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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gavan McCormack on Korean Tension: FCCJ Luncheon on December 15 朝鮮半島情勢について―ガバン・マコーマック

Gavan McCormack's talk at:

Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ)

Professional Luncheon, 15 December 2010

McCormack, Takesada & Wada, Analysis on Korean Tension

See HERE for program information on the FCCJ website.

How the shadows have fallen over East Asia in the space of these past few years. Just three years ago, North and South Korean leaders met and signed an agreement to cooperate and work out a path to peaceful unification of their divided peninsula, and specifically to turn the contested West Sea area into a zone of peace and cooperation; two years ago Barack Obama came to office in the United States promising a better world, progress toward nuclear disarmament, an end to war, dialogue with all “enemies;” just over one year ago, Hatoyama Yukio became Prime Minister of Japan, promising change, the vision of an East Asian Community, equi-distant diplomacy with China and the United States, and transformation of the South China Sea into a “Sea of Fraternité” (Yuai no umi) (and Ozawa Ichiro led his famous friendship mission of 600 to Beijing, derided by Richard Armitage as the Japanese People’s Liberation Army descending on China).

Now, as 2010 moves towards its end, massive military exercises (war games) take place around the Korean peninsula and in the Sea of Japan. Are they defensive? Are they provocative? Are we heading towards war?

The governments that came to power in Korea in 2008 and in US and Japan in 2009 turned away from peaceful change. LMB scrapped the cooperation agreement negotiated by his predecessor; Obama continued, and intensified the two wars he inherited (while engaging in pressures and threats, rather than negotiations, that suggested the possibility of a third and even a fourth, in Iran and North Korea); and Japan moves simultaneously towards participation in collective war-rehearsing exercises that are almost certainly unconstitutional, presses for construction of a new base for the Marines in Henoko, and to reinforce the SDF military presence on the outlying islands.

The downward spiral accelerated through this year,, which has been punctuated by three major events: Cheonan in March, Senkaku in September, and Yeonpyeong in November.

In March, the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, sank in waters of the West Sea. A South Korea-led international investigation team blamed North Korea for a deliberate and unprovoked attack. The investigation report was later shown to be full of holes and contradictions, but the US and its allied governments and the international media endorsed it and dismissed North Korean protest. (See JJ Suh etc months ago at FCCJ, or in Japan Focus, and Hankyoreh documentary video.)

In September, a Chinese fishing trawler collided with a Japanese Coastguard vessel in the contested waters off the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The US-led global coalition (and its media), without hesitation or qualification, blamed China for belligerence. Yet, by arresting the ship’s captain the Government of Japan was unilaterally abrogating the 1978 agreement with China’s Deng Xiaoping, and by insisting there was no question of Japan’s incontestable sovereignty (when clearly there is), it was insulting both China and Taiwan.

In November, a North Korean artillery barrage killed four people on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island and again South Korea, together with the US and Japan, blamed North Korea for “unprovoked aggression.” Yet this was the third day of huge South Korean war games (70,000 soldiers, 500 warplanes, 90 helicopters, 50 warships) conducted just a few kilometres off North Korean shores, into waters of indeterminate legal status, from an island that South Korea occupies pending a peace treaty settlement, and which it has progressively militarized in breach of the Ceasefire (2/13). Brushing aside NK protests, SK on 23 November fired 3,657 rounds of artillery into these contested waters over four hours, until eventually North Korea did what it had said it would: it retaliated. It was, said Obama, “outrageous,” and to Hillary Clinton “provocative and belligerent behaviour” that “jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia.” Japan too saw it as an outrageous, unprovoked attack. SK’s Defense Minister spoke of reintroducing US nuclear weapons into the peninsula. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington sailed into the Yellow Sea, not only immeasurably enhancing the intimidation of North Korea but also provoking China, since its presence in these waters was as if the Chinese Navy had sailed into New York harbour or off the coast of California for war games. The US, Japan, and South Korea refused to return to the Beijing talks. Trilateral exercises (with Korean observers) in Japan’s waters followed in early December, the largest war games the US and Japan had ever conducted (with again the George Washington in pride of place).

The frequency of war games steadily rises and one thing we know from history: the more you play, the more likely it is that it ceases to be play.

Korea’s 60 Year War (1950-2010)
The war that began in Korea in June 1950 continues, merely suspended. US nuclear intimidation (Operation Hudson Harbour…) during the war continued after it. It introduced nuclear weapons into South Korea in 1958, and has continued, with only a very few periods excepted, to threaten nuclear attack to this day, 60 years from first intimidating North Korea with them. In that respect, North Korea is truly unique: it has suffered US nuclear threat far longer than any country in history. The world showed no interest so long as North Korea was and is the object of the terror, but outrage when North Korea attempted to counter the threat by the only available means: getting its own deterrent.

Security in Northeast Asia has rested for six decades on nuclear intimidation, with both Japan and South Korea clinging to what they see as their nuclear “umbrella,” but which North Koreans see as a terror weapon brandished against them. North Korea (especially after seeing what happened to Iraq in 2003) was reinforced in its belief that it could have no security without a deterrent.

Especially over the years since the end of the Cold War, it has made many efforts to negotiate a resolution, an end to the war, peace and normalization with the US and Japan, and the lifting of sanctions. It is common in mainstream international discourse to refer to the “North Korea nuclear problem” and talks to “denuclearize North Korea,” leaving the North Korean objectives of peace and normalization to some undefined point that will follow its surrender. But that has always been an unlikely scenario.

Contrary to common understanding, NK has generally stuck to its agreements, while the US (and Japan) side have oscillated wildly, reluctant to enter them and quick to scrap them. To recapitulate, in 1994 the first nuclear crisis was resolved by the Geneva Agreement of 1994, under which NK froze its plutonium programs under IAEA inspection and which saw relations in the late Clinton year warming until the exchange of high level visits took relations to the threshold of normalization. But the clock ran out, and Bush reverted to denunciation of North Korea as Axis of Evil and allegations of a secret uranium enrichment program, scraping the Geneva Agreement.

Then came the Beijing process, and in 2005 and again in 2007, agreements were reached. But, just one day after the 2005 deal, the US launched allegations of North Korean counterfeiting of US dollars. Those allegations were in due course dropped, and the Beijing parties again came to agreement in 2007: in return for North Korea disabling its facilities, readmitting international inspectors, and declaring its nuclear facilities (for eventual demolition), partner countries would supply energy aid, relax sanctions, and move towards full “normalization.” Shortly afterwards, the New York Philharmonic performed in Pyongyang. North Korea did what was required of it, disabling its main nuclear facilities and presenting its list of those to be dismantled (with 18,000 pages of documentation), while for its part the US removed North Korea from the list of terror-supporting states and some energy aid was provided.

Again, however, the US (and Japan) walked away from the agreement, insisting that North Korea “come clean” on uranium enrichment programs that it denied it had (and later that it confess to a Syrian engagement that it also denied). As for Japan, the North Korean attempt to normalize by Kim Jong Il’s abject apology of 2002 solved nothing and actually made things worse, since Japan came to adopt the view that North Korea must satisfy it and return to it people NK has always insisted are not alive) before it (Japan) would honor its Beijing obligations. Megumi became Japan’s No foreign policy priority. No country has been more intransigent, less cooperative in the Beijing process, more resistant to North Korea’s de-listing as a terror supporting state in 2008 (and more vociferous afterwards in calling for it to be reversed), and more influential in the drafting and promoting of hard-line resolutions for the Security Council. 100 years after Japan reduced the entire peninsula to its colony, today, glaring at the half of it that it refuses to normalize relations with, it plays a lead role in isolating and denouncing it.

In other words, in 2002, 2005 and again 2007, powerful elements in Washington, Tokyo, Washington and (from 2008) Seoul combined to block negotiated agreements. Required to yield more than it had bargained for, and offered less than it had been promised, North Korea slowed, stopped, and eventually reversed its compliance.

Western and Japanese politicians and opinion leaders commonly describe NK as an inexplicable, absurd, threatening, tin-pot state that must be brought to heel, and assume that “pressure” is the only way to get things done. The record, however, suggests otherwise. Rather than threatening to rampage across any or all of its borders, it is best seen as a “porcupine state.”, You could even say a paranoid porcupine, except that paranoia is unrealistic fear, while for North Korea fear is real. The shrill, bombastic tones of its media best seen as the attempt psychologically to compensate for insecurity and fear.

It is indeed a very peculiar state, a 21st century patrimonial, absolutist monarchy. But the paradox of the 60-year war is that nothing so helps sustain the dictatorship as the extraordinary external pressures upon it. While intimidation does not compel the North Korean leadership to submit, it provides an instrument to mobilize the country in a spirit of what in Japan used be called kokutai goji (in that case around the tenno family, in this one around the Kim family) Paradoxically, the quickest way to lighten the people’s suffering and to improve their human rights would be to normalize relations with the state, since nothing so helps sustain the dictatorship as the tension of confrontation and threat. As the South Korean people dispatched their military dictatorship in 1987, in defiance of US and Japanese supports for the regime, so if allowed to do so, would the North Korean people surely deal with their dictatorship.

