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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An "All-Island Struggle" is in Sight 「島ぐるみ闘争」が近づいている

(Photo from News 47 : April 27 sit-in in front of the Parliament Building in Tokyo by about one hundred people from Okinawa, including Inamine Susumu, Mayor of Nago and Iha Yoichi, Mayor of Ginowan.)

Only two days after more then 90,000, including the Governor and mayors gathered to oppose a new base in Okinawa,

Hatoyama revealed his "stomach plans" - what he "had in mind" but could not disclose.

It is a combination of a modified plan of 2006 Agreement (a new base off Henoko Shore) and transfer of 1,000 Marines to Tokunoshima, where 15,000 out of 26,000 islanders rallied against hosting Marines only a week or so ago.

Hatoyma met with Tokuda Torao, former Lower House member who is wheelchair-bound. Tokuda is originally from Tokunoshima. Amaki Naoto, author and former diplomat condemns the act saying it was insensitive to visit a sick old man only to use his influence on the people of Tokunoshima. Hatoyama told him about his plan to move 1,000 Marines from Futenma Air Station there. Tokuda is reported to have expressed opposition at that meeting.

Hatoyama's other plan is to build an airbase by the "QIP" method, which involves embedding several thousand supporting piles into the sea floor. The methods is believed to have less damage to the environment, by avoiding reclamation.

Was the meaning of Hatoyama's pre-election pledge "at least kengai (elsewhere in Japan)" 1,000 marine troops going to a Ryukyuan island Tokunoshima? And was the the meaning of "futan keigen(reduction of burdens)" drilling thousands of piles into the sea bed of Henoko instead
of reclaiming it, which might kill coral reefs anyway by blocking sunlight?

How dare would he think these ideas could be acceptable?

According to Mainichi Shimbun, the QIP plan was first suggested during the process of SACO report in 1996, and further examined around 2000 to 2002. It did not materialize because there was a terrorism concern, as space between the structure and the ocean surface would enable installation of bombs. The cost estimate at that time was twice as much as the reclamation plan, and the maintenance cost would have been four times as much.

The "environmental concern" is dubious. The need to have the Governor's approval has been a big obstacle for those who wanted to build a base by reclamation. Isn't it obvious why Hatoyama would come up with this plan right after Nakaima joined the Okinawa rally against a new base on Sunday?

Today, April 28th, the anniversary of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952 was the day of regaining sovereignty (at least to a certain extent) for Japan, but Ryukyu Shimpo's Editorial notes, for Okinawans it was the "day of abandonment," when the Ryukyuan islands, including Tokunoshima, were kept by the U.S. as sacrifice for it.

Okinawans will no longer stay abandoned. "There is going to be an 'All-Island Struggle,' if this proposal is true," some Nago citizens warn. "It is impossible that Okinawans would accept a plan that was rejected even under the LDP-Komeito Administration," Medoruma Shun says.

Hatoyama is scheduled to visit Henoko on May 4th. It will be the first time for Hatoyama to visit Okinawa since he took office in September 2009.

Eight months after Hatoyama and his new government departed from the 2006 Henoko plan to seek alternatives, he came back to Henoko, the worst dream imaginable for Okinawans.

Will Hatoyama be served tea at the Henoko Tent Village?

Will he even be admitted?


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