Issues Arising from the Historical and Current Perspectives of Okinawa

Hiroaki Fukuchi
Director, Okinawa Human Rights Association

Introduction – On the Government Report

Looking through the Fifth Periodic Report of the Government of Japan, I did find issues on Ainu and Okinawa included in the headings. But in the text on Okinawa, there was no mention of the issues such as discrimination or prejudices. Therefore there is no way of criticizing the report as a whole. It is like an official gazette; an explanation of the judiciary and the laws related to human rights.

The criticism on Part 1 begins on the section on the “Constitution.” For 27 years after World War II, Okinawa had been a “human rights wasteland,” placed outside of the scope of the Constitution. For 35 years since the return of the islands to Japan, the people of Okinawa had been placed in a discriminated position, while the privileged position of the U. S. military was protected. Part 2 of the Fifth Periodic Report includes “Rights of Self-Determination” and “Concerns Pertaining to Foreign Nationals.” Okinawa under the occupation rule had no right to self-determination due to the U. S. policy of prioritizing military matters. After the return of the islands to Japan, Okinawa is still occupied by huge military bases, and discrimination remains with measures such as the Agreement under Article VI of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and U.S., regarding Facilities and Areas and the Status of United States Armed Forces in Japan (U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement) and Act on Special Measures, which place burdens only on Okinawa. The current ”re-alignment” of the U. S. military bases is being pursued under the same unconstitutional situation. Under the section on Article 3 of the Report on “Gender Equality Principle,” it mentions “Employment Measures” and “Protection of Violence.” Okinawa has one of the highest unemployment rates among the prefectures in the country, with the rate that is constantly twice as high as the national average (approx. 4% in the mainland, 8% for Okinawa). The government merely publicizes its employment measures, while Okinawa is left behind in this area.

Regarding Article 17, “Respect for Privacy, etc.,” it became apparent in June 2007 that organizations, such as the Okinawa Heiwa Undo (Peace Movement) Center, lawyers and journalists, who participated in meetings held in Okinawa protesting the Iraq War or distributed flyers were specifically monitored and investigated by the information unit of the Self Defense Force. This is clearly a violation of privacy, and interference of the freedom of thought. It is also a violation of Article 21 of the ICCPR, the “Right to Assembly.” The Report speaks of the resolution of the “Dowa problem” under Article 26, but the history of Okinawa shows that the right to “Equality under the Law” of the people there has continuously been violated. Regarding the “Rights of the Child” under Article 24, Japan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, later than many other countries, and it should mention that it was the 158th State Party. Children used to be punished by being having a sign placed around their necks for speaking in the local dialect. Today, the children’s health is being undermined by the noise of the U. S. military aircrafts. This government has permitted U. S. military tanks to enter the school grounds. It is inevitable, if the government is seen as merely putting together beautiful but empty words in the Report.

Regarding the “Restrictions on the Freedom of Expression” under Article 19 para. 2, all of Okinawa erupted in anger at the textbook authorization process of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which denied that the mass suicides were ordered by the military during World War II. The Report explains that the Ministry “examines the textbooks… and decides whether they are appropriate as textbooks. Those which are deemed appropriate are to be used as textbooks.” Yet the Ministry has evaded the issue by saying that they cannot interfere with the decision of the Textbook Approval Council. It has been revealed by a member of the Council that the Council approved the Ministry’s proposal without further discussions. The textbook authorization system, which is very similar to the pre-War state textbooks, is unconstitutional from the point of view of the “freedom of expression.”

Because the U. S. has the right to control the military facilities under the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, anyone entering the facilities (bases) provided by the Japanese government will be punished under the Special Criminal Act (under the U. S.-Japan Mutual Treaty). We are not allowed to take photographs. When U.S. military plane crashes or causes accidents, oil or fuel spills occur, prefectural or local government officers are prohibited from entering the site. We continue to protest against this situation, but the Japanese government does not listen. It is because as with the past “administrative rights,” the right of control is tantamount to right to extraterritoriality. The government itself is telling us to renounce our “Freedom of Expression” and “Sovereignty.”

