Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Okinawa Dreams #6: Asia Pacific Without Bases and Nukes

Just for clarification, there are two components to the conference that I attended in Okinawa last week.

The first component is an international forum on the topic of how to create an Asia Pacific region that is free of military bases and nuclear weapons. For this forum, there are roughly a 100 or so people in attendance, all of whom are the leaders of various anti-base, peace or anti-nuclear civil society groups throughout Japan. The title of this forum is “For a Nuclear Weapon-Free Peaceful Asia-Pacific without Military Bases – Solidarity among Okinawa, Guam and Asia-Pacific.”

The second part is the yearly Japan Peace Conference, which is always held in a part of Japan where the local community hosts US bases. Last year’s gathering was in Sasebo, in Nagasaki. This part of the conference is massive compared to the forum. The International Forum takes place in small hotel in Naha. The full-fledged peace conference takes place in a large amphitheater, that seats 2,000 people. The organizers for this part of the Okinawa meeting are expecting at least 1400 people to attend. 900 will be from mainland Japan peace groups, the remainder from Okinawan anti-base and peace-focused organizations.

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