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OKINAWA UPDATE/ Dec. 13, 2016

Dear friends,

We need much more global attention for the urgent situation developing in both Takae and Henoko, Okinawa. For more details, see the last section of #What you can do?.

This OKINAWA UPDATE/ Dec. 13, 2016 contains...
# TAKAE: Court rejects injunction request by the residents
# HENOKO: Supreme Court will decide on Dec. 20
# Activists in custody
# US-JP military complex abusing Okinawan land
# What you can do? Follow these examples of solidarity!

### OKINAWA UPDATE ### Dec. 13, 2016

# TAKAE: Court rejects injunction request by residents
Naha District Court rejected the request by the residents of Takae for an injunction against the construction of U.S. Military Landing Zones.

Just imagine how we felt when we got this court decision on the next day the world witnessed beautiful fireworks lighting the sky over the land of Oseti Sakowin Camp for the people of Standing Rock Sioux.

Ryukyu Shinpo, one of the Okinawan newspapers covered this great #NODAPL news on the front page with critical tension as it showed another of the double standards of the U.S. Government.  (in Japanese)  (in Japanese)

"Temporary injunction from Naha District Court expected before
completion of helipad construction in Takae,” Ryukyu Shimpo, November 10, 2016.

"Court Rejects Petition to Halt Okinawa Helipad Construction,” Jiji Press, December 6, 2016.

“Motion for temporary injunction to suspend helipad construction rejected by Naha District Court,” Ryukyu Shimpo, December 7, 2016.

# HENOKO: Supreme Court will decide on Dec. 20th
Concerning the landfill case in Henoko for the new base for the US Marine Corps, Okinawa prefecture appealed to the Supreme Court abut the right to cancel the ex-governor’s permit in September. The Supreme Court has set the date of the decision on December 20th without holding any court hearings for the appeal. Local Okinawa media predicts Okinawa prefecture will lose the case.

Editorial: Expected loss of Henoko lawsuit indicates denial of local autonomy and democracy, Ryukyu Shimpo, December 13, 2016.

# Activists in custody
Several protesters have been held in custody, including one of the leading organizers, for more than 50 days - with unusual maneuver by the authorities. And the extension of the detention period is decided by the court, leading to public concerns that the courts are biased and side with the JP government. Hundreds rallied in Naha city to protest this unjust oppression on Dec. 8th.

"Prefectural Police arrest January protest suspects, search protest-related locations,” Ryukyu Shimpo, November 30, 2016.

"Editorial: Police investigating the Peace Center and supporting the base construction — unjust oppressions are unacceptable,” Ryukyu Shimpo, December 1, 2016.

# US-JP military complex abusing the Okinawan land
The U.S. government and the military are returning to Okinawa half of the U.S. military's Northern Training Area (NTA) in the Yanbaru forest in northern Okinawa Island following 60 years of exclusive U.S. military usage. The return of the land is now being heralded to local people as an accomplishment by the U.S. and the Japanese governments. This development is receiving a great deal of media coverage.

However, the Okinawa prefectural government, and environmental groups are extremely troubled by the fact that six new landing zones are being constructed for the U.S. military's aircraft training in the remaining part of the NTA - despite strong opposition as a condition for the return of land.

Behind the propaganda ceremony of the return of some of the NTA, in the vicinity of the Central Training Area (CTA) in Ginoza Village, MV-22 Osprey executed External Cargo Suspension Training ignoring requests to halt it by the Okinawa Defense Bureau and protests by the village mayor.

It is another example of uncontrollable US military practice happening in Okinawa.
In NTA, not only this External Cargo Suspension Training, but also Rope Suspension Training (“fast-rope” training), Terrain Flight Training (TERF) by Ospreys have already been witnessed. On top of that, there has been a news release that US Marine Corps executed their drug war training in the NTA.

Under these circumstances, the Abe administration has consecutively decided the approbation of the third party (foreign military other than the US) training in the areas provided for the US-JP Security Treaty, and its hands-off stance for Osprey training, in the series of cabinet approvals. At the same time, USFJ has launched the publicity campaign about the NTA on their website which promotes its joint training with JSDF.

# What you can do? Follow these examples of solidarity!
## Global supports has been voiced by...
*Peace and Justice Commission of the City of Berkeley in California decides "Resolution opposing the Resumption of Helipad Construction at Takae, Okinawa."

*Veterans for Peace decides to stand with the protesters of Okinawa!
(not yet updated in their website)

## Advocators getting together to send petitions to the US government...
*A voluntary group together with the supporters including the members of the Diet, held a press conference on 7 December 2016 to make public an open letter to the President Obama.

*Okinawa Environmental Justice Project, launched in November 2016, along with 38 other Okinawan and Japanese organizations, is sending a letter of concern and request to the U.S. government and the U.S. military regarding the future of the Yanbaru forest in the north of Okinawa Island.

*Joint statement by FoE Japan

*Voices from Eden Project by Green Peace (Japanese only but the graphics explain a lot!)