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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Film "Torn Memories of Nanjing" 映画『南京 引き裂かれた記憶』 电影《南京,被割裂的记忆》在日本上映

Scroll down for an English article about the film on Nanjing Massacre made by a young Japanese director, to be featured in the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

香港国際映画祭で上映される映画『南京・引き裂かれた記憶』の紹介です。監督インタビューについては下記リンクをご覧ください。下記は英語による映画案内の転載です。2007年12月、南京大虐殺70周年の東京での催しでこの映画を初めて観て衝撃を受けました。南京で戦った兵士による数々の直接証言は南京大虐殺の真実を強く裏付ける貴重なものです。大虐殺事件60周年を機に全国に呼びかけ、全国を回って生存している兵士の話を聞いた松岡環さん、そしてこの映画を作った武田さん、関係者の皆さまに尊敬の意を表したいと思います。松岡環さんの本『南京戦 閉ざされた記憶を尋ねて―元兵士102人の証言』、『南京戦 切りさかれた受難者の魂―被害者120人の証言』(社会評論社)もお勧めします。この投稿の最後に予告編(日本語版)もあります。


Japanese director documents accounts of Nanjing Massacre (Feature)

(Text from M&C Website)

(Photo from the website of the interview of director Tomokazu Takeda 写真は『南京・引き裂かれた記憶』武田倫和監督インタビューより)

By Takehiko Kambayashi

Osaka, Japan - When Tomokazu Takeda, a young Japanese director, was asked to help produce a documentary on the Rape of Nanjing, he only recognized the name, but did not know what had happened in that Chinese city.

And he never imagined the work would lead him to memories of his late grandfather.

'I recalled one sentence that contained the words in our textbook. I never thought of what Japan had done,' Takeda said.

The 84-minute independent film Torn Memories of Nanjing is to be presented Tuesday at the 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival. The film consists mainly of vivid accounts of the atrocities by Chinese victims and former soldiers of Japan's Imperial Army.

On December 13, 1937, Japanese troops marched into Nanjing, the Chinese capital at the time, and murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese people including many civilians in a six-week orgy of violence.

That violence left 300,000 people dead and 20,000 women raped, Chinese authorities say. In Japan the number of dead is believed to be much lower. Many Japanese including some historians and journalists even flatly deny the slaughter, calling the events an 'incident.'

To counter such claims, Tamaki Matsuoka, a former elementary public school teacher and co-director of the film, spent a decade interviewing more than 300 Chinese victims and 250 Japanese soldiers.

Soldiers involved in the killing 'were talking vividly as if it happened yesterday,' Takeda, who is in his early 30s, said.

Juhei Teramoto, a former soldier, said in the film, '[In Nanjing,] superior officers told us to commit robbery, murder, rape and arson and do anything.'

Takeda was even shocked to hear some former soldiers interviewed brag about how many women they had raped.

'You know, we were young men and we were the ones who might die the next day, so we wanted to sleep with a girl,' Teramoto said.

Many of the soldiers, Takeda said, 'still did not see Chinese people as human beings. It seems they had no opportunities to correct or reflect on that view after the war.'

However, when a 90-year-old former Japanese soldier travelled to Nanjing with Takeda and Matsuoka and went right to the monument commemorating victims, he collapsed in tears, the director recalled.

The soldiers' stories made Takeda remember his grandfather, who was dispatched as a soldier to Nanjing after the 1937 killings.

His grandfather was usually calm but once he got drunk he became very violent, Takeda said. 'My parents told me that grandfather apparently was haunted by Chinese ghosts from time to time. And he was often screaming, 'Chinese are going to attack me,'' Takeda said.

Like his grandfather, very few former Japanese soldiers passed on their wartime experiences to the next generation, he said. 'Had they talked about it, that would have been much more educational than what we learn at school.'

Meanwhile, people in China continue to teach the next generation about their suffering during the war, he said. 'So, there has been a widening gap between the two countries in terms of their understanding of the war.'

When Takeda told acquaintances in his age group about the film, some of them told him not to get into that topic and others said China was also in the wrong.

'They seem to confuse the present with the past and they just want to talk about a 'good Japan,'' he said.

That view seems to typify a lack of broad public awareness of wartime history in Japan, which emphasizes sufferings such as the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ignores the actions of the Japanese abroad.

'I believe humans want to face in a direction where they feel comfortable,' Takeda said.

When Takeda visited several Chinese victims, he continued to wonder what his grandfather had done there, he said.

But then, some Chinese reminded him that the Japanese soldiers were also victims, a reminder probably for him as the representative of a younger generation.

However, Takeda doubted they would say the same thing to the soldiers themselves, as many victims were still afraid of older Japanese.

'We were told to fight for the sake of the emperor, but we were actually fooled into going to war,' Teramoto said.

See also Mainichi Newspaper's report (AP)

(See Movie Trailor Below - Japanese Version)




A news report of this movie, from China Youth Weekend. (Chinese only)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Okinawa's Democracy Speaks 沖縄の民意を聞け

85,000 Okinawans gathered in Ginowan, to protest against US military bases on October 21, 1995, after the gang rape of a school girl by three US Marines.

