Human Rights and Community Development in a U.S. Army Village in Okinawa
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©Copyright 2010 New Community Quarterly Inc.
This article examines how community development has contributed to partially reclaiming human rights in a village in central Okinawa. Yomitan Village has been living with active U.S. military bases for more than sixty years since the end of World War II. Its ‘village revitalization’ movement since the 1980s has successfully resisted the expansion of U.S. military trainings by constructing a ‘cultural village’ that integrates economic, spiritual, ecological and creative aspects of community living. Against the enthusiasm for modernisation led by the construction boom in the 1970- 80s Japan and Okinawa, Yomitan Village has deliberately revitalised a village of farming, traditional arts and crafts: an antithesis to the military’s culture of war and destruction. Ironically, Yomitan today is a popular temporary dwelling site among U.S. military members and other ‘expats’ attracted by the idyllic landscape and unique culture.
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