In diplomatic terms only one weapon has proved effective with North Korea: respect. Under South Korean sunshine policies, the North Korean mists began to lift. Likewise when US governments have shown respect and concern for face, negotiations have borne fruit. The North Korea problem is not that of a violent or aggressive state but the unresolved legacy of a century of Japanese imperialism, national division and civil and international war, marked by persistent international intervention. What is needed now is not more intimidation and sanctions but some sense of history, some wisdom and humanity, and the political will to launch negotiations for a peace treaty and comprehensive normalization. KJI is commonly denounced as a madman, but those who meet and talk to him (Koizumi included) report a highly intelligent and quick-witted man, with firm grasp of the state of the world.

According to Jimmy Carter:
So the strangeness of North Korea’s state formation is matched only by the strangeness of the US and Japanese refusal to negotiate in good faith, and their insistence on turning this poor, paranoid kingdom into a Hitlerite threat to the peace of East Asia, perhaps the most hated and despised country in modern history.
“Pyongyang has sent a consistent message that during direct talks with the US, it is ready to conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the 1953 ceasefire.” 
One can even wonder does the US require North Korea, as a threatening “other,” a bogeyman that justifies the maintenance of the web of alliances on which US hegemony rests. What is clear as of late 2010, however, is that to leave things as they are, or simply to reinforce the alliances, the war games, and the hostility, is a recipe for disaster.


Gavan McCormack is a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus, and author of many previous texts on Okinawa-related matters. His Client State: Japan in the American Embrace was published in English (New York: Verso) in 2007 and in expanded and revised Japanese, Korean, and Chinese versions in 2008. He is an emeritus professor of Australian National University.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Japan Focus article: Hiroshima and Nagasaki at 65 - A Reflection ジャパン・フォーカス記事 「広島、長崎65年をふりかえる」

Satoko's new article been published on Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki at 65 – A Reflection

Norimatsu Satoko
Memorial Monument for Korean victims of the Nagasaki atomic
bomb, situated at the corner of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Park.

On countless occasions this year, sixty-five years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, I have heard and read that hibakusha (atomic-bomb survivors) are dying away, and that we need to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the earth, for the future of humanity, to be sure, but also so that their dying wishes are fulfilled. Indeed, hibakusha are not getting any younger. The average age of the 227,565 hibakusha who hold atomic-bomb health books as of March 2010 is 76.73.2 On August 6 this year, the names of 5,501 hibakusha who had died during the past year were added to the Hiroshima Cenotaph, making the total number of deaths of Hiroshima’s hibakusha 269,446.3 In Nagasaki on August 9, 3,114 names were added to make a total of 152,276. Adding the death tolls from both cities, the total of Hiroshima/Nagasaki deaths as of August, 2010 was 421,722. The total number of hibakusha, including the living and dead, is at least 649,287, and keeping in mind those unaccounted for, it is probably more. Simply put, approximately, one third of hibakusha survive, speaking and living on behalf of all.

... Read the rest of the article HERE.

... See all of Satoko's articles on Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus HERE.

... Satoko and her colleagues on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki peace study tour co-produced “Hiroshima, Nagasaki e no genbaku toka saiko – nichibei no shiten 『広島長崎への原爆投下再考―日米の視点』(Rethinking the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Japan and U.S. perspectives),” co-authored by Kimura Akira and Peter Kuznick, translated by Norimatsu Satoko, columns contributed by Fujioka Atsushi and Norimatsu Satoko (2010, Horitsu Bunkasha 2010年 法律文化社). See HERE for more information about the book and a review from Chugoku Shimbun.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: US and Japanese scholars debunk "a-bomb myths" 書評:日米の学者が「原爆神話」を崩す

Here is a review written by Chugoku Shimbun's Tashiro Akira of the new book written by Kimura Akira and Peter Kuznick. 原爆投下認識についての新刊本(木村朗、ピーター・カズニック著)の書評が中国新聞に出ました。日本語は下方をご覧ください。

URL: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/mediacenter/article.php?story=20101216102011570_en (English)

URL: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/mediacenter/article.php?story=20101216102011570_ja (Japanese 日本語)

Book by American and Japanese scholars refutes “A-bomb myth”

(Dec. 17, 2010)

Click to enlarge.

by Akira Tashiro, Senior Staff Writer, Executive Director of the Hiroshima Peace Media Center

“Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives,” comprised of studies by an American and a Japanese scholar, has been published. The book thoroughly refutes the official view of the atomic bombings by the U.S. government in claiming that the bombings saved the lives of many U.S. and Japanese soldiers, as well as Japanese civilians, and hastened the end of World War II. The scholars argue that this view is, in fact, an “A-bomb myth,” and that the perpetuation of this myth up to today contributes to enabling the “nuclear deterrence theory” which leads to the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The book was co-authored by Peter Kuznick, 62, a history professor and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington, DC and Akira Kimura, 56, a law professor at Kagoshima University.

Professor Kuznick has brought groups of students to Hiroshima since 1995, the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings, and to Nagasaki since 1998, for a peace studies tour. In this tour he has made efforts to dismiss the “A-bomb myth” through such activities as holding a workshop on the gap in perception between his students and students at Ritsumeikan University, Japanese participants in the tour, with regard to the atomic bombings and the A-bomb damage. After Professor Kimura joined the peace studies tour as a lecturer, the two professors became acquainted and the book project was conceived.

The book consists of three parts: Chapter I, Japan’s perception of the atomic bombings; Chapter II, the U.S. perception of the atomic bombings; and Chapter III, Discussion of the perceptions of the atomic bombings.

The scholars both confirm the needlessness of the atomic bombings as well as how the myth came to be born, based on historical evidence from the standpoint of each nation. Professor Kuznick provides an example of the justification of the atomic bombing: President Truman first said that the atomic bombings saved the lives of several thousand U.S. soldiers, but later, with criticism mounting in response to the tremendous damage caused by the bombings, this number was inflated to 500,000, and then grew even greater.

Professor Kimura puts particular focus on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He suspects that the U.S. government saw the “Little Boy” bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, a uranium-type bomb, and the “Fat Man” bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, a plutonium-type bomb, as a single set from the start and used them mainly as an opportunity to conduct experiments on living people as well as gauge their physical power.

Both scholars argue that it is vital to go beyond the conventional mindset of such thoughts as “the bombs brought a swift end to the war” and “they saved human lives,” while stressing the importance of detecting the illusory nature of the “A-bomb myth.” In their view, nuclear weapons are “inhumane weapons” which should not be used for any reason whatsoever, and a “crime against humanity.” From this perspective, they contend that the “nuclear deterrence theory,” including the issue of the U.S. nuclear umbrella that Japan has come to rely on, can finally be invalidated.

In the book, Professor Kuznick has also assembled a report which traces the lives of Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the members of his crew. As a whole, the book is compelling.

The book, written in Japanese, has been issued by the publisher Horitsu Bunka Sha. It is 216 pages in length and is priced at 2,940 yen. Professor Kuznick’s work was translated by Satoko Norimatsu.

(Originally published on December 15, 2010) 

「原爆神話」からの脱却を 日米研究者 核抑止論克服へ出版


(10年12月17日)

■特別編集委員 田城明

 「原爆投下は多くの米軍兵士と日本人の命を救い、戦争終結を早めた」。こんな米国政府の公式見解を真っ向から否定する日米2人の研究者の論考をまとめた著書「広島・長崎への原爆投下再考」が発刊された。米政府の見解を「原爆神話」にすぎないとし、その神話が今に続いていることが、核兵器による威嚇や使用につながる「核抑止論」の容認につながっていると力説する。

 著者は首都ワシントンにあるアメリカン大歴史学部教授で、同大核問題研究所長のピーター・カズニックさん(62)と鹿児島大法文学部教授の木村朗さん(56)。

 カズニックさんは、被爆50年の1995年から毎夏、アメリカン大の学生たちを引率して広島・長崎への平和学習を継続。日本から参加の立命館大の学生たちとの間で、原爆被害や原爆投下をめぐる日米認識ギャップについてワークショップを開くなど、地道な取り組みを続けている。講師として木村さんが平和学習に加わるようになって2人は知り合い、今回の出版につながった。

 全体は第I部「日本側の原爆投下認識」、第II部「米国側の原爆投下認識」、第III部「原爆投下認識に関する討議」から成っている。

 2人はそれぞれの立場から、原爆投下の不必要性と、どのように神話がつくられていったかを史実に基づいて検証。カズニックさんは、投下正当化の一例として、トルーマン大統領が当初「数千人」の米兵の命を救ったと発言しながら、大規模な原爆被害に対する批判が高まるにつれ、「トルーマンの推計は50万、さらにそれ以上に膨らんでいった」と指摘する。

 木村さんは、特に長崎への原爆投下に着目。ウラン型の広島原爆とプルトニウム型の長崎原爆は、最初から「ワンセット」として考えられており、両方の物理的威力を知るだけでなく、「人体実験」という側面が強かったのではとみる。

 2人は「原爆神話」の虚構性を見抜く重要性と同時に、「戦争の早期終結」「人命救助」といった従来の思考の枠組みを超える必要があると説く。原爆(核兵器)はどのような理由があれ、決して使ってはならない「非人道兵器」であり、「人類への犯罪行為」である。こうした認識に立って初めて、「核の傘」の下にある日本を含め、核抑止論を克服できるというのだ。

 本書には、広島への原爆投下機「エノラ・ゲイ」のポール・ティベッツ機長と乗組員たちの生涯を丹念に追ったカズニックさんのリポートもあり、実に興味深い。

 A5判216ページ、2940円。法律文化社刊。翻訳は乗松聡子さん。

(2010年12月15日朝刊掲載)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

「かたくな」なのはどっちか Who is stubborn?

