Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

The Occupation That Never Ends

Posted in Current Events by bourdaghs on the February 1st, 2012

The top story on tonight’s NHK 9:00 p.m. news (following a breaking report about an avalanche in Akita Prefecture) was of the latest outrage from Okinawa. The Japanese government, supposedly the representative of the will of the people, has been caught trying artificially to manufacture that will. Over the last two days, repeated acts of interference by the Tokyo government in local Okinawan elections have come to light. The Japan Times:

A senior Defense Ministry official came under suspicion Wednesday of not only trying to tamper with the upcoming mayoral election in Ginowan but taking similar action in 2010 for a vote in Nago — the two cities in Okinawa deeply connected to the controversial relocation of the Futenma U.S. air base.

(Read the rest of the story here).

Given the ugly history of American and Japanese manipulation of Okinawa, this is hardly surprising. Neither Tokyo nor Washington is willing to admit what has become obvious: the U.S. military occupation of Japan’s southernmost prefecture needs to end. People on the political left were the first to realize this. For example, in a recent update published on Japan Focus: The Asia-Pacific Journal, Gavan McCormack, Sakurai Kunitoshi, and Urashima Etsuko recap recent developments in the attempt to force Okinawans to accept a highly unpopular proposal to relocate the Futenma air base to the environmentally delicate Henoko coast.

It seems that folks on the political right are also starting to see the light. Last week, Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute and a former Reagan administration official, published “Give Okinawa Back to the Okinawans” in that radical rag, Forbes:

Rather than resist Okinawan demands, the U.S. should voluntarily reduce its military presence on the island. Jeffrey Hornung of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies observed: “Given how much problems this is causing in Okinawa, it’s finally time to rethink things.” […] The U.S. should end its security guarantee and then remove, rather than relocate, its military facilities in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan. Indeed, instead of augmenting its forces elsewhere in East Asia, such as in Australia, Washington should withdraw and demobilize troops and close bases throughout the region. World War II ended 67 years ago. America no longer need guarantee the security of its many prosperous and capable allies.


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