August 4, 2016
Joint statement Appealing to halt construction of Helipads at Takae, signed by 155 groups from 37 countries, and 5681 individuals
Today, individuals and civil society organizations from 37 countries released a statement demanding the halt of construction of U.S. helipads in the Northern Training Area, straddling the villages of Kunigami and Higashi in Okinawa.
The statement points out that forests of Yanbaru, in the northern part of Okinawa’s main island, where construction of the helipads is under way, is the habitat of rare and endemic species, including the Yanbaru Kuina (or Okinawa rail) and Pryer's woodpecker, and is a crucial area for the conservation of biodiversity.
The statement also condemns the trampling of human rights by the use of riot police to forcibly remove protesting residents, and asks both the United States and Japanese governments to immediately halt the helipads construction, which threatens to destroy livelihoods and irreplaceable nature.
Responding to the Japanese government actions to proceed with helipad construction and forcibly removing protesting residents and supporters, FoE Japan and numerous environmental and other groups gathered the signatures in five days via the Internet.
The organizations plan to continue appealing internationally to stop the Takae helipad construction, gather signatures and submit them to the Ministry of Defense.
Friends of the Earth Japan