Deliver the Spirit of Okinawa to the World
The citizens of Okinawa are a people who hope for peace.
Peace is the backbone which has supported Okinawa throughout
history and has become something even more powerful to those who
experienced the unprecedented Battle of Okinawa. It is also the basis for
their view of the world, in which they are very confident.
The words "nuchi-do-takara"(Life is the greatest treasure) which
symbolizes this reverence for peace, will surely last forevermore. The
saying "ichariba-chode"(Once we have met, we are like brothers and
sisters) has been carried down through the ages and represents the spirit
of Okinawa. The spirit of "yuimaru" or helping, supporting and coexisting
with one another, has overcome the ups and downs of history, and is
considered to be a great asset to the Okinawan people.
Throughout history we have realized that our nation and humanity as a
whole, should advance not in the direction of military power, but rather
towards friendship and goodwill by accepting, trusting and helping one
another. This rich culture which has made flowers bloom in the southern
islands, is the essence of the history of the Okinawan spirit.
50 years ago, while the dust of combat had not yet disappeared, the
first thing we set our minds on was the reconstruction of the peaceful
islands of Okinawa, whose culture was reared by our ancestors. However, as
if to laugh at the peaceful intentions of our people, the world took up
nuclear arms and rushed into the winter known as the Cold War. Furthermore,
like in the case of Korea and Vietnam, we have been forced to get involved
in issues of war. And now, 50 years since the end of World War II, the
situation regarding the bases has not yet changed in the slightest.
Approximately 20% of the main island of Okinawa, aˇˇprefecture
which accounts for a mere 0.6% of the nation's total area, continues to be
taken up by the huge bases and is forced to bear the burden of 75% of all
US military installations in Japan. This provides clear evidence of the
stagnant state of base affairs. The peace dividend that the people of
Okinawa Prefecture have been hoping and waiting for has been continuously
denied to them. The Okinawan people have not yet been allowed to benefit in
the slightest from this peace, On the contrary, the one thing we are
allowed to have is the unwelcomed presence of repeated military aircraft
crashes and other such terrible occurrences. We are also "rewarded" with
the destruction of our environment, including noise pollution and live
firing exercise which destroy the forests that are important to the
accumulation of our water resources.
Since the reversion to Japan, there have been approximately 4700
cases of base-related crime. These incidents pose a clear threat to the
way of life and precious existence of the Okinawan people. And then of
September 4, 1995, just as the people of Okinawa Prefecture had feared, yet
another detestable and disastrous incident occurred. This brutal act,
committed by three young American servicemen, is absolutely inexcusable.
We know the real evil and the fundamental cause of this incident
because we have experienced it during the Battle of Okinawa and the US
We saw the nature of the military on the battlefield during the
Battle of Okinawa and under the 27 year long US military occupation. Their
inhuman behavior was a disregard for, and a complete desecration of human
dignity. It contradicts the Okinawan spirit which is symbolized in sayings
such as "Life is the greatest treasure," "Once we have met, we are like
brothers and sisters,"etc.
Through the sacrifice of many precious lives and a lot of
bloodshed, we have reconfirmed our ancestors' unequivocally correct choice
not to bear arms and to deny the use of military power as a means of
This year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the end of World War
II, "The Cornerstone of Peace" was constructed in the Peace Memorial Park
in Mabuni, Itoman, the place of the last and fiercest battle of World War
II, the Battle of Okinawa, in order to pray for the souls of all those who
lost their lives during the war and to pray for everlasting world peace.
Over two hundred thirty thousand names are inscribed on "The Cornerstone of
Peace", irrespective of nationality.
Our heartfelt hope is to build a peaceful Okinawa and a world
without weapons. We are certain that this is the only way that the over one
million two hundred thousand Okinawans as well as all the people living in
Asia and the rest of the world, can coexist as human beings and live
together on the earth in the future. We appeal to the world to accept the
Okinawan spirit as its own in order to ensure that the tragedy that this
young Okinawan girl experienced is not repeated, and so that no one will
commit such terrible crimes ever again.
October 21, 1995
Okinawan People's Rally
Denunciation of the assault committed by the American servicemen
Demanding the reversion of the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement