Unfortunately this kind of attempts by national or local authorities to squash artistic freedom of expression are rather frequent. The concepts of freedom of expression and more fundamentally that of civil liberties in general have never really gained a foothold in Japan. While there is a tradition of "looking the other way", as soon as someone complains directly (even if it's only a single voice) the authorities use that as an excuse to crack down on the freedom of expression, especially in regard to forms of expression directly critical of authorities or even worse of the emperor. I sometimes get the impression that authorities outrightly assigning people to complain so that they can step in, but that is not based on any factual knowledge.
Just like in this case they then use formalities as an excuse to shut down exhibitions or more frequently remove artworks from exhibitions.
The last two examples of such censorship were an artwork by Makoto Aida in an exhibition in the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art and an exhibition featuring stylized vaginas by Megumi Igarashi. In the case of Aida the artwork was a huge banner with handwritten text outrightly critical of the Japanese education system and the national board of education, that Aida had written together with his at that time junior-high-school-aged son.
In the case of Igarashi the authorities took the case to court where it was decided (by an old male ) judge that showing stylized vaginas in art was obscene. Both in my eyes clear violations of the freedom of expression, regardless of whether you like the artworks or not.
0 ( +1 / -1 )
For a more balanced view I would ad some points:
• the Okinawan people were never directly democratically involved in any of the decisions regarding the US military bases, even those decisions have extremely long term and deep influences on the lives of every Okinawan citizen.
• the new base will also include a deep water port, a completely new feature available neither in Futenma nor in the current Schwab base.
• the central government continues to ignore the constitutionally guaranteed right of every prefecture (LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT Article 92) to have say in matters that are of concern for the prefecture.
• the unjust status quo is the result of illegal confiscation of private land during and after the war.
• there has never been any comparable case where one Japanese prefecture was forced to accept such a heavy burden unilaterally (and the LDP would never dare to even attempt something similar in any other prefecture)
• This kind of unbalanced and discriminatory burden forced upon one region (state, prefecture, you name it) would be unthinkable in any other developed democracy, because of local self-government clauses in all modern democratic constitutions.
3 ( +4 / -1 )
About 48% who didnt vote does and that is "factual data"
You have to explain to us how 48% who for one or another reason decided not to vote in a referendum do prove anything.
The only fact I see here is that they didn’t vote.
Of course you will always try to spin things to fit your views, but you have failed to provide us with any factual data that could even hint at an acceptance of the relocation plan and the current status quo of the US military in Okinawa by the Okinawan people.
3 ( +3 / -0 )
First and foremost they want their democratically expressed will respected.
And the one almost universally shared wish of the Okinawan people (as also the 1996 referendum clarified) is either a drastic reduction or a complete removal of the US military stationed in Okinawa.
In regard to financial support, all Japanese prefectures receive big money from Tokyo and Okinawa isn’t even the top receiver.
It is by large a myth created by the LDP that Okinawan people get insane amounts of money and therefore should surrender their democratic rights.
5 ( +5 / -0 )
The referendum clearly backs up all factual data available on the opinions of the Okinawan people, in particular the reality of an overwhelming opposition to the Futenma relocation and the discriminating proportion of US military stationed in Okinawa.
It has to be said again and again: all polls or surveys ever done on the issue show an above 70% of the Okinawan people are against the relocation and for a drastic reduction of US military in Okinawa.
In turn there is absolutely no factual data to support your far fetched argument about the Okinawan people being indifferent to the issue.
If people don’t go to a referendum it doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion.
5 ( +5 / -0 )
Some posters here won't ever be able to accept the democratic expression of the will of the Okinawan people. In one or another way they will try to spin it to fit their world view.
The outcome once again expressly underlines all polls and surveys ever conducted on this and similar issues.
And for a non-binding prefectural referendum the turnout was actually quite remarkable. Even in countries with a strong democratic tradition where citizens referenda play a crucial role in the decision-making process like Swiss voter turnout is mostly in the 40% range.
