H.C.R. NO.



H.D. 1






requesting the president of the united states, the united states department of defense, the united states congress, the prime minister of japan, the japan defense agency, and the National diet of japan to take action to reduce THE UNITED STATES military presence in okinawa.



WHEREAS, since the time when Okinawa was known as the sovereign Ryukyu Kingdom before its colonization by Japan in 1872, the United States has had a long relationship with Okinawa; and

WHEREAS, the brunt of the tremendous number of casualties in the historic Battle of Okinawa in World War II between the United States and Japan were Okinawan civilians, amounting to almost one-third of the population; and

WHEREAS, since then, Okinawa has endured great hardships in its efforts to restore the health of its economy, land, and people on its war-torn island; and

WHEREAS, the population density of Okinawa is approximately two thousand nine hundred persons per square mile, nearly twice that of the island of Oahu; yet Okinawa is smaller than Kauai, at only four hundred sixty square miles; and

WHEREAS, the prefecture of Okinawa comprises only six-tenths of one per cent of the total landmass of the nation of Japan, yet seventy-five per cent of the United States' military presence has been concentrated in Okinawa for over five decades since World War II; and

WHEREAS, the people and the government of Okinawa have repeatedly appealed for land, air, and sea space to improve Okinawa's struggling economy and the well-being and safety of its people; and

WHEREAS, like Hawaii, Okinawa strives to diversify its industries from tourism and the military to strengthen its economy, which requires the return of facilities not needed for United States military purposes; and

WHEREAS, while some progress has been made to return or to provide for joint use of Okinawan facilities by the United States and Japan, facilities such as Kadena Air Base, Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, Naha Military Port, and other facilities, which make up twenty per cent of the land the United States military occupies on Okinawa and are scheduled to be returned to Okinawa, are still under negotiations; and

WHEREAS, since World War II, there have been numerous heinous criminal activities by United States military personnel that continue to damage the military's reputation and relationships locally and internationally; and

WHEREAS, the United States and Japan have both acknowledged the disproportionate burden placed on the people of Okinawa in the 1996 Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa and have pledged to dismantle and return Futenma Air Station by 2003 to Okinawa, but the station remains in operation with records of up to two hundred flights from the station that fly over residential and commercial areas; and

WHEREAS, United States military exercises result in recurring deadly accidents, such as the 2004 crash of a Kaneohe Marine helicopter into an Okinawan university near Futenma Air Station where the United States military physically halted local authorities from investigating outside military property; and

WHEREAS, the proximity of military instillations to urban populations has been shown to jeopardize the security of inhabitants and the health and development of infants and children around military bases such as Futenma Air Station; and

WHEREAS, the Okinawan people have been asserting their right to self-determination from the United States and Japan's military policies, as expressed in the Okinawa Prefectural referendum on September 8, 1996, which resulted in almost ninety per cent in favor of military reduction and the revision of the Japan-United States Status of Forces Agreement; and

WHEREAS, more recent polls, such as the August 2005 Okinawa Times poll reported eighty-two per cent of Okinawan citizens oppose base expansion; and

WHEREAS, the proposal for a mile-long off-shore heliport base near a world-class reef in rural northern Okinawa has been rejected by prefecture and municipal leaders, as well as the majority of residents who voted against the base construction in a 1997 referendum of Nago City; and

WHEREAS, numerous international scientific bodies, such as the World Conservation Congress, have condemned the construction of the proposed Henoko Village heliport as detrimental to the endangered dugong, an internationally protected sea mammal; and

WHEREAS, the people of Okinawa have symbolically shown their opposition to military base construction through community actions, such as a vigil on-going for over eight years, civil disobedience led by village seniors for over a year-and-a-half, and numerous incidents of linking of hands around entire military bases by peace-seeking peoples, including over 27,500 people around Kadena Air Force Base, the largest American air field outside of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the United States is engaged in fighting for the democratic rights of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq; and

WHEREAS, to honor and be consistent with these precious democratic principles, the President of the United States should respect the requests of the Okinawan people and reduce the military presence in Okinawa so that these military bases can be used for peaceful, economically sustainable uses, as enshrined in numerous international treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of which the United States and Japan are signatories; and

WHEREAS, the people of Hawaii, including the indigenous Hawaiian community and especially the Okinawan community, have a special bond with the people of Okinawa, as evidenced by the sister state-prefecture relation that was established in 1985, and are sympathetic to the feelings and human rights of the people of Okinawa; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-third Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2006, the Senate concurring, that the President of the United States, the United States Department of Defense, and the United States Congress, in concert with the Prime Minister of Japan, the Japan Defense Agency, and the National Diet of Japan, are requested to recommit their efforts to negotiate and expedite an agreeable solution for a potential relocation, adjustment, realignment, and overall reduction of the current presence of the United States military forces in Okinawa, and other Japanese land areas, with the intent to return land and facilities not needed for direct military purposes back to Okinawa Prefecture, as recommended by the Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa and the Treaty of Obligations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of the United States, the Department of Defense, and the United States Congress are requested to evaluate the distribution of forces in Japan and Asia, with due consideration of Okinawa's internal affairs and the international situation, and to first consider the possibility of reducing the overall need for military facilities in Japan before considering relocating those military facilities within Japan or elsewhere; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Japan, the United States Secretary of Defense, the Minister of State for Defense of Japan, the Commander of the United States Pacific Command, the chairpersons and ranking members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations Sub-committees on Defense, the chairpersons and ranking members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives Committees on Armed Services, the members of the congressional delegation from Hawaii, the President of the House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the National Diet of Japan, the Consul-General of Japan in Honolulu, the Governor of the State of Hawaii, the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, who in turn, is requested to transmit it to its member organizations.




Report Title:

U.S. Military; Okinawa