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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sengoku retracting his statement, and Okinawans are ready to protest Kan's visit

At a press conference held on December 14, Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito retracted his statement made on the previous day, which met fierce protests from Okinawans, including Governor Nakaima Hirokazu. Sengoku said on 13th that he wanted Okinawans to "kanju" (甘受) - a Japanese verb that means "to accept" something despite difficulties it entails. He asked Okinawans to "kanju" the base burden, because "Our security concerns require deepening of Japan-US alliance and Japan-South Korea collaboration." (See previous post.)

For Prime Minister Kan Naoto's visit to Okinawa on December 17 and 18, various protests are being planned in Okinawa to express opposition against the Henoko base plan and against the mainland's continuing discrimination to impose base burden on Okinawa.

When Kan Naoto, formerly a civic activist became Prime Minister, I wondered whether he wanted to be remembered as a Prime Minister who bulldozed Okinawans to build a new base in Henoko.

It is sad to see what Kan and Sengoku, formerly a student activist in 60's, have become once they are in power.

Kan, in his first visit to Okinawa as a Prime Minister in June, thanked Okinawans for their base burden, and later on apologized for it, saying it was an inappropriate statement. Now he intends to go back there to "apologize where apology is due."

One thing that is clear is that appreciation and apology only make sense when those are made with consideration of the recipients' feelings. In this case, any appreciation and apology only sends a message to Okinawans that there is no room for negotiation for the Henoko base plan and it will be built.

I just cannot see Kan's visit to Okinawa this week will produce any positive result.

It will, however, be an opportunity for Okinawans to reinforce their opposition against the new base, after the election.

PeacePhilosopher

仙谷官房長官は14日の記者会見で、沖縄県に米軍基地負担を「甘受」してもらうとした前日の発言を撤回した。
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20101214-OYT1T00923.htm

 同県の仲井真弘多知事が14日の県議会で「まったく理解できない表現で、遺憾」と批判したためで、仙谷氏は「仲井真さんや沖縄の方々が総反発する受け止めをしているなら撤回する」と述べた。その一方で、「沖縄に海兵隊の基地が存在する意義は大きい。一定の基地負担をお願いせざるを得ないと率直に思う」とも強調した。

 仙谷氏は13日の記者会見で、「安全保障政策の観点から(基地負担を)甘受していただくというか、お願いしたい。一朝一夕ですべての基地を国内の他の地に移すわけにはいかない」などと語っていた。

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