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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Gavan McCormack: “Deception and Diplomacy: The US, Japan, and Okinawa”

East Asia scholar Gavan McCormack addresses the US-Japan relationship in light of the following matters: the Mitsuyaku (secret US-Japan diplomacy) brought to light since 2009; the cache of cables from US Embassy Tokyo (and Consul General Naha) to Washington released by Wiki-leaks in May 2011; the December 2010 "confession" by former Prime Minister Hatoyama admitting no real security need for another U.S. military base in Okinawa; the 2011 "Maher Affair"; and the shock waves of recent (2011) shifts in thinking on the Okinawa question at high levels in Washington. In conclusion, McCormack pays tribute to the contribution of Okinawan engaged citizenry in Japanese democratic culture. In a dictatorship, the Henoko "replacement" project could still proceed, with citizens who stood in the way being arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. What the Kan government seems still unable to recognize, but Washington (or at least Senators Levin, Webb, and McCain and General Jones) has begun to concede, is that, at least so long as democratic institutions survive, there is no way to persuade or even to compel the submission of determined opponents, and therefore no way the Henoko project will proceed. After 15 years of struggle, the Okinawa movement has accomplished a signal victory. It has saved Oura Bay. It may be only one step in a struggle that seems to know no end, but it is a hugely significant one.

Anniversary of Okinawa Reversion: Henoko locals attach 100 protest banners to fence surrounding land U.S. Marines have earmarked for new base

May 15th marks the 39th anniversary of the "return" of Okinawa to Japan, yet 30 U.S. military bases remain throughout the Okinawa archipelago. Moreover, Tokyo and Washington have not abandoned their plan to destroy Oura Bay, habitat of the federally protected and critically endangered Okinawa dugong, to build a new "Futenma replacement" base, despite prefectural government disapproval at all levels. This morning at Nago City, Henoko Bay, 150 people, in protest, attached 100 banners to a fence surrounding land U.S. Marines have earmarked for their proposed base. In Ginowan City, the location of U.S. Marine Futenma Air Station, engaged in their 34th annual Peace Walk, forming a circular human chain around Futenma Air Field. People across Japan are supporing their fellow citizens in Okinawa by holding solidarity demonstrations. Their message: Close U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma, cancel the plan to destroy Oura Bay to build a new base, and terminate plans to construct helipads in biodiverse Yanbaru Forest for the U.S. military V-22 Osprey aircraft, which have already taken the lives of 30 people in the U.S. and 4 in Afghanistan.

May 7, 2011 Bitter Gourd Protest: “U.S. government itself is a ‘master of manipulation and extortion’”

On May 7, Okinawans protested derisive remarks by Kevin Maher made public earlier this year. The U.S. State Department's former director of the Office of Japan Affairs called Okinawans "masters of manipulation and extortion" and described them as "too lazy to grow goya" (bitter gourd), a vegetable widely grown throughout Okinawa. About 200 people gathered at the public square in front of the Okinawa Prefectural Government office to demonstrate against Maher's remarks and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa’s visit. Before the protest, an Asahi News' explosive Wikileaks series exposing deceitful and fraudulent US-Japan machinations regarding Okinawa energized the entire prefecture. The Ryukyu Shimpo published an article retorting "U.S. government itself is a 'master of manipulation and extortion,'" quoting an Okinawan peace activist who added that the Japanese government is equally "blameworthy." On May 8, the Okinawa Prefectural Government adopted a "Resolution of Protest Over The Remarks made by Mr. Kevin Maher, U.S. State Department Director of The Office of Japan Affairs" demanding that the former U.S. diplomat rescind his alleged remarks and apologize to the citizens of Okinawa Prefecture.

The Asahi News’ May 4 Wikileaks series reveal Tokyo-D.C. deception & fraud re their proposed U.S. Marine base in Okinawa

The May 4, 2011 Asahi News Wikileaks reports reveal some of the deceit and fraud involved in the backroom dealings that have characterized D.C.-Tokyo political manipulation re Okinawa for military base purposes since the end of the Pacific War:

Okinawa Times: “Okinawa Says No: Futenma reversion demanded, without relocation on the island”

The Okinawa Times, one of Okinawa's two major newspapers, published editorial writer Takayuki Maeda's direct message to Washington and Tokyo during last week's visit by U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Jim Webb to the island. The article is accompanied by a timeline of Okinawa's demand for Futenma closure and resistance to a "replacement" base at environmentally sensitive Henoko and Oura Bay, habitat of the federally protected Okinawa dugong. The chronology begins with the crime that catalyzed widespread Okinawan anti-base activism: the September 4, 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year old girl by 3 U.S. servicemen and ends with the March 6, 2011 public disclosure of former U.S. State Department Director of the Office of Japan Affairs and U.S. Consul General of Okinawa Kevin Maher's description of Okinawans as "masters of manipulation and extortion."