In mid-2018, Okinawa’s anti-base movement faces a crisis. The struggle to resist construction of a US military base in Nago City’s Henoko district has never been easy. It confronts two governments, Japan and the United States, that deploy all instruments of state power–police, propaganda, intervening in local elections—to get their way.
Although claimed as a success, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin produced meagre results, demonstrating just how far his Russia policy has fallen short of his lofty ambitions.
Shinzo Abe may have built his early political career on the championing of the abductee families, but in the end it appears that he is more interested in the issue for the purpose of hardening Japanese public attitudes towards the North Korean regime than in designing policies that are genuinely in the best interests of the victims and their families.
Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa, must close—on that much everyone agrees. But the insistence by the United States and the Japanese central government on building a replacement facility in another part of Okinawa is bitterly opposed by Okinawa’s people and prefectural government.