On May 4, US Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller’s words spoken at a press conference the day before became front-page news in Okinawa.
While the Abe administration presents Aegis Ashore as an essential and relatively uncontroversial contribution to the defense of Japan from the North Korean threat, in reality the deployment of this missile defense system risks further destabilizing the security situation in Northeast Asia, especially with regard to Russia.
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.
The anti-base forces just lost this year’s second-most important election in Okinawa. Their energies must now be directed to winning the main event.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been working hard to build a positive relationship with Putin’s Russia, but does any substantial reward wait at the end of the rainbow?
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.
Key passages from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s New Year Address in which he offers an olive branch to South Korea, potentially sparking direct peace talks in the near future.
The last thing the US Alliance Managers would ever consider is that perhaps they ought to actually respect democracy and to make adjustments to their policies in accordance with the democratic will.