Demand for the Release of Yamashiro Hiroji and others:
It is two months now since Yamashiro Hiroji was arrested at Takae and detained at Nago police station. We are deeply concerned at the continuing detention of this key figure of the Okinawan democratic non-violent resistance, and of the four others now detained with him.
Despite it being well-known that Yamashiro suffers serious illness, the prefectural police continue to extend his detention by bringing a series of fresh charges against him. Why is it that his release has been repeatedly refused despite the fact that there is no fear of him resorting to violence or attempting to escape? It seems to us that his principal offence has been his refusal to bow in submission to the state that insists on the imposition of a base on Okinawa. Yamashiro may have cut some strands of wire .n order to inspect the damage being done to the Yambaru forest by contractors for the Defense Ministry. But is not the offence of those contractors who cut thousands of forest trees without permission far more serious than Yamashiro’s cutting of a few strands of barbed wire?
The denial of Yamashiro’s basic human rights is plain. For Yamashiro to be denied even the right to take delivery of a pair of socks, and for him to be marched in and out of court-rooms shackled and hog-tied like a serial killer or a terrorist, is an indefensible attempt to humiliate him. Prolonged detention takes a heavy toll of Yamashiro’s health. Such treatment by the local police authorities of this Okinawan peace movement leader is wrong and outrageous.
We call for the immediate release of Yamashiro and all five arrested just because of their involvement in the opposition movement.
December 16, 2016
Gavan McCormack, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University
Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Editor, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus, Brown University
Norma Field, Professor Emerita, University of Chicago
Mark Selden, Senior Research Associate, East Asia Program at Cornell University
Peter Kuznick, Professor, American University
Katherine Muzik, Marine Biologist
Douglas Lummis, Visiting Professor, Okinawa Christian University Graduate School
Wendy Matsumura, Assistant Professor, UC San Diego
Erin Jones, Researcher (Mesa, Arizona)