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Friday, June 04, 2010
The Signs of "Anger" 「怒」 Spread Across Okinawa
Here is a four-minute Washington Post video about the anger of Okinawans over former Prime Minister Hatoyama's decision to go back to the 2006 US/Japan agreement to build a new base over the pristine ocean of Henoko, as "replacement" of Futenma Air Station, dangerously sitting in the middle of a crowded city of Ginowan.
SDP, headed by Fukushima Mizuho, left the coalition government, saying "I cannot betray Okinawans," and partly as a result of that, Hatoyama resigned on June 2. Now, Kan Naoto has been elected as new Prime Minister of Japan. Kan already expressed his will to "to-shu" (respect; adhere to; follow) the agreement to build in Henoko. This is exactly what we feared, that the subsequent PMs would avoid seriously dealing with this issue of challenging this agreement, not to repeat what was perceived as a political suicide by Hatoyama; thus support the status quo.
Does Kan know what he is getting himself into? The last thing Kan, as a self-made politician coming from the civil rights movement, would want would be to be remembered as a Prime Minister who dispatch riot police to Okinawan protesters. Kan's leadership will be tested on how he can challenge his own government and the U.S. government, especially the bureacrats and the corporate interests behind the base expansion and military build-up in general, not on how he can contain Okinawa's opposition like much of the media contend.