There are other problems in the Fifth Periodic Report, but I would like to raise the issue of the government’s discriminatory policies in Okinawa from the perspective of fundamental rights and freedoms.

Okinawa, which is still under the colonial rule of the U. S. military, has been suffering from assimilation, kominka (transformation into Imperial subjects), discrimination and prejudice. I would like to explain the systematic and political discrimination that existed since the annexation of Ryukyu in 1879 (12th year of Meiji). For the 27 years after World War II, Okinawa was under military colonial rule, governed by the Executive Orders, proclamations and ordinances. It was not a society governed by rule of law including freedom and human rights. This could be seen in the assignment of the head of administration, denial of the right to travel, requirement for permits for publications, forceful deprivation of land, and crimes committed by military personnel. For 35 years after return to Japan, the government has prioritized the U. S. military facilities and military action over the rights and security of the Okinawa people.

1. Education towards Assimilation

1931 (6th year of Showa), the year I was born in, is the year that the “Manchurian Incident” occurred. It was the beginning of the “15 Year War.” Therefore I belong to the generation, which went through a thorough pre-war Kominka (transforming into Imperial subjects) and assimilation education. I would like to review the discriminatory education practiced by the Japanese government.

The abolition of the feudal Han (domain) and designation of prefectures in 1879 brought about the annexation of Okinawa. The Meiji government set “utmost priority in the prefeetural policy, on assimilating language and customs to that of the mainland.” Okinawa had been an independent kingdom in the Pacific for centuries, therefore the central principle in education in Okinawa was that education was the “only way in breaking the thoughts of bewilderment of the Okinawa people and assimilating them to the civilization of the mainland.” The discriminatory idea behind this was that anything from Okinawa was backward, while those from the mainland were progressive.

One of the pillars of assimilation education was the “improvement of customs,” beginning with the removal of katakashira (the topknot that Okinawa men wore during the Ryukyu ages). Cutting off the topknots began with government officials, teachers and students, and those who promoted it were the headmasters and teachers who came from the mainland. Forceful methods were used in the northern parts of the main island of Okinawa, and people who kept their topknots were not allowed to go to school. But there were people who hampered the efforts to remove this custom, and they were looked on coldly by their relatives and the public. In some cases, stones were thrown at them, had their engagement cancelled, or they were dismissed from school.

Nevertheless, the government, insisting that people of Okinawa should “learn even how to sneeze from the Yamato (mainland) people”, ordered people to wear Japanese (mainland) attire instead of Ryukyu clothing. In 1937 (12th year of Showa), when I started going to the primary school, everyone wore Ryukyu-style clothes, and went barefoot. When the removal of topknots was almost complete, there was a movement to introduce a prefectural ordinance to have primary and junior high school students wear Japanese-style clothes and change what the people wore from Ryukyu to Japanese clothing. But because Japanese-style clothes made of cotton were expensive, we wore clothes made of Bashofu (cloth woven from plantain fibre) to school.

Today, as with Ainu clothing, Ryukyu clothing is alive in weddings and festivals. It is probably because, although expensive economically, these clothes are suited to the climate, and are gaining recognition of the younger generation as symbols of their ethnic identity.

2. Kominka Education

When the Imperial Restrict on Education was distributed to each school in 1890 (23rd year of Meiji), it was treated with great importance in school ceremonies along with the photograph of the Emperor. School sports events would increase its militaristic color, with competitions in carrying straw rice bags, judo, kendo, naginata (pole sword) and militaristic gymnastics. I was made to perform, pretending to ride a horse, and saying that I liked soldiers, in a school event, The hinomaru flag (current national flag), Kimigayo (current national anthem) and other military sons were forced on the students of the national schools in the years from the Asia-Pacific War to the Battle of Okinawa. Memorizing and reciting the Imperial Restrict and bowing our heads in the direction of the Imperial Palace became official school events. Military training and drills were strengthened, and once officers were designated, reviewing troops became mandatory. Military songs urging fighting against China as the enemy was becoming popular.

