I came here from Okinawa, the island of the biggest US base in the Far East Asia. Thank you very much for granting this precious opportunity of greeting you. First of all I would like to praise and thank you, the people of Ecuador, for your marvelous contribution of preparing and successfully holding this international conference. I have distributed among you some of our historical documents on Okinawan people and the US bases in Okinawa. At present I am waging our struggle as a representative of "The Conference Opposing Heliport Construction" which takes the charge of preventing the construction of a new military airport for the US Marines. In 1996 the Japanese and the US Governments agreed to remove the Hutenma Air base, the most dangerous airport in the world. And they planned to relocate it by forcibly constructing a new off-shore heliport with a 1500m runway in the sea area of Henoko, Nago City. Then we, citizens of Nago City, organized the Conference Opposing Heliport Construction as a united civil organization and rejected this off-shore heliport by successfully concluding a referendum stressing that any important decisions must be done in consensus by all the citizens. But the Japanese Government, totally neglecting this referendum, constantly tried to construct a giant off-shore air base with a 2600m runway. Aged people in Henoko declared, "We must prevent this plan by our lives" and since then have been sitting there in a small struggle house for 10 years. In April, 2004, the two Governments of Japan and the US actually started the construction of this giant off-shore air base. Our consistent activity against the construction on land and in the sea without violence made them abandon the construction of this giant off-shore base. But our struggle did not come to the end.
The Japanese Government again put forward a new base with two 1800m runways in the US Marines base and in the sea to strengthen the Japan-US military alliance. The new base will be composed of a military seaport, ammunition dumps, and a drill site. Thus it will function as a "devil's fortress and assault base", a threatening base toward Asia and the world, and it will be used by both Japanese forces and the US troops. We refuse to be either a victim or a assailant. So we are determined to achieve another victory in this struggle. The task destined to me is to deal with the problems of the US military bases and environment. I retired from a high school as a teacher in April, 2004. At school I had always taught my students that the humankind living in the 21st Century is to build an earth based on (1) the unity for constructing peace and (2) preservation of the earth and maintaining multitude of the life. Okinawa islands constitute a special natural formation rich in its multitude of the life as a complex of the tropical and subtropical zones with wood forests of shining leaves. The islands are surrounded with coral reefs and lagoons. What symbolize the sea are dugongs and turtles like in the photo. Forests which are natural partners of the sea are also abundant in rare species. So this area is called a "Galapagos in the Orient". The area is nominated as a candidate for the Natural heritage of the World, but the existence of the US bases is the true obstacle for its official registration. Symbols of the rare species in the forests are rare birds of "yanbarukuina (Gallirallus okinawae)", "noguchigera (Sapheopipo noguchii)", and others. The construction of the devil's fortress base will not fail in destroying this ecosystem. IUCN has twice advised the Japanese Government to protect dugongs and "noguchigera" and to establish preservation areas for them, but has been neglected. "The Center for Multitude of the Life" an NGO in the US is raising the case before the justice in the name of a suit of "rights for the nature". President Bush and Prime Minister Abe are both enemies to the earth. We have prepared CDs for you to protect dugongs and "noguchigera". Now I can present you with CDs like this.
We are going to prevent the construction of this new base from the view point of the culture of peace and of preservation of the multitude of the life.
Now world people against foreign military bases have been united here. And this Conference in Ecuador is providing new courage and a new weapon to us.