また、時事通信の同盟べったりの記事を見つけた。

一方は沖縄に新基地を作りたいと言い、一方は作るなと言っている。

価値判断はなしに、この議論は平行線と言っていいであろう。

しかし、片方のことを「誠意」とか「精一杯」といかいう言葉で美化し、もう片方を「かたくな」とか「不快感あらわ」と、ネガティブな意味を持つ言葉で表現するのはどうしてだろうか。

それは書く人が、沖縄に新基地を作りたいからである。政府べったりだからである。

メディアの仕事は、政府を批判することである。民衆の声を反映させることである。日本のメディアはとっくにそういう任務を忘れてしまった。

この場合、仲井真知事は、沖縄の民意を反映して「県外」と言っているのである。彼は以前辺野古基地計画を条件付きで受け入れたことがあるが、先日の知事選で、もう沖縄への新基地建設を支持したら選挙には絶対勝てないとの判断で「県外」の立場を取っているのである。民主党政権に振り回されたから、裏切られたからという理由だけで沖縄県民が怒っているというのも本土の同盟寄りのメディアがよく使うレトリックである。沖縄の人は民主党には失望しているが、そのせいで基地に反対しているのではない。民主党が、基地をこれ以上沖縄に作ることをやめる、と信じたから支持したので、はじめに「基地はこれ以上作るな」という思いが大前提としてあるのである。

どちらかの「かたくな」さを責めるなら、どちらか。「かたくな」に民意を訴えている人と、「かたくな」に民意を無視し続けている人のどちらの側につくのか。

沖縄の民意を反映して新基地に反対している知事を「かたくな」と言い捨てるのは、「民主主義に意味はない。民意は切り捨てていい」と言っていることと同じである。そう思っているのなら堂々とそう書けばいい。


記事は以下。

首相の「誠意」通じず=出口見えぬ普天間移設

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20101217-00000157-jij-pol
時事通信 12月17日(金)20時45分配信

 米軍普天間飛行場(沖縄県宜野湾市)移設問題をめぐり、県庁内で行われた菅直人首相と仲井真弘多知事との17日の会談はすれ違いで終わった。首相は5月の日米合意履行に理解を求め、沖縄振興に「精いっぱい取り組む」姿勢も示した。しかし、民主党政権に振り回されてきた知事の態度はかたくなで、かえって出口が見えない移設問題の現状が浮き彫りとなった。

 「知事に私の考えを伝えると同時に、県民の皆さんにも首相としての考えを伝えたい」。首相は会談の冒頭、こう切り出した。11月の知事選で「県外移設」を主張して再選された知事の「背後」にいる県民を意識してのことだ。

 「最低でも県外」と打ち上げ、県民の期待感をあおった鳩山由紀夫前首相は、5月の沖縄訪問時に発言を撤回。その後発表された日米共同声明は、自民党政権時代の政府案を踏襲した内容に逆戻りした。

 首相は約20分間の会談で、迷走した鳩山前政権の対応を謝罪するとともに、沖縄優遇策として「一括交付金」の別枠化を表明。首相なりの「誠意」をアピールした。

 知事も最初は首相の言葉に静かに耳を傾けていた。しかし、首相が「辺野古はベストではないが、ベターな選択肢」と口にした瞬間、表情は一変。会談後、知事は記者団に、「県内(移設)は全てバッド。ノーだ」と不快感をあらわにした。

Saturday, December 18, 2010

フォーラム『沖縄はどこへ向かうのか』 Forum: Where is Okinawa Going?

This is an introductory letter for the December 19 forum "Where is Okinawa Going?" at Okinawa University. See HERE for details.

12月19日、沖縄大学で、フォーラム『沖縄はどこへ向かうのか』 が開催されます。詳しくはこちらをご覧ください。


フォーラム

『沖縄はどこへ向かうのか』


現在、沖縄を取り巻く環境は重要で深刻なものとなっています。

2010年、東アジアの情勢は、韓国哨戒艦沈没事件、尖閣諸島問題、延坪島事件など大きな事件が相次ぎ、日米政府は北朝鮮や中国の「脅威」を理由に、同盟の「深化」、即ち軍拡の動きを広めています。今年は1960年日米安保改定50年の節目でもありますが、政権交代しても日米政府の過度の従属関係の構造が変わらないまま、安保と日本国憲法の矛盾、いまだに沖縄に過重な基地負担が押し付けられている状態に打開の見通しは立っていません。「普天間移設問題」においては、辺野古への移設を定めた日米合意見直しを求めた二候補が票の98%を取り、当選した現職の仲井真氏は公約とした「県外移設」への訴えを開始しました。しかし、このフォーラムの直前、12月17日と18日には菅総理が来沖し、日米合意を県民の民意を無視して進めようとしています。

また、10月には名古屋でCOP10(国連生物多様性条約締約国会議)が開催され、沖縄・生物多様性市民ネットワークをはじめとしたNGOが参加しました。沖縄では基地受け入れの代償としてたくさんの公共事業が十分な環境アセスなしに行われ、地球温暖化の影響を受ける中、沖縄の環境・生物多様性は危機的な状況にあります。

そういった中、沖縄は、辺野古での14年に渡る移設反対運動に象徴されるように、日米政府という巨大権力に立ち向かい、主権在民とは、民主主義とは、人権とは、自然との共生とは、といった根本的な問いを世界に投げ続けています。『アジア太平洋ジャーナル:ジャパン・フォーカス』は2002年の創立以来、沖縄に関する情報と分析を世界に発信してきました。2008年には琉球新報第一回の池宮城秀意記念賞を授賞しましたが、賞の意味は「より努力せよ」ということだと理解しております。沖縄の経験と声を世界に発信し影響力を発揮するにはまだまだできること、やるべきことがたくさんあります。このフォーラムを、沖縄と世界がより深く情報を共有し関わり合っていくきっかけにしたいと願っています。

 沖縄はどこへ向かうのか。どのようなビジョンと計画で将来の沖縄を創るのか。このフォーラムは、多様な側面から意見交換、討論する有意義な機会です。皆さまの活発な情報、意見交換を期待しております。

2010年12月19日

アジア太平洋ジャーナル:ジャパン・フォーカス
ガバン・マコーマック
マーク・セルデン
乗松聡子

Kan met with angry cans 菅、怒りの空きカンに迎えられる

Photo from NHK - 400-500 people gathered around the Prefectural Hall to protest against Prime Minister Kan's visit to convince Okinawa to accept another US military base. The yesllow placards read, "Rescind." Okinawa residents are demanding the Japanese and US governments to rescind the agreement to build a new Marine Corps base in Henoko.

See the Okinawa Times video of the protest at the Okinawa Prefectural Hall on the afternoon of December 17 by Okinawans who demand the US and Japanese governments to rescind their plan to build a new milibary base in Henoko.

Yes, there are lots of angry cans that met Kan's visit.

See link:
http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/gallery/1/


Related news below.

NHK World
http://www.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/17_27.html

Kan, Okinawa governor remain apart on base issue

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the governor of Okinawa Prefecture have failed to narrow their differences over the government's plan to relocate a US marine base within the southern island prefecture.

Kan began his first visit to Okinawa as prime minister on Friday, and met Governor Hirokazu Nakaima in Naha City. Part of the meeting was opened to media.

Japan and the United States agreed in May to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station now in Ginowan, Okinawa, to Nago, also in Okinawa.

Nakaima said relocating the base within Okinawa has become extremely difficult since Nago's January mayoral election, which was won by a candidate opposed to the relocation.


Nakaima also spoke about his reelection in Okinawa's recent gubernatorial election, in which he promised voters that he would seek relocation outside Okinawa. He asked Kan to face up to reality and help realize the wishes of his prefecture's people.

Kan noted that moving the facility outside Okinawa or even outside Japan was a 2009 election pledge by then Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama and the party. Kan said that as prime minister and current leader of the party, he feels very sorry for its failure to honor the pledge.

But he said a transfer to Henoko, in Nago, is a better option for Okinawa, if not the best, considering the current danger posed by the base and in terms of feasibility. He asked Nakaima to reconsider his stance, taking into account recent international developments.

