Prominent Westerners oppose new U.S. base plan in Okinawa

Twenty-nine prominent Westerners, including U.S. academy award-winning film directors Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, on Tuesday declared their opposition to a plan to relocate a U.S. military base within Okinawa, Japan.

"We oppose construction of a new U.S. military base within Okinawa, and support the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment," they said in their statement.

It came after Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima last month approved the Japanese government's plan to reclaim land off Henoko on Okinawa Island for building a new base to replace the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan on the same island.

"Gov. Nakaima's reclamation approval does not reflect the popular will of the people of Okinawa," the statement said. "Polls in recent years have shown that 70 to 90 percent of the people of Okinawa opposed the Henoko base plan."

"The Henoko marine base project must be canceled and Futenma returned forthwith to the people of Okinawa," it said.

The initial signers of the statement are scholars, peace advocates and artists from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Additional names are being added.

Also among the U.S. signatories are linguist Noam Chomsky and historian John Dower, as well as Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department official known for leaking the secret Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.