Call for Government Accountability Office Investigation of Henoko Base Construction, Okinawa

The resolution attached below was passed at the August 2018 national convention of Veterans For Peace and approved by a vote of the national membership (591 to 5). It points out that the project to build a new US base at Henoko in northern Okinawa is a deeply flawed boondoggle, unlikely ever to be completed, and is being blindly pursued by the Japanese Government only to save face. It calls on the US Government Accountability Office to make their own investigation of this project to determine whether these allegations are true. Their 2017 report on the Marines in the Asia-Pacific region contained veiled criticisms of the Henoko project so there is a real possibility that they might do a full-fledged investigation. And such an investigation would probably kill the project, as it is riddled with engineering and planning flaws. To do such an investigation they need a nudge from the Congress. Please read the resolution and, if you agree with it, and if you are a US resident, please open the below URL, which will enable you to send the resolution automatically to the three congresspeople who represent your district. Just type in your address and zip code and the three reps’ names will appear; push the button and the resolution will be sent to them. It will take maybe two minutes. Thanks!

Douglas Lummis
Coordinator, Veterans for Peace-Ryukyus/Okinawa Chapter Kokusai (VFP-ROCK)

Tell Your Representative and Senators to Create a GAO Investigation Before Another Base Is Built in Okinawa

LINK: https://bit.ly/2Eu5C22


 

Whereas, GAO declared in its 2017 Marine Corps Asian-Pacific Realignment (GAO-17-415) that the runways at the proposed MCAS Futenma Replacement Facility in Okinawa are of insufficient length, and

Whereas, in doing so GAO declared itself competent to investigate the merits of this project, and

Whereas, other aspects of this project cast doubt on whether it serves US national interest, to wit:

*the majority of the once-sovereign Okinawans, now bearing 74% of all US bases in Japan, view this project as another example of the discrimination to which Okinawa has been subjected throughout its modern history, and

*because both of fierce protests and environmental problems, construction is years behind; and

*among the latter is the fact that the runways are to be built over a pristine coral garden, habitat of the endangered dugong, requiring an environmental sensitivity of which Japan’s Defense Agency seems incapable; and

* soil testing, begun in 2014, continues today, which means the Defense Agency has not yet determined that the sea bottom is sufficiently firm to support two runways (some areas are soft limestone, others mayonnaise-like slime); and

*adjacent the site are 19 electrical transmission towers, buildings including a college campus, and the Henoko Ordnance Storage Facility, all exceeding US military height limits; and
*two active earthquake faults lie beneath the site; and,

Whereas, on 28 July Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga began the legal proceedings required to revoke the permit, granted to Japan’s Defense Agency by his predecessor, to fill part of Oura Bay, triggering a legal battle that will surely cause further delays and possibly, should law prevail over politics, doom the project altogether; and,

Whereas, this project makes a mockery of the US military’s “good neighbor” pretensions and places its entire presence in Okinawa in danger, and

Whereas, the Japanese Government, obsessed with saving face, has not proved a reliable informant regarding this project,

Now therefore, Veterans For Peace-Ryukyu/Okinawa Chapter Kokusai (VFP-ROCK – an independent international chapter associated with Veterans For Peace) urges GAO to launch its own investigation of this situation, to determine the merit of these allegations, and to judge whether attempting to force this project through will be worth the cost – or, more ominously, the risk.