Monday, August 20, 2012

Yuirail Monorail 9 Years 

The Yurail Monorail is the one and only current form of rail transportation here on Okinawa. Those who would like to travel through the city of Naha have the option of taking the monorail to the various districts within the city.


This year on August 17th the rail celebrated it's ninth year in service. Although the celebration was not a very large one approximately 70 parents and their children took place in the event. Those who participated rode the rail and listened to the history of the city with specific attention to the districts around the area.




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Agent Orange In Okinawa

According to some recent reports it has been released that 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange were stored in Okinawa until 1972. For those unfamiliar Agent Orange is an herbicide and defoliant which was used as a part of the United States Military's herbicidal warfare program which took place during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 9171. The purpose of this chemical is used to spray in forested areas killing plants and therefore taking away the ability for the opposing force to hide in the brush or find a source of food. The United States Military would spray sensitive areas allowing them to expose the opposing forces.


In Vietnam, Agent Orange caused various health effects in humans as well as livestock. Other health effects include birth defects, still births, mental disabilities, cleft palate as well as extra fingers and toes. On military bases where Agent Orange was stored there ar still said to be high levels of dioxins in the pool posing a health threat to surrounding communities.


The report, which was written in 2003, was the first to refer to the fact that Agent Orange was tired in Okinawa as well as the number of barrels which were stored. The report also states that according to the Dutch ship "Valcanus", Agent Orange barrels were incinerated at sea in 1977 after the USAD moved them from Chibana Ammunition Storage Facility in Okinawa to Johnston Island. The storage of Agent Orange on Okinawa has also been recognized by the US VA who has admitted that there have been service members suffering from health problems due to the exposure to Agent Orange. Of these service members 100 former service members had sought compensation from the US Government because of their exposure handling this agent while serving in Okinawa.


At this current time there is still concern for veterans, former base workers and redevelopment of the land which was once used as US Military bases. Both governments are currently investigating this issue.


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Activists Arrive in Naha

On August 16th Chinese activists who were apprehended after "illegal entry" on Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea were brought in to Naha, Okinawa. With the recent dispute over the islands the Chinese activists denied that they illegally entered into Japan because the islands are Chinese territory.


Upon arriving to Okinawa the activists were sent into five separate vehicles where they then proceeded to five separate locations for investigation. Currently Authorities are determining whether to prosecute the activists or to simply deport them.


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Himeyuri Anime


Of the many horrific events which took place during WWII's Battle of Okinawa the one that seems to speak the most to me is the use of young school children by the Japanese Imperial Army as nurses during the Battle. These children did horrific work which in my opinion no child should ever be subjected to. Though horrific the things that these children, and some of their instructors, experiences are now part of a continuing lesson about the past and understanding the importance of peace.


The Himeyuri Alumnae Incorporated Foundation produced an animated short film called "Himeyuri". The film premiered June 23rd 2012 and ran through August 15th. This 30 minute film centuries around the students who served as nurses during the Battle of Okinawa with the goal to share their experiences during the battle.


The film's closing song for the film was sug by the third year students at the Shizuoka University Affiliated Junior High School.



Check Out Video Of Himeyuri Memorial and Museum:



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