Statement of Opposition to the Deployment of MV-22 Osprey Aircraft at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Station
Dear Prime Minister Noda and Defense Minister Morimoto,
We oppose the deployment of MV-22 Osprey aircraft at the Futenma U.S. Marine Corps Station, and support the immediate closure and return of the world's most dangerous base, Futenma Station, back to the local population.
We further deem it a calling for the Japanese government and our Church to act against construction of new U.S. military bases and to strive together for life and peace. This is revealed to us in the Gospel of Jesus, the Prince of Peace: "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword"(Mathew 26:52).
As members of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan), we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, in one spirit, and have been praying and working for the realization of a society where the life of each person is respected. Specifically, we have striven for peace from the point of view of Okinawa. The U.S. military bases in Okinawa are our grave concern. Specifically, on October 19, following the position of the U.S. government and military, the Joint U.S.-Japan Committee of Foreign and Defense officials has set rules for the operation of the Osprey and the Japanese government has declared that these aircraft are safe to fly in Japanese skies. Following this decision, the U.S. Marine Corps followed through with test flights in Iwakuni, where the Ospreys have been temporarily kept. Soon the Ospreys will be transported to Futenma station and low-altitude flight training will begin this October.
We oppose this decision and its process. This is nothing but an example of "Conclusion first, debate afterwards". The Japanese government is not listening to the voice of its people, and is thinking too little of its people's lives. On September 9, more than one hundred thousand people gathered together in Okinawa to oppose the deployment of the Osprey, showing their rejection very clearly. Back in August, the U.S. government cancelled training flights of the Osprey in Hawaii, in consideration of the local population's vocal opposition and the possible impact on the environment. Why then can it be declared safe and forced through in Okinawa? We do not understand this at all. Furthermore, the Futenma station, where the Ospreys are planned to be deployed, is in the middle of Ginowan City with numerous houses, hospitals, and childcare centers around. It has been pointed out that the dangers surrounding the Futenma station are the highest for any military base in the world. We think that allowing the Ospreys to be deployed and used at Futenma is a serious mistake. It increases oppression and danger to the Okinawan people beyond any reasonable point.
On the contrary, greater efforts for peace in Northeast Asia are urgently required. Holding dearly the Okinawan spirit, Nuchi du Takara (life is a treasure), we support the following:
?To stop the deployment of MV-22 Osprey aircraft at the Futenma U.S. Marine Corps station or any military base, and to repeal the permission for its flight training.
?To immediate close the Futenma station, and end its transfer to Henoko, which is causing anxieties and divisions among residents in and around Nago City.
?To transfer the amount of money in the budget for military bases in Okinawa into a budget used exclusively for peace-making efforts.
Bishop Peter Ichiro Shibusawa
Chair of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai Peace and Justice Committee
24 September 2012