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times and an environmental consultant and a commentator on Asian affairs for CCTV-9 Dialogue, suspects an American "rising mine" from the USNS Salvor, which "happened to be yet right near Byeongyang Island at the time of the Cheonan sinking and far from its home base, Pearl Harbor."

Did an American mine sink South Korean Ship?

****** The ABC news quoted in the above article is:

The article refers to the "four US Navy ships that happened to be there to participate in the Foal Eagle Exerciise," one of which was USNS Salvor, and regarding the cause of the incident, "consensus among military analysts is this seems unlikely as the type of torpedo that the North Korean navy possesses could not have been used in waters only 82-feet deep. Their submarines would find it difficult to operate under normal conditions in such shallow water and near impossible in these severe currents."

******RT interview with journalist Wayne Madson, an investigative journalist based in Washington, D.C.

"Was the destruction of the South Korean warship Cheonan a provocation? Can it be compared to the Gulf of Tonkin? RT contributor Wayne Madsen says that the sinking of the warship was really intended to convince Japan not to move US forces off Okinawa as well as divert the attention of Americans from the dire economic situation at home. "

See the 6-minute YouTube video:

****** Author Kim Myong Chol raised quetions on his May 4 article in Asia Times,

Pyongyang sees US role in Cheonan sinking

and in May 26 follow-up article, he challenges the finding of the "international investigation team," or a all-U.S.-allies team of experts from South Korea, U.S., Australia, Sweden and Canada, also citing CBS news reporting Sweden was a reluctant partner in blaming North Korea.

South Korea in the line of friendly fire

****** As quoted in the above article, Financial Times on May 19 reported South Korean's mistrust of its own government's handling of the incident and suspicion of possible cover-up.

The loss of the warship has also exposed South Koreans’ mistrust of whatever the government says and a historic sense of fraternity with the North, feelings that can override strategic dangers.

“The government seems to be hiding something. If not, why did it take so long to announce the conclusion?” said Bae Sung-hoon, a 37-year-old office worker.

Large public demonstrations are predominantly drummed up by the political left, which is instinctively sceptical of the government of President Lee Myung-bak.

Pyongyang has denied involvement. Polls indicating whether South Koreans believe that North Korea was responsible for the warship’s sinking diverge from 40 per cent to 80 per cent.

Many ordinary South Koreans say that their government is merely seeking a convenient scapegoat for what was a mistake on the part of the South’s navy, or what was a “friendly fire” incident involving the US military.

(You need to register to access Financial Times articles.)

******* Hankyoreh reports that China "had proposed to the U.S. to conduct a joint investigation with the participation of the UN Command, China and North Korea."

China proposes UN Military Armistice Commission convene for reinvestigation into Cheonan

Friday, May 28, 2010

NPT Review Conference Unanimously Approves Final Document NPT再検討会議最終文書全会一致で採択

(Photo from Chngoku Shimbun)

NPT Final Document (Draft)

Below are several news reports. Bolding was done by this blog.

From the Japanese media reports:
Chugoku Shimbun

<日本被団協の田中熙巳事務局長の話> Comment by Tanaka Terumi, Executive Director of Nihon Hidankyo, a national organization of A-bomb survivors

 2000年の前々回会議の合意からさらに核兵器廃絶に向けて進もうと確認しており、一定に評価できる内容だ。昨年の準備委員会段階から加盟国が「会議を決裂させてはならない」と言っており、最終段階で各国が歩み寄ったのだろう。ただ最初の素案にあった核兵器廃絶の行程表の部分は大きく後退し、廃絶への明確な道程が示されなかったのは不満だ。加盟国の具体的な行動をさらに求めたい。"This conference is a step forward from the 2000 review conference. The participating countries cooperated in order not to make the conferenced fall apart (like it did in 2005). I am dissatisfied with the fact that the concrete schedule for nuclear disarmament, which was in the original draft, was removed, and no clear path for abolition was presented. I want all the participating countries to take more concrete actions. "

Jiji reports comments by Hiroshima Mayor Akiba and Nagasaki Mayor Taue.
5月29日14時41分配信 時事通信

Akiba: It is meaningful that all participating nations, including NWS, agreed upon taking actions toward nuclear disarmament and abolition.

Taue: NPT would have collapsed if the nations could not reach an agreement, so I recognize the achievement of the final document. However, the content of the document has taken steps backward. As a city that experienced atomic-bombing, I am dissatisfied."

From Mainichi Shimbun, the main points of the final document are:


Work for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons

NWS(Nuclear Weapon States) reports their progress at the preparatory conference in 2014

To hold a conference in 2012 for a nuclear-free Middle East

Demand Israel, Pakistan and India to join NPT

Condemn the nuclear testing done by DPRK and demand their return to NPT

Introduce "nuclear security," a scheme to prevent nuclear terrorism

Mainichi reports dilemmas held by different parties (in Japanese)

PeacePhilosopher's note:
Although a compromise was made, which was of course a lot better than no compromise, there was general dissatisfaction within non-nuclear states that nuclear states refused to set a exact timing for total elimination or to hold a conference for disarmament in 2014 to set a schedule for abolition. Arab states were satisfied and Obama dissatisfied about Israel being named, and vice versa about Iran not being named. All participants were together for their position on DPRK, Pakistan and India. 2010 Middle East conference seems to be the most concrete agreement in the final document this time, but US is already expressing dissent.


NPT Review Conference ends

A UN conference reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has adopted a final document that confirms signatory nations' efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.

The final document was unanimously approved on Friday, the last day of the month-long conference in New York.

The document says nuclear-weapons states under the treaty are committed to work for the total abolition of their arms. It asks these countries to start negotiating on ways to achieve that goal and report back on their progress to the conference's preparatory committee by 2014.

Japan's permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Akio Suda, told reporters that he is not satisfied with all aspects of the agreement but it includes forward-looking steps, such as reporting by nuclear powers on their efforts during the next 4 years.

France's disarmament ambassador Eric Danon stressed the importance of not backtracking on nuclear disarmament. He explained that France will proceed with the reduction of its nuclear arsenal at its discretion, saying it is not desirable to set a specific international timetable.

2010/05/29 12:38(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)


NPT review conference approves final document

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The 2010 Review Conference on Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) reached consensus and approved a final document toward nuclear disarmament here Friday afternoon.

The final document, approved by 189 member nations of the treaty after month-long meeting since May 3, have agreed on measures toward disarmament and the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

This was the first agreement in a decade on the 40-year-old NPT, which has set the global agenda for preventing countries from developing nuclear weapons.

The 28-page final document said the five recognized nuclear- weapon states - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - commit to "accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament," take steps to "further diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons" and report back on progress by 2014.

"In implementing the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear- weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, the nuclear-weapon states commit to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed" through various agreements, the document said.

The final document also called to the UN Secretary-General and co-sponsors of the 1995 Middle East Resolution to convene a conference in 2012, "to be attended by all states of the Middle East, on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction."

It called on Israel to sign the NPT and to place "all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

The document also urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to return "at an early date" to the six-party talks and to carry out obligations under the talks, which include China, the United States, Russia, the Republic of Korea and Japan as well.