So for the Okinawa people and Denny this referendum was a full success and for the LDP in Tokyo it will create quite some headaches. It could actually evolve to be the nail in the coffin of the Henoko relocation project.
8 ( +8 / -0 )
I didn’t say that US military increase the crime rate “per capita” and that is not the point from an Okinawan perspective.
Okinawa has been forced to accept a completely out of balance amount of US military and while the Okinawan people don’t have any antipathies against US military individuals (and by large treat them with utmost respect) they see the US military in the current numbers as unwanted guests.
And if people you didn’t invite commit crimes in your home it is only natural to try to get them out of your home, whatever low their “crime rate” might be.
As for local crimes the Okinawan society has to deal with it in one or another way as for good reasons it’s not possible to expel Japanese citizens from Japan.
To me it is beyond reason that many posters here seem unable to empathize with the Okinawan people, who were forced to host a foreign military and surrender close to 20% of their homeland without having ever been asked or democratically involved in the decision making process around such a huge burden.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
For the Okinawan people this is about more than just this one new facility, it is about whether they have a democratic voice in crucial matters considering their prefecture. It is thus about the basic workings of democracy.
Tokyo has been discriminating Okinawa and ignored the will of the Okinawan people since it was forced to became a part of Japan and the new US military facility in Henoko is just the one straw that broke the camel’s back.
The Okinawan people also see this referendum as a way to debunk the unjustified claims that they don’t have a clear position (as also some posters here try to make it look like). They do have and they want to make it clearer once and for all.
About the crime committed by US military in Okinawa, it is very simple: less US military, less crime, and less US military is what the overwhelming majority of the Okinawan people want (and to have less crime is one of the reasons why).
For crimes committed by locals it’s a completely different story that needs completely different measures.
2 ( +3 / -1 )
A very unfortunate development that people in Okinawa take extremely serious. The public discussion here in the prefecture makes it very clear that the Okinawan people feel discriminated and will keep opposing the construction of this new military facility.
There's no way that this will end amicably unless the central government stops the construction and respects the democratic will of the people in Okinawa.
Officials in Tokyo said the Henoko plan is the only one feasible and they will stick with it despite protests.
It's the only feasible plan because Okinawa is the only prefecture the central government would force such a decision on.
The inner-Japanese discrimination is blatant and the way this decision is forced upon Okinawa is anti-democratic.
1 ( +2 / -1 )
the politicians will lose their pet issue and have to get back to the real job of actually governing their municipalities and the prefecture!
To call the base issue a "pet issue" shows deep disregard towards the Okinawan people, who by a large majority feel discriminated by the way the central government is handling the base issue.
This is not a small issue for the Okinawan people, it is about being or not being an equal part of Japan and whether or not receiving the same treatment as all other prefectures.
If the base in Henoko is built for the Okinawan people it means that the structural discrimination they are facing since generations is manifest for another some decades to come.
Okinawan politicians like Denny, and Onaga before him, are doing their best to facilitate the democratic will of the people in Okinawa. They are doing the right thing and Abe and his cronies are on the wrong side of history.
0 ( +3 / -3 )
A very unfortunate decision that reveals how much the Japanese government disrespects the will of the Okinawan people.
Nowhere in a developed democratic nation would it be possible to blatantly ignore the will of the people of a whole prefecture or region and force an unwanted foreign military base upon them.
It is the result of structural discrimination that Okinawan people have experienced since they were forced to become a part of Japan and it shows us that democracy in Japan is still waiting to be fully realised.
If Henoko is built the way it is planned it undoubtedly will be a thorn in Okinawa and mainland Japan relations for generations to come.
0 ( +3 / -3 )
I've been here for years and your whole post misrepresents the truth of this island.
You don't understand Okinawa nor Japanese, this was all AFTER he died. Keep that in mind.
