From the Sea of Dugongs in Okinawa New Year Greetings and Special Request to Environmental NGOs in the World Toward 2010 Nagoya Conference by Signatory Countries of the Treaty for Preserving Bio-diversity
Teruo Onishi Board Member, The Dugong Preservation Fund Captain of The Heiwa-Maru Fund Chairman of Nago Peace Committee Co-Chair, Conference Opposing Heliport Construction (Nago City)
Do you know Okinawa?
Okinawa Prefecture in the south of Japan is consisted of various islands including the Okinawa island, once called "Devil's Island" at the time of US War in Vietnam. The sub-tropical Okinawa Island surrounded by coral reefs is now called a military colony serving Japanese and the US Governments, and is internationally known as a keystone of the Pacific in the US strategic documents and as an unsinkable aircraft-carrier with heavy concentration of US military bases. But the same green Island of Okinawa among the reefs in the West Pacific is abundant in both fauna and flora, forming a typical coplex of wood forests of shining leaves and tropical feature. Its surprising eco-system is admired as an ecological treasure created on the earth. Even the group of castle ruins of "historical kingdoms" in this small island is registered by the UN as one of Historical Heritages of the World. But now a lot of species are endangered by the crisis of perishing in the course of constructing a new military base and installations.
Twelve years in the sea of the coral museum with dugongs
In the forests of Okinawa there are various rare species of including "yanbaru-kuina (a kind of indigeneous rail)." Nevertheless two Governments of Japan and the US are forcibly pushing forward the construction of a series of helicopter pads in Takae of Higashi-Son, Okinawa, facing the resistance by the population there. In the sea (at Henoko in Nago City, Okinawa) the construction project for a US Marine military airport is going on. But the construction site in the sea area with coral reefs and seaweed beds is inhabited by dugongs. The spreading coral reef area is called a "Coral Museum." Ao-sango (blue coral) found in the Bay of Oura as the second largest group in the world has been recently registered as one of suspected perishing species. In the air we can see kinds of Ajisashi birds flying from the south hemisphere, and Misago birds coming from North America. We have been stopping the construction for as long as 11 years.
In 2010 the Conference by Signatory Countries of the Treaty for Preserving Bio-diversity will be held in Nagoya, Japan. The Bosnia Conference for concluding the Treaty of Framework for Climate Change (COP14) in December, 2008, ended without achieving positive outcome because of the insincere policies by Japan, Canada and so on. Japan as the Chair country of Kyoto Protocol, being inactive toward preventing warming of the earth, received a honorable "Fossil Prize" from the world Non-Government Organizations, demonstrating the almost lowest evaluation for Japan's policy. I have been driving the boat for preserving dugongs and the coral reefs every day for four years. But Japanese and the US Governments are challenging human undertaking toward preservation of the bio-diversity like the case of preventing warming of the earth. Thus I am quite grateful for the world NGOs for providing Japan with the honorable "Fossil Prize." I suppose that many of you related to environmental NGOs in the world may have been already preparing for the Nagoya Conference by Signatory Countries of the Treaty for Preserving Bio-diversity.
You can see Japan from Okinawa
Now I would like to request you who may be planning to participate in the Nagoya Conference to come to Okinawa where bio-diversity is prominent but various creatures are appealing to the world for "the right of the nature" faced to the crisis for survival. There are some merits of going to Okinawa before Nagoya as below: 1) You can have an opportunity to observe a world of bio-diversity in sub-tropical Okinawa as a typical coplex of wood forests of shining leaves and tropical feature. 2) Your visit to Okinawa may help enrich the Nagoya Conference through your experience of realizing the implication of NGOs providing Japan with the "Fossil Prize" in view of preventing earth warming in contrast to the real nature of bio-diversity. 3) There may be witnessed a challenge to the security on the earth by the US military empire and the destructive policy against bio-diversity by Japanese Government as an economic power, as well as the inhabitants' movement stopping construction of base without retreating in their struggle evenly facing two Governments. You can be more confident of the international course in the 21st century toward the culture of peace and bio-diversity.
We have been sitting in for 11 years in a hut near the beach to stop constructing a military airport. And 4 years (1719 days as of Jan. 1st) have passed since we constructed a tent village in the struggle toward a true environmental assessment. In the forest we are continuing our resistance in a tent to reverse the construction of helicopter pads for the US Marines. In the dry beach (Awase Higata in Okinawa City, Okinawa) inhabitants won a victory at the local court with favorable verdict ordering to stop reclaiming the beach after strenuous struggle.
In the quest for global unity and establishment of the culture of peace during the 21st Century
I can say that the human course during the 21st Century should be based on such the way of life as directed toward global preservation and bio-diversity as well as the exchange and sharing of united practices in every corner on the earth. Therefore our struggle must be oriented to the principle of complete non-violence. The whole history of our resistance against militaristic colonization of Okinawa by Japanese and the US Governments is characterized as the "struggle without arms"; such completely non-violent discipline is nothing but the culture Okinawan people have developed since the period of its kingdoms. Okinawa is tied with the world by the sea. Some US lawyers and environmental organizations filed a suit with dugongs as plaintiffs in the US. The IUCN General Assembly has made an unusual third recommendation to protect dugongs. They say you can see Japan from Okinawa, even the world. It is Japanese Government that is just keeping back neglecting practical implementation of the Kyoto Protocol notwithstanding her chairmanship. Japanese and the US Governments are both neglecting IUCN's recommendation, too. Toward 2010 such creatures as dugongs and corals in the sea and other precious life in the forests are going to suffer from serious situations. While behaving in Nagoya as a protector of life, Japanese Government, in the scene of Okinawa, military colony by Japan and the US, seems to reclaim the sea and to strip forests rationally and coolly in remarkably rich nature in bio-diversity which the earth itself have created. The struggle for peace and natural rights by Okinawan people in 2010 will be important, but whenever you in the environmental NGOs may have chance to come to Okinawa I will guide you on the area and in the forests. Co-strugglers of mine will also be happy to welcome you. For your information, we are sending similar letters and CDs with photos of life to all the governments that joined the Treaty of Bio-diversity. 中日新聞（18日） ＣＯＰ１０へ
政府方針 ① 移設をめぐる結論は来年に先送り、②現行計画を含め新たな候補地を与党３党で検討、④日米の協議機関の設置を米側に提案、現行計画の予算計上５、⑤アセス継続 （日本経済新聞16日より）