Those obligations include the "complete and verifiable abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs."

The NPT conference chairman, Philippine Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, said at the closing ceremony that the revised draft declaration was "carefully balanced" to reflect demands by all parties.

He said adoption of the declaration would allow "all the seeds of hope planted throughout the conference would bear fruit."

Egyptian Ambassador to the UN Maged Abdelaziz said on behalf of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that the NAM considered the document "an important step forward towards the realization of the goals and objectives" of the treaty.

On the issue of the Middle East nuclear-weapon free zone, he said the NAM countries intend to engage constructively with all concerned parties to implement the practical steps adopted in the final document.

"The road ahead is not easy but it's the only way forward," said Abdelaziz.

The review conference is convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the NPT, under which nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them; those with them committed to move toward their elimination; and all endorsed everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

The last conference in 2005 was largely considered a failure as members were unable to agree on a number of issues nor produce a final document.

After the adoption of the final document, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement, welcoming the "successful outcome" of the conference.

"A strong spirit of compromise and cooperation has delivered a significant agreement to build a safer and more secure world," said Ban.

The statement said Ban "particularly welcomed" the agreement on a process leading to full implementation of the 1995 resolution on the establishment of a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone.

He encouraged state parties to translate all of their commitments into concrete action so to realize the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Al Jazeera

NPT declaration to name Israel

Iran's IAEA envoy wants the existing nuclear powers to dismantle their arsenals [AFP]

The US has agreed to a deal at the United Nations that would put pressure on Israel to join the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), according to Western diplomats.

Delegates in New York are concluding a month-long round of talks aimed at updating the NPT. Their final draft reportedly urges Israel to join the treaty and subject its nuclear facilities to oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The document also calls for the United Nations secretary-general to call a meeting of Middle East states in 2012, aimed at creating a region free of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

The United Nations is scheduled to vote on the draft later on Friday; Syrian and Iranian diplomats have both hinted they might not support it.

"We have a deal that everyone can live with," an unnamed Western diplomat told the Reuters news agency.

"Now the question, is will Iran do the right thing? Will they go against something the entire Arab League and everyone else here is ready to support?"

Opposition from either country would be enough to stall the agreement, because all signatories to the treaty are required to approve the changes.

A "WMD-free" zone

Iranian negotiators want a provision requiring the five official nuclear powers - the US, UK, France, Russia and China - to establish a timetable to dismantle their nuclear arsenals.

The NPT is intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. It allowed those existing nuclear powers to keep their weapons.

"The five nuclear-weapon states cannot easily and totally ignore this legitimate request. If so, then the conference will not be successful," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, said.

Israel is one of only three states which never signed the NPT, the other two being India and Pakistan.

It is believed to have a nuclear arsenal, though it refuses to confirm or deny its existence.

The 2012 meeting - on a "weapons of mass destruction"-free Middle East - could effectively force Israel to declare and dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Israel has said it backs such an agreement in principle, but only after signing peace treaties with other countries in the region.

The US had initially sought to block the provision; Washington has long shielded Israel from pressure to disclose the details of its nuclear program. But American diplomats eventually agreed to the provision to salvage the conference.

"The Arab group basically drew a line in the sand and said, this is as far as we can go in compromising. This language must stay, or we will not back the final document," Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey said, reporting from New York.

"[And] the United States was very interested in moving this agenda of non-proliferation forward."

Ellen Tauscher, the US under-secretary of state for arms control, said "the United States deeply regrets" that the draft pressures Israel to join the NPT.

If negotiators agree on a bargain, it would be the first successful NPT review meeting since 2000.

Voice of America

NPT Conference Ends With Consensus on Final Document

Margaret Besheer United Nations 28 May 2010

The 189 states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty overcame differences and agreed to a final outcome document Friday, capping off a month-long review conference. The document lays out steps toward the long-term goal of nuclear disarmament, but does not set any deadlines or benchmarks for that goal.

The 28-page final document lays out action plans for all three of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) three pillars - non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

It calls on the five original nuclear weapons states - the U.S., France, Britain, China and Russia - to speed up "concrete progress" on their disarmament and move towards an overall reduction of their nuclear arsenals. They are also urged to lessen the role and importance of nuclear weapons in their military and security policies, and further enhance transparency and increase mutual confidence.

The document also calls for a conference to be held in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons - an idea endorsed at the 1995 review conference, but never implemented.

Egyptian Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, who spoke on behalf of the 118 members of the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed that move. "We have moved forward and achieved progress in adopting an action plan to push towards the implementation of this resolution, to establish a zone free from nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East," he said.

Delegates negotiated the document until the final moments Friday. There were concerns that Iran could be a spoiler to any consensus. The Islamic Republic is the only NPT signatory to be found by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be in non-compliance with its nuclear safeguard obligations. It is currently facing a possible fourth round of U.N. sanctions for its suspect nuclear program. But ultimately, Iran did not stand in the way of the document's adoption, although it did list several things it felt were flawed about it.

North Korea, which announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003, was singled out in the final document and urged to return to the Treaty and adhere to its IAEA safeguards agreement.

Pyongyang came in for a rebuke from the U.S. delegate, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, Ellen Tauscher. "North Korea should understand that it will never achieve security or acceptance by the international community without the complete and verified abandonment of its nuclear weapons programs. North Korea's behavior, particularly its failure to implement its commitments under the Six Party Talks, to include its return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards at an early date, calls into question the utility of negotiations with North Korea," she said.

The only three nuclear states not to be signatories to the NPT - India, Pakistan and Israel - were urged in the final document to join the treaty and place their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Israel, has never publicly acknowledged it has nuclear weapons, but is widely believed to - a point of contention among its Middle Eastern neighbors.

Most states said that while the action plans did not meet all their expectations, they were generally satisfied with the final outcome. At the 2005 review conference - these meetings are held every five years - the conference ended in failure when parties could not agree on a final document.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the outcome in a statement, saying the strong spirit of compromise and cooperation had delivered a significant agreement to build a safer and more secure world.


Washington Post (AP)

Israel key to conference on banning nuclear arms
In this photo released by the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency, Iranian President Ahmadinejad speaks to a public gathering in the city of Kerman, about 625 miles (1040 kilometers) southeast of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 26, 2010. Iran's president on Wednesday urged Barack Obama to accept a nuclear fuel swap deal, warning the U.S. leader will miss a historic opportunity for improved cooperation from Tehran if the offer is rejected. (AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Hamed Malekpour) (Hamed Malekpour - AP) Network NewsX Profile

The Associated Press
Saturday, May 29, 2010; 2:36 AM

UNITED NATIONS -- After 15 years, Arab nations finally won agreement from the United States and the other nuclear powers to take the first step toward banning nuclear weapons from the Middle East. Now, the next move is Israel's.

Although the U.S. joined the 188 other member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on Friday in giving a green light to a conference in 2012 "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction," senior U.S. officials appeared to backtrack afterward, setting several conditions for the talks to go ahead.

