美ら海・沖縄に基地はいらない!

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<   2010年 11月 ( 7 )   > この月の画像一覧

11/26(金)20:00~ 沖縄オルタナティブメディア 森口豁さんのトークのお知らせ

沖縄オルタナティブメディア 週一スタジオ配信のお知らせです。
インターネット中継していますので、全国の皆さんも是非、ご覧下さい。

沖縄オルタナティブメディア(OAM) 週一スタジオ配信13回
http://oam0.blog75.fc2.com/
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/okinawa-alternative-media-0

タイトル:アメリカ世の記憶から今をみる
トーク:森口豁さん
日時:11月26日(金)20時~21時
場所:Book Cafe Bookish
http://bookish.ti-da.net/

概要:
本土復帰前から一貫して沖縄をみつめてきたジャーナリスト森口豁さん
が、この度新刊『米軍政下の沖縄 アメリカ世の記憶』を著した。そこ
には1950年代から70年代、本土が高度成長へ向けて走り始めたころ、
アメリカの統治下にあった沖縄の様々な表情が写しだされている。当時の
エピソードから現在の状況まで森口さんに話を伺う。

今回はワンオーダー制の公開中継です。場所は好きな本をとって読みな
がら時間が過ごせるBook Cafe Bookishさん(浦添市前田)。静かで
落ち着いた雰囲気のある素敵なカフェです。著者を招いての中継は、
「週一スタジオ配信」と「沖縄本レビュー」の合体企画第1弾ですが、まさに
それにふさわしい空間からお届けします。「森口さんの話をナマで聴き
たい!」という方はぜひBookishまでお気軽にお越し下さい。


関連記事:
森口豁写真展『米軍政下の沖縄 アメリカ世の記憶』
http://oam0.blog75.fc2.com/blog-entry-473.html
森口豁さんがブログで宣伝
http://oam0.blog75.fc2.com/blog-entry-489.html
書評『米軍政下の沖縄 アメリカ世の記憶』
http://oam0.blog75.fc2.com/blog-entry-492.html
[PR]
by juconetwork | 2010-11-25 15:56 | お知らせ

11/18@那覇 「辺野古」アセス検証集会のご案内

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
11月18日(木)午後7時開始、「辺野古」アセス検証集会(ご案内)
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1.会場:
 那覇市西町、パシフィックホテル隣りの「てぃるる」2階(第2会議室)です。
 ※資料等代:500円

2.内容:
(1)専門家氏名・所属公開請求訴訟中間報告(加藤 裕弁護士)
(前回法廷10月6日で結審、12月22日午後1時10分の判決期日が言い渡され
ています)

(2)「辺野古」アセスの致命的欠陥問題や「追加調査」問題、また、
  防衛省や外務省に対する約10件の情報公開請求の取り組み報告
 (ジュゴンネットワーク沖縄会員・土田 武信)

(3)「辺野古」情報公開請求有志の会(仮称)と支援組織結成提案(三宅俊司弁護士)

3.主催:
 「辺野古」情報公開請求有志の会(仮称)、
 沖縄自然環境を守るネットワーク(土田事務所)

  問い合わせ先:098-853-7309(三宅法律事務所)

参考:ジュゴンネットワーク沖縄(暫定ブログ):
http://jaga.way-nifty.com/dugong/
[PR]
by juconetwork | 2010-11-16 14:36 | お知らせ

11月9日、CBD-COP10議長国日本に開発を止めることを求めるNGO共同宣言を提出しました。

以前、このブログでも紹介(↓)しましたが、
http://jucon.exblog.jp/14869047/
JUCONでは、10月に名古屋で行われた生物多様性条約COP10に際して、これから2年間、この条約の議長国を勤める日本政府に対して、辺野古や高江、泡瀬干潟などの沖縄の自然のみならず、全国各地で行われていたり、行われようとしている開発を見直すNGO共同宣言を呼びかけました。

