Photo Credit: Sonata (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
By ACNS staff
Anglicans are among the supporters of a statement from the Okinawa Christian Council Committee opposing the construction of a new United States military base in Henoko within the Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa.
80 per cent of Okinawans were against the construction of the base and people opposing the new base “have been detained and intimidated by the prefectural police, coast guard and the security guard of the US Base and have been unable to speak up and act freely,” said Bishop of Okinawa David Eisho Uehara, chairperson of the Okinawa Christian Council Committee, in a letter to the members of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) accompanying the statement.
According to the statement, “The New US Base in Henoko must be prevented at all costs”, the new base was not a simple “relocation” of the older U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station as claimed but rather a move to construct a “full, strategic functioning base for the Army-Navy-Air Force”, with nuclear submarine capacity.
“[Doesn’t] the base and military force exist to protect the rights and profit of the people who owns money, authority and power?” Bishop Uehara asked, noting that the government, which had power and authority, was putting pressure on the people of Okinawa, who had neither.
History had proven that the peace “under armed force comes to an end with sad results at the end,” said the statement. “The Bible teaches us to [hammer] swords and spears to make ploughs which … bear life. The church has a role … to build friends in the world, and become a practitioner of the word ‘shall not learn war’ as written in the Bible.”
The Bishop asked Japanese Anglicans to give prayerful consideration to the statement and to possible ways to engage the tense situation in Okinawa.