U.S. Forces and Bases in Okinawa as Core Factors of New U.S. - Japan Military Alliance Structure
A Survey on Okinawa for Peace and Conservation of Natural Environments with Special References to the Actions of Scientists of JSA

KAMEYAMA, Norikazu*
(The Research Committee of Peace Issue, Japan Scientists' Association)
*Assistant Professor at Fac. of Agirc., Univ. of the Ryukyus, 903-0213 Japan.
E-mail kameyama@agr.u-ryukyu.ac.jp

1. A Historical Survey on Okinawa bases

1-1. Introduction

Okinawa Prefecture consists of many islands in the southern half of the Ryukyu Islands, lying between mainland Japan and Taiwan. It has a total area of 2,267 square kilometers, occupying 0.6 per cent of Japan, and has a population of 1.3 million. The center of Okinawa Prefecture is Okinawa Island with an area of 1,202 square kilometers and a population of 1.1 million. The name Okinawa in a narrow sense means this island. Okinawa Island can be divided into two areas: Southern part of the island is topographically flat, and densely populated; while the northern part is a mountainous area covered with forests and mangroves. Subtropical rain forests with evergreen broadleaf wooden species develop on hills there and its coasts are surrounded with mangroves and coral reefs. The fauna and the flora of Okinawa are quite unique, since both temperate and subtropical species are found, and also there are many endemic species.

Okinawa, however, has been an island for the U.S. forces over half a century, where 38 military bases and 23 offshore training areas are stationed still now. Military bases occupy 20 percent of land of the island: The total base area reaches 75 percent of the U.S. military exclusive bases in Japan. Present U.S. force strength in Okinawa is 26,700 which consists of 16,000 marines, 7,000 air force, 3,000 navies and 800 army.

The deployment of Marine Corps is the most outstanding character of the U.S. forces in Okinawa. It is well known that the marine corps is troops specialized in invasive operations, whose soldiers assault enemy land first, or are deployed into battles in jungle or urban terrain in a small number.@The U.S. Marine Corps is composed of three expeditionary forces. The third Marine Expeditionary Force are the only forward-deployed (=stationed abroad) division of them: Most of its headquarters and units are stationed in Okinawa, while only a part of the air units stays in Iwakuni Base in Yamagutchi Prefecture, mainland Japan.

The general power of the Kadena Air Base boasts actually the largest and strongest among the U.S. air bases abroad. They have 48 F-15 jet fighters, the only airborne tanker unit of the U.S. Pacific Force, and the comprehensive logistics groups maintaining e.g. the overseas largest conventional ammunition dump.

There are also lots of training facilities. For example, the Jungle Warfare Training Center is set only in Okinawa in the world. Any kind of warfare training can be carried out there in Okinawa, such as airborne, maritime, landing, N.B.C (nuclear, biological and chemical) weapons, urban battle, and also anti-guerilla battle training. It is also permitted to use live ammunition in some training areas. Training with aircraft and battleships are executed constantly on and above the sea of Okinawa, which hampers commercial transportation. All aircraft flying within 50 nautical miles in radius and 6,000 feet in altitude from Kadena Air Base are controlled by the personnel of Kadena Radar Approach Control. It means even civilian aircraft are controlled by foreign military. Furthermore, plenty of logistics bases for medical care, communication, supply, repair, etc. are located in Okinawa. Various incidents including accidents and environmental disruption by the U.S. forces have been serious problems in Okinawa. Accidents and serious incidents of military aircraft are reported to reach 142 cases from 1972 to 1999, including 39 plane crash accidents.

Epidemiological surveys show that the noise of air crafts resulted in distinctively high-rate occurrence of abortion, delayed or incomplete development of children, difficulty of hearing and so on. These cases occur especially in areas near air bases. Dreadful crimes by U.S. servicemen such as murders, robbery, rapes, arson are reported in 67 cases during a period of 1986 to 1998. The most serious case occurred in August, 1995: A twelve-year-old schoolgirl was kidnapped and raped by three U.S. Marines in northern Okinawa. This incident caused large-scale movements for base-withdrawal throughout Japan.

A rally, asking for reduction of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa, was held in October 1995, in which Governor of Okinawa Pref. and 91 thousands of inhabitants, 8 percent of the population of Okinawa, participated. A prefectural referendum followed in August 1996, in which the majority chose reduction of the U.S. military bases. Large-scale base-withdrawal movements
also spread to mainland Japan and overseas. I t made the Japanese government promise to withdraw Futenma Air Station of the Marine Corps, known as the most dangerous base in Okinawa. However, at the same time it was determined to build a substitute base (named 'Offshore Base') in Nago City, located in the northern part of Okinawa Island.

In December, 1997, the inhabitants in Nago City carried out a referendum. The majority voted for the opposition to the construction of Marine Corps base. In spite of these results, Japan and U.S. governments never changed the policy of the reconstruction of Marine Air Station in Nago. At the end of 1999, Governor of Okinawa and Mayor of Nago City were obliged to express their acceptance of the construction of the base. Now the movements opposing to it are going on tenaciously.

Three fourths of U.S. military bases in size and over half of servicemen staying in Japan are in Okinawa. Why must U.S. force concentrate in Okinawa, an island which occupies only 0.6 percent of Japan in size, and one percent in population? Why do they intend to intensify U.S. bases against the will of Okinawan people, and despite of the seriousness of crimes and environmental disruption? These questions are considered in the following chapters.

