PM Abe to ignore the voice of Okinawa and increase tensions based on placating America

PM Abe to ignore the voice of Okinawa and increase tensions based on placating America

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is intent on dismissing the voice of Okinawa in order to placate America’s geopolitical concerns. In truth, the shortsightedness and meekness of many past Japanese leaders enabled the situation to spiral out of control. After all, it is impossible to justify approximately 70 percent of all American bases being in Okinawa despite this area consisting of only 0.6 percent of the landmass of Japan.

In other words, it appears that Okinawa is like a colony that is meant to protect mainland Japan at all costs. Hence, despite roughly 72 percent of Okinawans rejecting the Henoko United States military relocation, the leader of Japan is intent on ignoring the wishes of a clear majority.

The Daily Mainichi reports, It was young Okinawans who sought the latest prefectural referendum, and scrambled to collect signatures for a petition to have the ballot held. If the national government were to write off the conclusion that was reached through the efforts of young Okinawans who will be the leaders of the future, there will be no limit to the disappointment and distrust Okinawans will harbor toward mainland Japan. The people of Okinawa have given their answer. Now the ball is in the central government’s and mainland Japan’s court.”

Yet, it seems that “the ball” is in the geopolitical court of elites in Tokyo that seek to placate America. This fact will merely confirm to the people of Okinawa that political elites in Tokyo deem this area to be of lesser importance in comparison to mainland Japan.

The Guardian stipulates, Speaking to reporters on Monday morning, Abe acknowledged the strength of feeling among Okinawa residents but said construction work would continue.”

The BBC says, The US presence on the island is a key part of the post-war security alliance between Japan and the US, but many locals tolerate it reluctantly and would like the base relocated outside Okinawa.”

Sadly, it appears that political elites in Tokyo are intent on ignoring the wishes of the majority of Okinawans. This bodes ill and will merely confirm to the people of Okinawa that they are expendable.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/24/okinawa-referendum-rejects-new-us-military-base-but-abe-likely-to-press-on

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190225/p2a/00m/0na/002000c#cxrecs_s

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