Kan also suggested that his government will positively consider requests by Okinawa for a new law to stimulate the prefecture's economy and for tax grants with no conditions attached to their usage.

After the meeting, Kan told reporters that he plans to visit key areas for Okinawa's development and other areas related to US bases, so that he can fully grasp the local situation.

Kan is scheduled to stay in the prefecture through Saturday.

Fri, 17 Dec 2010 18:56:00 +0900(JST)


(JST: UTC+9hrs.)



Kyodo News

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/kan-to-visit-okinawa-for-2-days-over-relocation-of-u-s-marine-base
Kan visits Okinawa to discuss relocation of U.S. Marine base

Friday 17th December, 01:00 PM JST

TOKYO —

Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited Okinawa Prefecture Friday amid no signs of progress in easing tensions with local authorities over the relocation of a U.S. military base.

Securing Okinawa’s acceptance of a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within the prefecture, agreed on earlier this year by Tokyo and Washington, is one of the many problems facing Kan, who is now struggling with low approval ratings for his six-month-old government.

His itinerary for the two-day visit includes talks with Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima and a visit to the Futenma air base.

The governor, who has opposed the relocation plan, was reelected for a four-year term in late November.

Japan and the United States agreed in May to relocate the Futenma air base in a densely populated area of Ginowan to a less crowded part of the southwestern island.

The deal has met with strong opposition because Kan’s predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, had raised hopes that the base would be moved out of the prefecture.

Kan has said the purpose of his visit is to learn about the real situation in the prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military forces stationed in Japan under a bilateral security accord.

It will be Kan’s second visit to Okinawa since he became prime minister in June. The last time was to attend a ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, in which over 200,000 soldiers and civilians died in the closing days of World War II.

In November, Kan promised U.S. President Barack Obama during talks in Yokohama that Japan would keep to the bilateral agreement and that he would make the utmost efforts to relocate the base to a coastal area in Nago.

However, Kan told reporters in early December that Japan will not put a deadline on settling the relocation issue, despite his plan to visit the United States next spring to release a joint statement with Obama on the two countries’ long-standing security alliance.

The latest visit came after his Cabinet approved new national defense guidelines in the morning. In the guidelines, the government says among other things that China’s military buildup has become a matter of concern for the region and the international community and that for the peace and safety of Japan, its alliance with the United States is ‘‘indispensable.’’

Friday, December 17, 2010

Prime Minister "CAN" in Okinawa on 17th 官首相17日沖縄入り

Prime Miniter Kan Naoto will be in Okinawa on the afternoon of Decmeber 17. According to the NHK news report in the morning, Kan will arrive on the afternoon, meet with Okinawa's governor Nakaima Hirokazu, and discuss economic issues and the issue of "Futenma relocation." He is going to apologize for DPJ's failure to meet the pledge of former Prime Minister Hatoyama's call for removing the Futenma base out of the prefecture, and will try to convince Okinawa to accept the US-Japan agreement on May 28 to build a "replacement base" in Henoko. There is no plan for Kan to visit Nago or to meet with local citizens of Nago.

There will be various protest activities, including the rally in front of the Prefectural Hall, and people are talking about bringing empty cans to make noises, punning on the word "can" and PM's name "Kan."

PP

Thursday, December 16, 2010

丹羽大使の南京訪問計画についての報道 Reports on planned visit by Japanese Ambassador Niwa's visit to Nanjing

日本人はいつになったら相手の立場に立って考えるということができるようになるのだろう。

下の共同と産経のニュースを見た。丹羽大使が「経済交流」のために初めて南京を訪れるという。

南京大虐殺事件の凄まじさをほとんどの日本人は知らされていない。学校でもほとんど教えられないし、ネットで検索したり本を買おうとしても、日本語では南京大虐殺を否定したり過小評価したりする情報だらけである。日本語を使う人たちはこの歴史の重要な部分について教育機会を剥奪され、国際社会で孤立している。

忙しい人のために、南京大虐殺について一冊だけの本を読むとしたら笠原十九司の『南京事件』(岩波文庫、1997年)を勧める。当時南京で市民の保護に尽くした外国人の手記、ジョン・ラーベの日記が『南京の真実』というタイトルで講談社から出ている(2000年)。同じく当時、金陵女子大学の教員で、大学の構内に数千人の女子をかくまい日本軍の強姦・虐殺から救ったミニー・ヴォートリンの日記も、『南京事件の日々 ミニー・ヴォートリンの日記』として大月書店から発行されている(1999)。ネットに行っても本屋に行っても南京事件を否定するような情報だらけなので、直接ネット書店等で購入するか、図書館で借りるかリクエストするのがいい。南京大虐殺事件について、否定派のあふれる情報のせいで「本当はなかったんじゃないのか・あってもそれほどひどくはなかったんじゃないのか」とか疑っている人は、笠原十九司がそういう人たちのために書いた『南京事件論争史―日本人は史実をどう認識してきたか』(平凡社新書、2007年)を読むべきだ。(また、「南京事件」という呼称を問題視している人がいるが、これは、「南京大虐殺事件」の略であり、「南京大虐殺」と言うと、虐殺のことだけを指し、殺人に至らないまでもおびただしい数の強姦、暴行、略奪、放火が行われたことを逆に考慮していないことになるということを付記しておきたい。)加害、被害の両方の側からの多数の証言を読むには、松岡環の、『南京戦 閉ざされた記憶を尋ねて―元兵士102人の証言』(社会評論社、2002年)と『南京戦・切りさかれた受難者の魂―被害者120人の証言』(社会評論社、2003年)を勧める。

中国の丹羽大使の南京訪問についての記事で、現在の南京を「一部に根強い反日感情が残る」というように表現するのは、生存者や遺族、南京や中国の人たちにとってあまりにも心ない表現としか言いようがない。南京大虐殺事件についての中国人の心情を「反日感情」などという言葉で片付けようとする人は、上で勧めたような本を読み、もしこれらの戦争犯罪が自分の住む町で起こったら、自分の子ども、姉妹兄弟、父母に起こったら、という想像力を働かせてほしい。辛い歴史の記憶を単に「反・・・感情」という言葉で片付けてしまう乱暴さというものを味わってほしい。

南京で日本や日本人に対する怒りが残っているのは当然である。当時の日本軍による行為がたったの80年、100年、200年で許されるべきものだと思う人はもう一度上記の文献に当たるべきだ。それは1937年12月から1938年3月にかけて起こった南京大虐殺についての怒りもそうであるが、それ以上に、一部の日本人が歴史を歪曲、否定、過小評価し、他の日本人の歴史学習を妨げていることに対する現在進行形の怒りであることも強調したい。

また、丹羽大使が南京を訪れておきながら、南京大虐殺の歴史に触れず、記念館に足も向けずに帰ったとしたら、これはまた日本の恥と言わなければいけない。海外で平和教育に携わる者として常日頃感じているのは、日本の加害に対する一般的な日本人の歴史認識は気が遠くなるほど欠如しているということである。しかしそれは上に繰り返し書いたように一部の人間の歴史教育妨害行為によるもので、根本的には、日本の人たちは、他の国の人たちと同じように、知る力、感じる力が備わっていると私は信ずる。

PeacePhilosopher

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010121501000904.html


丹羽大使が南京初訪問へ 反日の中、経済外交推進

2010年12月16日 02時02分



 【上海共同】丹羽宇一郎・駐中国大使が、旧日本軍による虐殺行為から一部に根強い反日感情が残る中国江蘇省南京市を20日から訪問する方向で最終調整していることが15日分かった。複数の日中関係筋が共同通信に明らかにした。



 実現すれば、丹羽大使にとっての南京初訪問。丹羽氏の地方視察は、初の民間出身大使として推進する経済外交の一環。



 日中関係筋によると、訪問は20日から3日間の予定。南京は日本との経済関係を強めており、80社以上の日系企業が進出している。丹羽氏は、南京で日系企業関係者らとの懇談を計画。また、地元の大学などの視察も予定。



 丹羽氏は7月末の着任後、天津市と河北省唐山市を訪問。その後、南京訪問を予定したが、キャンセルとなり、再調整を進めていた。





http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/china/101215/chn1012152316004-n1.htm 

丹羽大使南京へ 「経済外交」を推進 根強い反日感情どう反応?

2010.12.15 23:15

 【上海=河崎真澄】今年7月末に着任した丹羽宇一郎・駐中国大使が20日からの3日間、一部に根強い反日感情が残る江蘇省南京を訪れる見通しとなった。日中関係筋が15日、明らかにした。それによると、南京に進出している日系企業約80社の関係者らと意見交換するほか、地元の大学を視察する見込みだという。



 実現すれば、丹羽大使にとって初めての南京訪問となる。丹羽大使の地方視察は先月の天津、河北省唐山に次いで2回目で、初の民間出身駐中国大使として推進する経済外交の一環と位置づけている。環境保全技術などがテーマになる。



 一方、旧日本軍による南京占領から73年を迎えた今月13日、「南京大虐殺記念館」で犠牲者の追悼式が開催された。中国漁船衝突事件を受け、11月には南京で呼びかけられた反日デモが当局に阻止された経緯もある。丹羽大使訪問に南京住民らがどのような反応をみせるか予断を許さない。

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。

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kan to be in Okinawa on Dec. 17 and 18 "to apologize" / Sengoku asking Okinawans to accept Henoko base

Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku
Yoshito at Press Conference on 13 -
from Mainichi Shimbun
Prime Minister Kan Naoto is heading to Okinawa on December 17 and 18.