Symbolic of the Kominka education was the deification of individuals; such as of a boy, who died singing the Kimigayo, or of a military officer, who was considered a god of war because he received the personal gratitude from the Emperor. In 1910, (43rd year of Meiji), the photograph of the Emperor was lost due to a fire at Sashiki Primary School, and the headmaster as well as the teacher who was on watch duty were dismissed.

As a result of the Kominka education, the sense of being subjects of the Emperor penetrated deeply among the people, to the extent that they would say the person they respected most was the Emperor, and the Imperial Palace was the place they most want to visit.

3. Movement to Eliminate the Local Dialect

In education towards assimilation, the elimination of the Ryukyu dialect and the promotion of the standard language (Japanese) were emphasized and pushed through.

Since the language and history in the textbooks in Okinawa differed from those of the mainland, standard Japanese was forced upon with physical punishment. Its feature as part of the assimilation education was to eliminate the Okinawa character. The prejudice against local and particular traditional culture, which was introduced to transform the language, customs and practices to those of the mainland, is related to the oppression. As a result, not being proficient in standard Japanese became target of discrimination, creating a sense of inferiority for the people. It was reflected overwhelmingly in the military and the community of emigrants.

In the barracks in Kyushu, soldiers from Okinawa could not understand Japanese sufficiently, and therefore were hit during training, or lynched. Many escaped; some went to China or emigrated to other countries, effectively refusing military conscription legally. The military draft was introduced in Okinawa in 1888 (21st year of Meiji) and there is a reason why it took many years since 1873 (6th year of Meiji), when it was adopted.

Among emigrants, because they could not communicate with those from Okinawa, discriminatory ideas grew among people from other prefectures. In fact, in areas where many people from Okinawa lived, such as Osaka (Taisho Ward), Yokohama (Tsurumi Ward), and Kawasaki (Kawasaki Ward) etc., many were discriminated for many years since the end of World War II, due to differences in customs and language.

The journal, Ryukyu Education, in those days carried the argument that the Ryukyu language was a dialect that should definitely be eliminated at some point in time by the normal language. By the end of 1900, the signs used as punishment for speaking the local language began to appear. In each school, speaking the local dialect was prohibited, and those who did, had the sign put around the neck, until it was passed on to the next person who broke the rule. It was as if those who spoke the local language were criminals. It seems that there were some areas, where they had the signs even after World War II. Such excessive movement to promote standard Japanese created a debate on local dialects in and outside of the prefecture.

Nihon Mingei Kyokai (the Japan Association of Folkcrafts) criticized the policy as follows. “Looking down on the Okinawa dialect humiliates the people of the prefecture and is excessive. The Okinawa dialect includes multiple forms of Japanese words used in previous ages, and is academically valuable. There are no such movements in other prefectures.” The prefectural authorities, however, ignored these voices and forced the standard Japanese on to the people.

When the Battle of Okinawa began, military orders were issued stipulating that anyone using dialects would be considered as a spy, and many civilians were executed by Japanese soldiers. American soldiers on the other hand, interrogated surrendering soldiers in the Okinawa dialect to distinguish “Japs” from Okinawa people. The Japanese officers and soldiers who could not respond to the questions were brought to Yaka camp as prisoners of war.

When I was a primary school student, the Women’s Defense Association was convened on moonlit nights, and female teachers taught standard Japanese to each neighborhood groups. Mainland people visiting Okinawa today are amazed that old people in the rural villages speak standard Japanese. When I was a student, a mainland person, who thought I was speaking in English, was astounded that I “spoke Japanese as well,” which in turn gave me a surprise.

Today, September 18 (kutouba) is designated the “Shima kutouba no hi (Day of Okinawa Dialect)” by a prefectural ordinance, and contests for using local dialects are held in schools. Times certainly have changed. Although the number of people who can speak the dialect perfectly is decreasing, the language was not eliminated. There may be regional differences, but there is a rise in the trend to carry on the language in schools and in the communities.