1-2. A History of Base in Okinawa and the U.S. Forces in Japan

Many of bases in Okinawa were built by the Japanese army in the late World
War II period. Under the situation when the possibility of defeat of Japan
was enhancing, the Japanese army abruptly deployed in Okinawa for the first
time. Many bases were constructed, mobilizing Okinawan inhabitants. The
Japanese Emperor ordered the command of the army to kill time by executing
land battles in Okinawa: he needed time for finding ways to maintain his
dictatorship in the post-war period. It must be emphasized that the true
aim in Okinawa Battle in 1945, which killed more than 150 thousand Okinawan
people, was nothing but to prolong the operation as long as possible
regardless of the result of the battle.

In April 1945, the U.S. forces landed on Okinawa Island, and occupied
Japanese bases. They expanded those bases and used for their operation. In
Okinawa with all the survivors being put into refugee or war-prisoners
camps, the U.S. troops could freely expand or newly build their bases on
the fire-ravaged area without acceptance of land owners and residents.
Those bases were to be utilized for air raids of mainland Japan. The B-29
bomber, which A-bombed Nagasaki City on August 9, landed Ie-jima Base
just west to Okinawa Island.

U.S. already has begun regarding the Soviet Union as their next enemy during the world war. The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949 and the Korean War occurred in the following year. Thus Okinawa and Japan have been regarded as strategic foothold in the Far East in order to besiege 'communists'. Since 1950, the U.S. government took a policy to change the bases occupied during wartime into permanent constructions. They called Okinawa "the Keystone of the Pacific" and began to enhance and enlarge bases there.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty (Treaty of Peace with Japan) came into effect in April, 1952. The administration of mainland Japan by the U.S. Occupation Forces came to an end, and simultaneously Japan came into the military alliance with U.S. (the former Japan-U.S. Security Treaty). By the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Okinawa and some other islands were placed under the U.S. military control without the application of Japanese Constitution, which promoted the intensification of U.S. bases in Okinawa. The U.S. Occupation Forces stormed the private houses, and the residents with rifles and bulldozers, expelled them, burned their houses up, and confiscated their land with the object of the expansion of military bases.

The first reason why the U.S. military intensified bases in Okinawa can be explained with its location. The capital cities of major Asian countries e.g. Tokyo, Peking, Pyongyang, Manila are 2,000 kilometers from Okinawa. The location of Okinawa is just in the center of the East Asia including China, the Korean Peninsula, the Indo-china peninsula, the Philippines and Indonesia etc. In order to prevent 'communism' or democratic movements in these areas, and also to secure trading of industrial materials, energy and their export products, U.S. required the bases in Okinawa.

The Vietnam War proved Okinawa to be the Keystone of the Pacific. Many
bombers made sallies from Okinawa to Vietnam every day. Okinawa bases
served for logistics supports: such as transportation of soldiers, food
supply, and repair of weapons, and for training of soldiers before
forward-deployment. The environmental disruption by U.S. was also serious.
U.S. bombers which departed from Okinawa were loaded with not only
conventional or napalm bombs but also defoliant (herbicide). Application of
defoliants in an area of 15 thousand square kilometers caused destruction
of the forests and mangroves in Vietnam, many of which have not been
recovered to the original vegetation. The pollution of the soil and food
with dioxin as impurities of the defoliant, is thought to have been
effecting the lives e.g. malformation of babies.

Nuclear weapons such as H-bomb and nuclear missiles, plenty of biochemical
weapons including sarin and VX gas had been stored in Okinawa until 1971.
The Japanese government officially pronounced that nuclear and biochemical
weapons were withdrawn by 1972, the year of the Okinawa Reversion. However,
it is revealed recently that there is a secret promise between Japanese and
U.S. governments, which provides that nuclear-armed ships or aircraft of
U.S. can transit or enter temporally Japan without permission. Though Japan
has the Three Non-nuclear Principles and the peace-aimed Constitution, U.S.
has freely used the bases without the exception of nuclear-related
operations in Japan under the name of The Security Treaty.

U.S. was defeated in the Vietnam War. The fact that U.S.A., the strongest
nation in the world, was defeated by a poor small country, came upon
America with a shock. Taking it seriously as a lesson, U.S. asked some
developed nations for more burden and participation in U.S.'s wars. The
former Guideline (the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation) was
concluded in 1978. There occurred a great change under this Guideline,
although Japanese popular movements could stop Japan from taking part in
the war. The changes include joint training of Japanese 'Self Defense'
Force and U.S. Forces, Sympathy Budget (Host Nation Supports: non-obligated
disbursement for U.S. Force in Japan) and substitutional operations by
Japanese 'Self Defense' Forces in place of U.S. Forces etc. The 'Self
Defense' Forces have been organized as a subcontractor for the U.S. Pacific
Force. And operation area of the U.S. force in Japan has expanded.

The Security Treaty has been criticized violating the Japanese Constitution
which bans armaments. But even the 'unconstitutional' treaty stipulates
U.S. Forces in Japan can only be deployed within the Far East, i.e. the
area from the Kuriles, Japan Sea (China Sea), the Korean Peninsula to the
Philippines. The Guideline brought U.S. forces in Japan a freedom for
operations, regardless of the Security Treaty. The maximum deployment for
the Gulf War was the typical case.