宣言には、北海道から西表島まで、全国各地のとても沢山の皆さんからの賛同を頂き、また、ジュゴンが住む辺野古を守って欲しいと訴えている私達同様、同じ気持ちで、守って欲しい自然があると訴えていらっしゃる方達からの各地の事例もご連絡頂きました。
全文を以下のJUCON資料ボックス(↓)にアップしましたので、ご確認下さい。
http://www.jelf-justice.org/prefecture-map/jucon-box.htm

宣言を持参された花輪さんからレポートを頂きましたので、転載します。
===========================
2010.11.9
環境省へNGO共同宣言の提出

 11月9日に、霞ヶ関の第5合同庁舎1階の会議室で、環境省自然環境局計画課長さんへNGO共同宣言を手渡しました。最初に、JUCONを紹介した後、NGO共同宣言について、以下のような説明をしました。
 CBD/COP10にむけて、沖縄の市民グループからNGO共同宣言を出そうという提案があり、約80の賛同と20の事例報告が集まりました。COP10では、会議場(セキュリティ内)へ入れないNGOの人々も多く、生物多様性交流フェアでブース展示などを行っていましたが、その中からも賛同者が出ています。これらの「生物多様性を守りたい、不必要な開発はやめてほしい」という各地のグラスルーツNGOの声を政府に届けたいので、ご理解をいただきたい、という内容です。
 これに対して、課長さんからは、個別事例への言及はなかったものの(実際、事例のほとんどは環境省主管でない)、今回のCOP10の決定事項をもとに、国際的な目標を入れ込んで「生物多様性国家戦略」の改訂を2012年に向けて進める旨の説明がありました。また、「里山イニシアチブ」についての解説もあり、このイニシアチブは、重要地域のみを守るのではなく、生活の場の生物多様性を活用しながら保全するということで、むしろ、途上国向けに国際的な枠組みで実施するもの、ということのようでした。また、CBD/COP10は、政府にしてみれば、国際的な戦略をつくる場であり、国内政策との整合性は必ずしもとれるわけではないようです。
 CBD/COP10の決定事項にもとづく生物多様性国家戦略の改訂とその実行は、将来の保全には役立つことがあるとしても、現在進行している生物多様性の破壊と劣化については間に合わず、このあたりに私たちと政府の間の深いギャップがあります。
 今回のNGO共同宣言は、これまで分野ごとに別々に活動していたNGOが、はじめて連帯して行動したということに大きな意義があります。「生物多様性」は、環境、人権、平和、さらに先住民、貧困、ジェンダーなど広範な問題を含んでいます。まさに多くのNGOが連帯すべき課題です。
 なお、CBD/COP10では、NGO(Non Governmental Organization)とともに、CSO(Civil Society Organization)という呼称が使われていました。たしかに「非政府組織」よりは「市民社会組織」のほうが、私たちの実態を表していると思います。
 私たちCSOは、今回の共同宣言での連携をもとにして、次のステップを考えていく必要があると思います。
===========================
服部良一衆議院議員(社民党)にご同行頂き、星野課長はじめ、環境省のご担当の方に、JUCON世話人の野平晋作さん、花輪伸一さん、メンバーの田場暁生弁護士が説明しています。
f0220068_10452536.jpg

野平さんが、私達の宣言を手渡している所です。
f0220068_10481757.jpg

共同宣言の提出が終わった後、沢山の記者の方に囲まれて、説明をしています。
f0220068_10485158.jpg


生物多様性条約COP10は終わりましたが、日本政府は、これから2年間、議長国として、国際社会でも地球の生物多様性を守るためにリーダーシップをとることを約束しています。
国際社会で行うことと、日本国内で行うことに、ダブルスタンダードがあってはいけない。
もちろん、事例賛同で頂いた多くのケースは、辺野古のように防衛省や外務省が関わっていたり、諫早湾のように農水省が関わっていたり、他にも、国土交通省や林野庁、様々な省庁が関わっていますが、足もとの環境政策をしっかり見直して、国際社会に訴えたことと矛盾がないような政策をとってほしい。そのために、環境省にも私達の声をしっかり聞いた政策で、リーダーシップを発揮してほしい、と語りました。