At least I stick to verifiable information while you chose to ignore the obvious reality in Okinawa whenever it suits your narrative and that happens quite often.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
The respect that the Okinawan people showed for Onaga has not that much to do with the election of Denny. It was apparent all over the island, in the media, in public events, in gatherings and in discussions one could hear everywhere.
If you didn't get that than I would say you're either not living in Okinawa or you're living in your own Okinawan reality.
The outpour of admiration for Onaga was so obvious that I was genuinely surprised as his popularity as a politician was starting to fade.
64% of the electorate or so voted of that 55% voted for Denny, do the math, that is far from the "overwhelming" majority of Okinawa's 1.4 million people. He got nearly 300,000 votes, and you call that overwhelming?
The overwhelming majority of the Okinawan people are against the relocation of Furenma within the prefecture. All polls ever conducted on this question show this (75% to 85% are against the construction of a new base in Henoko), the public discussion in Okinawa shows this, and even the gubernatorial elections, where of course more complex topics play a role, show this.
If you have any evidence for noteworthy support amongst Okinawan citizens for the relocation of Futenma to Henoko show it to us, otherwise your comments remain an unsubstantiated personal view.
Okinawan people...hmmm, how do you differentiate between Okinawan's and Japanese?
Okinawan's are citizens of the prefecture called Okinawa. Beyond that a majority of the Okinawan citizens also see themselves as a cultural distinct minority within the nation state of Japan, especially those born in or with family ties to Okinawa.
Any problem with that definition?
-2 ( +1 / -3 )
Pray tell just WHAT has any of them done for the people of Okinawa besides spend their tax money? Come on?
Onaga and Denny are doing exactly what the Okinawan people have asked and elected them for:
to give Okinawa a democratic voice and to stop the discriminating and anti-democratic treatment of Okinawa by the central government and the US.
After Onaga's death it became very clear how respected he was by the overwhelming majority of the Okinawan people, so obviously you are missing some points that are essential for most Okinawan people.
Either you are out of touch with what is happening in Okinawa or your own agenda makes it impossible for you to understand the sentiment of the Okinawan people.
-2 ( +2 / -4 )
smithinjapan Today 03:24 pm JST
Yeah, it's about utter BS.
It seems that you are trying to say that a large majority of the Okinawan people are requesting "utter BS".
Is that how you see the Okinawan people?
You guys didn't raise a word when they destroyed "unique pieces of Okinawa nature" to build Onaga's pet project with the Ishigaki airport, among other places.
There indeed was a vivid discussion in Okinawa whether it is right to built the airport in Ishigaki and a new runway at Naha airport and many of the people who are actively opposing Heneko were opposed to both projects.
Besides, it is a completely different situation if the Okinawan people decide in a democratic process to sacrifice a part of their nature for economical reasons or if they are forced to sacrifice without any consideration for their own good.
So your comment misses the point.
5 ( +6 / -1 )
Denny's focus on stopping Henoko is everything but irrational and meaningless! It is about getting democracy to work in Japan.
If the democratic process is corrupted, like it is now in Okinawa and to a lesser extent also in the rest of Japan, there is no way for the Okinawan people to build their future and develop their economy in a meaningful and sustainable way.
Many Okinawans know very well that if they are not able to stop the Henoko Base from being built it means they will be confronted with Tokyo's deceiving and discriminating politics for another some decades to come.
In order to be able to build a healthy and sustainable economy Okinawa has to reject the economic incentives created by the central government solely to keep Okinawa dependent and under its thumb.
Stopping Henoko is about much more than stopping the destruction of a unique piece of Okinawan nature...
it is about equality,
democratic self-determination of a region
and about being able to build a healthy and sustainable economy based on democratic values and not on power politics.
4 ( +6 / -2 )
It was amazing to se how Denny was able to energize the Okinawan people in such a short period and against such a powerful, well funded political opponent.
It's the first time that I've experienced such an enthusiasm for a politician in Okinawa, especially amongst younger Okinawans. Denny apparently has the ability to inspire people.
