Subject: [cwj 62] NGOs link military to environmental damage
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 18:48:12 -0700
Seq: 62

NGOs link military to environmental damage
Asahi Evening News 


July 18, 2000 

NAHA-Environmental groups are in the final stages of
preparing a message for the July 21-23 Okinawa
summit, following their adoption Monday of a
declaration urging Group of Eight leaders to put a stop
to worldwide environmental destruction caused by
military activity. 

About 200 members of nongovernmental organizations
from more than 10 nations wrapped up the five-day
International Environmental NGO Forum at Okinawa
University in Naha on Monday. 

They adopted the Okinawa Declaration, which urges
G-8 leaders to pay more attention to environmental
destruction caused by war and other military activities.

The declaration was to be officially announced today
at a news conference held in the Okinawa prefectural
government office. 

Forum organizers are to release the declaration to
foreign media at a separate news conference during
the summit meeting. From Thurs-day, when many
G-8 officials gather near the summit venue, they also
plan to urge the officials to take their message to the
table at the leaders' discussions. 

``We focused on the environmental impact of war and
militarization,'' said Okinawa University professor
Kunitoshi Sakurai, the main forum coordinator. 

``For example, it is not persuasive to simply oppose
U.S. bases in Okinawa without a scientific basis.
Through the forum, we concluded that the U.S. bases
should be removed, from the viewpoint of
environmental conservation,'' he said. 

The declaration proclaimed wars to be the greatest
source of environmental destruction and demanded an
end to the production and trade of all weapons. 

It cited defoliant used by the U.S. military during the
Vietnam War and depleted uranium projectiles used by
the United States and Britain in the Persian Gulf War
as examples of weapons causing both human and
environmental destruction. 

As for overseas U.S. bases, the declaration reads,
``The U.S. military is implementing a pollution
clean-up program for its domestic installations, but
does not carry out a similar program for overseas
bases.'' It called for an end to such double standards. 

The contents of the declaration reflect the proposals
of Saul Bloom, executive director of the Arms Control
Research Center in the United States. 

Bloom says NGOs should urge international
organizations to set up a system that would allow
citizens of countries in which the U.S. military is
stationed to obtain information on environmental
destruction and pollution resulting from U.S. military

He also proposed that the world's NGOs demand that
the U.S. government conduct environmental impact
assessments and disclose the results whenever it
builds a new overseas base. 

During the five-day discussions, NGO representatives
talked about how military activities are causing serious
environmental crises throughout the world. 

Nguyen Viet Nhan, acting dean of the physiology
department at Vietnam's Hue Medical College, reported
on the high incidence of birth defects in regions
sprayed with defoliant by the U.S. Army during the
Vietnam War. 

Sheila Velez from Puerto Rico spoke of high rates of
cancer and infant deaths among people living near the
U.S. military's Vieques Bombing Range. 

Lee See Jae, an executive of an environmental NGO
from the Republic of Korea (South Korea), described
oil spills and noise pollution near the U.S. Maehyangi
Air Base in South Korea.

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