この宣言の提出は、10日の新聞記事にもいくつか掲載されていました!
皆様の地域の新聞にも掲載されているかもしれません。どうぞご確認下さい。
_____________________________________

【共同通信】
基地と環境問題で見直し求める 「多様性会議と政策矛盾」
http://www.47news.jp/CN/201011/CN2010110901000815.html

 沖縄県・辺野古沿岸への米軍普天間飛行場の移設計画など、10月の生物多様性会議で決めた多様性保全目標に反する政策が数多くあるとして、基地と環境の問題に取り組む市民団体ネットワーク「JUCON」が9日、政策の見直しを求める国内外約70団体による共同宣言を環境省に提出した。

 日本が議長国を務めた同会議で、各国は「生物多様性の損失を止めるために効果的かつ緊急な行動を実施する」ことに合意。さらに「2020年までに、自然生息地の損失速度が少なくとも半減し、可能な場合にはゼロに近づく」との具体的目標も掲げた。

 宣言は「政府は(多様性会議での)目標と矛盾した数多くの政策を行っている。貴重な多様性を破壊する事業をやめないことは問題だ」と批判。絶滅の恐れがあるジュゴンの生息を脅かすと指摘される辺野古への移設計画のほか、海鳥など希少な生物への影響が懸念される山口県での上関原発建設、各地のダムや道路の建設計画など計20の事業を挙げ、中止を求めている。

 提出後、JUCON世話人の野平晋作さんは「国際社会に訴えたことは国内でも実行してほしい。二重基準は許されない」と話した。

【共同通信】
西日本新聞、中国新聞、四国新聞、大阪日々新聞、神戸新聞、岐阜新聞、日本海新聞、徳島新聞、東京新聞・中日新聞(webのみ)、山陰中央新聞、高知新聞、岩手日報、佐賀新報、河北新報、長崎新聞
========================
2010/11/10 【朝日新聞】
NGO「開発中止を」

名古屋市で10月に開かれた生物多様性条約第10回締約国会議(国連地球生きもの会議)に集まった国内外のNGO76団体が9日、日本国内で進む20の開発計画が生物多様性を失わせるとして、中止を求める要望書を連名で環境省に提出した。
========================
2010/11/10【朝日新聞・名古屋版】
f0220068_12204724.jpg

========================
2010/11/10【沖縄タイムス】
f0220068_15462949.jpg

========================
2010/11/10【琉球新報】
f0220068_154646100.jpg

[PR]
by juconetwork | 2010-11-10 10:58 | お知らせ

米軍基地撤去を実現したプエルトリコ・ビアケスの人たちから沖縄への連帯メッセージが届きました。

先日、このブログでも紹介しました(↓)沖縄・高江についての英文記事を見て、
http://jucon.exblog.jp/14922999/
アメリカ領プエルトリコで、米軍基地撤去を実現したビアケスの人たちから、
沖縄に対する連帯メッセージが届いていました。
平和を願う私達の気持ちが世界の人たちとつながっていること。
本当に、心強いです。

以下、頂いたメールを転載致します。
スペイン語の下に、英語が掲載されています。
________________________________________

From: Robert Rabin
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 9:57 PM
Subject: vieques solidario con okinawa


El pueblo de Okinawa necesita nuestra solidaridad ante el embate de la
Marina de Guerra de EU y los políticos corruptos de Japón que quieren
construir nuevas bases militares en zonas de enorme valor ecológico y
espiritual ... En Vieques, recibimos mucha solidaridad internacional,
incluyendo visitas de personas de Okinawa en nuestra lucha contra la Marina.
Ahora, nos toca! Okinawa Sí! Marina, No!
---------------------------------
The people of Okinawa need our solidarity in the face of US Navy plans to
build new bases in areas of enormous ecological and spiritual importance.
In Vieques, we received much international solidarity, including visits from
people of Okinawa in our struggle against the Navy. Now, it’s our turn!
Okinawa Yes! Navy, NO!
[PR]
by juconetwork | 2010-11-09 11:06 | お知らせ