On the March 19 post "Listen to the Unequivocal Voice of Okinawa - Once and for All," I wrote:

"How many of these elections, plebiscites, resolutions, and mass-scale rallies do the central government and US Government need to hear about in order to REALLY get the message - one simple message that Okinawa (nor any other prefecture) does NOT want another base?"

How many, actually?

This is my small attempt to make a list, though it is far from exhaustive. Please help me add more.

Resolutions, Position Statements, Policymakers’ Statements

***On February 24, Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously passed a position statement to demand Futenma Air Station to be relocated outside of the prefecture or outside of the country. It was the first time in fourteen years that such statement passed the Prefectural Assembly. (Okinawa Times)

***Commenting on the Prefectural Assembly decision on February 24, Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu said, “I see it as an important expression of the opinion of the prefectural assembly.” He also told reporters “It is extremely significant that the prefectural assembly overcame its differences across the parties and reached the unanimous conclusion that inter-prefectural relocation is unacceptable.” (Okinawa Times)

***On March 8, Nago City Council passed an unanimous resolution to oppose the government’s plan to build a runway on the inland section of Camp Schwab. (Kyushu Yomiuri)

***On March 16, Kanzaki City/Saga Prefecture passed a resolution to oppose relocation of some training functions of Futenma to Saga Airport. Saga Prefecture and Saga City have passed resolutions as well. (Mainichi)

***On March 17, Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu called the inland Schwab option “impossible to understand,” and the artificial island plan “extremely difficult to materialize.” (Mainichi)

***Three town councils of Tokunoshima(Kagoshima Prefecture), including one that hosts Tokunoshima Airport, passed opposition resolutions between March 9 and 17 (Mainichi)

***The Council of Uruma City, where White Beach is, also passed a position statement addressed to the central government opposing the above mentioned plan to reclaim off Katsuren Peninsula (Ryukyu Asahi)

***On March 25, Kagoshima Governor Ito Yuichiro told Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano that he opposed Futenma relocation to Kagoshima Prefecture. (Mainichi )

***On March 26, Nago Mayor Inamine Susumu reiterated his position to reporters, “whether it is a ‘diversified relocation’ or not, I am against the idea of building a base over the ocean or on the ground.” (Jiji)

On April 5, Association of Okinawan Mayors, mayors of the 11 cities of
Okinawa, unanimously passed a resolution calling for a swift closure and
return of Futenma Air Station and the relocation of it to be outside of
the Okinawa prefecture. (Ryukyu Shimpo)


***Based on the DPJ’s election campaign pledge that the Futenma relocation would be “at least outside of the Okinawa Prefecture,” all four candidates opposing the new base in Okinawa were elected for all the four election districts of Okinawa in the Lower House General Election on August 30, 2009. Another anti-base candidate won the parallel representation district.

***Anti-base candidate Inamine Susumu won the Nago Mayoral Election on January 25, 2010.

Plebiscites, Polls

***1997 Nago City Plebiscite – the majority of Nago Citizens opposed a new base.

*** November 3, Ryukyu Shimpo Poll Among Okinawans,
  • 70% want Futenma relocation out of prefecture and country

  • 67% against a new base in Henoko

  • 72% against Futenma being integrated into Kadena

*** November 11 Okinawa Times Poll

  • 63% want Futenma Relocation outside the prefecture

  • 72% against Futenma’s integration into Kadena


***On November 7, 2009, 2,500 citizens of Kadena City (one fifth of the population) rallied against the integration of Futenma Air Station into Kadena Air Base.

*** On November 8, 2009, an Okinawan citizens’ rally was held in Ginowan City to demand closure of Futenma Air Station and oppose inter-prefectural relocation of the base. It was attended by 21,000 people.

*** On March 25, 2010, 650 citizens of Uruma City gathered to oppose the government’s idea to build an artificial island by reclaiming a site off White Beach.

***On March 28, 4,200 people gathered in Tokunoshima Island (Kagoshima Prefecture) to oppose relocation of Futenma Air Station to the island.

***Okinawans are going to get together once again for a massive rally on April 25 at Yomitan Sports Park. This will be the first all-party demonstration against building another base within Okinawa as a "relocation" site of Futenma Air Station. They are aiming for participation of 100,000 people.

I will keep adding.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nago "Military Landowners" Asked Not to Renew the Contract beyond 2012 to Oppose the Plan to Build a Runway within Camp Schwab

According to Ryukyu Shimpo, March 28, 2010, a meeting was held on March 27th in Henoko, Nago, Okinawa, in which Kohagura Hiroshi, head of "the special committee to deal with the Futenma Relocation Facility issue" tried to convince the landowners of the three Kube districts - Henoko, Kushi, and Toyohara not to renew the rent contract of their military-use land when the current contract expires in May 2012. This will be an expression of these landowners to reject the idea of constructing a runway within Camp Schwas as a "replacement facility"of Futenma Air Station. The three districts of Kube - Henoko, Kushi, Toyohara. (The above photo is from Ryukyu Shimpo website.)

