Protest Advertising In U.S. ― The Group for Okinawa Opinion Ad Campaign
The U.S. Military routinely violates its own safety standards on its bases in Okinawa.
Residents live in constant danger and endure the noise of military aircraft.

Construction of the Marine Corps air base will destroy a beautiful coral reef ecosystem and the habitat of the critically endangered Okinawa dugong (sea manatee).

Let’s make closing the bases in Okinawa the first step toward
reducing the defense budget!

U.S. military bases occupy about 11 % of Okinawa’s total land area. Approximately 19 % of Okinawa main land, where the prefecture’s population and industries are concentrated, is exclusively used by the U.S. military.

Okinawa Delegation’s Washington Tour on USTREAM!
Here is the report from Washington.

In 1945, during the last days of WWII, Allied and Japanese Imperial forces fought an intense ground battle in Okinawa, a small island in southwest Japan. The battle claimed 200,000 lives, including many American and Japanese soldiers, but also a much larger number of unarmed Okinawan civilians. Ever since, U.S. military forces have occupied Okinawa, using land which was seized from families at gunpoint. Today 34 U.S. Military bases and facilities still remain in Okinawa, including eight Marine Corps bases and an Air Force base hailed as the largest U.S. Military installation in the Asia-Pacific region. Although the United States closed countless bases at home and abroad after the Berlin Wall fell, U.S. Military bases in Okinawa either remained the same or were expanded.

In the United States, the U.S. Military establishes “Clear Zones” (no-use zones) at both ends of all military air base runways because these areas are deemed too hazardous for people to live. While the U.S. Military would never subject American families to such danger, in Okinawa over 800 families live within the danger zones beyond the runway of the Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station. The U.S. Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps issued a memorandum to protect Americans from the danger of aircraft crashes and accidents. But over 3,600 civilians and 18 municipal facilities―including an elementary school, children’s centers, hospitals, community centers and nursery schools―are subjected daily to the dangers of Futenma Air Station. Military rules that should apply to every military air base are ignored in Okinawa. Accidents have already happened. On August 13, 2004, a large U.S. Marine transport helicopter crashed into Okinawa International University after taking off from the nearby Futenma base. Seven years later, U.S. military aircraft are still flying over schools and homes, as consecutive training runs last close to midnight. Another tragic accident could happen at any moment. This is why the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called Futenma Air Station “the world’s most dangerous base.”
The government says Futenma exists to protect Japan, yet it only puts families in danger. Futenma is one of many U.S. Military bases that remain in Okinawa, but it is the most dangerous for Okinawan families. The people of Okinawa ask for the immediate closure of this dangerous military base and the rightful return of the land it occupies.

The Okinawan people strongly hope for a life in peace without bases. And yet the U.S. and Japanese governments have announced plans to build a massive new military complex in the pristine natural habitat of Henoko, Okinawa, where they intend to move Futenma’s dangerous military functions.
The sea in Henoko is a treasure trove for marine life and home to many rare species, including the Okinawan dugong. The dugong, a large marine mammal similar to the manatee, is a critically endangered species protected by international environmental conventions signed by both the U.S. and Japanese governments. It is said that the legend of the mermaid was based on this lovely animal, which is now in danger of extinction because of the construction plan of the gigantic air base in its primary habitat.

Okinawans reject the new base construction. It will not only destroy the habitat of the dugong, it will jeopardize the safety of local families. Every small town and big city mayor in Okinawa oppose this reckless construction plan, and the Governor of Okinawa has rejected it. The Okinawan legislature and municipal councils across the island have adopted resolutions against the plan. In fact, no other place in all of Japan has agreed to accept the transfer of Futenma Air Station.

Please bring the Marines in Okinawa to the U.S. The U.S. respects human rights and democracy. Please listen to the democratic voice of the Okinawan people. We hope for peace through dialogue, not through dependence on military power.

Today, 75% of all U.S. Military bases in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa, and the majority of bases in Okinawa are Marine bases. Americans from all walks of life, including politicians, retired military personnel, regional elected officials, religious leaders, and members of think tanks, are calling for the removal of U.S. Marines from Okinawa. Such voices include the former Commander of Marines in the Pacific (1964 – 68) Lt. General Victor H. Krulak, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). They and many other federal lawmakers are calling for the withdrawal of all Marines from Okinawa to reduce the defense budget.
In May 2011, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member Senator John McCain (R-AZ), as well as Senate Foreign Relations East Asian Subcommittee Chairman Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) called the present multi-billion dollar Okinawan buildup plan “unrealistic, unworkable and unaffordable.” They called for a simple plan to close the dangerous Futenma Air Station without any new construction, and instead disperse and rotate the affected Marine combat units. Retired Marine Corps General and President Obama’s former National Security Advisor James Jones agreed with this proposal, stating, “It really does not matter where the Marines are, and the U.S. military’s overall operation will not be affected by shifting the location of the Marines in Okinawa.” Many veterans who served in Okinawa during the 1950s-1960s are shocked by the fact that nothing has changed there, that so many bases still remain while many military bases in the U.S. have been closed or combined.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced in November 2011 that U.S. Marines would be stationed on military bases in Australia. Responding to this decision, Dr. Joseph Nye, who co-chaired a special action committee on Okinawa in 1995, said, “The current official plan to move the Marines inside Okinawa is unlikely to be acceptable to the Okinawa people. Moving Marines to Australia is a smart move.” Senator McCain has also suggested a joint-operating base concept similar to the agreement between the U.S and Australia, which would relocate Marines to bases outside of Okinawa rather than building a new base at Henoko. It is thus clearly possible to redeploy Marines elsewhere. Let’s move these Marines out of Okinawa, and return the lands taken from local residents 67 years ago. This is the most feasible step toward reducing the burden of the bases on the people of Okinawa.

Congress has decided to cut $350 billion from the military to reduce the deficit. If more cuts are not found, another $600 billion might be slashed and precious jobs will be lost in the United States. Instead of pouring billions of dollars into Okinawa, let’s bring the Marines home and create American jobs in the United States.
Regrettably, it is true that people are still fighting each other and enmity exists among people in the world. However, dialogue and mutual understanding among people is the only guarantee for a path to peace. After ten years of war, the end of fighting is nowhere in sight. America has lost the support of its friends around the world. Japan remains the United States’ best friend in Asia, yet bases like Futenma have only diminished America’s image here.

Bases like Futenma create jobs in Okinawa and service members spend their dollars in Japan. A 10-year war has cost $1.2 trillion and drained the U.S. Treasury. Admiral Mike Mullen, the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the greatest threat to the United States was the national debt. Futenma Air Station is putting America’s friends in danger. Closing Futenma will save Americans money and it will create American jobs when the Marines come home.