CBD-COP10で集めた「ニッポンの宿題」宣言を明日、提出します。

10月に、名古屋で開催された生物多様性条約(CBD)第10回締約国会議(COP10)では、JUCONが、『開催国・日本の開発行為に対するNGO共同宣言』を呼びかけたところ、日本国内69団体、世界各地から7団体の賛同と、20の事例が集まりました。
 CBD-COP10最終日には、本会議の中で先住民族の代表団から辺野古の新基地政策に対し憂慮するとの発言などもあり、里山イニシアティブを掲げて世界でのリーダーシップを担うはずの日本政府の足もとの環境政策の矛盾に、大きな注目が集まりました。

 COP10の終了を受け、JUCONが取りまとめた「開催国・日本の開発行為に対するNGO共同宣言」の最終版を明日、環境省に持参し、提出します。

 日 時 : 11月9日(火)15時30分~
 会 場 : 環境省 1階 共用第4会議室
 内 容 : JUCONからNGO共同宣言の提出、申し入れ

メディアの皆様
  15時15分より、環境省1階入口において、JUCONより趣旨の説明をいたします。
  是非、同行取材くださいますよう、お願いします。
   
[PR]
by juconetwork | 2010-11-08 13:57 | キャンペーン案内

11/14@名古屋 大田昌秀さん講演会『“平和”を問い続ける沖縄』

沖縄県知事選を目前にして、名古屋で行われる企画です。
お近くの方、是非、ご参加下さい!!

◇◇◇大田昌秀さん講演会◇◇◇
   “平和”を問い続ける沖縄  
    ~応答するために~

●日時・11月14日(日) 午後2時~4時
●場所・名古屋市博物館 講堂
    名古屋市営地下鉄桜通線「桜山」下車、4番出口から徒歩5分
●参加費:1000円

呼びかけ
  NoBase辺野古☆名古屋
  命どぅ宝あいち
  日本聖公会中部教区沖縄プロジェクト
  不戦へのネットワーク
  名古屋YWCA
  東海民衆センター

連絡先:052-731-7517
 メール:husen@jca.apc.org
 名古屋市昭和区鶴舞3-8-10 労働文化センター2階

昨年、政権に就いた民主党連立政権は、迷走を重ねた挙句、多くの沖縄
の人たちの期待を裏切り、普天間基地の移設先を名護市辺野古沿岸とす
る「日米合意」を行いました。しかし、1月の名護市市長選の辺野古への移
設反対を上げた市長の誕生、4月には9万人が集まった県民集会、そして、
9月の名護市議選においては移設反対の議員が過半数をしめ、普天間基
地の「県内移設」には明確に反対の声を上げています。

その声に対する本土の対応はどうでしょう。日米安保条約で米軍基地の存
在を容認し、沖縄に基地負担を押し付け続けています。今こそ問われてい
るのは、私たち自身ではないでしょうか。11月には今後の基地問題の帰趨
を左右する沖縄知事選があります。“平和な島”を希求する沖縄の想いを、
大田昌秀氏からお聞きし、私たちにできることを考えます。

多くの方の参加をお待ちしています。

●大田昌秀(おおた・まさひで)氏プロフィール
 元沖縄県知事。前参議院議員。現在大田平和総合研究所主宰
 1925年、沖縄県久米島に生まれる。1945年、沖縄師範学校本科2年在
 学中に鉄血勤皇師範隊の一員として沖縄守備軍に動員され沖縄戦に参戦、
 九死に一生を得る。1954年、早稲田大学卒業。その後、ニューヨーク州
 シラキュース大学大学院修了(ジャーナリズム修士号取得)。東京大学新聞
 研究所で3年間研究。1973年、ハワイ大学イースト・ウェストセンターで1年
 間教授・研究。1979年、フルブライト交換教授としてアリゾナ州立大学で1
 年間教授・研究。
 1957年~89年、琉球大学教授、法文学部長。
 1990年沖縄県知事に就任。2期8年勤めた後、参議院議員として6年勤め、
 現在は大田平和総合研究所主宰。
[PR]
by juconetwork | 2010-11-05 10:52