Kohagura argues, "the three districts (Henoko, Kushi, Toyohara) are 100% against the inland Schwab relocation option. " He asked the two hundred landowners who gathered at the meeting not to submit the document to renew the contract until the government plan of Futenma relocation is determined. He fears that submitting such documents by the landowners could be interpreted that the local communities support the idea of building a runway within Camp Schwab.

According to Yoshikawa Hideki, Director of Okinawa Biodiversity Citizens' Network, building a runway within the inland section of Camp Schwab is not as easy as it's been said.

Yoshikawa commented on March 10,

  • "A new Henoko land plan, advocated infamously and most notably by Shimoji-san (the PNP parliamentarian who endorses this plan), has also been circulating.

    But, in my opinion, it would a very difficult one to implement, environmentally, politically, and technically.

    On the map, it looks easier to build an airport on the Henoko land area. No corals, no dugongs, no fishermen, etc.

    But when you go to Henoko and look at the hills, mountains, and trees at the planned area, one can easily see that it would require major construction (destruction) efforts.

    Besides, the prefecutural government and assembly, and municipal governments and assemblies are against the new land plan. All the political parties in Okinawa including the LDP, but not Shimoji san's, are also publicly opposing it."

The potential refusal by the landowners of Camp Schwab to renew the rent contract will be a strong addition to the mounting local voices against this option.


(Also see the Kyodo news at the bottom)

  • 普天間移設、陸上なら契約拒否 久辺3区が方針2010年3月28日


  • Okinawa, Kagoshima locals angered by gov't Futenma plan
    Saturday 27th March, 08:05 AM JST
    NAHA — (Kyodo)
    Local politicians and residents in Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures expressed strong dissatisfaction Friday after media reports that the central government is considering relocating a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa or to a Kagoshima island.

    With Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama having pledged to settle the issue of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa by the end of May, strong local protests will make it difficult for him to meet the deadline.

    According to diplomatic sources, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos on Friday that Tokyo is considering a two-stage process, starting with the building of a 550-meter-long helipad at the inland part of the U.S. Marines’ Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa, to temporarily relocate some of the helicopter troops from the Futenma facility.

    As for the final relocation site, the government is considering an artificial island to be built off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s White Beach facility in Uruma, also in Okinawa, or Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, the sources said.

    Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine told reporters that he rejects the central government’s reported plan to temporarily move the Futenma functions to Camp Schwab.

    ‘‘There is no chance of that plan being accepted by locals,’’ Inamine said. ‘‘We cannot trust the government’s policy of transferring only temporarily. It’s impossible.’‘

    ‘‘I have been saying we are against the Futenma transfer to Camp Schwab with or without land reclamation,’’ the mayor said.

    Japan and the United States agreed in 2006 to relocate the heliport functions of the Futenma base to a coastal zone of Camp Schwab in Nago by 2014 by reclaiming land in the coastal area. The government’s new plan does not involve land reclamation.

    Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima told visiting Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa earlier in the day that local opposition to relocating the Futenma facility within the prefecture has been ‘‘gaining momentum’’ and asked him to ‘‘correctly convey’’ the sentiments of the people of Okinawa to the central government.

    In Uruma, where around 600 local residents held a rally Thursday to protest against a plan to relocate the Futenma base functions to the White Beach area, Seishu Sakihara, one of the protesters, said he cannot accept the government plan that ‘‘ignores the feelings of Okinawans.’‘

    The 76-year-old Uruma resident said the government is ‘‘trying to force us to accommodate a base.’‘

    On Tokunoshima Island, Koei Kabayama, the 55-year-old chief of a local environment and peace group, said the government’s attempt to seek a solution without consulting locals embodies ‘‘discrimination’’ against the islanders.

    Some local business circles have high expectations of increased state measures to boost the local economy in exchange for accepting the base, but Kabayama said he believes opposition has been growing rapidly due to residents’ mistrust of the government and their sense of crisis.

    Kabayama’s group and three towns on the island are scheduled to hold a protest rally on Sunday and are aiming to draw 3,000 participants. Akira Okubo, mayor of Isen, one of the three towns, said, ‘‘I’m enraged. Unless we islanders unite now, we will be in trouble.’‘

    In Tokyo, Mizuho Fukushima, leader of DPJ coalition partner the Social Democratic Party, reiterated Friday that her party is ‘‘clearly against’’ plans to relocate Futenma within Okinawa.

    She said the land reclamation plan around the White Beach facility would pose risks, as oil-storage bases are located nearby and the reclamation would destroy the marine environment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

History of the Development of "Futenma Replacement Facility" Plans

This is the history of the development of "Futenma Replacement Facility" plans, compiled from the information gathered from the following sources:
*** The illustrations are from Ryukyu Shimpo's website.


