This Week in Japan is your source for news and information about politics and other happenings in this East Asian island country. This episode covers the Top Five stories of the second week of August 2017.
Doubt is once again cast on Japanese national sovereignty as the Abe administration is exposed as being utterly incapable of representing the concerns of Okinawa to the US military.
US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris, speaking before the US House of Representatives’ Armed Services Committee, reaffirms the plan to transfer some US Marines out of Okinawa to other regions.
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo announces, “My administration will no longer support the [military] build-up. We will not support further progress on the military realignment on Guam.”
Racism has always been an essential element in the struggle over US military bases in Okinawa, but now it has emerged into the mainstream media.
In the closely watched mayoral election in Ginowan city, which hosts the controversial US Marines Futenma Air Base, conservative incumbent Atsushi Sakima won reelection to a second term. Mayor Sakima faced a stiff challenge from Keiichiro Shimura, who had the backing of Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and the “All Okinawa” forces opposing construction of the US Marines airbase at Henoko beach.
When Ross Caputi was sent to fight in the Second Battle of Fallujah, Iraq, with the US Marines in 2004, he believed unquestioningly in the mission that he was told his unit was fighting for: liberation and justice for the Iraqi people.
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 people of Okinawa vote unmistakably to end the plan to build a new US Marine airbase at Henoko beach with the election of Governor Takeshi Onaga. Signs are few, however, that the governments in Tokyo or Washington are prepared to listen.
Inamine reflects on US military bases, economic development, and the state of democracy in Okinawa.