やんばる高江ヘリパット建設反対の座り込みとSLAPP訴訟についての英文記事です。

http://www.counterpunch.org/driscoll11022010.html

Undermining of Democracy in Japan
When the Pentagon "Kill Machines" Came to an Okinawan Paradise

By MARK DRISCOLL

When I arrived at the small village of Takae in the northernmost part of the main island of Okinawa to spend 5 days at a sit-in protest there in mid-July, my first image of the place was the unusual municipal charter that greeted me as I got off the bus. Codified in 1996, the residents pledge to: “1. Love nature and strive to create a beautiful environment resplendent with flowers and water; 2. Value our traditional culture, while always striving to learn new things; and 3. Create a municipality in which people can interact in a spirit of vitality and joy.” The charter mentioned no human founding fathers of Takae, rather it followed with lavish descriptions of the village flower (azalea) and bird (sea woodpecker) in addition to details about the gorgeous waterfalls and the rare combination of seacoast and mountains that creates a strong impression of a tropical paradise; UNESCO has identified the ecological diversity of this area as among the richest in the world. The sense of paradise is what brought Ashimine Genji to Takae ten years ago. Ashimine, a native of Okinawa who moved to the Japanese mainland during the economic bubble period in the mid-1980s, moved back to Okinawa when he got tired of the frenetic Tokyo life and exhausting wage labor. With his lover he bought some land in the mountains amidst waterfalls, animals and birds and started raising their 3 kids, while constructing a small organic restaurant. During my interview with him he insisted that the family was committed to living as simply, slowly, and sustainably as possible, and they deliberately spent the first two years in Takae without electricity, reluctantly attaching to a grid only when their oldest kid’s complaints wouldn’t stop.

It’s hard to avoid the descriptive mantra of Okinawan life as “simple and slow” in Japanese lifestyle magazines (with, in the last two years, “sustainable” [saiseisan] commonly appended) and perusal of these magazines convinced Naoko and Kôji Morioka to relocate to Takae four years ago. Amateur organic farmers and part-time artists raised in Tokyo, they had lived in Africa, India and Nepal before relocating with their two small kids to Takae to start full-time organic rice farming. Also refusing electricity, they built a small house from scratch just 30 yards north of a gorgeous waterfall and 300 yards from the sea, determined both to pioneer a new path of zero growth against Japanese postmodern capitalism and to enjoy the close community of Takae, consisting of farmers, fisherfolk and several convivial story-tellers/drunks. While about a fourth of Takae’s 160 residents are eco-conscious transplants from Tokyo and their kids, several claim descendants going back a millennium who have enjoyed the fruits (mango) and vegetables that grow wild in the area. Right smack in the middle of this sustainable paradise is where a large part of the newest US military base is about to be built.

Takae residents were kept in the dark about the base until just before construction was to begin. Leaks, reported in the Okinawa Times in late 2006, forced the Japanese Defense Ministry to hold an information session in early 2007. It was only here that the Ashimines and Moriokas were informed that the main helicopter base for the US military in Japan was about to be built in their backyard, including facilities for 3 Osprey heli-planes. When the Defense Ministry showed the people of Takae a Power Point slide of the projected base area, they realized that two of their homes would be within 400 meters of the proposed new base. Ashimine recalled how he felt after the session. “One minute I was living a life of harmony with nature with my family and friends, and the next minute I was being told that these killing machines (kiru- mashin) were coming to within a few hundred meters of my house; the disconnect (iwakan) was overwhelming” (Ku-yon June 2010; 101). Within a few months, Takae locals obtained a fuller picture of what was going on: based on a secret agreement between the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the US Pentagon made in 1996—finally signed into a dubious kind of legality in February 2009—the large, but increasingly obsolete US military base Futenma in central Okinawa was to be relocated with completely new infrastructure to northern Okinawa. The plan was to transfer the infrastructure of Futenma to the smaller US base Camp Schwab located 20 miles from Takae. But airport and helicopter facilities were necessary to fill out Futenma’s capacity and this is where Takae and the equally pristine fishing village of Henoko, 30 minutes southeast of Takae, would come into play. The old airport at Futenma would be replaced with a new V-shaped one carved out of the beach in Henoko, while Takae would get all the CH-47 and CH-54 helicopters together with the behemoth Ospreys.