Taking the toughest line, U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones said in a statement Friday night that the United States has "serious reservations" about the 2012 conference and believes Mideast peace and full compliance by all countries in the region to their arms control and nonproliferation obligations "are essential precursors." The compliance demand appeared to be aimed at Iran, which the U.S. believes is pursuing a nuclear weapons program despite Tehran's claims its only goal is nuclear power.

Jones also strongly defended longtime U.S. ally Israel, which was singled out for not being a member of the NPT. He said the United States "deplores" the naming of Israel which puts prospects for the 2012 conference "in doubt." As a co-sponsor of the conference, Jones said the United States will ensure that it will only takes place "if and when all countries feel confident that they can attend."

The Arab proposal for a WMD-free zone - to pressure Israel to give up its undeclared arsenal of perhaps 80 nuclear warheads - was endorsed by the 1995 NPT conference but never acted on. At this month's NPT review, a conference to begin talks on a nuclear-free Mideast was considered by many delegates as "the make-or-break issue," and agreement on the 2012 meeting was widely welcomed after the 28-page final declaration was approved by consensus.

But the U.S. reaction raised questions and doubts about whether Israel, Iran and other countries in the Mideast will even hold a meeting in two years.

Several delegates suggested that earlier comments by U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher and President Barack Obama's coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, warning about the difficulties of holding a conference and persuading Israel to attend may have been sparked by the upcoming visit of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Tuesday.

Egypt's U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, speaking for the 118-nation Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries, said that during the negotiations there was "a little bit of disagreement" on mentioning Israel.

But he said NAM members thought that since the document issued at the end of the 2000 NPT review conference mentioned the need for Israel to join the treaty and subject its nuclear capabilities to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards there was "no going back on that commitment" and Israel had to be mentioned in the 2010 document as well.

A Mideast conference on nuclear issues would put Israel and Iran, which has called for the destruction of the Jewish state, at the same table. But Abdelaziz told reporters the two countries already sat down at the same table at a meeting in Cairo last December.

"So there is nothing that could prevent any two adversaries to sit at the table and negotiate, and we hope that this is the spirit that everybody is going to be doing," he said.

Iran had loomed as a potential spoiler that would block consensus at this conference, and Iran and Syria dissented loudly on various points in the final hours, but no objections were raised in the concluding session.

Facing possible new U.N. sanctions because of its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and enter negotiations on its nuclear program, the Iranians had sought to turn the spotlight instead on the big nuclear powers, demanding the final document call for speedier disarmament moves.

Iran's chief delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh lamented that the deadline of 2025 sought by NAM for complete disarmament was not included in the final document. Nonetheless, Soltanieh called "the limited measures" in the agreement "a step forward."

While Israel was named, the final document did not single Iran out as a member nation that has been found to be in noncompliance with U.N. nuclear safeguards agreements.

Jones, the U.S. National Security Adviser, said the failure of the resolution to mention Iran, "which poses the greatest threat of nuclear proliferation in the region and to the integrity of the NPT, is also deplorable." Earlier, Tauscher had also criticized Iran for doing "nothing to enhance the international community's confidence in it by its performance in this review conference."

Iran's Soltanieh said the Americans should "think twice" before making such statements. "This was not the right reaction to a positive response, positive measure by our delegation joining the consensus," he said.

According to the final document, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the co-sponsors of the 1995 Mideast resolution - the U.S., Russia and Britain - will now appoint a "facilitator" to conduct consultations in preparation for the 2012 conference.

Jones said the United States "will insist that the conference operate only by consensus by the regional countries" and that any further discussions or actions also be decided on this basis.

Britain's chief negotiator, Ambassador John Duncan, said Friday's decision is the start of a process and dialogue on a WMD-free zone in the Mideast.

"So it would be surprising if Israel was able to agree today to come to the proposed conference before that dialogue has taken place," he said. "But the clear goal of this decision is to have all the countries of the region involved."

Under the 1970 nonproliferation treaty, nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them; those with them committed to move toward their elimination; and all endorsed everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

The last NPT conference, in 2005, failed to adopt a consensus declaration. In sharp contrast, a final declaration was not only adopted this year but for the first time it laid out complex action plans for all three of the treaty's "pillars" - nonproliferation, disarmament and peaceful nuclear energy.

Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014. The plan also has 24 steps to promote nonproliferation including making the treaty universal to include Israel, Pakistan India and North Korea, to encourage tighter inspections and controls on nuclear trade to prevent development of secret weapons programs.


UN talks back conference on nuclear-free Middle East
Page last updated at 6:30 GMT, Saturday, 29 May 2010 7:30 UK

Iran has faced international pressure over its nuclear programme Signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have agreed to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The members, meeting at the UN in New York, called for a conference in 2012 attended by Middle Eastern states - including Iran - to establish the zone.

The unanimously agreed document also said that Israel should sign the NPT.

US President Barack Obama backed the deal but said he was "strongly opposed" to Israel being singled out.

The US says the reference could jeopardise efforts to persuade the Israelis to attend the 2012 talks.

The decision was crucial to the success of a month-long conference on strengthening the NPT, says the BBC's United Nations correspondent Barbara Plett in New York.

The treaty is seen as the cornerstone of global disarmament efforts, she adds.

The 28-page final declaration was agreed following intense talks on the last day of a month-long conference.

The document calls for the United Nations secretary general to organise a meeting of Middle East states in 2012 to agree to the creation of a "zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction".

"All eyes the world over are watching us," said conference president Libran Cabactulan, of the Philippines, as the final text was approved.

Egypt's Maged Abedelaziz, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement of 118 developing nations, welcomed the decision, saying it was "an important step forward towards the realisation of the goals and objectives of the treaty".

Sticking points

Diplomats discussing the proposals had continued talks late into the night on Thursday before resuming on Friday.

One of the sticking points involved Israel, a non-member of the NPT, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons although it has never admitted to possessing them.

Arab states and Israel's allies had to work hard to find agreement over wording for the proposed nuclear-weapons-free zone.

Correspondents say Arab nations want to put pressure on Israel to relinquish its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Iran also made a late demand that the five recognised nuclear-armed nations agree to a timetable for negotiating a treaty to abolish their arsenals.

In the final document adopted, no specific timetable is set out but the five states commit to "accelerate concrete progress" towards reducing their nuclear arsenals and to report back on that in 2014.

Iran has faced repeated questions over its own nuclear programme, which the West believes is aimed at making weapons. Tehran insists it is solely designed to meet its energy needs.

Iran, a member of the NPT, says it will stick to its obligations under the treaty.

The NPT has encountered difficulty in coming up with the best method for monitoring suspect nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea.

India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel - which are known or suspected to have nuclear weapons - are not signatories to the treaty. They are not covered by any NPT agreement.

The NPT conference meets every five years. The last review conference, in 2005, failed to adopt a consensus declaration.

RIA Novosti (Russia)

The 189 nations participating in the 2010 Review Conference on Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) have approved a final document towards nuclear disarmament, including the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

The 28-page final document was approved on Friday, the last day of the conference, which had lasted for almost a month since May 3.