Kan is reported as saying, "I will apologize properly to Okinawans where it's necessary to apologize," for the fact that DPJ could not deliver its promise to move the Futenma Air Station outside of the Prefecture.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku on December 13 said to the press, "Our security concerns require deepening of Japan-US alliance and Japan-South Korea collaboration. From this perspective, we will have to ask Okinawans to accept this (base burden)."

Sengoku also said, "We would like to faithfully implement the Japan-US agreement" to build a "replacement" base in Henoko. "As Yamatonchu (Japanese), we have imposed military bases on Okinawans," "but we cannot eliminate those bases in Okinawa overnight."

Does Sengoku mean that since we cannot eliminate Okinawa bases overnight, we might as well add another base there?

It is simply unacceptable.

PeacePhilosopher

Related news below.

Kan to visit Okinawa on Friday to discuss U.S. base relocation issue
http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/kan-to-visit-okinawa-on-friday-to-discuss-u-s-base-relocation-issue

Monday 13th December, 01:00 PM JST

NAHA —

Prime Minister Naoto Kan will make a two-day visit to Okinawa Prefecture from Friday, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said Monday, as the central government tries to make headway on the issue of relocating a U.S. Marine base.

Fukuyama made the announcement to reporters while on a trip to Okinawa to lay the groundwork for Kan’s visit, which aims to discuss the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station within the prefecture.

Kan faces a challenge in securing local acceptance of the relocation plan, which was agreed in May by Tokyo and Washington, in light of the reelection late last month of Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima, who is opposed to the plan.

Nakaima, during his meeting with Fukuyama and Kinya Takino, the other deputy chief cabinet secretary, appealed to the central government to drastically reduce the prefecture’s burden of hosting U.S. military bases.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said at a news conference that the government is making arrangements to convene in the coming weeks a council tasked with the future development of Okinawa Prefecture and alleviating the burden of hosting bases.

On how the government will find a way to break the deadlock between Okinawa and the central government over the base issue, Sengoku simply said, ‘‘We will make sincere efforts and keep trying to persuade the people in Okinawa in line with the May 28 accord.’‘

In November, Kan promised U.S. President Barack Obama that he would make utmost efforts toward relocating the air station to a less crowded area in the prefecture. The Japanese leader is keen to make progress in discussions with the prefecture over the issue ahead of his visit to the United States next spring for talks with Obama.

Okinawa has for decades hosted the bulk of U.S. military forces stationed in Japan under a bilateral security pact. Local residents have complained about accidents and crimes involving U.S. servicemen, as well as the pollution and safety risks associated with the military bases.

東京新聞

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010121301000214.html

首相、17、18日に沖縄訪問 普天間「きちんと謝る」 2010年12月13日 22時06分

 福山哲郎、滝野欣弥両官房副長官は13日、沖縄県の仲井真弘多知事と県庁で会談、菅直人首相が今月17、18両日に沖縄を訪問することで合意した。首相は13日夜、訪問に関し米軍普天間飛行場の名護市辺野古崎地区移設について「(鳩山由紀夫元代表らが)『県外、国外』と言ったにもかかわらず、それができなかった。県民にきちんと謝るべきところは謝る」と明言した。

 知事は福山氏らとの会談で、2011年度末に期限切れとなる沖縄振興特別措置法に代わる新法制定を求めるとともに、「基地負担の大幅軽減と普天間の当面の危険性除去をお願いしたい」と強調した。

(共同)
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20101213-00000086-mai-pol

<仙谷官房長官>沖縄の基地負担「甘受」を

毎日新聞 12月13日(月)21時3分配信

仙谷由人官房長官=首相官邸で2010年11月11日、藤井太郎撮影

仙谷由人官房長官は13日の記者会見で、沖縄県の米軍基地負担について「安全保障政策は中期的に見れば日米同盟深化と日韓連携の強化。沖縄の方々もそういう観点から、誠に申し訳ないが、こういうこと(基地負担)について甘受していただくというか、お願いしたい」と述べ、多くの米軍基地が沖縄に存在することに理解を求めた。

「甘受」発言に対して、沖縄からは「民意は知事選でも明らか。非常に失礼な話だ」(沖縄県宜野湾市の山内繁雄基地政策部長)などの反発が出ており、菅直人首相の17、18日の沖縄訪問に影響が出そうだ。

米軍普天間飛行場(同県宜野湾市)を名護市辺野古に移設する日米合意についても「誠実に履行させてもらいたい。七重のひざを八重に折ってでもお願いしないといけない。そのために菅首相が(17日からの沖縄訪問という)アクションをする」と語った。

仙谷氏はまた、「沖縄の皆さん方に長年、日本人、ヤマトンチュ(本土の人)としてしわ寄せを押しつけてきた」と語ったが、「一朝一夕ですべての基地を国内の他の地に移すとはいかない」と説明した。【野口武則】

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gavan McCormack: The World Turned Upside Down in East Asia and the Pacific ガバン・マコーマック 新記事

The Japanese version of this article is to appear on Ryukyu Shimpo on December 14.


The World Turned Upside Down in East Asia and the Pacific


Gavan McCormack

As 2010 moves towards its end, it is impossible to refrain from thinking: how the world can change in a short span! A wave of militarism and chauvinism seems to be washing over East Asia, and the year ends with massive military exercises (war games) around the Korean peninsula and in the Sea of Japan. Watching these events, it is hard to remember the hope that filled the air just a few short years ago.

It is just three years since North and South Korean leaders met and signed an agreement to cooperate and work out a path to peaceful unification of their divided peninsula, and specifically to turn the contested West Sea area into a zone of peace and cooperation; two years since Barack Obama came to office in the United States promising a better world, progress toward nuclear disarmament, an end to war, dialogue with all “enemies,” and just over one year since Hatoyama Yukio became Prime Minister of Japan, also promising change, offering the vision of an East Asian Community, equi-distant diplomacy with China and the United States, and meeting amicably with the leader of China to propose turning the South China Sea into a “Sea of Fraternité” (Yuai no umi).

A new government in Korea in 2008 quickly swept aside the South-North Agreements, and new governments in the US and Japan in 2009 also turned away from the peaceful change they had promised. Obama continued, and intensified the two wars he inherited (while engaging in pressures and threats that suggested the possibility of a third and even a fourth, in Iran and North Korea), and continued with illegal detentions and assassinations; and Japan declared the US alliance its core, moving simultaneously towards participation in collective war-rehearsing exercises that are plainly unconstitutional, pressing for construction of a new base for the Marines in Henoko, and reinforcing the SDF military presence on the outlying islands.

Three major events punctuated the year about to end. In March, the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, sank in waters of the West Sea, with loss of 46 sailors. A South Korea-led international investigation team blamed North Korea for a deliberate and unprovoked attack. The investigation report was later shown to be full of holes and contradictions, but the US and its allied governments and the international media endorsed it and dismissed North Korean protest. On 7 September, a Chinese fishing trawler collided with a Japanese Coastguard vessel in the contested waters off the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and again the US-led global coalition (and its media), without hesitation or qualification, blamed China for belligerence. Yet, by arresting the ship’s captain the Government of Japan was unilaterally abrogating the 1978 agreement with China’s Deng Xiaoping to shelve the dispute for a future generation, and by insisting there was no question of Japan’s incontestable sovereignty, it was insulting both China and Taiwan who also claimed sovereignty. Then, on 23 November, a North Korean artillery barrage killed four people on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island and again South Korea, together with the US and Japan, blamed North Korea for “unprovoked aggression.” Yet this was the third day of huge South Korean war games (70,000 soldiers, 500 warplanes, 90 helicopters, 50 warships) conducted just a few kilometres off North Korean shores, in which they had fired over 3,000 rounds of artillery into surrounding, contested waters and ignored North Korean protests before North Korea retaliated. Shortly after the exchange of fire, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington sailed into the Yellow Sea, to continue exercises that plainly were designed to step up the intimidation of North Korea, and provoke China as well by entering uninvited into the Yellow Sea.

A week later, the US and Japan chose to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ampo by the largest war games they had ever conducted (44,000 soldiers, 40 warplanes, 60 warships, with again the George Washington in pride of place), rehearsing anti-missile warfare and the ‘re-capture” of islands taken by an “enemy. The latter were plainly predicated on a Chinese attack on either Senkaku/Diaoyu or an outlying Okinawan island.