Japan paid U.S. 11.4 billion dollars for the Gulf War, but didn't dispatch
the 'Self Defense' Forces to the allied force. Since then U.S. has been
trying to solicit Japan, one of the economic and military powers, to send
its force abroad.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution establishes renouncement of war and
the use of military power to solve international conflicts. The Japanese
government and leading parties, however, rammed the bill for participating
P.K.O. (Peace Keeping Operation Act) through the Diet, appealing with a
logic that Japan must cooperate the U.N. that protects locals involved in
conflicts on grounds of humanity. This was the first step to dispatch
Japanese Forces unconstitutionally.

After that, the U.S. President and the Japanese Prime Minister announced
the Japan-U.S. Security Joint Communiqu with the title of 'Alliance for
the 21st century' in 1996 and then revised the Guideline in 1997. In the
New Guideline they emphasized 'bilateral cooperation to promote regional
and global activities in the field of security'. The coverage area of the
Japan -U.S. military alliance was widened from the Far East to the world,
without confirmation by the Japanese Diet. It means that Japan and U.S. put
at least a half of the earth under their military power; from the west
coast of America, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle and Near East through the
east coast of Africa, where U.S. Pacific Force and Middle East Force

Now, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty immediately evolved into the bilateral
military alliance for the global operation. The Act on the Situations in
Areas Surrounding Japan was established in 1999, corresponding to the New
Guideline. Hence, legislation of bills for emergencies and revision of the
Constitution are under consideration.

1-3. Reorganization of U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa Based on the SACO Final Report

Corresponding to the big motion for reduction and withdrawal of the U.S.
bases in Okinawa since 1995, governments of Japan and U.S. organized SACO,
Special Action Committee on Okinawa, and examined the measures. The final
report of SACO was announced in December 1996, which determined
reorganization of eleven important U.S. bases in Okinawa including Futenma
Air Station of the Marine Corps.

If the plans and measures included in the final report of SACO are
implemented, 21 percent of the total acreage of the U.S. facilities and
areas in Okinawa will be returned to the landowners. Therefore, both
governments emphasized the SACO report policy would surely reduce the
burden of Okinawan people.

However, according to this report, "these measures will fully maintain the
capabilities and readiness of U.S. forces in Japan while addressing with
security and force protection requirements". In other words, the focal
point of the SACO report is to maintain the military function and strength
of the Okinawa bases from now on. Therefore, it must be said that military
power of Okinawa bases is not reduced by the SACO process at all. Both
governments have shown the posture that the agreement of SACO will decrease
in acreage of Okinawa bases, and it is their reply to the claim by the
people of Okinawa and mainland Japan, and also among the world. However,
considering that no removal to the United States nor the curtailment of the
facility and power of U.S. military forces is promoted, it must be pointed
out the true aim of SACO process is nothing but to deceive people and rush
the way to an expansion of armaments.

The SACO report is part and parcel of the New Guideline. The examination of
the concrete contents of the SACO report definitely reveals that there are
following three points on the reorganization of U.S. bases in Japan:

1. Bases and training areas functioning perfectly, such as Kadena Air Base,
should be maintained the status quo.
2. Facilities for the marine corps should be concentrated, synthesized and
functionally enhanced as a top priority.
3. A huge-sized military port should be built in Okinawa as an alternative
of oldsmall Naha Port only for the ten-thousand-ton-class military vessels.

These are core factors for the operations under the New Guideline, which
defines that 'situations in areas surrounding Japan' does not mean regional
concept but any situation which affects national interests of U.S. and
Japan, and that the armed forces of both countries are mobilized globally
corresponding the situation.

Thus, the U.S. forces in Okinawa are stationed as the core of operations
under the New Guideline. Major battle powers in Okinawa are marine corps
and air force. The main facilities are airfields and logistics bases with
the world maximum scale, marine camps and comprehensive training areas, and
information and intelligence facilities. Execution of SACO will bring the
following benefit to the U.S. forces. In place of the superannuated
airfield, marine corps will get an extremely advanced comprehensive
aviation base complex which supports VTOL (vertical landing and take-off)
plane MV-22 Osprey, which will be introduced within 6 years, inter-theater
cargo planes, airborne refueling tanker, and fighters. With the
concentration and reinforcement of facilities, marine corps will always be
ready for any kind of training for real battles. The training which cannot
be carried out in Okinawa have come to be newly performed in mainland
Japan. Facilities for logistics and reconnaissance and a hospital will be
updated and rearranged optimally for operations. The new port will be
capable of all vessels of one aircraft carrier battle group. The U.S.
Forces' practically free employment of Okinawa bases including transit or
entrance of nuclear weapons will be secured in the future.

It is clear what the SACO and New Guideline mean. Completely against global
stream of disarmament, the New Guideline-SACO structure intends to change
whole Japan, especially Okinawa, into the base for world-wide invasion. The
Command of the U.S. 7th Fleet, the world largest and strongest fleet, is
located in Yokosuka Naval Port near Tokyo. And the home port of an aircraft
carrier, a nuclear-powered submarines, and amphibious assault ships are
stationed in Yokosuka and Sasebo, mainland Japan. F-16 fighter units as
aerospace expeditionary force are stationed permanently. Japan is also a
international hub of U.S. military transportation.

The 'Self-Defense' Forces of Japan are also changing drastically in
alliance with U.S forces and getting ready for operations abroad. They plan
to launch a reconnaissance satellite in 2002. The number of fighters and
attackers of Japanese air force deployed and being developed for the future
deployment indicates that Japan has extremely concentrated air power.
Moreover, introduction of airborne refueling tankers and light aircraft
carriers (amphibious assault ships) is also under consideration. Japanese
naval power has become the second largest and strongest in the world.