The five nuclear powers - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - committed to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the role of nuclear weapons, and report back on progress by 2014.

"In implementing the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear- weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, the nuclear-weapon states commit to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed," the document said.

The declaration states that a conference "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction" should be conveyed in 2012.

The document urges Israel, which has not signed the NPT and is believed to possess nuclear weapons, to sign the treaty and place "all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

The 189 nations called on North Korea, which has been under international sanctions since its first long-range ballistic missile test in 2006, to return "at an early date" to the six-party talks.

The talks, involving Russia, Japan, China, the United States, North and South Korea, stalled last April when Pyongyang pulled out of the negotiations in protest against the United Nations' condemnation of its missile tests.

North Korea should abandon "all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs," the document said.

"A strong spirit of compromise and cooperation has delivered a significant agreement to build a safer and more secure world," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued after the document was adopted.

The review conference on nuclear non-proliferation is convened every five years. Participants in the 2005 conference failed to approve a final document due to a number of disagreements on major issues.

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 (RIA Novosti)


Israel rejects U.N. conference resolution on non-proliferation

United Nations (CNN) -- The final document from the just-completed U.N. review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "not only fails to advance regional security but actually sets it back," the Israeli government said in a statement released Saturday.

The month-long conference, which ended Friday, called for a 2012 conference of all Middle Eastern states to move forward on a 1995 proposal for a nuclear-free Mideast. The document also calls on Israel to sign the treaty and place "all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards."

Israel is not a member of the NPT and has neither confirmed nor denied that it has a nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Israeli government statement calls the conference's document "deeply flawed and hypocritical" and "ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world." The statement also complains that Israel is singled out in the document and Iran, which is a signatory to the NPT, is not mentioned.

"The real problem with Weapons Of Mass Destruction in the Middle East does not relate to Israel but to those countries that have signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and brazenly violated it -- Iraq under Sadaam, Libya, Syria and Iran," the statement said. "That is why the resolution adopted by the NPT Review Conference not only fails to advance regional security but actually sets it back."

The United States signed onto the final document Friday, but National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones later laid out "serious reservations." Jones said the United States supports the idea of a nuclear-free Mideast but believes it must wait for "a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations."

Jones said the United States and the United Kingdom had agreed to co-sponsor the 2012 conference to ensure that it takes into consideration the issues of all countries in the region and that the consent of all countries in the region is achieved for any action.

"The United States will not permit a conference or actions that could jeopardize Israel's national security. We will not accept any approach that singles out Israel or sets unrealistic expectations," said Jones, adding that the United States "deplores the decision to single out Israel" and "the failure of the resolution to mention Iran."

In its statement, Israel noted "the important clarifications that have been made by the United States regarding its policy," but said "the distorted nature of the resolution" would prevent it from participating.

"As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel," the statement said.

The statement added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would discuss the issue with President Barack Obama during his visit to Washington next week.

Questions about Cheonan Sinking - What's Available in English 天安艦沈没事件への疑問

Little has been reported in English on the growing suspicion about the outcome of the investigation of the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan during the joint military exercise of South Korea and the U.S., and more people demand for more thorough and scientific re-investigation. We will try to list what is available. Please see Part II too.

******This one by Stephen Gowan, a Canadian writer and activist is a must-read, full of credible quotes by South Korean officials denying the North's involvement and linking it to Japan-US military buildup in Okinawa and US arms sales to South Korean military.

"...a North Korean submarine is now said to have fired a torpedo which sank the Cheonan, but in the immediate aftermath of the sinking the South Korean navy detected no North Korean naval vessels, including submarines, in the area. Indeed, immediately following the incident defense minister Lee ruled out a North Korean torpedo attack, noting that a torpedo would have been spotted, and no torpedo had been spotted."

To read the whole article,
The Sinking of Cheonan: Another Gulf of Tonkin Incident

******Here is a letter to Hillary Clinton from S. C. Shin, a maritime expert recommended by Korean National Assembly for investigation of the sinking of Cheonan, who disagreed to the conclusion of the Korean military administration and now has been sued for libel by them. Shin argues on Cheonan he could not see any sign of explosion or a torpedo. It was a grounding accident accompanied by a second collision accident. Shin summarizes his report as:

(1) The most important thing is there were two series of accidents not one.
(2) The 1st accident was 'Grounding' with the evidences above.
(3) The 'Grounding on a sand' made some damages and led flooding but itself didn't make those serious situation torn down in two.
(4) The 2nd accident hit a count-blow to sink.
(5) I couldn't find even a slight sign of 'Explosion'.
(6) The 2nd accident was 'Collision' with my analysis above.

For details, see:

******Here is U.S. author and activist Bruce Gagnon's take on it.(bolded by PeacePhilosopher)
"Most activists in South Korea have been, and remain, suspicious about the official story surrounding the sinking of their Navy ship. At the time of the incident the U.S. and South Korea were having one of their annual provocative war games where they practice an invasion of North Korea. One has to remember that the U.S. has a modus operandi when it comes to using sunk boats to justify war - "Remember the Maine" that was the prelude to the Spanish-American War and the more contemporary Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that was the kick-off to the Vietnam War. Some are already speculating that the South Korean sinking was timed before their June 2 elections and/or timed to ensure that Japan's new government reneges on its promise to close a U.S. military base in Okinawa. I'm sure there are other good theories on this as well."

****** Japan's international affairs analyst Tanaka Sakai suspects a U.S. vessel involved. Tanaka's article has been translated and posted on Japan Focus:Asia-Pacific Journal.

Who Sank the South Korean Warship Cheonan? A New Stage in the US-Korean War and US-China Relations

****** Historian Bruce Cumings urges us to look at this incident in a larger context in Democracy Now!

Historian Bruce Cumings: US Stance on Korea Ignores Tensions Rooted in 65-Year-Old Conflict; North Korea Sinking Could Be Response to November ’09 South Korea Attack

****** In CNN, University of Georgia Professor Han Park argues hardliner reactions are counterproductive calls for re-investigation and talks.

Tensions Between Koreas

****** Selig Harrison in Hankyoreh, Korea's national daily newspaper.

What Seoul should do despite the Cheonan

****** A Russian perspective on the issue. This article, in "38 North," specializing in DPRK analysis (hosted by SAIS, Johns Hopkins University), presents a sensible list of questions to be answered before we reach any conclusion.

"...The Russian position thus far has been to “wait and see,” most likely intending to follow China’s lead. If this issue is brought before the UN Security Council, Russia will probably demand ironclad proof of North Korean culpability and will likely abstain at best if this proof is not provided. "

To read the whole article,

Peace or War? Do we have to choose? A Russian Perspective by Georgy Toloraya

******Here are Scott Creighton's "5-point flaws" of the report of the "international investigation team."

Peace Philosopher

Below is the Korean civil society's statement, issued on May 26, 2010.

Statement on the Current State of Affairs for Peace on the Korean Peninsula

We, Korean civil society, gather here today to resolve the crisis and conflicts caused by the Cheonan warship incident and to take a major step forward toward our goals of democracy, co-existence, and peace.