As North Korea bashing and China intimidation escalated, North Korea’s overtures for negotiations in which it would trade its nuclear programs for guarantees of security and a peace treaty to end the 57-year long frozen standoff, were contemptuously dismissed. The US, Japan, and South Korea met the North Korean and Chinese call for negotiations with stepped-up military pressure. Hostility, fear, and hyper-nationalism (or what I call in the Japanese case zokkoku nationalism) spread. Military alliances were reconfirmed and reinforced, as on the eve of all recent wars. It is common for Japanese leaders to refer to the US as the stabilizer, the supplier of the oxygen of security, the bulwark of democracy and human rights, and to blame (in this region) China and North Korea for aggressive and destabilizing behaviour. Recent events in particular make clear that that is false and tendentious.

In this darkening climate of rising militarism and unreason, Okinawa constituted a tiny beacon of hope and resistance. From the Nago City mayoral election of January to the prefectural Governor election of November, the Okinawan people intervened decisively to insist on the constitutional principles of the sovereignty of the people (shuken zai min) and the centrality of peace.

Okinawa showed the power of citizen-led democracy and commitment to constitutional principle, and in the gathering gloom of irrational chauvinism pointed towards a better future, predicated on overcoming its position as “Keystone of the Pacific” for US military planners. Either that Okinawan spirit spreads to Okinawa’s neighbours, or else Okinawa will find itself once again engulfed in militarism and the catastrophe of war.


Gavan McCormack is a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus, and author of many previous texts on Okinawa-related matters. His Client State: Japan in the American Embrace was published in English (New York: Verso) in 2007 and in expanded and revised Japanese, Korean, and Chinese versions in 2008. He is an emeritus professor of Australian National University.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Where is Okinawa Going? Forum at Okinawa University on December 19 フォーラム「沖縄はどこへ向かうのか?」12月19日 於 沖縄大学 

Notice of a public forum in Okinawa:


Forum:

Where is Okinawa Going? 

*** This forum will present and discuss Okinawan perspectives on the current situations surrounding the southernmost islands of Japan, amid the ongoing controversy over "Futenma relocation" issue, from three aspects: 1) environment and biodiversity, after the Convention of Biological Diversity (COP10) in Nagoya; 2) regional geopolitics in the wake of the Japan-China conflict over the ship collision near Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands ; 3) Okinawa-Japan-US relationship and the military base issue after the gubernatorial election.

Time and Date: 10 AM - 5 PM, Sunday, December 19

Location: Classroom 3-101, Okinawa University


*** Co-sponsored by Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and The Institute of Regional Studies, Okinawa University

*** In collaboration with  Okinawa Biodiversity Citizens' Network (Okinawa BD) and Peace Philosophy Centre

*** Conference organizers gratefully acknowledge the support received from the Australian Naitonal University.

*** Free admission. The forum will be primarily run in the Japanese language. Translation from and to English can be provided during the Q and A.

*** For inquiries: Okinawa University Regional Studies Institute (Phone 098-832-5599; emai: chiken@okinawa-u.ac.jp  ) 

*** Inquiries in English can be made at: info@peacephilosophy.com

See below for English translation of the program, and the flyer.

第471回沖縄大学土曜教養講座(日曜版)のお知らせ

沖縄は、厳しい現実を前にして、民主主義への灯を絶やさぬよう努力を続けている島です。このたび、「ジャパン・フォーカス」(ガバン・マコーマック氏ら)の呼びかけに賛同し、①COP10、②「尖閣諸島問題」、③知事選の3大局面にゆれる沖縄の現状を沖縄の市民の視点で捉え、次なるステップをどう踏み出すかを問う公開討論会を開催することになりました。

どうか、万障お繰り合わせの上ご参加下さい。

◆タイトル 

Japan Focus/沖縄大学地域研究所

フォーラム

「沖縄はどこへ向かうのか」


◆日時 12月19日(日)10時~17時

◆会場 沖縄大学 3号館101教室

◆内容 Program

セッションⅠ 10時~ COP10以後の沖縄:「生物多様性」に市民はどう取り組むのか
Session I (10 AM-): Okinawa, after COP10: citizens efforts to protect and promote "biodiversity"

〔キーワード〕環境・生物多様性をめぐる連携と乖離(沖縄、本土)、国際社会への関わり
Keyword: collaboration and division between Okinawa and mainland Japan in terms of environment and biodiversity; involvement with the international community
〔パネリスト〕桜井国俊(沖縄大)、河村雅美(沖縄BD)、吉川秀樹 (沖縄BD)
Panelists: Sakurai Kunitoshi (Okinawa University), Kawamura Masami (Okinawa BD), Yoshikawa Hideki (Okinawa BD)

セッションⅡ 13時~ 「9.7」以後の沖縄:「尖閣諸島問題」を沖縄から問い直す
Session II (1PM-) Okinawa after "September 7": Rethinking "Senkaku issues" from Okinawan perspective

〔キーワード〕「国家間対立化」という問題、民衆交流によるアジアとの共生
Keyword: problem of "inter-national" confrontation; co-existance with Asian neighbours through civic exchange

〔パネリスト〕新崎盛暉(沖縄大)、ガバン・マッコーマック(オーストラリア国立大学)、若林千代(沖縄大)、他調整中
Panelists: Arasaki Moriteru (Okinawa University), Gavan McCormack (Australian National University), Wakabayashi Chiyo (Okinawa University) (others TBA)

セッションⅢ 15時~ 11.28以後の沖縄:知事選後の沖縄はどこへ向かうのか
Session III (3 PM-) Okinawa after November 28: Where is Okinawa going, after the gubernatorial election?

〔キーワード〕日米沖の関係 - 普天間、辺野古、グアム、脱基地と沖縄の自治と自立
Keywords: Japan-US-Okinawa relationship; Futenma; Henoko; Guam; "post-military base" vision; Okinawa's autonomy and independence

〔パネリスト〕佐藤学(沖縄国際大)、島袋純(琉球大学)、宮城康博(元名護市議)
Panelists: Sato Manabu (Okinawa International University), Shimabukuro Jun (University of Ryukyus), Miyagi Yasuhiro (former Nago City Assembly member)


◆主催 ジャパン フォーカス沖縄大学地域研究所

◆協力 沖縄・生物多様性市民ネットワークPeace Philosophy Centre

※聴講無料、事前申込不要。

<問い合せ先>

沖縄大学地域研究所
電 話:098-832-5599
e-mail:chiken@okinawa-u.ac.jp

以下、チラシです。

Sunday, December 05, 2010

吉田健正 「NHKに問う」 Yoshida Kensei: Challenging NHK

Author Yoshida Kensei challenged the NHK program "Close-Up Gendai" on November 29.


以下、11月29日放映NHK「クローズアップ現代」についての吉田健正さんの意見で、12月5日「沖縄タイムス」に掲載されたものである。

私も吉田さんの意見に賛成である。このNHK政治部の山口記者は、仲井真さんが当選して「正直言ってほっとしたという気持ち」というのを他の番組でも言っていた。このことについては選挙後すぐ書いた英語投稿にも書いた。どうしてメディアの一記者が仲井真氏当選にそんなに「ほっと」するのか。「仲井真は辺野古を受け入れたことのある、県内移設反対とまで言わなかった人間だ。仲井真相手なら『負担軽減』と経済振興策のセットで辺野古案に向けて懐柔できる。ああよかった」ということか。どうして現政府の手先のような行動を取るのか。政府を批判するのではなく政府の代弁しかしないマスコミとは政府広報機関、大本営発表の媒体でしかなかった戦争中と何が違うのか。また、最近のマスコミは辺野古基地計画も含めて「負担軽減」と言いだした。大量の土砂を使い豊かな生態系を持つ辺野古の海を埋め立て、ヤンバルの頭上にオスプレイを飛ばすことのどこが「負担軽減」なのか。やはり「敗退」と「転進」と言った大本営を連想せずにはおれない。

NHKに問う


吉田健正

30分近く、「普天間基地は県外へ」という県知事選挙の流れ、二人の有力候補者の訴え、選挙結果、そして当選者の声を流した後、最後に急転してこれらの「民意」をしりぞけ、普天間の辺野古移設を説く政治部記者。

11月28日の沖縄県知事選挙を受けて翌日放映されたNHK番組「クローズアップ現代 沖縄の選択――普天間はどこへいく」を見て、最初の25分ほどの映像と最後の締めの間のあまりの落差に唖然とした。これは沖縄の民意と日米合意や権力に従うNHKの姿勢との落差だったのか、それとも沖縄の世論と東京の一記者の考え方との落差だったのか……。

番組によれば、県民の声も、二人の有力候補者の立場も、「普天間基地は県外へ」で一貫していた。当選した仲井真氏は、インタビューに答えて、普天間基地の危険性の早期除去の必要性、沖縄の過重負担軽減の必要性、それを解決しようとしない国に対する県民の苛立ちや怒り、全国が日米安保を負担するという必要性・公平性といった、県民の意思や自らの考えを繰り返し説明した。

