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Remove Futanma Airfield Now and
No More US Marine Base within Okinawa or Anywhere in Japan:
JALISA Statement on Manila Declaration from the 5th COLAP
On the eve of Election of Governor in Okinawa

On November 11, 2010 a gubernatorial election for Okinawa is announced. Now we are turning a corner to choose a big future for Okinawa and Japan, or even for Asia.

We as lawyers, indignant over US military bases hedging Okinawa, sent fact-finding missions composed of international lawyers in 1969 and 1996 to find its real state of facts; in light of the findings and international law, the conclusion was that wholesale components of US military facilities in Okinawa in particular run counter against an "evolving standard of international law." Since September 1996 we visited the United States four times to ask the US Government, Department of State and Pentagon among others, as well as US Congress to take notice of these facts and recommendations made by the mission report, while at the same time we have had fruitful exchanges of views with peace-loving citizens and NGO's in the United States. The IADL or International Association of Democratic Lawyers, second oldest international NGO to which we affiliate, adopted consistently those resolutions in Cape Town 1996, in Havana 2000, in Paris 2005 and in Hanoi 2009, which demanded removal of all foreign military bases in the world and expressed fervent supports toward Okinawan people's struggles against military bases.

On the other hand democratic lawyers in Asia and the Pacific have convened by their own initiative conferences to express always the same concerns as in New Delhi 1988, in Tokyo and Osaka 1991, in Hanoi 2001, and in Seoul 2005 until at last the5th Conference (COLAP-5) in Manila adopted the Manila Declaration after a thorough discussion on "Peace and Human Rights amidst Global Economic Crisis and Conflict in Asia-Pacific" with more than 250 participants, mostly lawyers and handful citizens from 23 nations in September 18 and 19, 2010. It should be noted that the Conference "demands the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from the region [Asia-Pacific]. People in the region must rise up in struggle for peaceful coexistence as a means to mutual prosperity. All people have the right to live in peace, which is enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, recognized in the non-written Constitution of Costa Rica and declared in the United Nations Charter. Only through the work of the people and their lawyers shall peace prevail".

The "Manila Declaration" goes even further to say on sheer facts US military Forces make use of any pretext to visit or stay the Philippines and Costa Rica, that "[The conference] calls for the immediate removal of foreign military bases or presence in any form which may amount to the crime of aggression and are inconsistent with the rule of law and the right to peace." And the Declaration never fails to "particularly note[s] that the US has stolen Okinawa's best land and subjected its population to victimization by, and servitude to, its military forces." It also makes clear that these movements for peace may lead to establishment of nuclear-free zone with a hope to abolish nuclear weapons, as well as to promotion of peace education amongst people as a whole. It would be without saying that a regional mechanism is to be established to incessantly discuss and negotiate security and cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and that this initiative may be a hopeful option to choose in a view to build-up peace without recourse to military forces.

 We should take it serious that the "Manila Declaration" calls for conversion of our attitude from "Cold War Thinking" based on Mistrust and Rivalry to "Peace Creating Thinking" based on Trust and Cooperation; and that realization of Peace and Human Rights is a Hope everyone may cling to. We like to emphasize that now is time to decide which way we should choose.

November 11, 2010
Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association, JALISA
President Osamu Niikura
Secretary General Jun Sasamoto


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