Since the South Korean Cheonan navy warship rather mysteriously sank on Mach 26th, our society has grieved the tragic incident together, tried to clarify the cause, and endeavored to provide comprehensive countermeasures in order to prevent its recurrence.

However, a handful of governmental and military officials have tightly controlled the relevant information under the guise of “national security” and “military secrets,” thereby obstructing these voluntary acts of concerned citizens who seek to find out the truth about the warship incident. Despite the fact that the Lee Myung-bak administration kept warning about coming to a premature conclusion, the Administration released reports that contained a number of unexplained hypotheses, and raised many questions before the necessary investigations were completed. The investigation was conducted by the self-interested military, which whitewashed its role and should have been reprimanded.

In addition, without allowing enough time for the public and the National Assembly to review the investigation, the Lee administration precipitously and unilaterally announced dangerous military, economic and diplomatic countermeasures against North Korea without reaching a national consensus. These are the types of measures that make ineffective the “peaceful crisis-management system,” which has been gradually established since the “July 7 Declaration” by the Roh Tae-woo administration.

Do you think that such impetuous and dogmatic measures by the Lee administration are helping to resolve the situation? Instead, those actions are shaking the very foundation of the peace and prosperity processes, which would secure the future of the Korean Peninsula. Amid the international economic crisis, our economy was, arguably, slowly recovering but now it is faltering again. Efforts like the Six-Party-Talks and the denuclearization of North Korea are patently missing in the Lee administration’s enforcements of military and economic countermeasures against North Korea.


Did you witness such military tension when peace and engagement policies were consistently pursued in the past? Now we are at crossroads and need to decide whether to go back to the adventurism of the Cold War era, where the national security issue was abused for power politics and blinded people to the truth. Compare this reckless approach to a future-oriented peaceful realism, which emphasizes the democratic process, checks and balances on the abuses of administrative and military power, and seeks ways for peace and co-existence rather than provocative slogans.

In this regard, we shall express our opinions.

First, both North and South Korea should immediately stop the military confrontation, which will bring the Korean Peninsula to a war and economic crisis. The South should withdraw its series of dangerous military measures and economic sanctions against North Korea, which were promulgated and enforced without any public debate, National Assembly discussions, or diplomacy with concerned countries. In addition, the North also should refrain from provocative rhetoric and radical military actions but instead cooperate with a rational process of uncovering the truth about the warship case.

Second, we call on the South Korean government to take additional measures to clarify the facts of the case, which should be able to answer a number of remaining questions regarding the sinking of the Cheonan warship.

Third, both the South Korean government and the media should not manipulate this case to further their vested interests in the upcoming election, which is directly connected to the welfare of the Korean people. The government and the majority party should explain why it was necessary to prematurely release the results of the investigation, as well as to also announce reckless military countermeasures. In addition, we urge the government to immediately stop abusing its immense political and legal powers in order to pressure the voters who only raise rational questions about the government’s report and actions.

We appeal to you!

The crisis on the Korean Peninsula took place without our intentions, but we should be responsible to clarify the real cause and seek ways to resolve this problem in an appropriate way. It is directly related to our future democracy and peace. It is time to call upon your wisdom and courage to achieve peace.

At 3pm, on May 29, let us show our will to uncover the truth and accomplish real peace on the Korean Peninsula. Starting today, each night, let’s begin to light up candles for peace on the Peninsula.

On June 2, Election Day, we will judge the current situation of the country and this period with a sense of civic duty and open up the future path toward democracy, co-existence, and peace for ourselves.

May 26, 2010

91 Civil Society Groups, 5 Opposition Parties, 104 Individuals


The following message is from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea:


"Nothing is covered up that will not become known" Luke 12:2

We, PROK, who have been praying for democracy, peace, and life of Korean society, raise some points responding to the JIG's announcement of the conclusion of its investigation that says South Korean Navy ship Cheonan sank by a North Korean submarine attack with a heavy torpedo.

First of all, we point out that JIG's investigation cannot be fair and objective from the beginning. The Ministry of National Defense and the military, which are the most responsible for the incident took control over the whole investigation. They also made a hasty announcement to meet the first day of the campaign for the coming election on June 2, which left suspicions about the background. If there is any intention to take advantage of 46 young sailors' deaths for any political purpose, it will kill them again.

JIG's announcement did not explain anything but left so many questions among Korean people. Now we are asking the following questions.

1. We cannot understand why the crucial moment of sinking is missing from the footage (TOD). The JIG must also release the records of radio messages exchanged and Cheonan's CCTV recordings.

2. If Cheonan had sunk due to a shockwave and bubble effect by an underwater torpedo explosion, there must be any eyewitness of the giant water pillar. Moreover, most survivors are not suffering from torn eardrums, intestinal damages, fractures, or lacerations which are the general symptoms of torpedo explosion.

3. There were 13 Korean and US up-to-date ships at the West Sea near the scene. They were conducting a joint military drill at that time. Among those 13 ships are Cheonan, a warship to detect and fight with the submarines, torpedoes, airplanes, and missiles, and another warship Aegis specialized in dealing with submarines. Why couldn't any of the super modern ships detect the attack of the North Korean submarines or torpedo?

4. Why was late petty officer Han Joo-ho searching the third location, not the bow or the stern where the sailors were? Why did the American ambassador and the commander of American Army in Korea attend the memorial service for him to express condolences and pay comport money to his family? The JIG must give a clear explanation to the wide spread suspicions of probable clash between the US and Korean ships or mistaken firing between the two.

5. Why have the survivors been strictly separated and controlled since the tragedy happened? Why are they not allowed to say anything about it, though they know the truth best?

According to JIG's announcement, a North Korean submarine attacked Cheonan with a heavy torpedo and escaped without being detected at all. It means President Lee who is in charge of national security should take full responsibility for what happened and apologize to Korean people. The minister of defense, the joint chief of staff, and the naval chief of staff should do the same thing.

JIG's announcement did not answer any of the questions but left more suspicions. Now is the time for the Korean leaders to stop shifting responsibilities but taking them. They have to organize a new investigation group including civilian experts and opposition parties to find the whole truth answering all the questions above.

Once again we express our deepest condolences to the families of the late sailors as we promise to do our best to reveal the truth and take the follow-up measures.

May 20, 2010

Rev. Kwon Young-Joung
Peace and Reunification Committee

Rev. Jeon Byung-Saeng
Church and Society Committee

The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

US Marine Training on Okinawa and Its Global Mission: a Birds-Eye View of Bases From the Air 沖縄海兵隊基地の現実

US Marine Training on Okinawa and Its Global Mission: a Birds-Eye View of Bases From the Air

Furutachi Ichiro and Norimatsu Satoko

On May 20, 2010, TV Asahi’s nightly news program “Hodo Station” broadcast a 20-minute special by anchor Furutachi Ichiro on the US Marine Corps bases in Okinawa. The previous day Furutachi and his staff flew around those bases by helicopter, from the south to the north of Okinawa Island, then to Iejima and Torishima, two islands west of the main island. They provide rare bird’s-eye views of the bases, despite restrictions on how close civilian aircraft can fly. This is supplemented by rare footage of Marine training and action from Okinawa and Japan to Vietnam and Iraq.

