VIDEO: Militarization: Destroying the Environment in Okinawa and the World

By Okinawa Interest Group, Peace Philosophy Centre, Okinawa Environmental Justice Project, and World BEYOND War, June 13, 2024

War and militarization are the Earth’s greatest enemies, and this remains especially true in Okinawa, Japan. The Battle of Okinawa during WWII decimated 200,000 human lives and destroyed much of the environment in the prefecture. The militarization of Okinawa, carried out by the U.S. occupation of Okinawa from 1945 to 1972, has created a dreadful situation: Okinawa, while accounting for only 0.6 percent of Japan’s land mass, bears approximately 70 percent of the land area used for U.S. military bases in Japan. As a consequence, the people of Okinawa have been forced to live with and fight against water and land contamination, unbearable noise from aircraft, the danger of aircraft crashes, and other forms of environmental destruction by the U.S. military.

In this open press conference, Abby Martin, an American journalist and filmmaker known for her anti-war and anti-militarization documentaries, introduced her film “The U.S. Military: Planet Earth’s Greatest Enemy” and provided an overview of how the U.S. military is destroying the Earth.

Hideki Yoshikawa, an Okinawan scholar and activist, explained how the Japanese and U.S. governments are destroying the environment of Henoko-Oura Bay in Okinawa, one of the areas richest in biodiversity in Japan, through the construction of an air base there, and how the people of Okinawa and the environment have fought back.

This was an open press conference organized by Okinawa Interest Group, Peace Philosophy Centre, Okinawa Environmental Justice Project, and World BEYOND War for journalists, media personnel, and anyone interested in learning more about how the U.S. military presence in Okinawa affects the environment.

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