The Japan-US agreement on the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) called for Futenma Air Station to be shut down and returned to Okinawa by the end of 2003. This agreement was made on condition that an alternative facility ("Sea Based Facility") would be constructed within Okinawa. However, it was impossible to find a construction site that the US Military, Japanese Government, Okinawa Prefecture, the municipal office and residents of the local area would agree on.
The following locations were proposed: 1) The northwest forest area within the Kadena Ammunition Storage (cancelled due to local opposition); 2) The Kadena Air Force Base, within which the Futenma Air Station facility might have been integrated (stalled due to opposition from the US Air Force and from the three municipalities where Kadena base is located); 3) Reclaimed land on a coastal area adjacent to Camp Schwab (proposed by the US side but opposed by the Japanese government because of anticipated local resistance). In September 2006, then Prime Minister Hashimoto proposed construction of a removable "marine heliport" on Henoko Bay instead; 4) The White Beach coastal area (cancelled due to opposition from the Prefecture and local municipal bodies).
(The blue dots on the diagram above shows the locations of this initial discussion for SACO. The red dots shows the locations that were reconsidered for the US realignment in 2005 and after.)
In the end, the U.S. and Japanese governments agreed in the SACO final report on a site: the coastal area adjacent to Camp Schwab, without specifying an exact location. Naturally, Nago citizens were alarmed.
SACO called for Futenma's return largely in response to huge anti-US base rallies the year before in 1995, held in the rising sentiment after three US Marines raped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl. A total of 100,000 people participated in the rallies.
The initial plans for the replacement base called for a small, temporary facility, for helicopter use only, that could be removed easily when it became unnecessary.


On December 21, Nago Plebiscite was held. The majority of the citizens were against a new base. On December 24, Higa Tetsuya, then Nago Mayor, expressed his support for the base with Prime Minister Hashimoto and announced his resignation right at the Prime Minister's residence in Tokyo.


On February 6, two days prior to the Mayoral Election, Ota Masahide, then Okinawa Governor expressed his opposition against the replacement facility plan. In the following Mayoral election, Tamaki Yoshikzau, whom the base opponents supported, was defeated by pro-base Kishimoto Tateo by a narrow margin (Tamaki 15,103 votes; Kishimoto 16,253). The conflicting results of the 1997 plebiscite and the 1998 mayoral election have been referred to as the "public opinion paradox." While Okinawan voters opposed new military base construction in opinion polls, when it came to election times, they placed greater importance on economic rejuvenation brought by government subsidies provided to host communities of military bases.
The temporary heliport plan changed drastically when Inamine Keiichi became governor in 1998.


Governor Inamine announced plans for a large-scale offshore airport. The airport would be for dual military-civilian use for 15 years, after which it would become entirely civilian. Part of the problem was that the U.S. government never gave serious consideration to the 15-year military use cap. The estimated construction time itself would have been 15 years. Such a base would destroy the coral reef, and the massive land reclamation would kill off the area's dugongs (endangered Asian manatees).

Upon Governor's request, Nago Mayor Kishimoto Tateo also accepted this conditional plan. This plan with the above conditions by Okinawa was approved in a Cabinet meeting as well.


The Japanese Government, Okinawa Prefecture and Nago City agreed on the construction of an airport (both for military and civilian use) with a 2,000 meter runway by reclamation, about 2 kilometer off the coast of Henoko. (The diagram above shows different location ideas on and off Camp Schwab discussed between 1996 and 2005.)

In April, the Japanese government finally began an environmental assessment, and got ready to bore into the sea bed surrounding the proposed site. These moves were interpreted as the beginning of construction, and opposition movements organized a heroic sit-in campaign to prevent it. This nonviolent civil disobedience was hugely successful. Henoko has come to be a symbol of the peace and environmental movements.


Rather than directly face off against the protesters as the Japanese government did, the U.S. military had a different idea: Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), or global military transformation. Instead of letting Futenma and Henoko be political issues within Okinawa, QDR transformed these issues into part of a global military realignment.

On October 29, 2005, Japan and the U.S. agreed on a new plan to build a 1,800 meter-long runway inshore from Henoko, partially on the peninsula, instead of entirely offshore. This facility would have a military port function (the "L-shape" plan - see the upper part of the diagram below).
This way, Governor Inamine's idea of an offshore dual-use airport was abandoned without even nominal consultation.

The new base would be fundamentally different from Futenma in its capabilities . This is not a replacement of Futenma, whose main function is training. This is a new, different, upgraded facility that U.S. Marines will receive for free and will use as a forward base capable of attacking foreign territories, not just for training.


In April, Nukaga Fukushiro, Japan’s Defense Agency chief at the time, told Nago mayor Shimabukuro Yoshikazu about yet another new plan, this time to build a V-shaped runway. Shimabukuro and Ginoza Mayor agreed. (Then Okinawa Governor Inamine did not agree, but later new Okinawa Governor Nakaima supported Nago Mayor.) In May, the Cabinet passed a resolution to build these runways, with an even larger port facility -- perfect for Marines (the "V-shape" plan - see the lower part of the diagram)
May 2006 "Roadmap for Realignment Implementation"

"The United States and Japan will locate the FRF (Futenma Replacement Facility) in a configuration that combines the Henoko-saki and adjacent water areas of Oura and Henoko Bays, including two runways aligned in a "V"-shape, each runway having a length of 1,600 meters plus two 100-meter overruns. The length of each runway portion of the facility is 1,800 meters, exclusive of seawalls (see attached concept plan dated April 28, 2006). This facility ensures agreed operational capabilities while addressing issues of safety, noise, and environmental impacts."