As a conclusion, 'Self-Defense' Forces and U.S. Forces are so powerful that
the military power in Japan has no comparable example in the world. Such
powers become fully combined with Okinawa bases. Okinawa is made to take an
vital role of war policy of U.S. and Japanese governments: All U.S. bases
in Okinawa, including the new airfield and seaport, will be used as home
bases for invasion to other countries. Japanese 'Self-Defense' Forces and
U.S. Forces are undoubtedly the greatest threat to Asia and the Pacific. It
is the greatest bottleneck to establishment of the nuclear-free Asia, and
promotion of peace diplomacy in the 21st century.

1-4. Factors to the Promotion of the New Guideline - SACO Process by the U.S. and Japan

U.S. aims at drastic functional intensification of bases with the SACO
process in accordance with the New Guideline, pretending to request for
Okinawan residents' base-withdrawal movements. Four promoting factors of
them can be pointed out.

The first factor is that Japan is the most generous nation for America in
the world. Japanese government offers U.S. Forces in Japan 680 billion yen
expenditure every year, which means it costs cheaper for U.S. to put their
troops in Japan than in homeland. Besides, Japan actually never interferes
in the U.S.'s ways of using their bases in Japan at all.

The second factor is that Asia is the region of the world largest economic
growth and population and is a promising center of politics and economy in
the 21st century. Japan, especially Okinawa, is an indispensable key point
for U.S. to protect their own rights and interests in Asia. Besides,
withdrawal of U.S. military bases is a dominant tendency of the times
throughout the world. U.S. military bases have been cleaned away from the
Philippines, Panama, Australia and New Zealand. U.S. forces in Europe were
also made drastic cuts in strength. It is natural that U.S. finds Japan
relatively more importance in order to maintain the presence of 100
thousand strength in Asia and the Pacific.

The third factor is that America has established its military bases in
Okinawa, the strongest, not another in the world for these fifty five
years. It has already become impossible to build an alternative
base-complex somewhere else in the world.

The fourth factor can be found in the composition of the troops in Okinawa.
Twenty seven thousands servicemen are in Okinawa, of whom are mainly 15,000
marines and 7,000 airmen.

According to the New Guideline, the enemy of America is not superpowers.
Once America regards a certain country or guerrilla as its enemy, no matter
what a small power or armed group it may be, the overwhelmingly dominant
U.S. troops will beat it in a short time. Okinawa can provide indispensable
functions such as the Marines, air force, logistics groups for these wars.
U.S. also presumes large-scale wars in the East Asia such as the Korean
Peninsula and Taiwan, then, the location of Okinawa is the most desirable
position in such cases.

These points show why America thinks much of Okinawa.

U.S. demanded Japan to reorganize bases in Okinawa to promote such the New
Guideline-type wars. Japanese government plans to cast two trillion-yen-tax
into the cooperation with U.S.. Why does U.S. intend to intensify its
military forces in Asia, despite proclaiming that the cold war is over, and
America has won? Such policy arises from the change of economic structure
which Japan faced through 1980s. Big businesses in developed countries have
become multinational corporations which invest capitals, dispatch employees
into developing countries, and which produce and sell products or services
in developing countries. Once an unstable situation or conflict occurs
anywhere in the world, the activity of big businesses will be severely

While big businesses compete one another, they aim to gain profits stably
throughout the world and they, therefore, have a common interest; the
presence of military powers. As Japan can't send the 'Self-Defense' Force
abroad, Japanese financial circles make the Japanese government cooperate
the New Guideline positively. This is the reison d'tre of the New
Guideline. The similar structure is also formed in NATO in April 1999.

The New Guideline will involve Japan into global armed intervention
strategy of U.S.. It will never promote people's peaceful future in the
world but broaden multinational enterprises' principles worldwide.

The interests of big business has been the top priority of the Japanese
administration. As a reflection, Japan is facing the unemployment problem,
death for overwork, cutting off on welfare, medical care and education,
increasing cases of suicide, and juvenile delinquency. Uni-dimensional
application of market mechanism resulted in global environmental problems,
worldwide destruction of the conventional agriculture and industry, pillage
of natural resources, and poverty. It destroys cultural diversity and
locality. The U.S.- Japan Military Alliance will enhance such evils of the
20th century. The New Guideline is the biggest obstacle to establish
sustainable society where peace, human rights and environmental protection
are fully respected.

Dependence on Okinawan bases is, however, Achilles heel of U.S. and Japanese governments. It is because people of Okinawa show intensive public opinion
and activity for peace. By way of efforts not to allow intensifying the
bases in Japan including Okinawa, we can stop the Guideline from putting it
into effect.

As the essence of the guideline reveals, opposing movements against it are
increasingly taking place in Japan and the world. When widening movements
bear fruits of withdrawal of the U.S. Forces in Japan, the world people
will experience epoch-making change: The strength of U.S. Forces in Japan
reaches 20 percent of 260 thousands U.S. soldiers stationed abroad. In Asia
and the Pacific, Japan and South Korea are the only nations which allow
U.S. to station more than 400 soldiers in their territory. Withdrawal of
the U.S. Forces in Japan will drastically secure peace in Asia-Pacific area.