Henoko’s proximity to Camp Schwab has created a palpable anti-base sentiment there, and local activists started mobilizing opposition to the proposed airport construction in 2004. With help from the all-women anti-base group Naha Broccoli, situated in the Okinawan capital of Naha, activist information sessions and bus tours of the proposed base areas began in June 2007 which jumpstarted regular contact among Takae, Henoko and Naha. Encouraged by activist friends in Tokyo to go Okinawa to look around, in July 2007, with about 40 others, I participated in the second Broccoli bus tour and was stunned—but I should have known better. The lack of transparency on the side of the Pentagon and the deafness to local Japanese concerns were standard neocolonial postures of US base presence in Asia going back to just after World War II. But witnessing the sustained protest in Henoko by anti-war activists spanning 3 generations inspired all of us on the tour. The required environmental assessment for new base construction had been underway for over a year and Henoko activists were doing their best to disrupt it, including a blockade of Japanese Navy vessels with cordons of local fishing boats and, with air tanks and wet suits, conducting underwater direction action against young Japanese Navy divers trying to complete the seabed assessment. In November 2007 a Henoko activist almost died when the breathing line to his airtank was severed.

Just after our bus tour, protest signs and colorful anti-base paintings started to show up around the two main gates to the newly fenced-in Takae helicopter facility. By August 2007, Rie Ishihara, a Takae mother of two started daily sit-ins in front of the main entrance by herself; soon she was joined by other locals and then by Naha activists. Quickly, anti-base Japanese started coming from the mainland, often devoting one day of their Okinawa vacation week sitting in at Takae. The mushrooming anti-base movement in Takae caught the Japanese Defense Ministry in Okinawa off-guard and when the environment assessment group started its two-year survey at the Takae site a year later, the Okinawan office of the Japanese Defense Ministry—the local defender of the US bases— preemptively took the whole town to court, serving 15 Takae residents a summons for “disrupting traffic” on Dec. 16, 2008. Ishihara told me that when she got the summons she thought it was a practical joke as everyone knows there is no traffic in Takae and a few local residents even refuse to drive cars because of the impact on the environment. But this was no joke, as the drawn-out legal hearings lasted a year and forced the Takae farmers to spend money on lawyers and court fees. On December 11, the provincial court in Naha ruled in favor of 13 defendants, although it ruled against Ashimine and the head of the Takae residents anti-base group Toshio Isa. Isa and Ashimine can now be forced to stand trial in Tokyo at any point the Japanese government decides.

While the events were unfolding in Okinawa, politics on Japan’s mainland were revealing similar anti-US patterns. During the campaigning for the crucial Lower House elections in July 2009, the upstart Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) promised in their manifesto to establish a “different policy with respect to the US-Japan alliance,” one central aspect of which would be a “significant re-thinking (minaoshi) of the US military in Japan including the situation of all the US bases”. Soon to be Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama refined his critique of the US-Japan security framework by focusing on the unfair “burden” placed on Okinawa by having some 24,000 US troops stationed there, including 18,000 Marines—65% of the US military presence in Japan installed on a land mass less than 1% of Japan’s total. The party in power for all but one year since the end of the US Occupation of Japan, the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had been losing support since it ordered Japanese soldiers to deploy to war-zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002-03 in the face of Japanese public opposition polling at 80-90%.