In September, a new coalition government of DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan), PNP (People's New Party), and SDP (Social Democratic Party of Japan) is formed. The new government starts to review the whole FRF plan.


On January 25, Inamine Susumu, the anti-base candidate wins the Nago Mayoral Election. This election was viewed by many that for the first time in thirteen years since the 1997 plebiscite, the "public opinion paradox" - the incongruence between the public opinion and election results was resolved.

Miyagi Yasuhiro concludes, "At the time of the Nago referendum in 1997, the new base was going to take the form of a removable marine heliport. In 1999, that was changed to a joint military-civilian "airport." In 2006 the new base was further widened to require coastal landfill. In the 10 years of delay, the two governments have exponentially increased the capacity of the substitute air base. "

Back to 1966...

Miyagi also refers to the two plans that were drawn up by the US Navy and the Marine Corps in 1966 for an airport in Henoko, very much like the plan in the 2006 agreement. (See Makishi Yoshikazu's article for details.) "It is no longer a substitute for Futenma Air Station, but it now appears that Japan is constructing what the US military has wanted to build since the 1960s."

And now...
For the current plans considered by the Hatoyama Government, see the recent posts below.

No Longer "Relocation" - An Idea of a Massive Artificial Island with Three Runways over 3,000 metres

Airbases, a Military Port, and a Casino

Listen to the Unequivocal Voice of Okinawa - Once and for All

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Okinawans Irate Over Government's Plan - Yomiuri Report 沖縄は激怒している 

A citizens' meeting was held to oppose the plan to reclaim a site off White Beach, Uruma City, one o the two plans that the government is reported as considering for the "relocation" of Futenma Air Station. The meeting took place in Uruma City on the evening of March 25, attended by 650 people, according to the March 26 Yomiuri Shimbun report.

Okinawans Irate Over Government's Plan

The whole island is angry at the news that the Hatoyama government has decided to go into negotiation with the US government with the two plans - one to build a runway within Camp Schwab(Nago City), and the other to reclaim an area off White Beach(Uruma City).

Before the general election in August 2009, Hatoyama pledged that the airbase would be relocated "at least outside of the Okinawa prefecture." To most Okinawans, the current plan is a serious betrayal by DPJ, the leading party in the coalition government.

Sueko, one of the prefectural assembly members who met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano on 24th to oppose the inter-prefectural relocation plan said, "How dare would DPJ come up with a plan to reclaim the same ocean while they oppose the Henoko plan?"

Susumu, the anti-base Nago Mayor who recently drew international attention by winning the election which was virtually regarded as another plebiscite for the city citizens to accept a new base or not, also told reporters, "Mr. Hatoyama has repeatedly said that he would pay consideration to the feelings of Okinawans. What was that promise about? I am speechless with digust."

is not just against the plan to build a base over the shore of Henoko, a plan in the 2006 US-Japan agreement, but also against the new plan to build a base in the in-land area of Camp Schwab. "I oppose it. Both the City Council and the Prefectural Assembly oppose it. The residents of course oppose it. The feasibility of such plans is close to zero."

Even the supporters of the Henoko plan opposes the in-land Schwab option. Miyagi Yasuhide, head of the organization of Henoko residents who support the 2006 agreement plan says, "The in-land option would allow helicopters to fly right over residential areas and the danger of Futenma would just be automatically be transferred to Henoko. We cannot possibly accept it."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mr. Hatoyama, Can You Protect Life? 鳩山さんへ、命を守れますか?

Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio, emphasizing on policies "for protecting life," in his January 29 Policy Statement at the opening of the 174th Diet Session, January 29th, 2010

On March 23, Hatoyama and four other members of the Cabinet started discussing the plans for "relocating" Futenma Air Station (see Jiji news quoted at the bottom). There is a grim prospect of any plan to come out of this team that will be favourable to Okinawans. Hatoyama last week expressed difficulty for Futenma to relocate to another area but Okinawa, and there is little to expect from the other members - Hirano, Okada, Kitazawa, and Maehara.

Hirano Hirofumi, Chief Cabinet Secretary has been known for his repeated gaffes, like the one he said immediately after Nago Mayoral election that the anti-base candidate won. He said on January 25,"The election result is one expression of popular will, but there is no reason to take that into consideration for future discussion of policies." He also expressed his inclination to disregard the local opposition in making a national security policy on January 26. He, like Hatoyama, has been repeatedly saying that the options are being considered on the "zero-base" basis, meaning that anything was possible, by which he really means that "relocation" within Okinawa prefecture is not ruled out. He also told Okinawa Governor Nakaima on February 20, "I think the 'best' plan is ideal, but we might have to settle for a 'better' plan."