4. Jinruikan (House of Anthropology) Incident and Ethnic Discrimination

When talking of prejudice and discrimination of people of Okinawa, the Jinruikan (House of Anthropology) Incident always comes to mind. In a privately run pavilion, Gakujutsu Jinruikan (Academic House of Anthropology), outside the grounds of the national industrial exposition, held in Osaka from March 1, 1903, Okinawa women were put on display along with people of Ainu, Takasago (Japanese name given to an ethnic group in Taiwan), and Korean women. The incident has been reproduced in plays in Okinawa and has attracted attention.

The exposition was a national project, and even the Meiji Emperor attended the event. It is said that until its closing on July 31, 5.3 million people had visited it. It must have been an international event, such as the Okinawa Exposition in 1975 held to commemorate the return of Okinawa to Japan. The Gakujutsu Jinruikan was held in a corner of a pavilion. Here, two women from Okinawa were literally put on display. Porcelain tobacco pipes and a fan made from cycad were placed beside them to attract the curiosity of the onlookers. It is said that a person pointed at them with a whip, explaining, “these are…”as if they were monkeys or other animals. They probably saw the customs of the Okinawa people as strange. They were displayed as “academic specimens” of anthropology. The initial plan of the Jinruikan, was to display Chinese people as well, but this was abandoned after China protested. The display of Korean women was also removed after strong protest from the resident Koreans. The Okinawa women were able to escape from this humiliation after protest from Okinawa, particularly from the women. The Ainu and Taiwan people continued to be displayed, because there was nobody there to protest their treatment. The project organizers and officials who put on the display of Okinawa women probably saw Okinawa as a colony, just like Taiwan and Korea.

In those days, the Japanese looked down on the Chinese, using the derogatory terms, “Shina-jin” or “Chankoro” and for the people from the South Pacific islands, “Nanyo no dojin.” Africans were called “Kuronbo” even after World War II. Further discriminatory terms were used for example, Japanese from the mainland were called “1st class nationals, select nationals,” while people from Ryukyu (Okinawa) were called “Riki, 2nd class nationals,” and people of Taiwan and Korea, “3rd class nationals.” After the end of World War II, the U. S. government called the Okinawa people, who also used to be called quasi-mainlanders, “residents of Ryukyu,” indicating the consistent view that we were different from the other Japanese.

Until the end of World War II, “No Ryukyu persons” signs were put up on houses for rent in Hanshin and Keihin areas, where many people from Okinawa lived. In spinning mills before the war, Koreans and Rikis (Ryukyu people) were sometimes excluded from recruitment. We faced discrimination in employment and pay during the U. S. occupation, when we moved in groups to urban areas to find work.

During the Battle of Okinawa, quasi-mainlanders were discriminated against, and people of Okinawa were suspected of being spies. Rumors and views spread, that Koreans, people of Ainu and discriminated Buraku people would surrender to the U. S. forces at the first opportunity. But in the U. S. prison camps, the people of Okinawa and Koreans, both discriminated people, threw stones and shouted abuses to each other. In spinning mills and barracks, these people were continuously shouting abuses at each other, due to difference in languages and color.

5. The U. S. Military Helicopter Crash at Okinawa International University

On August 13, 2004, a U. S. military helicopter crashed in the grounds of the Okinawa International University. Schools should have been placed in the safest places.

The Futenma Base occupies the center of Ginowan City, where the University is located. It is a U. S. Marine Force Base, which causes many damages, with continuous noise, crashes and crimes by the U. S. personnel.

In August 2007, the prefectural police sent the documents on the case to the Public Prosecutors’ Office, as “violation of the Act on Measures against Dangerous Acts in Aviation,” on four unidentified U. S. mechanics of the Futenma Base. But the U. S. authorities maintained that the four had already been punished in its country, and they were not prosecuted.

During this process, the U. S. military had refused to allow investigation of the site and the crashed plane by the prefectural police, as well as questioning of the crew members. The U. S. military caused the accident, which could have been a considerable disaster, but it never mentioned regrets about the accident or apologies to the prefectural people, but instead praised the pilot’s techniques, for not causing a single casualty. First at the scene of the accident to put out the fire were the fire fighters of the Ginowan City. Words and letters of gratitude should have gone to these fire fighters instead of the U. S. soldiers.