2. A Scientific Survey on Possible Effects of SACO on the Environment

2-1. Introduction

The SACO final report in 1996, declared that the new offshore air base, an
alternative of Futenma Air Station, would be built in Henoko area of Nago
City. Henoko Village is surrounded by Marine Corps bases, Camp Schwab, and
facing to the Pacific Ocean. The alternative base was called 'the Offshore
Base', and supposed to be an area of 90 hectare with a 1,300-meter runway,
and to be built on a lagoon (reef flat), a part of training water areas of
Camp Schwab.

A scientific survey team was organized on the initiative of the Japan
Scientists' Association (JSA). Japanese government also dispatched a survey
team to Henoko. In 1997, both teams made investigations on the areas where
the construction of a new base was scheduled, and announced the results of
their own researches respectively. The government concluded in the basis of
the survey that the new base itself would be safe and the possible effects
of the construction of the new base to the environment and citizens' life
around it could be minimized. The survey team of JSA et al. announced,
based on the investigation of the area and the analysis of the governmental
report, "The governmental report is not scientific. If the new base is
built based on the governmental report, all phases of citizen's life and
the environments will possibly be much damaged."

Nago City carried out a referendum about the new offshore base. Japanese
government intervened in the referendum positively and performed P. R which
asked citizens for support of a new base. As a result of the referendum,
citizens' choice which opposed to building the new base irrespective of
conditions, such as 'economic aid', was clarified by voters' absolute

In spite that citizens of Nago refused the plan, both U. S. and Japanese
governments persisted in building the new base in Henoko. In 1999,
Corresponding to the inquiry of Japanese government, Governor of Okinawa
Prefecture and Mayor of Nago City accepted a revised plan of the new base
with some conditions. The conditions included inquiries from Okinawa such
as the joint use of the runway of the new base by military and civilian
airlines, expiration of the base-use after term of the 15 years,
reservation of the environment, citizens' life circumstances and health,
and so forth. Although the concrete plan of a new base has not been
clarified, it will be larger than the offshore base plan in 1997.

Therefore, a project to make a larger-sized aviation base in the same place
as the Offshore Base scheme in 1997 began to be promoted. Both governments
already rejected the proposal to limit the term of base use. This fact
means that the demand by Governor of Okinawa and Mayor of Nago has been

2-2. Possible Effects of the Planned Marine Aviation Base on Marine Ecosystem

The seashore area within 15 kilometers from the planned site shows
significantly rich biodiversity. All over the site, there are coral reef in
good condition and large sea grass beds.

There is 173 hectare of sea grass bed in the Henoko water area, the third
largest area or 18 percent of the total area of sea grass bed in Okinawa.
Especially, the lagoon of the planned site by Henoko village has 100
hectare of meadow consisted of excellent communities of various species of
sea grass and seaweed. The authorities of Okinawa Pref. specified the
Henoko area as 'Class I' protected water area where the environment is to
be strictly protected by the Guideline for Protection of Natural
Environment of Okinawa prefecture.

Okinawa Island is well known to be the northern limit of the distribution
of dugongs in the Pacific, herbivorous marine mammal. A study group of
dugongs (Tosio Kasuya et al. 1998) pointed out, "information obtained from
aerial and subsurface surveys and the collection of many sighting reports
strongly suggested that the small population of dugongs off (the east
coast of) Okinawa Island is the only one remaining in Japanese waters. For
the conservation and recovery of the population it is most urgent to stop
net fisheries and disturbance by other human activities, and to conserve
the locally surviving sea grass beds."

The water area off Henoko is thought to be not only a feeding area but also
a reproduction area. Feeding of dugongs has repeatedly observed in the sea
grass bed there. The dugong is an animal which is protected by both
international and Japanese law: It is specified as CITES I and VU A1
(vulnerable species) in IUCN Red List and established as Protected Animal
in Japanese domestic law in 1972.

The research team of the government organized for the Offshore Base project
in 1997 tried a sighting of dugongs for only five days. Though they found a
dugong once during their shortest term investigation, they neglected to
refer to the possible effects to dugongs in their report, just because the
sighting spot was just outside surveyed water area. They also carried out
survey on sea grass community during May to September. It was an
investigation of an unsuitable stage, because the sea grass community
develops in low-temperature seasons from autumn to spring.

Destruction of coral reef and sea grass beds is inescapable at the planned
site of the base. And the environmental change caused by construction of
the facility would become a stress agent to wildlife in the wide area
around the site.

2-3. Effects on Mangroves and Sea Turtles

There are oviposition sites of sea turtles to 7 kilometer north of the
planned site. The pupils of Kayoh Elementary School observe the oviposition
and eclosion of sea turtles there every year. Three species of sea turtle
such as hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, CITES I, CR [Critically
Endangered] A1abd+2bcd in IUCN Red List), green turtle (Chelonia mydas,
CITES I, EN [Endangered] A1abd in IUCN Red List), and loggerhead turtle
(Caretta caretta, CITES I, EN A1abd in IUCN Red List) is found to oviposit
(lay eggs) at sandy beaches in Nago. It is necessary for the oviposition of
sea turtles that the sands are not polluted by chemicals nor disturbed by
human activities e.g. running about with automobiles. And it is also
indispensable there is no lighting along the coast near the oviposition
sites at night. Landing lights of the aviation base can have harmful
influence over behavior of sea turtles.