Now he's facing the immense task of confronting an anti-democratic central government aiming at corrupting the Okinawan democratic process in order to keep the bulk of the US military away from the mainland.
12 ( +14 / -2 )
Oh, let's not forget the hypocritical responses of the Okinawan government here, they willingly destroy the coral reef to build an additional runway at Naha AP
While I disagree with the decision to build a second runway at Naha airport it is a completely different situation and it is demagoguery to lump those two environmentally destructive projects together.
The Naha airport project is a decision that Okinawan citizens in one or another way had a say on, but the decision to built a complete new US military facility in Henoko is being forced on the Okinawan people clearly against their will and clearly without regard to an equal burden amongst regions.
Economic development is more often than not environmentally destructive, but if the people concerned decide on the basis of proper information that they want to sacrifice a part of their nature for economic gain then this is a normal democratic process happening in all democratic nations. When a central government without regard for the will of the people forces a project onto a prefectures citizens it is simply anti-democratic and against basic human values.
2 ( +3 / -1 )
Spot on! Shinako Oyakawa belongs to a new generation of young Okinawans who are developing a new consciousness for their heritage and language.
They are still a minority within Okinawa, but I'm observing a growing number of younger Okinawans who are in one or another way rediscovering and reinvigorating their independent cultural heritage and language.
And they are doing this despite having graduated from an overly centralised education system that leaves no room for integrating minority cultures and that has been highly discriminating towards the Okinawan people.
4 ( +4 / -0 )
@ Mike O'Brien
Then cite the article that it violates.
Just as voiceofokinawa has already pointed out article 46 of The Hague Convention, which states: “Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.”
You tried to obfuscate the violation of the Hague Convention here:
It applies to military forces occupying another countries lands. The US military is not occupying Okinawa as made clear by your mention of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
The time when the land was forcefully taken the US military was in fact occupying Okinawa and therefor the act was a violation of an international treaty the US had ratified.
"After World War II, the judges of the military tribunal of the Trial of German Major War Criminals at Nuremberg Trials found that by 1939, the rules laid down in the 1907 Hague Convention were recognised by all civilised nations and were regarded as declaratory of the laws and customs of war. Under this post-war decision, a country did not have to have ratified the 1907 Hague Convention in order to be bound by them." (Wikipedia)
The following article gives a good overview of the inhumane history and the facts around Futenma and the US military in Okinawa:
-2 ( +0 / -2 )
@ Mike O'Brien
The confiscation of land by the US military in Okinawa clearly was against the Hague treaties and beyond that inhumane and unjust in every respect.
Without this lawless action of the US there would be no Futenma Military Base and also many other US military facilities in Okinawa built on land forcefully taken away from its rightful owners would exist.
Just because this is a reality since more than 70 doesn't make it right and the strong opposition in Okinawa against the Futenma relocation (more then 70% of the prefectures citizens oppose it) within the prefecture is based on this experience if injustice.
Over-whelming Okinawan's dont have the time nor money to spend their days sitting in protest,
but wait, it's common knowledge that "regulars" and even some "part-timers" are in fact paid between 5,000 to 10,000 yen per day.
Where is that common knowledge? In the Japanese right-wing "Net-uyo" circles?
Except maybe for some undercover agents from Tokyo the protestors are genuinely fighting for their citizens rights and the effort they undertake to stop the construction of a new military facility is so immense that no money could compensate.
-2 ( +1 / -3 )
These protesters are getting little press outside of Okinawa, (or JT for that matter) and are just paid trouble-makers who have little if anything else to do!
Yubaru, you are spreading debunked rumors of right-wing propaganda channels. They are not paid trouble-makers but overwhelmingly normal Okinawan citizens who care about peace and the Okinawan environment.
They are making full use of their rights as citizens of a constitutional democracy, while the Japanese government tries to scare, intimidate and even jail them based on far-fetched reasons for month at a time to destroy their opposition.