This incident reveals the high-handedness of the U. S. military, which wields the right to control the military facilities. At the time of the accident, the U. S. prohibited even people from the University from entering the site. It dug up the ground around the buildings and carried it back to the Base. This raised doubts about depleted uranium ammunition. The issue of “extraterritoriality” remains the same as it was in the occupation period. Primary jurisdiction regarding accidents and crimes by U. S. military personnel outside of the facilities should have been transferred to Japan after Okinawa’s return to Japan. Primary jurisdiction may be under the U. S. when the accident or crime occurred during performance of duties, but there should have been no question about the police jurisdiction to investigate outside of the facilities. The Japanese government, however, showed no sign of protest. The prefectural police were investigating to establish and prosecute the case as an accident that caused damages to the prefectural people. But in the end, the strong wish of the people was ignored, and the case was closed.

The accident caused huge damages to a private facility, and significant uncertainty and fear among the residents of the area. They say even today, that they are frightened by the sound of the roar of the engines, and that they have not recovered mentally from the accident. It is impossible to remove the concern of a recurrence, as the causes are not publicized and the search of those responsible has also been left unfinished.

The U. S. military is also violating the U. S. environmental standards by storing depleted uranium ammunition and other toxic material in its facilities. It is the duty of the Japanese government to seek closure of the Futenma Base to prevent recurrence of accidents.

The U. S. report of the accident concluded that it was caused by the helicopter flying with a missing cotter pin, a connecting part at the tail of the craft, which the “mechanices” forgot to attach. It was impossible to compare it with the investigation results of the prefectural police. 62 years after World War II and 35 years after the return, Japan is still unable to exercise its investigative and judicial jurisdiction. It can hardly call itself a sovereign state.

6. Intrusion into School Grounds by U. S. Tanks

Schools became barracks for the Japanese forces and military training grounds at the time the Battle of Okinawa broke out. The U. S. forces are using the schools as training grounds during peace time, of all things.

On July 18, 2007, a U. S. armored vehicle entered the grounds of the Okinawa Prefectural High School for Children with Disabilities without permission. In the evening, five such vehicles entered the facilities of the Ginoza market for local and agricultural products, causing uproar among the villagers. The people of Okinawa were incensed that the place of their daily lives was transformed into a place of war, and the fact that even the U. S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement was not complied with. What cannot be understood is the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It tolerated the U. S. actions stating that there is no legal prohibition against entering these places. Professor Hiroshi Honma, an expert on the U. S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement commented that it was a violation of the Agreement, as the U. S. forces are not permitted to use private or public facilities outside of the U. S. facilities without permission. The Ministry’s attitude, tolerating such incidents, if they happen in Okinawa, is proof that it discriminates us.

Further, in the afternoon of August 7, not long after the incident, a U. S. military vehicle entered the grounds of the Prefectural Maehara High School in Uruma City. It had the audacity to circle the school yard. At the time of the intrusion into the School for Children with Disabilities half a month ago, the U. S. military had indicated that it would make efforts to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and finally the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had responded, that the intrusion without permission in school grounds was an act that causes concerns, and that it had made a request to the U. S. Embassy to ensure that it does not happen again.

The Ministry’s action was not a protest but a mere call to attention. The government will not turn its attention to the intentional intrusion that violates the rights of the people of Okinawa to live in peace.

7. Ammunition at Fukuchi Dam

U. S. ammunition continued to be discovered from the bottom of the Fukuchi Dam in the north of the main island of Okinawa, which is the main water supply for the people in the prefecture. On January 5, 2007, 1,500 paintball bullets have been confirmed as those of the U. S. Marines. On January 11, hand grenades and even what seems as flares were discovered. On January 15, further ammunition were found in Arakawa Dam (Higashi Village), and since then, altogether more than 16,000 ammunition have been recovered (according to the prefectural police report).