There are 12 mangrove stands in the coast which may receive direct effects
of the planned base. Three largest-scale mangroves in Okinawa are located
in less than 15 kilometers from the planned site of the aviation base. The
mangrove in Gesashi Village is classified to the protected areas by
Japanese government in 1972. This stand is the northern limit of Rhizophora
stylosa, one of major mangrove components. The mangrove in Oh-ura Village
is the protected area established by Nago City. The mangrove in Kin Town is
also a very important stand as the northern limit of Lumnitzera racemosa.
The circumference of the Kin mangrove is specified to be the refuge region
of wild birds.

Considering their susceptibility to petroleum or the chemicals, it is
obvious that the aviation base will be a threat against mangrove forests or
sea turtles in Okinawa. The environmental contamination by outflow of oil
or hazardous substances have repeatedly occurred at two military airfields,
Futenma and Kadena, in Okinawa as mentioned below. There exists no reason
for believing that contamination cases do not happen exceptionally on the
planned base.

2-4. Effects of SACO on Terrestrial Ecosystem

Japanese and U.S. governments promote many plans of base construction which
will destroy natural environment. The worst example is the reinforcement of
a northern training area of U.S. marine corps. In SACO, instead of
returning the north part of the northern training area, seven paved
helicopter (or VTOL plane such as V-22) pads with a diameter of 75 meters
and new roads to the helicopter pads are planned by cutting down the
natural forests of the southern part of the training area. The north
training area is rapidly strengthened as the only "Jungle Warfare Training
Center" in the world which U.S. Forces have, as the result of returning the
U.S. bases in Panama. In addition to this reinforced training site, a new
marine air station is going to be built, which will support the training of
helicopters or MV-22 Ospreys. The planned site of deforestation is located
at the center of "The Forest of Yanbaru", a subtropical forest dominated
with chinquapin (sweet acorn, Castanopsis sp.) trees, Okinawan oak (Quercus
miyagii) trees and Schima wallichii trees (Yanbaru: a mountainous region of
northern part of Okinawa Island). Because of its supreme ecological status,
Japan Scientists' Association, Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and
Zoology, Okinawa Biology Society, The Ornithological Society of Japan, WWF
Japan etc. have successively submitted the decision and request to protect
the forest. Preservation of biodiversity is internationally being
recognized as an important antecedent task of human life in the 21st
century. This too much indifferent decision about the destruction of nature
will probably be faced with severe criticism by activists or researchers of
not only peace movement but ecosystem preservation movement in the world.

Enhancement of these military bases is also performed based on SACO advice.
Especially the northern training area where enhancement is most intense is
the hard core division of an internationally precious "the Yanbaru Forest".
The name of the northern training area was recently changed into "Jungle
Warfare Training Center" and it is strengthened as the U.S.. Forces' only
training establishment in the world. In addition to that, SACO decided to
offer a new ocean space, new land areas, and large-sized helicopter pads
which can also correspond to Ospreys. These new offerings of course
requires deforestation and land reclamation. New Urasoe military port
which is strongly connected with the enhancement of marine corps requires
reclaiming the only natural seashore in Naha circumference.

2-5. The Severity of Estimated Effects of Contamination Accidents

Serious environmental disruption is estimated in regard to the application
of a marine corps aviation base as follows. The most impending crisis is
marine pollution by the chemicals e.g. outflow accidents of petroleum such
as aviation fuel. Since the Offshore Base project was promoted in 1997,
Japanese government has been advertising that sufficient measures would be
taken to prevent outflow accidents of oil. It was an argument which
disregards the violence of weather and the actual condition of the existing
military bases. Leakage of petroleum occurs on the existing bases as
frequently as once a year in an average, and already 2 cases in this year.

Scientists of JSA have often pointed out that it will be impossible to take
measures if the accident happens at the time of heavy rainfall .such as
typhoon. If it is counted based on the draft of the offshore base raised in
1996, the total volume of water on the base under the rainfall of 30 mm/h
will amount to around 30,000 tons per an hour. Thus the dispensation of a
composition is impossible if vast quantity of rain water is polluted by
fuel etc. Although specifying the accident shop floor of coal oil outflow
and taking localized measures is considered, who can cope withit under the
worst conditions of strong wind and rain?

In the case of an oil leakage, the contaminated area is usually surrounded
with an oil fence, for preventing the spread of oil on the sea surface.
However, the outflow accidents of oil from a tanker happened in Japan Sea
near Honshu in 1997, the oil fence could not be installed because of high
waves. Oil-neutralizing chemicals was not applicable to the case, regarding
the influence on the ecosystem. According to the governmental report, the
height of the wave in the planned water area off Henoko grows up to 13
meters at the time of a typhoon. Moreover, a surrounding ecosystem is very
precious and is susceptible to chemical substances. It is inevitable to be
seriously damaged with petroleum or chemicals.

It is necessary to assess the possible effects of the pollution accidents
by other chemicals from U.S. bases. In military installations, even if NBC
weapons are not stored, other various hazardous materials are used. And it
is one of the characteristics of military forces, especially of marine
corps, to dare carry out training under the bad conditions such as in the
rain or/and in the night. Because of a wall of military secret, it is not
disclosed what kind of hazardous materials are stored, how and how much
they are used. Therefore scientists cannot take sufficient measures to
verify safety and get ready for the accident which may happen at any time.