Map of US military bases in Okinawa. Red: Marine Corps; Dark Blue: Air Force (Kadena); Green: Army; Bright Blue: Navy; Light Blue: Water Space and Airspace for Training

About 20% of Okinawa Island is occupied by bases exclusively for U.S. military use, 77% (15 bases and facilities) of which are managed by the Marines. Furutachi flew from Makiminato Service Area (Camp Kinser) just north of Naha, a logistic service base that supplied everything “from toilet paper to missiles” during the Vietnam War, then to Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City and Camp Schwab in the northern city of Nago, the two bases that have been the centre of media attention, with a replacement facility of the former planned to be built near the latter. Furutachi guides viewers beyond the often-reported Cape Henoko, proposed site of the new base jutting into the bay, to the mountainous inland area of Camp Schwab, where Marines conduct jungle training, drawing attention to several rectangular buildings described as ammunition depots.

Map from the website of Okinawa Prefecture. Torishima, which is not shown on this map, is about 60 miles west of the Okinawa Island.

Furutachi’s guided tour reminds viewers that Marines are really in Okinawa for training, a global mission that has little to do with “protecting Japan”, as many Japanese have been led to believe by the notion of “deterrence” incessantly cited by politicians. Particularly striking is the scale and nature of the drills conducted within Camp Hansen in central Okinawa, which is ten times the size of Futenma and occupyies more than half of the towns of Kin and Ginoza, and significant portions of Onno and Nago. The camera reveals several “simulated cities” among the thick forests of the base where live-fire training prepares Marines for urban combat. 2,200 troops were dispatched from this base for the attack on Fallujah, Iraq, in November and December, 2004, in which thousands of civilians were killed and the city virtually destroyed. Furutachi discloses that “Three months prior to the Battle of Fallujah, a USMC helicopter crashed into the campus of Okinawa International University adjacent to Futenma Air Station. That helicopter was scheduled to go to Iraq after being joined by battle units of Camp Hansen.”

Camp Gonsalves, the largest of all Okinawa bases, is set in the rich “Yanbaru Forest” of northern Okinawa. Home to the Jungle Warfare Training Center, it is the only US jungle training facility in the world. Furutachi moves onto Camp Kuwae (Camp Lester), where the largest military hospital in the Far East is located, Camp Zukeran (Camp Foster), where spacious suburban-style family houses “built with the ‘sympathy budget’ of Japan” are shown, and then on to Camp Courtney, headquarters of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and 3rd Marine Division. Furutachi points out that “These facilities are command centers of US global wars from Hawaii to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa.”

The last two stops of Furutachi’s helicopter tour are the islands of Iejima and Torishima. Iejima’s Marine air station is used for parachute drop training and take-off and landing training. Torishima serves as an aircraft firing range for both Air Force and Marines. The island, once covered with rich forests, is now completely disfigured. After testing depleted uranium weapons on Torishima in the mid-90’s, the Marines have recently assaulted it with cluster bombs.

The significance of Furutachi’s report is in the detailed visual exposure of the training fields and live-fire ranges that have rarely been subject to scrutiny in Japan, the United States or internationally, in contrast to such visible emblems of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa as air stations and beaches. Furutachi and other commentators were stunned to encounter the reality of simulated battlefields, beyond the dry statistics of bases that comprise “20% of the island”, a figure that the media repeat ad infinitum.

On May 23, Prime Minister Hatoyama announced the government’s plan to build a Marine runway over the Cape of Henoko, betraying his pre-election pledge not to build a Futenma replacement facility within Okinawa, an island already saturated with military bases. Okinawan people have expressed overwhelming opposition to base expansion on the island. Footage like that provided below can not only strengthen the deep Okinawan resistance to expansion of the military base footprint on their island, but also could help to awaken Japanese who have found it easy to look the other way so long as the bases were largely confined to Okinawa. Norimatsu Satoko

Norimatsu Satoko prepared this introduction for The Asia-Pacific Journal and for the Peace Philosophy Centre. She leads various peace initiatives in Vancouver and beyond, including, Peace Philosophy Centre and Vancouver Save Article 9.

U.S. Marine Corps Bases in Okinawa (1)

U.S. Marine Corps Bases in Okinawa (2)

Recommended citation: Furutachi Ichiro and Norimatsu Satoko, "US Marine Training on Okinawa and Its Global Mission: a Birds-Eye View of Bases From the Air," The Asia-Pacific Journal, 22-1-10, May 31, 2010.

This article appeared on Japan Focus on May 26, 2010.

Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus is the best source for in-depth critical analysis of the Asia-Pacific issues. Japan Focus is the recipient of The Ryukyu Shimpo's first Ikemiyagi Syuui Prize. The award recognizes that "Japan Focus has made an outstanding worldwide contribution to proposing solutions to problems confronting Okinawa."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Symposium at Tokyo University on 1960 ANPO

Filmmaker Linda Hoaglund, whose new film "ANPO" will be released soon, will be speaking at this symposium "Remembering the 1960 ANPO Struggle" at Yasuda Auditorium at Tokyo University on June 15. Chair of the symposium will be sociologist Ueno Chizuko, and the other panelists are non-fiction writer Hosaka Masayasu, sociologist Oguma Eiji, and singer Kato Tokiko will be there as a special guest.




日時: 6月15日(火) 18:00 開場
18:30 開演(20:15終了予定)









Monday, May 24, 2010

Paul Arenson's Letter to Japan Times ポール・アレンソン:ジャパン・タイムズ紙への投稿

TokyoProgressive's Paul Arenson, in his letter to Japan Times, points out the media's general reluctance to cover material that touches upon the "taboo" of questioning the Japan-US Security Treaty.

During my 31 years in Japan I have appreciated the Japan Times' coverage of social issues such as discrimination against ethic and social minorities, which the vernacular papers give only passing mention to. Why then on the issue of the Okinawan bases, does the Japan Times, like the other media, choose to limit discussion chiefly to whether the Prime Minister's flip-flops are hurting the US-Japan alliance? While vague reference is made to the suffering of Okinawans, your editorials and news coverage exclude those experts who are unafraid to breach the taboo of questioning the Japan-US Security treaty. The result of this information blackout can be seen in the lack of critical thinking displayed by young people in "Voices from the Street: Should Japan continue to host American military bases?"(Tuesday May 11, 2010).

As long as some of the facts are withheld, it is only natural that people will continue to believe that despite the "nuisances," US forces are needed to secure Japan's peace and, incredulously, to preserve Article 9 of the Constitution. Few are aware, for example, that US forces violently seized the land for Okinawan bases, and that these bases were the staging areas for missions which killed millions in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Few equate the Okinawa base issue with the fact that the very nation which rained death upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki continues to wage global imperial war, enrich weapons manufacturers and encourage an arms race which makes a mockery of experts' claim that the US presence helps to preserve the peace. Even in South Korea, there are many voices who say a decreased US military presence would increase security, and bloody battles have been fought between anti-base protesters and police there. All, of course, unreported in the Japanese media.