It has been also reported that Hirano and PNP's Shimoji met behind the closed doors on March 22, the day before the Cabinet members started discussion. Shimoji, now infamous Okinawan member of the parliament who has been endorsing the plan to build a runway within Camp Schwab, has been associated with his family's construction business(Daiyone Kensetsu) that will most likely profit from subcontracting for such a project. It is almost obvious that Shimoji met with Hirano to push this idea. Medoruma Shun suspects that Hirano's casino construction idea on Miyako Island, where Shimoji is from, is a reward for betraying Okinawans and promoting a plan to "relocate" Futenma within Okinawa.

Maehara Seiji, Transportation Minister also in charge of Okinawan issues, said on March 6,"there should be a special promotional measure allocated if a community within Okinawa has been chosen as a relocation site for Futenma," meaning that the government will dump money and construction projects for "economic development" of the host community. But we don't know if that strategy works any more. In the symposium held at Hosei University in Tokyo on March 20, Kawase Mitsuyoshi, Kyoto Prefectural Universty professor mentioned the fact that Inamine Susumu, new Nago Mayor rejected the government subsidy associated with hosting a new base for the new fiscal year. Kawase expects this would set a new trend for Okinawan municipalities to stop the disproportionate flow of those government funds to communities that hosted bases.

Kitazawa Toshimi, Defense Minister met with Okinawa Governor Nakaima on March 17, in which it is reported that two plans were suggested - the plan to reclaim a site off White Beach (Uruma City) and another plan to relocate Futenma to Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima. This Tokunoshima plan is technically an "out-of-prefecture" plan because Tokunoshima belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture and seems to be favoured by Hatoyama who wants to honour his word before the election that the Futenma relocation had to be out of Okinawa prefecture. This Ryukyu Shimpo column on March 22, however, points out that this island only 200 km north of Okinawa did belong to Ryukyu Kingdom, and it is still a relocation within the wider Ryukyu region - "a faraway place from Tokyo, where bureaucrats and politicians would have no worry about noises and accidents from the base affecting them."

Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya stirred controversy by stating that the failure to "relocate" the airbase in Ginowan City may lead to continued use of the current Futenma Air Station on February 2. Even PM Hatoyama said on March 23 that he would not rule out "emergency use" of Futenma.

Does this mean that in the worst case scenario, Okinawa will end up not just with a new base, but with the existing Futenma Air Station as well? Okinawans would accept neither of them, let alone one of them. What is the government thinking? What is going on? Another symposium held on March 20 at Okinawa International University had that very title - "Chaasuga (What's Going On) Futenma?" It was an opportunity for Okinawans to ask questions of the three parliamentarians representing Okinawa. One thing that the three representing each coalition party (DPJ, PNP, SDP) did have in common was their opposition for the plan to reclaim an area off Katsuren Peninsula (White Beach), for different reasons - DPJ's Kina calling the plan "reckless," SDP's Teruya fearing the large reclamation project would destroy the whole Eastern shores of Okinawa, and PNP's Shimoji arguing "creating a base in an area other than within an existing base is not acceptable."(We all know where Shimoji's twisted disagreement comes from - he wants to build a runway within Camp Schwab.) Okinawa Governor Nakaima expressed a serious concern over the plan - not just the reclamation plan, but the Camp Schwab plan as well.

It seems as if this symposium left the audience with more questions than answers. Now what? Chaasuga? What decisions will come out of this team of PM and four Cabinet members, of which each seems to have lost the DPJ's pre-election ambition to remove the Futenma base out of Okinawa? Hatoyama, in his January 29 Policy Speech, placed a special emphasis on "policies for protecting life ("inochi o mamoru seiji")." Hearing this speech reminded me of this group in Okinawa - the Association for Protecting Life ("inochi o mamoru kai"). The group of Nago residents and their supporters have been protesting on the shore of Henoko against construction of a new base for the last thirteen years.

Can Hatoyama protect the livelihood of people and the lives of the natural environment of Okinawa by removing Futenma and not building another base there?

He should, against all odds, if he is really determined to live up to his principles.


  • Japan to Present Multiple Proposals for U.S. Base
    Tokyo, March 23 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government plans to present multiple proposals for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, a government official indicated Tuesday.
    After Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama had talks on the Futenma issue with relevant ministers, a senior Foreign Ministry official said that the government does not intend to decide fully on its own and seek negotiations, indicating the government will not narrow candidate relocation sites down to one and will present them to the United States and local governments.
    Relocation sites being considered by the Japanese government are the inland area of the Marine Corps' Camp Schwab in Nago and a landfill off a U.S. Navy facility at White Beach in Uruma, both in Okinawa.
    At the day's meeting, participants likely discussed a proposed transfer of the U.S. Marines' drills to Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, north of Okinawa, as Hatoyama is exploring a possibility of moving the Futenma base out of Okinawa.
    The meeting was held by Hatoyama, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Seiji Maehara, minister in charge of Okinawa.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Gavan McCormack's Article on Okinawa and Japan-US Relationship ガバン・マコーマック 対米従属への警鐘 沖縄からの視点

This article is from the March 5 Edition of "Shukan(Weekly) Kin'yobi," a progressive weekly journal in Japan, written by Gavan McCormack, professor emeritus of the Australian National University and editor of Japan Focus. For English readers, see the longer version of the article "The Travails of a Client State: An Okinawan Angle on the 50th Anniversary of the US-Japan Security Treaty" in Japan Focus.


