Veterans for Peace calls for US government to reevaluate risks of Futenma replacement facility

August 27, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


Special Correspondent Yukiyo Zaha reports from Minnesota

On August 25, the peace organization Veterans for Peace (VFP), comprised of former military personnel and supporters, held a plenary session of its 33rd annual convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

VFP unanimously passed a resolution asking that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) independently investigate the plan to build a replacement facility for Futenma Air Station in Henoko, Nago City.

The Veterans for Peace Ryukyu/Okinawa Chapter Kokusai (VFP-ROCK), which is coordinated by Douglas Lummis, raised this resolution.

This resolution points out that there are alterations that should be made to the facilities as set out in the GAO’s 2017 Marine Corps Asian-Pacific Realignment (GAO-17-415), including that the proposed runways are of insufficient length.

It states among other items, that (1) there is soft ground in the ocean which has not been determined sufficiently firm to support the runways, (2) there are buildings in the surrounding area that exceed US military height limits, and (3) there are active faults below the site.

In addition, the resolution claims that the Japanese government has not proved a reliable informant regarding the replacement facility project.

With the resolution the VFP requested that the GAO conduct indepentent investigations, and asked that it determine the risks associated with forcing through construction of the replacement facility.

VFP Board President Gerry Condon said in an interview that this resolution is very strategic.

He mentioned that the GAO has already submitted its report on the Henoko construction plans, and that VFP wants the GAO to investigate the plans from a different angle.

Condon said that over the next week or two he wants to make contact with the GAO and put on the pressure.

The VFP was founded in the US and has branches in the UK, Vietnam, South Korea, and more, with membership of about 3,000 people.

This is the third time in three years that the VFP made a resolution concerning the plan for the Futenma replacement facility in Henoko, Nago.


A Unified Wish for Peace


Special Correspondent Yukiyo Zaha reports from Minnesota


On August 25 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, at an evening session of the VFP’s 33rd annual convention, VFP-ROCK members Alice Newberry from Washington, DC, and Shisei Touma from Yomitan Village spoke in front of about 300 people. They called attention to the necessity for solidarity not only with the sense of impending danger as soil depositing work in Henoko draws closer, but also in the fight for Okinawa, in the fight against US militarism worldwide, and in the fight against racial discrimination. Applause resounded throughout the meeting hall at these words.


Newberry’s mother Ritsuko was from Miyakojima City.

During her speech, Newberry mentioned the third day of Obon, which was taking place in Okinawa.

She said: “Obon is when our ancestors come back to visit us, and on the third day we send them home. With three days we celebrate our ancestors, and tonight as we send them back home I want to send them back with a promise. I want to promise them that there are freedom fighters and veterans right here in this room that will work to fight for the freedom of Okinawa, and for the children of Okinawa.”


Newberry continued, “My ancestors are survivors of war, and it was forced upon them.Today, many Okinawans suffer generational and historical trauma from US militarism. They cannot escape the memory of war, because it is living and with them today.”

In addition, she called for solidarity among diverse people as the root of the fights for peace are all connected; the Okinawa base opposition movement, the fight against racial discrimination and police brutality in the US, the existence of more than 800 US bases throughout the world, and many others.


Touma has been with VFP for three consecutive years. In his speech he expressed gratitude for the adoption of the resolution against the Henoko replacement facility plan, and said, “However, the Japanese government is still forcibly pushing through new base construction for the US. Their plan is to fill up our pristine ocean of Henoko.”

He said that this resolution requesting that the GAO conduct investigations “has the power to speak to the US government, which will then turn into pressure on the Japanese government.”

Hopefully, he continued, “I’m sure your voices opposing the proposed base in Henoko will give Ryukyu Okinawan people renewed hope and courage.”


Those gathered also took the time to remember those VFP members who passed away over the previous year, and expressed their messages of condolence at the passing of Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga as well.


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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