International Program

Asian Women Peacebuilding Conference in Okinawa 沖縄ピースビルディング会議

12月7日から11日に、沖縄県宜野湾市を中心に、Asian Women Peacebuilding Conference in Okinawaが実施されました。会議には、日本、アメリカ、韓国、フィリピン、香港から13人の女性が参加し、ピース・ビルディングについて討議し、学びました。
Wesley Foundation hosted the Asian Women Peacebuilding Conference in Okinawa from December 7th to 11th in Ginowan City, Okinawa with 13 female Christians from Japan, the United States, Korea, Philippines, and Hong Kong. The main focus of this conference was militarization and women. They women discussed peacebuilding and ways to implement peace in our world today.

今回は、メインスピーカーに沖縄を拠点に活動しておられる「基地・軍隊を許さない行動する女たちの会」共同代表の高里鈴代さんとKorea Policy Institute代表のクリスティン・アンさんをお招きし、女性と軍事の問題に大きくフォーカスしたカンファレンスを実施しました。また、フィールド・トリップを多く取り入れ、多面的に軍事問題やピース・ビルディングを学ぶ貴重な機会となりました。
The two key note speakers were specialists of gender and militarization: Christine Anh, a representative of Korea Policy Institute, and Suzuyo Takasato, co-director of the Okinawa Women Against Military Violence. The sessions and workshops provided opportunities to deepen everyone’s insights on peacebuilding. This conference also offered exposure trips to actual sights of conflict and militarization.

Japanese participants from the mainland of Japan were shocked by the reality of the bases and the military presence in Okinawa. Their eyes were opened to the severe reality of the Okinawans. Okinawan participants were awakened to the situation in Korea. An Okinawan participant realized that Okinawa and Jeju Island actually shared many common traits and a common history with militarization. One participant said; “The situations of Jeju Island and also the Philippines are very similar now I see how it is important to have an international perspective when you think of the bases and military issues.”

This conference included three exposure trips and one of them was a visit to Henoko, where the US base will be relocated from it’s current location in Futenma. Participants were at a loss for words as they looked at the harsh reality facing the people in Okinawa and were so shocked with how little they know about how their lives were affected by the military base. At the same time, however, it was a precious learning experience for the participants to realize that all of us need to know the reality of a situation and then go forth to take concrete actions.