- 日米安保50周年、沖縄からの一視点 -



























(注1)『属国 米国の抱擁とアジアでの孤立』)
(注3)Gavan McCormack “The Battle of Okinawa 2009: Obama vs Hatoyama”

Gavan McCormack・オーストラリア国立大学名誉教授 

The "Quilt for Peace" Completed 「平和をつなぐキルト」完成

My sincere thanks to Kyoko Hara and the White Rock group for completing this beautiful "Quilt for Peace." Hopefully the few pieces I did and sort of messed up didn't do so much harm... an English message is followed by Japanese.



キルトのデザインは、中心の折鶴を囲んで、皆様から寄せられたナインパッチ(116枚)と、その周りに”We are love, and we are world peace”というメッセージと共に、22カ国語の「平和」の文字をアップリケしてあります。



このキルトは、ピース・フィロソフィー・センターに管理していただき、九条の会のイベントなどでも使っていただく予定です。 どうぞ、お楽しみに。



The "Quilt for peace" has finally been completed !
For the people who have contributed and to those who have supported this project, thank you very much.

The paper crane, which symbolizes peace, is in the center surrounded by 116 nine-patches.

Around the quilt, the message "We are love, and we are world peace," along with "peace" in 22 different languages are sewed on.

This project was supported by more than 60 people, from kids to adults. Ms.Keiko Hidaka from "Quilt de Kyujou wo Tsukuru Kai" in Japan has also helped us in many ways.

Thank you again.

Many people who wish for world peace gathered together to make this quilt, even though most were beginners at sewing.

It was a great challenge, but being able to complete it has a big meaning.

We will donate the quilt to the "Peace Philosiphy Centre", so you will be able to see it at many events.

Whiterock-no-kai (Mariko Yamamoto, Seiko Roberts, Kyoko Hara)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 20th Peace Philosophy Salon Report "Foreigners in Japan"

We, university student members of Peace Philosophy Centre, are so glad to have had a wonderful time at peace philosophy salon yesterday. Tank you very much for your attendance and participation in our salon yesterday.

The main topic for yesterday's salon was the rights of non-Japanese people in Japan, and we approached the issue from different point of views and various perspectives.

We started with a presentation by our guest speaker, Go Murakami (UBC, PhD student of political science major). He presented on political issues related to immigration and fundamental rights of foreigners living in Japan. His presentation made me to rethink about the concept of state sovereignty, citizenship and our fundamental rights as human who must live somewhere, within a defined territory no matter what you like it or not.

Relating to that, Arc Zen Han (UBC, International Relations major) presented on political and philosophical analysis on the conception of citizenship and community as well. Even though it seems very complicated, it is always important to think about the world around us radically- "radical" in a sense that "going back to the roots". In China, for example, there is no simple and single definition of "Chineseness" which can be applied for ALL the people living within China, since the country is consisted of so many different regions of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In Canada as well, there is no such "Canadianess" that can define each Canadian people as one particular kind of people. We think we understand that in our head, but in practice, it might be difficult for us to be aware of that constantly. In order to think about any kind of discrimination and prejudice, we need to go back to fundamental and radical factors and philosophical approach is definitely necessary.

Dan Aizawa (UBC, Political Science and History major) presented on the issue of social and political position of international schools in Japan based on his personal experience and thoughts. His presentation led a deep discussion on whether or not those non-Japanese schools that are not fully following Japanese education curriculums need to be recognized as "school" in Japan. They should follow Japanese curriculums? or, should it be individuals' freedom to choose not to be part of Japanese education system while living in Japan? By discussing on these questions together, it urged us to rethink not only how non-Japanese schools should be treated, but also what the fundamental role and purpose of education is and what "good" education is.

In addition, and highly importantly, we also discussed the issue that the Japanese government currently discriminates Korean high schools in Japan institutionally by not providing them funding, whereas other non-Japanese schools can receive money from the government just like other Japanese schools. This is clearly representing racial discrimination against Zainichi Koreans and the government just got warned by UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for its commitment to racial discrimination.

I (Shoko, SFU Sociology major) shared my perspective and thoughts based on my own "sociological" analysis about social and cultural implications in discrimination against non-Japanese people in Japan. The situation is changing due to political, economic, and cultural globalization, but I personally think there still exist cultural and social aspects, which are peculiar to Japanese society, causing discrimination against non-Japanese people in grass-root levels.

Andrew Livingston (UBC Asian study major) shared his experience and his' stories of living in Japan, and it was a great opportunity to hear how discrimination against non-Japanese people still exists in Japanese society from non-Japanese point of views. However, he and one of the participants who have lived in Japan as a foreigner also addressed that their experience of living in Japan was great and they met lots of great Japanese people who helped them during their stay. They told us that their impression about Japan is quite positive, even though they have come across with discrimination explicitly or implicitly.