In the U.S. bases in Okinawa, pollution of soil, underground water, and
rivers has frequently happened, which was caused by heavy metals such as
coal oil, PCB dioxin, mercury, and cadmium, etc. Chemical substances are
also left where they were used. Even if a new military base is not built, a
lot of hazardous contaminants have already polluted the environments in
Onna Communication Cite, Kadena Ammunition Storage, Kadena Air base, Camp
Zukeran, and so forth. In Torishima bombing training area, uranium is still
left behind, which came from depleted-uranium cartridge shot "by mistake"
during the training. The tixic waste containing PCB which were produced in
the U.S. military bases in Japan, including Okinawa, were to be removed to
U.S. home country. Landing of the waste products were rejected in Seattle,
Washington, in April. Canada, which was due to commission to process the
substances, also rejected its acceptance. Therefore, the waste products
were returned to Japan.

Thus, in the U.S. bases, the measures which prevent the
environment-pollution cannot be taken effectively and the generated
pollutants cannot be processed properly, either. It seems as though such
project as building a new base within the restricted water area might
encourage dumping of hazardous substance to the sea. The Japanese
government should assure that the new base can prevent contamination cases
unlike the all existing bases in Okinawa.

2-6. The Environmental Load by Domestic Waste or Water Demand

Building a new base in Henoko brings 3000 or more marine personnel.
Domestic waste water and garbage from these personnel will become serious
stress factors to the surrounding environment. Japanese government will
have to pay for construction of plants for sewage treatment and waste
disposal. Fresh water demand also increases. Water is not used only for
soldier's life, such as eating and drinking. Since the aircraft made of
hybrid metal are highly susceptible to corrosion by salt, the body must be
fully washed with fresh water after low altitude flights over the sea. The
new base will need plenty of water to wash aircraft everyday. Water
resources are supplied from the forest of Yanbaru. Too many dams have been
founded in Yanbaru in order to supply water, which damaged the ecosystem of
rivers. Building a new base means to promote destruction of river basin
ecosystem in Yanbaru.

2-7. Accidents of Aircraft

Transference of the air station of marine corps does not mean to cancel the
environment disruption and harm to human life derived from incidents and
accidents by marine corps of today.

Although the unit of Futenma Air Station had frequently caused aircraft
accidents, there is accidentally no case in which Okinawan people were
involved. There is much probability of occurrence of an aircraft accident
involving residents. There is another reason that citizens were not
involved in the accident in Futenma Air Station located in the middle of a
city. The characteristic of the accidents caused by the Futenma units is
that they frequently occurred in the places away from the base. Forty six
accidents out of 51 which occurred from 1972 till 1997 happened in the
places 1.5 kilometers away from Futenma Air Station. In recent years, crash
and emergency landing occurred in the circumference of training areas far
away from the air station such as Kin Town, Nago City, Higashi Village, and
Kunigami Village. These facts tell us that, unlike civilian aircraft which
has the largest risk at the time of take-off and landing, the most
dangerous situation of military aircraft lies in the period during the
training of operation.

In addition, it must be pointed out of the danger of Osprey which are to
be disposed in U.S. marine corps in Okinawa. The first V-22 Osprey is
scheduled to be disposed within two years and to be introduced to Okinawa
in 2006 fiscal year. V-22 caused crash accidents in 1991 and 1992. In April
2000, it crashed and was destroyed by fire in the private-sector depot of
Arizona after it took off from Yuma base, Arizona, for night training, and
all of 19 crew members were killed. Defense Secretary Cohen said about the
accident, 'This accident shows how U. S. Forces' training is dangerous.
When cruising in the dark with apparatus, more burden is added to the crew
members." The weather at the time of the accident was fine. Since Osprey is
to be disposed as the invasion transport, search,and rescue plane of all
weather types, training and tactics in the affiliation base will be
performed under the condition more dangerous than the time of this
accident. Since the disposal of lots of Osprey which cause frequent
accidents is carried out and intense battle training is performed, we are
apprehensive that aircraft accidents by marine corps will happen in
circumference of U.S. bases in whole Japan as well as in Okinawa, because
marine air crafts in Okinawa fly to Japan mainland for training.

The aircraft accident is a big problem linking directly to the citizen's
security. Even if the accident occurs in the less populated area in
Okinawa, there are very precious treasures of nature there. A dreamy
technology which enables to preserve natural environment or restore
deteriorated environment has not established till today and cannot be
attained in a short period. Therefore, as long as the substitution base of
Futenma Air Station is planned as a core air base of marine corps, it is
inescapable that the new base will bring environment disruption in the
large area in Okinawa.

Moreover, the marine-corps aviation units are performing training in the
U.S. facilities and areas such as northern training area, Camp Hansen, Camp
Schwab, Ie-jima airfield, Torishima bombing site, and a vast sky and ocean
training space which surrounds Okinawa Island. The reaction to the
environment which the substitution base of Futenma Air Station and marine
aviation unit will bring does not remain on the outskirts of the scheduled
ground of a new base but spreads all over Okinawa .

2-8. Policies on Environmental Conservation of Government of Japan

At the last, it must be emphasized that Japanese government and the leading
parties have promoted policies which made light of protection of natural
environment. There is no reason that both governments of U.S. and Japan,
without clarifying the concrete scheme of construction and the application
of the new base, boast there will be no reaction to the life and natural
environment. The government and the government party should have respect
for the referendum which is the most direct declaration of citizens to the
ruler and are responsible for protection of natural environment. But they
have ignored both.