The historic victory of the DPJ over the LDP in August 2009 should be seen as the culmination of multiple forms of opposition to the LDP’s blind allegiance to the US, together with a pragmatic understanding that Japan’s economic future lies more closely entwined with China. In addition to pledging to reform aspects of Japan’s military-security framework with the US, the DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa promised to enhance ties to China beyond the economic sphere, where China is now Japan’s largest trading partner. The double whammy of a confirmation that closer ties with China are beneficial together with a groundswell of resistance to the US military swept the DPJ into power. Right away, new Prime Minister Hatoyama went to work on his party’s campaign promise and started exploring ways to reform the US-Japan alliance; in a flush of post-victory confidence he wondered out loud what a future security framework would look like with “zero US troops stationed in Japan” (chûryû naki ampô). Several months earlier, Ozawa insisted that, “the [US Navy] 7th Fleet alone is sufficient,” meaning that as far as the DPJ leaders were concerned, the remaining 35,000 US troops should begin packing up their things to leave Japan permanently.

Although the US media underplayed this challenge, the Pentagon understood exactly what was at stake and wasn’t liking it. Despite President Obama’s cautious wait and see approach to the democratic regime change in Japan, the Pentagon immediately starting sparring with the Japanese Ambassador to the US Ichiro Fujisaki in Washington over issues like the Guam Treaty signed by the weakened LDP in early 2009, which dictated the terms of the new base construction in Henoko/Takae and the planned move of somewhere between 3000 to 9000 of the 18,000 Marines in Okinawa to new facilities in Guam—with Japanese taxpayers forced to pay 65-70% of the costs for both the move and the new base in Guam. During the July 2009 campaign several DPJ candidates echoed the argument made by Okinawan critics that the Guam Treaty was clearly unequal because it obliged the Japanese to construct one new base in Okinawa and to contribute most of the money toward building another in Guam, while the American side merely offered an ambiguous pledge to withdraw some troops while reserving the right to change its commitments when it wanted. Furthermore, critics argued that the Guam Treaty was illegal as it violated Article 95 of Japan’s constitution, which stipulates that any law applicable only to one locale requires the consent of the majority of the voters of that province, and support for the construction of the new base among Okinawans had been almost completely absent. Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Tokyo for two days of meetings in late October 2009 clearly intending to muzzle the critiques of the US presence in Japan and to remind the new DPJ leaders of the post-WW II status quo, where senior (US) and junior (Japan) partners would continue to work together to contain China and North Korea. “It is time to move on,” Gates scolded the new Japanese leaders on October 22, calling DPJ proposals to reopen the base issues “counterproductive.” Then, deliberately insulting the DPJ in the eyes of almost all Japanese commentators Gates refused to attend the welcoming ceremony and formal dinner organized for him at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on October 23. In enumerating the insults and behind the scenes threats made by Gates in Tokyo a few days after his departure, the Okinawan newspaper the Ryukyu Shimpo lambasted the “diplomacy of intimidation” practiced by the US in its editorial of October 26.

By several accounts, Defense Secretary Gates’ intimidation in late October 2009 ended the honeymoon Hatoyama and the DPJ were enjoying with the Japanese public. From that point on, the Japanese media grew increasingly vocal in criticizing Hatoyama’s sudden lack of political focus as “cluelessly running all over the place” (meitô). With respect to the issue of the new US base in Okinawa, he actually was running all over Japan trying to find an alternative location to Henoko/Takae since he was informed by Gates that the US Pentagon was unwilling to give up its plans for a new base there in Henoko/Takae. For his part, the DPJ’s pro-China leader Ichiro Ozawa responded to the Pentagon’s intimidation with a little of his own, and in November arranged a high-level trip to Beijing bringing 140 DPJ politicians and 400 other supporters to meet his friends. But the US and it’s LDP allies in Japan held the trump card in this high-stakes game as just a few weeks after Ozawa’s return from China in December he was greeted with a deafening chorus of accusations of financial impropriety. Based on rumors that dogged Ozawa months before the DPJ victory, on January 16, 2010 three of his former secretaries were indicted on charges that Ozawa neglected to publicly report the dormitory he purchased for them in Tokyo. During the ensuing trial it turned out that he didn’t declare it the first year, but did so properly from the second year on. The prosecutors never had any evidence of Ozawa’s direct involvement and his main secretary testified that Ozawa himself knew nothing about the failure to report. It became clear during the trial in March that the prosecutors were trying to use this court case to uncover facts in a second, potentially more serious case involving kickbacks from Nishimatsu Construction. Ozawa has been cleared of the first charge and has yet to be indicted for the second.

