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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
On April 22, 1972, GI's from every major base in Japan held a joint press conference in Tokyo. This was the first time such unified action by GI's in Japan has taken place; there have been strong GI movements at each of the bases (Iwakuni, Yokota, Yokosuka, and Misawa), but the joint press conference and meeting which followed gives new dimensions to the anti-war, anti overseas-U.S. military base movement.
The nine men and women who gathered in Tokyo read statements which had been drawn up at their respective bases and represented many more GIs who could not attend the conference either because of the great distance or because of restriction by the military. The statements each voiced strong opposition to the continuation and escalation of the Indochina war effort by the United States. Because each U.S. base in Japan plays a special role in the war effort strong criticism was made of the deployment of men, materials, and planes to Southeast Asia, often in violation of the United States' own treaty.
Since the time of the conference was planned to coincide with that of other such meetings in Saigon and the U.S. as well, statements of solidarity were made. Simultaneously in Yokosuka a group of GI's and Japanese workers met to demonstrate mutual opposition to the war.
After the press conference, to which about 20 pressmen went, a planning and strategy meeting was held to plan coordinated efforts on all bases in Japan. Multiple-signature letters will be circulating around each base to protect that base's role in the war effort. During she came week-long pet too, GI's at each base will he requesting appointments with base commanders to ask What are you doing to end the war?'' And on Armed Farces Day, May 20, many activities are planned; there will be rock festivals and counter -military rallies (demonstrations in a foreign country are illegal), and arm bands and T-shirts with anti military slogans will be made and worn. Other activities will be planned and communicated between the GI groups in Japan.
Said one person after the meeting, ''I felt like we really got things done. For she first time we all felt really together." The repression that is sure to follow as the military becomes more threatened will never be able to squelch such ''together action" in the movement for peace and justice.
About Face! The U.S. Servicemen's Fund Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 4