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.
Local communities and governments hoping for an economic boost through a direct connection to Narita Airport’s newly-opened Terminal 3 might be in for a disappointment. The terminal currently hosts five low cost carriers (LCCs), companies that tend to operate only on highly profitable and popular routes.
On November 16, a new governor was elected in Okinawa, Japan, pledging to take on the governments of both Japan and the United States to stop the construction of a controversial US Marine airbase in his prefecture.
The virtues of Shokichi Kina as an Okinawan folk musician are impossible to deny. Long after the man is dead and buried, his song “Hana” will be an immortal classic. As a politician, however, the sooner his career is forgotten the better.
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s decision to approve construction of the planned US Marine air base at Henoko has won its fair share of admirers. Much of the international media has portrayed it as a “breakthrough” that resolves a long political “stalemate” that had plagued US-Japan relations for many years.