Secret agreements have forced Japan to pay a "sympathy budget" of 2,274 million yearly to maintain its unequal status as a client state in the permanent and discredited American war on terror while politicians and pundits continue to peddle the fiction of an equal relationship that preserves the peace. Tama University president Jitsuro Terashima notes that mainstream Japanese intellectuals, who command the bulk of media attention, remain "slave-faced" (do-gan) toward a bullying colonial master. Most worrying to experts such as Professor Gavan McCormack is that, given the unbalanced media coverage which helps to manufacture consent for maintaining the status quo, Hatoyama may well be forced by U.S pressure to adopt something akin to martial law in defiance of Okinawans and anti-base protesters. The Japan Times should be less concerned with Hatoyama's flip flops and ask what the consequences of that would be for Japanese democracy.

Paul Arenson
Paul Arenson has been living in Japan since 1979 where he has been involved in citizens movements fighting for social and economic justice and against militarism. He is also a songwriter. On his days off he assists his wife's NGO in providing street people in Tokyo's Sanya's district with some shelter from the elements, a cup of tea, a place to bathe, some new clothes, and a little mental & physical space to rejuvenate themselves.


Another battle of Okinawa
Despite protests, the U.S. insists on going ahead with plans for a new
military base on the island.
May 06, 2010By Chalmers Johnson

The Futenma Base and the U.S.-Japan Controversy: an Okinawan perspective

The Travails of a Client State: An Okinawan Angle on the 50th Anniversary
of the US-Japan Security
(Japanese text available)
Gavan McCormack

Japanese version: 属国の苦悩??日米安全保障条約五〇周年の沖繩の一視点

US Bases and Empire: Global Perspectives on the Asia Pacific
Profe4ssor Catherine Lutz

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hatoyama, at Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum 鳩山首相、対馬丸記念館にて

Prime Minister Hatoyama held a press conference concluding his day visit to Okinawa, in which he formally announced that the government is planning to build a replacement base in Henoko (see news report below).

The press conference was held at Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum, which commemorates the 1,418 victims of Tsushima-maru, the Japanese cargo/passenger ship that was attacked by USS Bowfin on the way from Okinawa to Kagoshima on August 22, 1944. More than a half of the victims were school children who were evacuating Okinawa, as the island was expected to be the next battlefield after the fall of Saipan in July 1944.

Here is a part of the poem on the website of the Museum "To You, Who Live Now."

We were born about 60 years ago
when Okinawa was becoming a battle ground.

As we were evacuating to Kyushu,
our ship was torpedoed by an American submarine and sank.

We were thrown into the sea and the majority lost their lives.
We are still at the bottom of the sea which entombs us.

Why did we have to die?
Did we do anything wrong?

What did Hatoyama, who spoke about his "policies for protecting life(命を守る政治)" at the Diet opening session in January, say yesterday in the presence of the spirits the dead children of Tsushima-maru?

"I have put my heart and soul into the consideration of this issue among the reality of security concerns. I try to understand the feelings that Okinawan people have had for all these years amid this history. I also want to seek understanding of Okinawan people. I am aware of the weight of my word 'kengai' (the pre-election pledge to move Futenma outside of the prefecture) which gave hope to Okinawans. I know there is criticism that our plan has gone back to the previous LDP plan. About that, I would like to sincerely apologize. It will be different from the existing plan, but the plan has to be off the shore of Henoko. I want to explain to the people of Okinawa so that they understand.

I am aware of the challenge that the Okinawan economy is facing, and the fact that it is related to the existence of military bases. I would like to hear opinions of the business people, and the government will provide support. It is an economic issue and not about the relocation issue. It is not about a policy of 'candy and whip (carrot and stick).'

I also understand the concern that measures for reduction of base burden should be separate from the relocation issue. The previous administration could not carry through these measures. I would like you to think of them (relocation and burden reduction) as a package. We are actively engaging the United States in negotiations. "

In a nutshell, Hatoyama said, "I am sorry I broke my promise, but we are building a base in Henoko. The government will provide subsidies as compensation. In return of the new base, the government will negotiate with the U.S. some measures for easing the burden of Okinawans."

DPJ/Obama alliance is about to do what LDP/Bush and all the other past Japan/US leaders have always done in the post-war period of Okinawa: to perpetuate the US military bases in Okinawa and their harms. Okinawa's hope for finally starting to reduce the bases under the new administration is now officially severed. Considering the overwhelming popular opposition within Okinawa, Hatoyama's visit is a declaration of war from the two governments against Okinawans.

Shorly after the Nago mayoral election, a government official was reported as saying that building a base in Henoko, where protesters' persistence has prevailed for more than a decade, would duplicate the experience of Narita. The Narita Airport struggle, which arose from the compulsory expropriation of local farmers' land, resulted in the loss of three police officers and hundreds injured and arrested.

Is another bloody battle of Okinawa our answer to the message from Tsushimamaru children entombed at the sea bottom? Is another base over the pristine ocean of Henoko?


The two governments must withdraw from the plan to build another base in Okinawa.

Amid the depressing situation, I was encouraged by this remark by Mark Selden, coordinator of Japan Focus.

"It seems to me that an important part of our work is to make clear that, even as DPJ moves to embrace the original Henoko plan, and as it finds ways to buy a measure of local support, strong opposition remains, and it is that opposition that has stymied the base plan for many years. It can continue to do so, particularly if we can build international support for it in the context of recognizing both the heavy burden that Okinawa has borne, and a wider anti-base campaign."


(See comments to this blog post too.)

  • Hatoyama apologizes for plan to move Futenma base within Okinawa
    Sunday 23rd May, 02:30 PM JST

    Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama unveiled Sunday for the first time his government’s plan to relocate a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa and apologized for his failure to make good on his earlier vow to move the military facility outside the prefecture.

    ‘‘We came to the conclusion that we have to ask local residents to accept the base relocation to an area near the Henoko district’’ in Nago, Okinawa, the premier told Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima in their second meeting this month, open to the press, at the Okinawa prefectural government office.

    He said the relocation within the prefecture was a ‘‘heartbreaking’’ decision to achieve the return of land occupied by the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station to locals and extended his ‘‘heartfelt apology for causing much confusion’’ among Okinawans in the process of reaching that conclusion.

    Nakaima expressed his ‘‘extreme regret’’ over the government’s decision and said he considers it ‘‘extremely difficult’’ to go ahead with the plan, because expectations had been growing among local residents that Hatoyama would try to transfer functions of Futenma out of the prefecture.

    ‘‘The gap between people’s expectations (and the latest government decision) is huge. I expect the premier to take time to offer further explanations and work out a solution that would satisfy us,’’ the governor told Hatoyama.

    Nakaima also told reporters later he feels the premier has ‘‘betrayed’’ Okinawa residents.

    In the meeting, Hatoyama also said he will ask other Japanese prefectures at a meeting of governors Thursday to accept some of the U.S. military drills currently conducted in Okinawa.

    The premier said the government has given up on the plan to transfer Futenma’s heliport functions out of Okinawa due to ‘‘remaining uncertainties in East Asia,’’ especially on the Korean Peninsula.