しかし、番組の司会者や解説役を務めた政治部記者は、尖閣列島問題や朝鮮半島情勢といった、沖縄県ではなく国が対応すべき「周辺事態」を取り上げ、あるいは辺野古移設にこだわる民主党政権の基地負担の削減と経済振興という「懐柔策」を紹介するなど、最初から意図が見え隠れしていたが、番組の最後にそれが露呈した。

仲井真氏が、沖縄政策協議会が辺野古移設と経済振興を「リンク」させることには反対と述べたのに対して、記者は「名護も反発が強い……今後も鳩山への怒りが続いて県民感情は解消されないのか」と県内移設案に誘導しようとする。そして、仲井真氏が、「5・28(「県外」を「辺野古移設」に戻した日米合意)は頭越しで遺憾」「辺野古はまず不可能に近い」「普天間や海兵隊は沖縄を守るためだけではないので、日本全体で解決してもらいたい」と語ると、記者は「アメリカのスタンスは決まっている。普天間を辺野古に移設するか、普天間を固定化するか、の二者択一」と切り捨てた。

その上で、記者は打開策として、「(管首相は)どうして辺野古なのかをきちんと説明して、鳩山が県民の『県外移設』期待を裏切ったことについて『お詫び』するべき」と結んだ。沖縄の民意がどうであれ、日本は米国の意向に沿って辺野古移設を受け入れるべきだと、と主張したのである。

普天間の県内移設には反対という県民世論や二人の有力候補の声も、勝利した仲井真氏の、国は沖縄の民意をもとに米国と交渉すべし、日本の安全にとって安保が重要と言うのなら米軍基地を沖縄だけに押し付けるのではなく全国で考えるべしといった訴えも、完全に無視された。民意を代弁すべき公共放送NHKが、外国政府、国、防衛省、主要政党(自民党)の側に立って考え、65年間も米軍基地を背負わされてきた沖縄県民の訴えは切り捨てるというのは、あまりに一方的で差別的ではないか。ジャーナリズムから離れすぎていないか。NHKと国民は、それをヨシとしているのだろうか。(元大学教授)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Part II: Dialogue with Douglas Lummis on Okinawa Election 沖縄知事選について、ダグラス・ラミスさんとの会話 パート2

Sequel to the previous post, this is the rest of my dialogue with Doug. See previous post here, with explanation of terms like kokugai and kengai.

Dear Doug,

If my memory of what I learned from you before is correct, you said something along the line of calling for unconditional closure of Futenma being equivalent of calling for disbanding of the Futenma USMC units, and that would be unrealistic and irresponsible, because one is not in the position to tell a foreign government what to do with their existing military unit. Please correct me if I am wrong. I think you implied by saying that calling for unconditional closure of Futenma would be asking something impossible, which would be irresponsible, because wanting something impossible would be equivalent of wanting nothing, and that would only perpetuate the status quo, which is unfair base burden of Okinawa: therefore it is colonial.

If my reading you is right, Japanese people are hypocritical if they support Okinawa's call for less bases but support ANPO (Japan-US Security Treaty) at the same time. They should accept base burden in their backyard as long as they support ANPO. But calling for abolishment of ANPO is problematic too, because it is not realistic in any foreseeable future. Again, just talking about something impossible would be the same as talking about nothing, which would be equivalent of approving status quo and that would be colonial.

So, Nakaima's point of kengai, no matter how sincere or insincere his motivation might be, should be emphasized on and should be embraced by the mainland Japanese. Only then Japanese will seriously think about ANPO; they will think more in the same way as Okinawans. They the whole nation will be united to work together against ANPO itself. Is this what you envision?

Going back to the election, what if Iha simply called for kokugai, without specifying the place. It would have been hard for Iha to do, knowing the US plan to move Marines there anyway, on which he has no control on whether he wants it or not. But if he did, would you have supported him more whole-heartedly? For you it would still have been better than his calling for unconditional closure, which would be colonial. Then I wonder why Iha didn't do that: just call for kokugai. What did he gain by talking about Guam, rather than kokugai? I don't have an answer for that.

Touching on what you said about Nakaima reading the situation correctly - if electing a candidate who makes pledges only on reading majority trends in order to win an election is a way for democratic victory, aren't we encouraging any election candidates to read the trend of the time, and if that's the case, in theory all candidates (at least who are ready to win) will have no policy differences. Would that facilitate democracy? No. Citizens will just deprive themselves of their opportunity to voice their position through election, because they will have no choice, as all candidates will already have read the majority opinion. There will be absolutely no room for minority voices, and that would defeat the fundamental purpose of democracy. Do you see the contradiction? By supporting Nakaima's strategy and his victory, are you not voting against democracy itself? Is it not that only in this specific case, Nakaima's victory happened to work for the anti-colonial cause that you support, therefore you support his strategy retrospectively?

Having said this, I agree with the last point you make about his Okinawa nationalism and his anger for Japanese and US governments for their "over-the-head" dealings and decisions. As an Okinawan, I don't think it is hard for him to think this way. But having heard how he justified his previous support for Henoko plan ("I only accepted because Nago said yes"), I can't help thinking in a matter of time he would move so that he would influence the very trend that he would want to read on and act on. I can't help thinking his immediate visit to Tokyo after the election is his first step toward that direction.

Dialogue with you helped me think deeply. Having said all that, I think about the colonial issue you raised more than ever before. Thank you Doug.

Satoko

****************************

Dear Satoko,

I think I see what you are saying about Nakaima and democracy. But it maybe depends on where you look for, to use an old Marxist term,l the agent of change. If you look for Nakaima himself to be the agent of change, of course, what could be more dubious? But I think at this moment the agent of change is the Okinawa electorate. They have changed themselves, they have changed the situation, and as a result they have forced a change in Nakaima - if not in his character, at least in his behavior. He is an effect, not a cause. If he fails in this his political camp will go down to defeat in the next election, and they know it. That's why I think it is not wrong to think of this as a democratic moment.

*****************************

Dear Doug,

I see. Nakaima as an effect not a cause makes sense to me. So now our challenge is how to sustain that democratic "moment," as power shifts from the electorate to Nakaima after the election. What we must prevent from happening is him bringing himself down in exchange of a base approval, just like Higa did, and just like Hatoyama did. Another concern is how do LDP and Komeito hold themselves compatible with the fact that they endorsed Nakaima? They won't possibly call for kengai together with Nakaima. They will pressure him to come closer to them, as they regain power in the parliament. These are pessimistic scenarios but we must have them in mind in order to prevent them.

******************************

Where is Okinawa going?

Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Okinawa University will co-organize a forum with this theme on December 19, 2010 at Okinawa University. Information will be posted.

PeacePhilosopher

Friday, December 03, 2010

Dialogue with Douglas Lummis on Okinawa Election 沖縄知事選について、ダグラス・ラミスさんとの会話

Here is an exchange of emails between Douglas Lummis and me, as he responded to my previous post - comments on the Okinawa gubernatorial election. I wanted to share Doug's insights with a wider audience, and with his kind permission, I am posting below. (Doug's in green letters, and mine in blue. See Gavan McCormack' comment below too.) See HERE for Part II.

(Some Japanese words that frequently appear in the discussion of Futenma "relocation" problem.

Kennai isetsu, or kennai: literally meaning "moving within a prefecture," and in the context of this issue, it means building another base within Okinawa as replacement of MCAS Futenma.

Kengai isetsu, or kengai: literally meaning "moving outside of prefecture," and in the context of this issue, it means building a new facility in a place other than Okinawa but within Japan, and/or using or upgrading existing facilities within Japan (but not in Okinawa) to transfer the functions of MCAS Futenma.

Kokugai isetsu, or kokugai: moving outside the country. )

In response to Satoko's post-election thoughts,

Dear Satoko,

Thanks for forwarding your piece on the Okinawa gubernatorial election. But I have to say that I think you are missing something very important. Or at the very least, that there are other ways of looking at the result.

I think it’s wrong to say that the Okinawan voters have been deceived. Rather, I think they understood pretty clearly the choice they were making.

The main significance of this election was that neither of the serious candidates supported the DPJ line, i.e. that the US Marine Air Station at Futenma should be moved to Henoko. The only party that supported that idea was the Kofuku Jitsugen To. They spent a huge amount of money on the election, and brought in an army of volunteers from mainland Japan. Their flags and posters and soundtrucks were everywhere. And they got 2% of the vote.

And the voters also didn’t support Iha’s vagaries about Guam. By vagary I mean that he tried to avoid saying directly that he supported moving the base to Guam (saying that he was only revealing that the US had such a plan) while at the same time making clear that he saw this as a solution to the problem, and occasionally forgetting himself and saying that he did support it. Several years ago I heard him give a talk on the Guam option, after which someone asked from the floor, “What about the anti-base movement in Guam?” Iha’s answer was (I quote from memory) “That’s very small, negligible, nothing to worry about.” In the present election, a person in Iha’s camp who had been very active in opposing the Guam option and supporting solidarity with the Guam anti-base movement, was asked how she could campaign for Iha. She answered, “Oh, that’s a lie (uso). He doesn’t really favor it. He’s just saying that to win the election.” Another person working in the Iha camp told me that he thinks the woman was engaging in wishful thinking, to make it possible to work with Iha. That’s how vague it was: even people working in his campaign couldn’t agree on what Iha really meant.