But the damage to the DPJ had been done. With Hatoyama unable to fulfill his campaign promise to prevent new base construction in Okinawa and reduce the US military’s footprint in Japan, the well-covered allegations of dirty money involving Ozawa and other DPJ leaders made the Japanese public think that the modus operandi of the corruption-prone LDP and the new DPJ were ultimately indistinguishable. The week after Ozawa’s secretaries were indicted, support for the DPJ dropped below 50%, and continued to plummet thereafter. Less than 9 months after their overwhelming victory, on May 25, 2010 Hatoyama announced that with all other options exhausted, construction on the new US base in Henoko/Takae would move forward. In dramatic contrast to their position of August 20009, Hatoyama spoke for the DPJ in saying that now, the US and Japan are in “complete agreement” on military-security matters. The DPJ’s coalition party, the leftist Social-Democratic Party, subsequently withdrew from the government; finally on June 2, Hatoyama himself was forced to resign. The Democratic Party, along with the democratic process, has been successfully undermined in Japan.

Japanese taxpayers continue to foot the bill for the US military presence in their own country. In Okinawa in recent decades, 80% of base costs are payed by Japan’s Foreign Ministry directly to the US who then pay “rent” to a few Okinawan landowners, a situation designed originally to camouflage the fact that the US military simply took at gunpoint the Okinawan land it wanted for new base construction. As the respected historian of post-WW II Okinawa Moriteru Arasaki has described in several books, the forced seizures (kyôsei sesshû) of Okinawan land by the US were largely of lush agricultural flatlands in the center of the main island, where the Futenma, Hanson and Kadena bases are located today. Arasaki explains that 44% of the pre-WW II rice farming area in Okinawa was stolen by the US, and these fields were filled in with sea water, sand and cement, a combination guaranteeing that they can never again be used as farmland. This situation transformed Okinawa from being an exporter of agricultural goods for 500 years into an importer overnight and made Okinawa dependent on shrinking development assistance from Tokyo. Moreover, the Marines have not proven to be the roles models for the new post-WW II democratic order that the US Occupation promised the Japanese people they would be. But in fairness to individual Marines, the legal structure of the Status of Forces (SOFA) agreement excuses outlaw behavior as soldiers are largely shielded from Japanese law. It took the gang rape of a 5th-grade Okinawan girl by 3 Marines in 1995 to slightly alter the situation of total extraterritoriality enjoyed until then. Furthermore, as Okinawa Times journalist Tomohiro Yara puts it in his 2009 book The US-Japan Alliance of Sand, the absurd fiction of owner (Japan) and renter (US military) encourages bad boy behavior in Okinawa. “What do you expect,” Yara quips, “when what has to be the most lenient landlord in the world pays 80% of the rent, doesn’t charge for any of the utilities, and then has to do the repairs himself when the renter decides to trash the place?”

But the last three years of anti-US sentiment in Okinawa has brought with it a renewed desire for independence—from the US military and from the Japanese government. The economic austerity facing Japan means that the old LDP mode of silencing Okinawan opposition through bribes and development assistance—what Okinawan leftists call “sweets (ame) to make us forget the whippings (muchi) handed out by the Marines”—is no longer feasible. Tokyo started being stingy about handing out sweet treats to Okinawa over a decade ago, leaving only the “whip” of the US military for Okinawans. The predictable outcome of the withdrawal of the sweets is the almost complete absence of Okinawan support for the new US base; a May 31, 2010 poll conducted by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper found only 6.3% of Okinawans supporting it.

Mark Driscoll is an Associate Professor of East Asian History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He can be reached at: mdriscol@email.unc.edu
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