February 26, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo
On February 23, the city council of Berkeley, California, passed a resolution in solidarity with the people of Okinawa, opposing the construction of a new base in Henoko, Nago City–the planned relocation site for U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The official motion demands the immediate and complete halt of the Henoko base construction.
In September 2015, the Berkeley City Council became the first American local council to pass a resolution opposing the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko. In December 2017, the council passed another resolution opposing the construction of U.S. military helipads in Takae, Higashi Village, and the subsequent training exercises.
The latest resolution offers background on Henoko and Oura Bay and explains that the prospective site is one of the world’s richest areas of biodiversity. The council noted that Japanese and American environmental groups previously brought a suit in the U.S. to halt the base construction, citing its effects on the endangered dugong habitat.
The motion also states that the soft seabed at the site has caused the construction time and costs to balloon, delaying Futenma Air Station’s closure. The council also noted the result of the prefectural referendum held in February 2019, in which more than 70% of voters voted “no” to reclaiming land at Henoko. Although the referendum established the will of the Okinawan people, the Japanese government, with support from the U.S., continues to reclaim land from the beautiful sea.
The resolution will be delivered to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee as well as Representative Barbara Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein, both of California.
(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)