The Fukuchi Dam is a largest national dam, which supplies water to 60% of the prefectural population. We cannot remain silent about contamination of our drinking water supply. Drills with live ammunition are conducted daily in the surrounding areas, and the ammunition is left under careless control.

In the Northern training area, defoliant has been transported and sprayed in the days during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1962. The existence of official documents from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, recognizing prostate cancer as after-effect for those U. S. personnel who were involved in the activities, was reported in Okinawa only on July 9, 2007.

Water has strong links with Okinawa’s beliefs, and the Dam is a place of worship for “Insui Shigen.”(reverence to the water at its source) Unfortunately, it is also within the facilities provided to the U. S. military, and may be used at its will. At Takae in Higashi Village, where the Dam is located, the construction to transfer the helipad has begun. The area around Fukuchi Dam is in danger of further contamination.

The government allows drills in an area, where the Ryukyu Ayu (sweetfish), which was once extinct, has returned, and is also the habitat of the very few Okinawa Rail, which is also close to extinction. The attitude of the government that threatens even the lives of the people of Okinawa is typical of discrimination.

8. The Textbook Revision

The history of Korea, which, like Okinawa, had been invaded and annexed by another country (Japan), can be said to have the same roots as Okinawa. Namely, there was an assimilation policy before the war, and people were forcibly transferred by military order during the war. The Korean War broke out in 1950, and the country was divided at 38th parallel north through the demilitarized zone. Okinawa also was separated from Japan by Article 3 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and is today a military colony of the United States.

Before the war, the colonial education, which was successful in Okinawa, was brought straight to Korea. Many from Okinawa enrolled in the Korean Normal School, and became teachers there, while many teachers, who graduated from the Okinawa Prefectural Normal School, were sent to Korea. After World War II, the “Koreans” were also deprived of basic rights and freedoms by the Japanese policy of giving priority to U. S. military.

It goes without saying that Okinawa has also been left in a situation, in which the rights of the people were deprived, for 27 years under the Peace Constitution of Japan. To be free from the situation, the people of Okinawa hoped for the return to Japan, and began first of all with the unification of education. As one of the major initiatives, we had textbooks sent from the mainland, and began “education for Japanese people.” After World War II, Okinawa Prefecture had a publicly elected education board, of which I was a member, and therefore I was involved for many years with the issue of textbooks. While I was still active in the education field, I protected the independence of the teachers in their choice of textbooks. The entity that had the textbooks sent from the mainland, and sold them was the publishing company, Bunkyo Tosho, created by the teachers. Outstanding curriculum on human rights and peace were prepared in voluntary educational study meetings. Textbooks printed on mimeograph were attracting attention around the country. In the subject of history, in particular, Ryukyu history was taught, and the colonial rule that discriminated against the Koreans was emphasized in special classes. After the return to Japan, sub-textbooks were developed regardless of whether the subject was included in the entrance examination for higher education, to actively teach the history and traditional culture of Okinawa.     

But in textbooks in Japan, “Okinawa” was called “Ryukyu.” In maps in “geography” textbooks, a dotted line was drawn at the 27th parallel north, and the mainland and Okinawa were marked with different colors. For this reason, we organized a movement to have the government increase the volume of and use accurate texts on Okinawa and facts about the Battle of Okinawa.

After the return to Japan in 1972, the textbook examination system was introduced. Not only did this lead to a decrease in the texts on Okinawa, but the history of the Battle of Okinawa was distorted into a glorification of the war, so that the Himeyuri student nurse corps and Tekketsu Corps of mobilized students were described as having willingly cooperated in the battles and sacrificed themselves to the country. Further, the former commander and others brought an action of defamation demanding compensation against the author Kenzaburo Oe, who wrote that there was a military order behind the “mass suicides” of residents in Kerama, Zamami and Tokashiki Islands, as well as against the publisher, Iwanami Shoten. The ongoing Osaka District Court case has angered the Okinawa people, and the situation is looking similar to the earlier island-wide.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports is trying to erase the “mass suicides” that was forced on by the Japanese military (orders) from the new high school textbooks. It is obvious that the purpose of the school textbook examination process is to recover the reputation of the Japanese forces and to glorify the dying for one’s country. To maintain its ‘face,’ the Ministry is saying that it cannot interfere with the Textbook Approval Council. But at the sub-Council level, they are merely rubber-stamping the views of the Ministry without any discussions.