It is already clear with other cases with what posture they deal with
these issues. For example, in the case of referendum in Tokushima city
which asked the prosperity of probable environmental destruction by dam
reconstruction, the government advised the citizen to abstain from voting.
The Minister of Construction and a key man of the government party
respectively referred to the referendum "incorrect operation of democracy"
and "Damn it with the referendum!" Mr. Mori who became prime minister of
Japan said in the past that peace movement in Okinawa is the result of
sedition by left-wing activists in education and journalism.

In order to make residents accept the policy of building new bases, a 100
billion yen area development policy is being carried out in Okinawa. Most
of the plan is accompanied with large-scale land development which are not
effective for the improvement of the infrastructure in Okinawa but highly
effective for environmental destruction. Building bases is performed as a
Japanese government' s public enterprise. Recent way of public enterprise
of Japan is severely criticized from other countries in the world. If Japan
and U.S. governments force to build new bases and reorganize the Okinawa
base for the reason of security based on careless inquiry, they will be
faced with global criticism. It is not allowed that the government decides
to build a new base in Henoko based on inadequate assessment like that of
the offshore base.

The marine corps, to whom Japanese government is going to offer new bases,
has a specialty to invade foreign countries and has no duty to protect the
country where it is stationed. The SACO lines are not acceptable, which
offer the area and a budget of Japan and lead the destruction of precious
natural environment for the purpose of cooperation with the foreign armed
forces which is going to do military hegemony in the 52% of area in the
world. If the government dare forces to build new bases, we have to say
that it will lose its capacity as a representative of Japanese people, and
that it breaks faith with the people in the world.

3. Peace Movements by Citizens and Scientists

The counter movement by the citizen has been formed in all the areas where
new bases are scheduled to be built based on SACO. The motion of Okinawa
prefectural people and Japanese mainland people who support the counter
movement is progressing. This movement is also being promoted by
peace-loving people in the United States.

Japan Scientists' Association formed a scientific survey team in May and
November 1997, and published the survey report on the planned marine-corps
offshore aviation base. Ten thousands copies of leaflet summarizing the
report were distributed to the citizens of Nago city. They also held
explanation meetings about the expected reaction of the new base. When the
referendum was carried out, they participated in the P.R. activities. The
expenditure for the survey and P.R. activities was paid with the donation
from the scientists all over Japan.

Even after that, JSA observed the issues of Okinawa base, and submitted an
advice document to Japanese government and Okinawa prefectural governor in
1999. In 2000, we submitted an open letter to Mayor of Nago city and
governor to point out the problems of building a new base. JSA held some
events in Okinawa: the 11th JSA interdisciplinary congress in 1996, an
annual symposium of Okinawa branch in 1998, a symposium of Kyushu area
division in 1999, and a joint symposium on 'the International Year for the
Culture of Peace' in 2000. These symposiums and assembly contributed toward
clarifying the relationship between the 'New Guideline' and SACO and toward
leading public opinion. Furthermore, under the affiliation of JSA, Okinawa
Peace Committee published 3 kinds of pamphlets about a marine-corps
offshore aviation base (1997), Urasoe military port project (1998), and the
New Guideline (1999), and sold 5,000 volumes, respectively. Such
cooperation with peace-movement organization and citizen groups has been
carried out daily. Such movement of the scientists gave influence to the referendum in which the citizen rejected the construction of a new marine avi
ation base. It also contributed to the acceleration of the subsequent peace
movement in Okinawa and Japan mainland.

Such activities are the highest mission of JSA. It is because one of the
purposes of JSA is "to oppose the reactionary use of science and cooperate
in utilizing science to serve the interests of the people; and to
strengthen solidarity with all other movements in and out of Japan for
peace, independence democracy, social progress and better living
conditions. "

It is expected that popular voice which asks for base withdrawal of Okinawa
will expand inside and outside of Japan, recognizing the reorganization of
Okinawa base is keystone of America's world strategy of war in the 21st
century. JSA promotes the activities for it. Simultaneously, it is hoped
that the scientists and the people in the world think the issues of
Japan-U. S. new guideline as their own problems.

Furthermore, we are proud of the Constitution of Japan which determined as
follows: "Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and
order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the
nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international
disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land,
sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be
maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. "

The Hague appeal for Peace Conference in May 1999 demanded 'Ten Fundamental
Principles for a Just World Order, and the first principle was "Every
parliament should adopt a resolution prohibiting their government from
going to war, like the Japanese article number nine". Article 9 of the
constitution of Japan is highly regarded by the NGOs for peace movement in
the world. The UN decided this year 2000 to be the international year for
the culture of peace. It is not the New Guideline and SACO policy but the
spread of the article nine that are in accord with the international stream
on peace construction.

JSA will try their best so that Japan may acquire an authoritative position
in the international community in the 21st century by practicing the
Constitution of Japan, not by relying on Japan-U. S. military alliance.


The author is deeply grateful to Mr OSHIRO, Yasuhide and Ms ARASHIRO,
Yoneko of JSA Okinawa branch and Okinawa Peace Committee who cooperated for
translation of this paper into English.

Literature cited

JSA (1997) A report of scientific survey team on the US Offshore Base
Project in Okinawa. JSA, Tokyo. (in Japanese)
SIPRI (1976) Ecological consequences of the Second Indochana War. SIPRI,
Kasuya et al. (2000) Japanese dugongs, their current status and
conservation measures required. Proceeding of 5th Dugong Symposium, Dugong
Network Okinawa.
Published documents by JSA, Okinawa Peace Committee, Okinawa Prefecture,
Japanese Government and the U.S. Government.

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