My belief is that small shifts in individual consciousness create massive shift in consciousness just like a small pebble thrown into a pond produces a wave farther. Therefore, as a Japanese who have lived in abroad and learned the importance of critical thinking, I feel responsible to see Japan, the country where I was born and grew up, in critical way and have dialogue with others to know different perspectives and thoughts. As a Japanese student who have been studying in abroad, not only criticizing negative part of Japan but also I need to recognize positive aspect of the country and its people.

From this salon, I learned a lot about Japanese political background and situation of non-Japanese people living in Japan, and most importantly, discussion with participants urged me to have balanced perspective in order to improve my critical thinking skill into more constructive one :)


Student members would love to thank Satoko-san, for guiding and supporting us to have such a wonderful time. Thank you, always!!!

Love & Peace ,


Friday, March 19, 2010

Listen to the Unequivocal Voice of Okinawa - Once and for All

Okinawa "kenmin taikai" (prefectural citizens' rally) on Novemer 8, 2009 to protest against the construction of a new base in Henoko or anywhere else in Okinawa. Photo from the JCP website.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Hatoyama expressed his thought on the Futenma issue.

"It is difficult to relocate (Futenma Air Station) out of the prefecture, but I would like to pay consideration to the feeling of people in Okinawa, who want it out of the prefecture. We are doing our best." (県外は難しいけれども、沖縄県民の皆さん方の(県外が)望ましいという気持ちを大事にしたい。その中で頑張っているところだ」)(Jiji News, March 19)

When Japanese speakers say something is "difficult," if often means "impossible."

Indeed, the government has been acting as if they had already given up the idea of just returning Futenma to the people of Okinawa without building another base there.

On top of the plan in the 2006 Agreement, which is to build a V-shaped runway over the shore of Henoko, the possible government plans include building a runway and a helipad on the land of Camp Schwab (see the upper part of the right illustration by Yomiuri), and reclaiming off White Beach (there are two plans - off Katsuren Peninsula, or between White Beach and Tsuken Island) to build a new base that could accommodate a military port and ASDF runways as well (see the lower part of illustration). This blog already introduced some details of these plans in the previous posts. There was another plan that Defense Minister Kitazawa referred to when meeting with Okinawa Governor Nakaima on March 17 - the plan to move the base to Tokunoshima Island, another island 200 km north of Okinawa, which belongs to the neighbouring prefecture of Kagoshima.

It seems that the moment the government puts their eyes on one place, the municipality stands up with an opposition resolution. Three town councils of Tokunoshima, including one that hosts Tokunoshima Airport, passed opposition resolutions between March 9 and 17 (Nishinippon Shimbun, March 18). The Council of Uruma City, where White Beach is, also passed a position statement addressed to the central government opposing the above mentioned plan to reclaim off Katsuren Peninsula (Ryukyu Shimpo, March 19). Nago City, which attracted wide international attention at the end of January for electing the anti-base mayor, also passed a resolution opposing the Camp Schwab on-land plan earlier in March.

How many of these elections, plebiscites, resolutions, and mass-scale rallies do the central government and US Government need to hear about in order to REALLY get the message - one simple message that Okinawa (nor any other prefecture) does NOT want another base?

Gavan McCormack, Professor Emeritus of Australian National University and editor of Japan Focus says,"Does Ampo(Japan-US Security Treaty) mean deny/reject/crush all these (expressions of popular will)? ... An alliance that treats the opinion of "natives" with such contempt is not an alliance of or for democracy. The "free world" used to be fiercely critical of Moscow for ignoring/trampling on the opinions of Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians; now in the name of democracy and "freedom:" it is about to act in precisely the same way. Does freedom mean so little to those who pretend they defend it? "

Okinawa Times Editorial on March 19 says that these "new plans" by the government are nothing new. Back in 1999, Governor Inamine Keiichi announced that the Futenma relocation site would be on the coastal region of Henoko, Nago, within the water area of Camp Schwab. " At that time, the prefecture had considered seven different options - 1) Coast of Henoko; 2) Eastern coast of Tsuken Island; 3) North of Takae (where the contentious construction of US helipads are forcefully underway); 4) On the land of Camp Schwab; 5)Coast of Katabaru (South of Nago); 6) Off Yokatsu Peninsula (where White Beach is); and 7) Ie Island. The possible plans that have been suggested by members of Hatoyama Administration are those that have already been considered but did not materialize. Digging up those dead plans itself is a "derisive" act against Okinawans, the editorial argues.

Miyagi Yasuhiro today warns that any decision by Hatoyama Administration to build another base within the prefecture will only lead to a fierce political battle by Okinawa against the central government. Okinawa's dignity will be at stake.

Okinawans are going to get together once again for a massive rally on April 25 at Yomitan Sports Park. This will be the first all-party demonstration against building another base within Okinawa as a "relocation" site of Futenma Air Station. They are aiming for participation of 100,000 people.

Both US and Japanese Governments will have to see and listen, if they haven't already by then.