The Sky and the Earth of Futenma Belong to Us Let’s raise balloons ! We, Kamadou gwa ｔａｃｈｉ no Tsudoi, are a group of women who demand that the military bases on Okinawa should be moved out of Okinawa Prefecture. We have decided to initiate a balloon action for the following reasons. Fifteen years have passed since the U.S. and Japanese governments agreed in 1996 to return Futenma base to us. During those years (and of course, before as well) Okinawans have made countless efforts of every sort to make the relocation of Futenma base within Okinawa impossible. And as it became clear that the forcing of U.S. bases on Okinawa is a form of discrimination, we raised our voices louder against it. And 2010 saw the election of a Prefectural Governor who had made the removal of Futenma base from Okinawa a public promise. However, the sky and the earth of Futenma base have not yet been returned to the people of Okinawa. Helicopters and other military aircraft roar overhead, disrupting our livelihood and threatening our lives. On top of that, they say they are going to station the notoriously dangerous MV Osprey vertical landing and takeoff aircraft on Futenma base in 2012. We cannot be silent. The governments of Japan and the U.S. do not protect the dignity, the living, or the lives of Okinawans. Rather, they mean to burden us with greater and greater danger. As a result, we have no choice but to protect ourselves and our children, the next generation, by our own efforts. For these reasons we have decided to raise balloons as an expression of our will: "Do not endanger our lives!"; "This sky and earth belong to us!"; "Move the bases out of the prefecture!" People of Okinawa, citizens of Ginowan! If you agree with this purpose, then join us in this balloon action. It is not prohibited by any law. Let us confirm that this is our sky by raising balloons into it.
＊ ＊ ＊ 1) Time; Wednesday, 10 August, 2011, 9am to 3pm. (The seventh summer after the crash of the U.S. military's CH 53 helicopter) 2) Place; around Futenma Airbase (Kakazu Takadai Park, and other locations) 3) Concerning the balloons: *Diameter: 50-90cm. *Secured by 30-40m of fishing line, so they will not come loose. *Filled with helium (no bad effect on the environment). *When the event is over, balloons will be removed. *Sangwa will be attached to the balloons.
＜＜To the People Related to the U.S. Military＞＞ We do not fly balloons to put you in danger. On the contrary, to us Okinawans your presence here is dangerous. Here, on our own islands, we are insulted by you, and our livelihood and our lives are threatened by you. You who occupy 20% of Okinawa Island for your bases must surely understand this well. We Okinawans have never given you permission to be here. Tenaciously and by means of all sorts of actions, we have appealed to you: Return our land! Don't violate our human rights! Treat us with respect! The land you have occupied for your bases is where our Ryukyu/Okinawan ancestors lived their lives, and is precious to us. Return it! Do not try to evade your responsibility by calling this a "Japanese domestic issue". Prove to us that your talk of "democracy" and "respect for human rights" is not just lip service. If you still insist that the only way to return the Futenma land to us is to relocate the base, then relocate it to mainland Japan. Because while it was the Japanese (mainland Japanese) who entered into the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which allows U.S. bases on Japanese land, they have mainly avoided bearing the burden of their treaty obligation by offering up Okinawan land instead. We repeat, we do not send up these balloons to endanger you. But if you do think them dangerous, then please refrain from flying any helicopters or other military aircraft.
＜＜To the People of Japan (Yamatu/Mainland Japan)＞＞ What we ask of you Japanese people (mainland Japanese) is neither that you raise balloons with us in Okinawa, nor that you raise funds for us. What we ask is that you take back the U.S. bases from Okinawa as soon as possible. Looking only at Japan's postwar history, we can see how, with the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan got its independence in exchange for agreeing to the continued U.S. rule of Okinawa. And by moving U.S. bases to Okinawa, Japan was largely able to escape the damage that comes with them. And then with the 1972 reversion of Okinawa to Japan, the situation was redefined as "U.S. bases authorized under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty", and the myth of "peaceful, almost base-free mainland Japan" was born. We Okinawans, as the party upon whom these bases are imposed, valuing the words "ikusa ｙa narando" (no war), have long struggled against these bases. This struggle does not simply mean sit-ins, rallｙｓ and demonstrations; it means our daily life itself, from the end of the war to the present day. You are the party who forced these bases upon us. Be conscious of that fact, and appeal to those around you: "We should take back the bases we forced on Okinawa." Give up this dependency you have on Okinawa, even for the anti-base movement, and begin to take responsibility yourselves. Only by doing this will you be able to take the first steps toward building a society, a history, free from dependency on Okinawa.