    ‘‘As prime minister, I have to say we cannot allow the situation in which deterrence provided by the U.S. forces in Japan will diminish,’’ he said.

    Hatoyama later told reporters the government will try to continue negotiations with the United States to implement measures to ease base-hosting burdens on Okinawa beyond his self-imposed deadline of May 31 for settling the issue.

    The talks were held during Hatoyama’s second visit this month to Okinawa in a last-minute attempt to gain the understanding of local people before May 31. He last visited the prefecture on May 4.

    Japan and the United States broadly agreed Saturday on a fresh accord expected to be announced May 28 which effectively states the Futenma facility in the populous city of Ginowan will be moved to land to be created through filling in the sea near the Marines’ Camp Schwab at Cape Henoko in Nago, sources close to the matter said.

    The fresh agreement is effectively on par with an existing relocation plan under a 2006 Japan-U.S. accord.

    Nakaima told reporters of his displeasure at the government’s attitude in offering explanations to Okinawa after reaching an accord with Washington.

    Local protesters staged a rally outside of the prefectural government office, calling on Hatoyama to give up the plan to relocate the base within the prefecture. Many of them held up a card bearing a Chinese character for ‘‘anger.’‘

    During his one-day trip, the premier also met with Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine and 11 other local municipality heads in Nago. During the talks with Hatoyama, Inamine expressed his ‘‘firm opposition’’ to the Futemma relocation plan to his city, saying he ‘‘cannot accept it at all.’‘

    Later in the day, Hatoyama held talks with local business representatives to discuss the base relocation and measures to invigorate the local economy.

    In Fukuoka, Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party, told reporters she is against the plan unveiled by the premier to move the Futemma facility to Nago. The SDP is a coalition partner of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan led by Hatoyama.

    Okinawa hosts about 75% of the land area used for U.S. military facilities in Japan and half of the roughly 50,000 U.S. service personnel in the country.

    Before coming to power, the premier had pledged during an election campaign last summer that he would seek to move Futenma functions out of Okinawa altogether to ease the prefecture’s base-hosting burdens, such as noise pollution and risks of accidents and crimes associated with the U.S. military presence. Sunday’s decision is likely to further erode his grip on power.

    Hatoyama has seen his popularity ratings plunge in recent months?as voters increasingly are disenchanted with his failure to act on a number of campaign pledges, including the Futenma issue as well as promises for toll-free highways and cash payments for babies.

    His biggest political ally, Ichiro Ozawa, the head of Hatoyama’s Democratic Party, has been the target of allegations involving campaign fund abuse, although Ozawa has denied any wrongdoing and Japanese prosecutors have repeatedly said that they will not charge him.

    But the failure to appease the people of Okinawa is likely to be Hatoyama’s biggest problem as Japan heads into nationwide elections, which must be held sometime in July or close to that time.

    Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said that he discussed Futenma plans with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, while she was in Tokyo on Friday.

Joint Statement by Ginowan and Nago Mayors 宜野湾、名護市長の共同声明

The joint statement of Iha Yoichi, Mayor of Ginowan City, host of Futenma Air Station and Inamine Susume, Mayor of Nago City, where the government eyes on as "relocation" site of Futenma, together issued a statement on May 16, the day 17,000 citizens gathered to form a human chain around the base to show solidarity to call for unconditional return of Futenma. An English translation follows the statement in Japanese.
(Photo by Ryukyu Shimpo)













宜野湾市長 伊 波 洋 一
名護市長 稲 嶺 進

Joint Statement by Ginowan and Nago City Mayors to Oppose the Construction of
Futenma Replacement Facility within Okinawa
(Issued on the day of the Futenma Human Chain Campaign, May 16, 2010)

Over fourteen years have passed since the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement was concluded by the United States and Japanese Governments. In this agreement, both governments promised to return the entire land of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, located in the middle of heavily populated Ginowan City, within five to seven years. However, both governments have failed to implement the agreement, and as a result, Futenma Air Station still remains within the city as it was fourteen years ago.

The initial goal of the SACO agreement was to ensure safety of the people of Ginowan by removing the dangerous Futenma Air Station, which produces enormous aircraft noises and poses constant risk of an aircraft crash. This also includes reducing the burden on the people of Okinawa caused by disproportionately concentrated US military bases on this small island.

In the SACO final report in December 1996, however, both US and Japanese Governments set terms that the land of the air station should be returned after a removable Futenma replacement facility, with a 1500-meter runway, was constructed within Henoko, Nago City on the east coast of the main island, Okinawa. This decision greatly disappointed the people of Okinawa.

Although Nago citizens expressed their opposition against the relocation of the air base in a referendum in December 1997, the former Liberal Democratic Party(LDP)-led administration divided citizens by using a carrot-and-stick policy, which consisted of offering government subsidies in return for cooperation with the wills of US and Japanese Governments. As a result of the LDP policy, an unhealthy and tense situation developed in the local community.

“Ojii and Obaa” (grandfathers and grandmothers) in Henoko, backed by various supporters, have continued a sit-in campaign, against the construction of the Futenma replacement facility, for their children and grandchildren for fourteen years. This prolonged sit-in has effectively blocked progress on the project.

In the Nago mayoral election this past January, a candidate, who pledged not to allow the construction of a new US military base either on land or sea, was voted into office. Nago citizens, in this election, showed their strong will to fight against the relocation of Futenma Air Station within Okinawa. A majority of Okinawan people were encouraged and proud of the election result, which paved the way for a unanimous decision by the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to hold the “4. 25 Kenmin-Taikai” (April 25th prefecture-wide rally) in order for the people of Okinawa to express their unwavering clear opposition against the Futenma base relocation within Okinawa.

We have no other recourse than to retrieve the peaceful island life without military bases for our citizens, as well as for the future of Okinawa. To this end, we have decisively concluded that there shouldn’t be any new US military bases constructed within the prefecture. Okinawa is a small island consisting of only 0.6 percent of the total land mass of Japan. Further new construction of military bases shows complete disregard for the human rights of this small community, who have unwillingly hosted the US military for over 60 years. There is also total disregard for the environmental impact which would fatally disrupt the habitat of the endangered Okinawa Dugong in the beautiful ocean surrounding Okinawa.

The danger-plagued FAS should be removed without any delay from Ginowan City. Both governments must prioritize safety and security of the people of Okinawa by abandoning the project and not continuing to promote Okinawa as being essential to regional security and a deterrence to regional threats. We will step up for calling for the removal of dangerous military air operations from Futenma Air Station and immediate closure and return of the base.

Now, we announce our strong resolution to oppose any plan on the base relocation within Okinawa, including the Hatoyama administration plan currently nearing completion. The Japanese Government should review and see the real picture of the plan on the relocation of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, and strongly negotiate with the US Government regarding the immediate and unconditional closure of Futenma Air Station.

The Ginowan and Nago City Governments used today’s event to continue working hand-in-hand and cooperate in voicing opposition to the base relocation within Okinawa.

Yoichi IHA
Mayor, Ginowan City
Okinawa, Japan

Mayor, Nago City
Okinawa, Japan