I think the Okinawa voters should be admired for voting against moving the base to an even more powerless colony. A Chamorro woman who came to Okinawa last June said at a rally, “Please understand that Guam is not America. Guam belongs to America.” She pointed out that Guamanians have no vote in U.S. national elections and so can be, and are, politically ignored.

As for Nakaima’s changed position; yes, of course, it would be wrong to trust him; he has to be watched and pressured constantly. But remember the reason he changed was because his advisors (principally Naha Mayor Onaga it seems) told him that you can no longer win an election in Okinawa by saying you support, or will accept, moving the base to Henoko. So both candidates opposed Henoko plan, but they constructed their opposition differently. Iha said, I oppose the base; I as Governor will prevent its construction. Nakaima said (in effect), it doesn’t matter what I think. The people of Okinawa have made it impossible to build the base. It can’t be done. So which is the more democratic?

The other big difference is that Iha said absolutely nothing about the option of moving the base to mainland Japan. There were several reasons for this. One would like to believe that as a pacifist, he could not in good conscience support the base being simply moved to another location, but would rather see it abolished altogether. But if so, he had no business pushing the Guam option. More importantly, he is very much dependent on the mainland anti-war movement for support, and doesn’t want to say anything to anger them. And talking about the mainland option does anger Japanese anti-war people immensely. Secondly, if he had taken that position the Japan Communist Party would not have supported him. As it was, the JCP also sent an army of volunteers from the mainland to work in his campaign. From Iha soundtrucks you could hear voices saying (in mainland accents) things like, “Okinawans! Please get rid of your bases!). This kind of preaching did not, I think, help his cause much.

Nakaima took the position known here as kengai isetsu (県外移設) which literally means, move out of the prefecture, but is understood to mean, move to mainland Japan. That he won the election on this slogan marks a sea change in Okinawan opinion. It changes the terms of the debate. What had been a purely anti-war, anti-base discourse is now one in which anti-colonialism and anti-discrimination are also an isue. He said, these bases are not Okinawa’s responsibility, they are Yamato Japan’s responsibility. (He uses the Okinawan expression Yamatuu which expresses a mild level of anger or distain, comparable perhaps to an American Black’s use of the term honky). Until recently it was only a small minority who took this position, and received a lot of abuse for taking it. Nakaima, who owes nothing to the Japanese peace movement or to the JCP, has brought it into mainstream discourse, and won an election on it. Again, you can’t catch the significance of this only within a war-antiwar or left-right framework; you have to see it in a colonial-anticolonial framework. It may be that some people in Tokyo felt relief at Nakaima’s victory, but I think that only means they haven’t grasped the situation. Only 2% of the voters here supported the Tokyo government’s position, this despite all the fuss about fearsome Chinese fishing boats and North Korean artillery. 98% voted against it. And Nakaima, if he keeps his promise (and the pressure on him to do so will be huge) is going to dump the base issue right back onto Tokyo’s lap. I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another prime minister knocked out of office by this.

Be Well,

Doug

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Dear Doug,

I have been thinking about what you wrote.

I wonder if people rejected the Happy party (Kofuku Jitsugen To: see John Feffer's assessment of this party in Foreign Policy in Focus) because of their politics or because they are simply crazy. I saw their disgusting propaganda video. I would not draw too much attention on the Happy by stressing the 98-2 ratio. I would not use it. I supported Iha because of his principle to oppose the Henoko plan. I agree to the idea of taking Nakaima's kengai pledge as hostage and use that to pressure him, but for me using the 98 number would mean to support Nakaima retrospectively, which I can't possibly pretend to do, just because he won more votes than Iha. If you began by supporting Nakaima, fine, and that's what you did maybe, but if not, I think it would be a wrong thing to do. One might say that saying 98% is not a retrospective support for Nakaima, but simply an observation of the result. But I would say no. I would not take advantage of whom I opposed in order to make my point.

Do you support Nakaima because of his kengai choice? But is he sincere about this? As soon as he was elected, Nakaima said, before he only accepted the Henoko plan because Nago City said "yes." Nakaima should have known that Nago's "yes" was a result of dirty dealings behind the series of events in 1997/1998 (Nago's plebscite in which the majority said "no" to the base - mayor Higa's betrayal and resignation - then mayoral election in which pro-base Kishimoto won - gubernatorial election in which Ota was defeated by pro-base Inamine. See my second comment at the end of my election post at this link for details.) Applying that logic, if all the other prefectures say no to kengai, and if there is one vulnerable community somewhere in Okinawa that's made to say "yes" with a similar mechanism that brought Nago to say "yes" before, Nakaima will just jump on the opportunity. He has no principle. I can't even see any sign of his saying kengai from an anticolonial principle. To me, it sounds worlds apart when you say kengai and when he says it.

One thing I haven't been able to figure about Iha is exactly what you said. He said he wasn't endorsing it; he was only revealing the Pentagon documents about it and was holding US and Japanese governments accountable for them. But he changed, especially during the election, he openly started to say Guam. I can guess different scenarios why he chose to do so, but it is meaningless to go into speculation at this point.

One thing I was totally unaware of is JCP's pressure on Iha. Thank you for that information.

What you have been saying and writing has brought awareness about the implication of kengai, and that would be the only thing about Nakaima that I would support, but again, I can't help thinking Nakaima's practical strategy only happened to fit in that anticolonial expectation. I am not saying he doesn't have that value in him; as an Okinawan of course he should.

Thank you Doug,

Satoko

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Dear Satoko,

Thanks for your thoughtful note. I should make clear that, if I had the right to vote in Okinawa, I would have voted for Iha, not at all happily, with deep reservations, but he would have got my vote. This is partly because of Nakaima’s support for the SDF, and partly because I like the people around Iha a lot better. If he had gotten elected, I would have joined those among his supporters who were preparing, were he elected, to lobby him to shut up about Guam. (One reason he was defeated was that there were a lot of people on his team who were less than enthusiastic). I went with my family to his final rally on the Saturday night before the election, and we were among the many hundreds of people he shook hands with there.

But I still think that the big significance of this election is that both of the serious candidates, from their different angles, opposed moving the base to Henoko. Of course you are right that the Happy Party, as you aptly call them, are a pack of crazies, and just about everybody knows that. But you can run that the other way: in this election the only people to support the government position was a pack of crazies. Yes, if the DPJ had fielded a candidate they would have got more than 2%, but they still would have suffered a humiliating loss, which is presumably why they didn’t run anybody. Around the time of the Hatoyama resignation, an opinion poll showed Okinawan support for the Japan-US Security Treaty at 6% (Compared to over 60% in mainland Japan) with support for the DJP just a few points more.

On Iha and Guam, either he supported the option, which is I think a shameful position, or he didn’t but said he did in order to win the election, which is also not so admirable. In either case, I think Guam for him was a ploy to allow him to talk about getting rid of the Futenma base without either dealing in unpersuasive abstractions (the base should be banished from the world) or offending Japan (kengai isetsu). If he had won the election I think he would have had to stop talking about it, because the question of where the US should locate its bases outside Japanese territory is outside the Okinawa Governor’s, and the Japanese Government’s, jurisdiction. In the event, the ploy did not win him the election. And with his defeat, I suspect the Guam option will fade from public discourse here.

On Nakaima, again, it’s not a question of liking or trusting him. You are right to point out that he has on his record support for the phoney “consent” that was bulldozed out of the city of Nago. (But remember Iha has on his record now virtual support for a similar process in Guam). But in this election, the great thing is that Nakaima read the situation correctly: you can’t win an election here by saying you will accept a base at Henoko. Depending on how you look at it, you could say he is just an opportunist, or you could say it is a victory for democracy. You could say he is deceiving the voters, or you could say that the voters have forced him to change his position. The important thing not to sit back and see which of these turns out to be true, but to make sure that the latter proves true. That is, by no means to relax and leave it up to him, but to watch him like a hawk, and to jack up the pressure. At the same time I am increasingly getting the impression that he may be serious in his nationalism, and in his anger (in some situations, anger is the healthy response) toward Japan. There’s no necessary contradiction between being a conservative and being a nationalist. The old curmudgeon is saying some pretty tough and interesting things these days. With regard to the unequal distribution of the bases, he is able to use the word “discrimination”, a word that doesn’t seem to be included in Iha’s vocabulary. I am wondering whether it may sometimes happen that a politician takes a position opportunistically, and after repeating it over and over on many occasions, comes to discover that he believes it.

Be Well,

Doug

Please see the next post for the rest of the conversation. Link HERE.

C. Douglas Lummis, a former US Marine stationed on Okinawa, is the author of Radical Democracy and other books in Japanese and English. A Japan Focus associate, he formerly taught at Tsuda College. See this LINK for a list of Doug's articles on Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.