The All Okinawa Council for Human Rights and several other groups have presented to David Kaye, United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, a report on the continued detention of Hiroji Yamashiro, head of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, and the deteriorating human rights situations in the prefecture. They also began soliciting funds for organizing a symposium at the UN office in Geneva in June.
The report, which was jointly submitted to Kaye by the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and a regional studies institute at Okinawa University, describes the government’s high-handed approach toward campaigns opposing the construction of a helipad in the Takae district of Higashi Village, an increase in the number of people being arrested, and derogatory remarks made by riot police officers using the term “dojin.” It also raises the question of the spread of false information by a terrestrial TV broadcaster.
Kaye visited Japan in April 2016 to investigate the situation in Japan concerning freedom of opinion and expression. He is planning to present the research results at a session that the UN Human Rights Council will hold in Geneva in June. The local human rights groups in Okinawa have been providing information in an attempt to have Okinawa’s situation included in Kaye’s report.
The local human rights groups are also planning to hold a symposium in Geneva on the sidelines of Kaye’s presentation to the UN session to attract the attention of UN officials. They estimate it will cost a total of 500,000 yen to hold the event and are soliciting funds through “JapanGiving,” a crowdfunding site. (Abridged)