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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mark Selden on Maher: Arrogance, Expressed Crudely メア発言について、マーク・セルダン:「露骨に表現された傲慢」

メア発言について、マーク・セルダン氏(ジャパン・フォーカス誌編集委員、コーネル大学東アジア研究所主任研究員)の琉球新報へのコメント(英語原文)を掲載します(琉球新報には3月10日の社会面に一部が掲載されました)

Here is Mark Selden's comment on former Consul-General of Okinawa Kevin Maher's remarks on Okinawa and US military bases there, which has stirred a big controversy in Japan. Mark wrote this to Ryukyu Shimpo, in response to the Okinawan newspaper's request for a comment on the US diplomat's briefing with the American University students in December, before they went on to a two-week study tour to Tokyo and Okinawa. According to the latest news (Sankei news below in Japanese), the Prefectural Assembly of Okinawa and Naha City Assembly both passed a unanimous resolution to protest against Maher's remarks. The move is expected to be followed by other municipalities in Okinawa. Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio said those remarks "hurt the feeling of not just Okinawans but also all Japanese. He held a phone conference with U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos and told him that Maher's remarks were very inappropriate. The US Embassy issued a statement that Roos told Edano of his regret, and that the reported remarks would not be compatible at all with the U.S. government's policy or the utmost respect that the U.S. pays to Okinawan people. (PP)

Kevin Maher's comments are striking in several ways.
Mark Selden

First, their arrogance is unusual primarily in the fact that it is rarely expressed so crudely in public: in this case, of course, it came to public attention only because the students who attended his briefing saw to it that the talk was publicized.

Second, and here his remarks are very much in keeping with the views of both Japanese and US officials on plans to further increase the military base burden on Okinawa by building a new base at Henoko: that is, they are content to impose the base on the Okinawan people who have shown overwhelming opposition to the new base: in successive elections, in the largest demonstrations in Okinawan history, and in sustained sit-ins at Henoko and Takae that are among the longest in human history.

Third, some of his remarks are as false as they are offensive, frequently choosing to blame the victim and ignoring the acts of the assailant. For example, he is quoted as stating that "The controversial bases in Okinawa were originally in the middle of rice fields, but are now in the middle of towns because Okinawans allowed urbanization and population growth to surround United States facilities." Most of the bases were indeed carved out of fields in the late 1940s when virtually the entire Okinawan population that survived the battle was thrown into detention camps and their lands paved over to form bases, never to be returned. It is extraordinary that Maher holds Okinawans responsible for the subsequent urbanization which has created in Okinawa city one of the most dangerous and noise-polluting bases in the world.

Finally, Maher comments that "There is nowhere else to base US Marines. The DPJ suggested a replacement facility in mainland Japan, but there is no place in mainland Japan for the US Military." No place else? Interesting. The United States uniquely maintains more than 1,000 military bases as its prerogative throughout the world in an empire of bases . . . excluding hundreds in the United States. I am not aware that many other countries maintain even a single base outside their own territory. What is clear of the proposed new Marine Base is that it has virtually nothing to do with protecting Okinawa or Japan. With the vast majority of the 12,000 Marines (by some counts, 18,000) fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Okinawa is largely a training base for fighting US wars far from Japan or Okinawa, a fact consistent with US plans to shift 8,000 Marines to Guam at Japanese expense.

There have been signs in recent months that the US government, far more than the Japanese government, has begun to recognize that imposing a new base on Okinawa over the opposition of the vast majority poses huge problems that had best be avoided. The Okinawan resistance movement has begun to make its voice heard in Washington through the court challenge to the Henoko Base filed in California on grounds of environmental disruption; through its voice expressed at the polls and in demonstrations. As construction begins on the Takae Helipads, and as preparations continue for Henoko construction, the movement will have to find means to strengthen both its political resistance and its ability to publicize that resistance internationally. Our Asia-Pacific Journal http://japanfocus.org/  has attempted to provide one vehicle for giving voice to the Okinawan resistance.

Mark Selden
Mark Selden is Coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, and Senior Research Associate of the East Asia Program, Cornell University.

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メア発言関連ニュース(3月8日)
メア日本部長「沖縄はゆすりの名人」発言 沖縄県議会が抗議決議
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/110308/plc11030823370018-n1.htm

米国務省のケビン・メア日本部長が「沖縄はごまかしとゆすりの名人で怠惰だ」と発言したことが分かり、沖縄県議会と那覇市議会は8日、抗議決議を全会一致で可決した。いずれの決議も「基地のない平和で安心・安全な沖縄県を切に願う県民の心を踏みにじり愚弄する発言で断じて許せない」として発言の撤回と謝罪を求めている。

 枝野幸男官房長官は8日の参院予算委員会で「沖縄県民のみならず日本国民の感情を傷つけるもので容認しがたい」と批判。この後、ルース駐日米大使と電話で会談し「極めて不適切な発言だ」と抗議した。

 これを受け、米大使館は「ルース氏は枝野氏に深い遺憾の意を伝えた。伝えられる発言は米政府の政策や米国の沖縄の人々への最大限の敬意とは全く相いれない」とする声明を出した。

 メア氏は平成18年から21年まで駐沖縄総領事を務めた。昨年末、国務省内で行われた米大学生らへの講義で「沖縄の人々はごまかしとゆすりの名人だ」と発言した上で「米軍普天間飛行場(沖縄県宜(ぎ)野(の)湾(わん)市)は(住宅地に近い)福岡空港や伊丹空港と同じだ」と指摘。「日本政府は沖縄県知事に『お金がほしいならサインしろ』というべきだ」「改憲されていたら米国の国益を増進するため日本の土地を使うことができなくなっていた」などと語ったとされる。

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