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Faculty Opinion and Commentary

Faculty Opinion and Commentary

   The essays listed on this page were written mostly by Okinawa International University faculty members, but essays by faculty from other universities are also included. See also our Student and Citizen opinion pages.Short messages are compiled on this page. Longer essays are published on separate pages.

 Short essays (on this page)
 Longer essays (separate pages)

 To Okinawa International University:

   My name is Kazuyoshi Katayama, and I am an associate professor in the Faculty of Economics at Sapporo Gakuin University. One of the things I appreciate most about the relationship our university has with yours is our credit exchange agreement. Four years ago, two students from Okinawa International Universityfs Faculty of Economics came to our university on a temporary study program. They were excellent students and left a very favorable impression on me.
   I was shocked to hear about the tragic incident that occurred recently, and I am extremely angry with the U.S. military and the Japanese government. University property was destroyed, and the right to self-governance violated.
   Please allow me to carry information concerning this serious problem on my website. I read about your site today in the Ryukyu Shimpo, and I have provided a link on my homepage. I also posted a copy of the gResolution of the Faculty of the College of Global and Regional Culture in Protest of the U.S. Military Helicopter Crash.h I hope that you donft mind. My apologies for making this request after the fact, but I trust that you will find this acceptable.
   I send my best regards to everyone at your university. Good luck!

Kazuyoshi Katayama
Sapporo Gakuin University
August 28, 2004

 Make Okinawa a National Issue

   I was overseas at the time of the accident, and only heard about it when I received an email message from an acquaintance a week later in Tokyo. I frantically tried to get more information, but in Tokyo this was difficult, and I had to rely on the websites of Okinawa International University and those of local Okinawan newspapers. I was really struck by the fact that in Tokyo this incident is viewed as gan accident peculiar to Okinawa.h
   In 1995, I had the same perspective, and thatfs why I feel itfs essential to convince people not to see the problem as I once did. Otherwise, people will continue to view such accidents as unique to Okinawa, and fail to recognize that we are confronting a shared crisis—the casual trampling of human rights.
   Yesterday, after viewing the Russian-held Northern Territories off the coast of Hokkaido, Prime Minister Koizumi made a comment along the lines of gThis isnft just a problem for the former residents of the islands, or for Hokkaido; itfs a problem for all of Japan.h Since I was born in Hokkaido, I was pleased to hear this, but at the same time, I felt angry. Why canft Okinawafs problem also be seen as one for all of Japan? In order to make the military base problem a national issue, itfs crucial that we appeal to people outside Okinawa. As one who has come here from the Japanese mainland, I feel it is my duty to convey the voices of Okinawa to those outside the prefecture.

Kiyoshi Fujinami
Okinawa International University
September 3, 2004

 Nagoya Joins You in Protest

   My name is Yoshiki Sakai, and I teach at Nagoya City University. I also participate as a special researcher at your universityfs Institute of Ryukyuan Culture. When I saw the news flash reporting the helicopter accident, I quickly called the Institute and was informed that although the situation was grave, there were no casualties. I was relieved to hear that, but as I watched the progression of events, my relief soon turned to anger and disappointment—not only with the stances of the U.S. military and the Japanese government, but also with the media, whose meager reporting has failed to convey the facts, and with Japanese mainlanders, who on the whole have remained indifferent as they blithely watch the Olympics.
   I understand that a protest rally of Ginowan citizens has been planned for Sunday, September 5. Feeling compelled to take action, a group of like-minded individuals and I have decided to join you that day by appealing to people on the street in downtown Nagoya. We plan on having a display with articles from the two major Okinawan newspapers and pictures from your homepage, along with performances of traditional Okinawan song and music.
   The first order of business will be to inform as many people as possible about what has happened. Please provide us with various information and news that you have available.
   Also, a group of my students had decided well before this tragic helicopter accident to go to Okinawa on September 6 as part of a seminar research project. While we are staying in Naha, I will accompany my students to Okinawa International University. I would be pleased if we could hear from many faculty and staff members about the tragedy.

Prof. Yoshiki Sakai
Nagoya City University
August 28, 2004

 Putting the Problems in Perspective:Getting Back to the Essential Issue

   I have regularly spoken out about the dangers of accidents involving U.S. military aircraft, but having grown accustomed to the frequent sight of helicopters swooping overhead, I must admit that the sense of urgency has tended to wane.
   But now, the danger has become a reality. For those of us who work on campus, the thought of what would have happened had the accident occurred when classes were in session is too terrible to contemplate.
   I flatly reject the ludicrous proposal that the best policy for returning the Futenma base is to gsolemnly press forwardh with plans to relocate the base to Henoko, a move expected to take more than fifteen years. Such a policy puts our lives in constant danger.
   Futenma air base is dangerous and should be closed at once. Payments to landowners for the military use of their land, the realignment of the U.S. military forces, finding a suitable site for relocation, and other various conditions that must be fulfilled have all been used to justify maintenance of the status quo. But the Futenma base needs to be closed and returned immediately. Now that an accident has occurred, we absolutely will not budge on this point.
   Even those who argue for maintaining and expanding the Japan-US Security Treaty agree that the Futenma base poses serious risks, and that it should be promptly returned. Surely, the entire prefecture can come to a consensus at this point. In fact, isnft this what the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) has already agreed to?
   Letfs put the problems in perspective and get back to the essential issue.  Pointlessly delaying the return of the Futenma base out of love for public works projects is on par with murder.

Manabu Sato
Okinawa International University

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in the essays in this section are those of each essayfs writer and do not necessarily represent the views of No Fly Zone or the Okinawa International University Helicopter Crash Information Network.



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