The Okinawa people’s rally calling for the retraction of the Approval Council opinion held in Ginowan City on September 29, gathered 116,000 people, including the Governor, Prefectural Council members, and 700 organizations, the largest gathering since the end of World War II.

In the general trend to return to the pre-war state of affairs, the Okinawa people’s right to select textbooks was denied, and the facts of the Battle of Okinawa were distorted in each of the quadrennial textbook examinations.

As someone who had been involved in the Ienaga case, which attempted to question the constitutionality of the textbook approval system, and the “comfort women” issue, I would like to work on the following.

1) There are surviving witnesses of mass suicides in the whole of the prefecture, and not just Zamami and Tokashiki. Their silent voices must be collected.

2) Efforts must be made to increase the number of those observing the Iwanami-Oe case in the Osaka District Court, and to lead to a defeat of the plaintiffs.

3) Solid teaching of modern history in schools must be ensured, and the “new revised textbooks” must never adopted.

4) New York Times reported on the deletion from the textbooks of the military involvement in the “mass murder.” We must appeal broadly to the international public opinion.

5) The will of the people of Okinawa is to have the Council opinion retracted. The authorization process must be reviewed.

9. Jet Noise and the U. S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement

It is probably impossible to imagine in the bases in the mainland how the lives of the people of Okinawa are threatened by the noise of the U. S. military aircrafts under the Status of Forces Agreement, which cannot regulate even that. The noise levels far exceed the regulated standards set forth in the Agreement, and even ignores the commitments based on the Agreement. The commitments to refrain from taking off and landing during nights and early mornings have not been kept at all. F 15 fighter planes are bringing great anxiety and loss to the people living around the Kadena and Futenma Bases.

In 2006, a survey on the health of 300 households in Kadena was conducted by the town authorities for the first time. On the noise level, 86 – 90% of the respondents replied it was either ‘very loud’ or ‘loud.’ The results show that of the 100 households in Higashi Ward close to the runway, 99% were suffering from the loud noise; with replies such as ‘finding it difficult to hear in daily conversation’, ‘the noise is disturbing conversation’, and ‘making it difficult to listen to television, radio or CD players.’ 55% said their sleep was disturbed, responding that they would find it difficult to go back to sleep once they wake up, do not feel refreshed, got hearing problems, or got buzzing sound in their ears. Of course, there is increased concern about aircraft crashes and “becoming targets, when the U. S. is involved in a war.” The results of the survey indicate that the military base has a serious effect on the health of the residents. It was to be expected, as 83% of the area of Kadena Town has been taken up by the base.

The government has neglected and ignored even this plight. It is a gross neglect of human rights. Although there are regulations limiting the passage of U. S. military aircrafts over schools and hospitals, as well as flight training on Sundays, not only are the regulations violated on a daily basis, but we also have yet to hear our government protesting these actions to the U. S. military. To allow the U. S. military such privileges only in Okinawa is proof that Okinawa is discriminated politically and militarily. The Special Criminal Act and the Omoiyari Yosan (Host Nation Support), which apply only to Okinawa, show that the time has not changed from the time of military colonization and occupation, when Okinawa was treated as a foreign country.

When the U. S. helicopter crashed on the Okinawa International University in August 2004, The U. S. forces prohibited the prefectural authorities from entering the site. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended the U. S. saying that it was to protect U. S. military secrets. It is an attitude prioritizing “military secrets” of other nations over the lives of the people of Okinawa, discriminating the people and ignoring their human rights. Nothing has been improved since the time of occupation, and the Status of Forces Agreement protects the willful actions of the U. S. military in Okinawa prefecture.