Now you are going overboard, the residents of Henoko did not vote a pro-base mayor. It was the entire city of Nago that voted in a mayor that is pragmatic about the situation and not a one-issue mayor as his predecessor was.
True here, he's not a pro base mayor, but he's less "pragmatic" than "submissive" as he bases his policies largely on dirty money directly form the central government. Dirty because the central government should not get involved in local elections, but it did so shamelessly in Nago.
Remember...the person you are replying to is using a very typical and annoying Japanese type response to issues they can not win, obfuscate and change the discussion to a totally different and irrelevant point of discussion.
And the way you write in a thoroughly disrespectful way about other posters here speaks for itself.
-3 ( +5 / -8 )
Japanese courts are biased and part of a discriminatory political structure that Okinawa is a victim of since it was forced into being a part of Japan.
Everybody knows that the judicial system in Japan is not independent and that any judge who rules against the government is demoted.
We just saw it with the nuclear power plant restarts when judges that ruled agains restarts were demoted to family courts and judges submissive to the government were installed instead to get desired rulings.
It is well known within the fishing community that fishermen who never fished in the area, which is at the minimum and hour ride by boat around the island from Nago port, were well paid for their "losing" the rights to the area.
Yes, thanks for pointing this out. It is well known that the central government is engaged in such kind of divide and rule politics in Okinawa since the reversion in 1972.
Such dirty policies have divided the village of Henoko in a way that even within families it is taboo to mention the new military facility that is being built in front of their harbor.
Politicians in Tokyo are very good at this kind of anti-democratic power harassment strategies, and they also employed them when they forced remote and underdeveloped communities to host nuclear power plants, but no other prefecture has suffered so much from those immoral policies as Okinawa.
The election in Nago is another example of such divide and rule politics where the central government got directly involved in the local election by offering financial incentives in such a blunt and ludicrous way that most observers thought voters couldn't dare to vote for the candidate supported by Tokyo.
The LDP has invested a lot in corrupting Okinawan politicians and it is quite remarkable that despite the massive intimidation from Tokyo there still is an independent political landscape in the prefecture.
1 ( +2 / -1 )
Nobody in Okinawa is surprised about such news. Okinawa has been experiencing this kind of abuse and discrimination since generations.
If you want to talk about history tell the full story. Okinawa has been first colonialized, then forcefully annexed by Japan and has since been discriminated in manyfold ways by a central government that sees Okinawa as subordinate outpost that can be conveniently abused to protect the mainland.
While directly after the war the massive concentration if US military in Okinawa was a direct result of a geopolitical and military strategic abuse of Okinawa by Tokyo, the same massive und unequal concentration of US military 45 years after the reversion of Okinawa to Japan is a sign of a non-functional democracy and structural discrimination in Japan.
While the present status quo surely is a result of history, history can not excuse the blatant injustice Okinawa is still enduring today.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
Apparently ex-minister Kozo Yamamoto is surprised how his "well intended" comments could be understood so "wrongly" by "such black things".
Yamamoto is one of those racists who are too stupid to understand what racism is.
16 ( +19 / -3 )
So I guess you want to make us believe that the people of Okinawa clueless and tricked into reading Okinawan newspapers buy a some kind of foreign conspiracy or leftwing media mafia? Any objectifiable evidence to support such weird claims?
In my eyes this kind of claims are a display of a deep rooted disrespect for the citizens of Okinawa and their life choices including their media choice.
The media here only reports one side of the story, and refuse to publish anything that puts the military in a positive light.
For the people of Okinawa the US military in its current irreal concentration on their islands is a nuisance, a threat and they just want it reduced to justifiable levels.
Personally the Okinawan people have no problem with americans or US military personal and the media is never disrespectful to US military individuals. Except for very few exceptions US military personal is treated with respect and in a welcoming way by the Okinawan people, even they didn't invite the US military to their island.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
it's a choice they made to keep the school by the base.
The way you argue it is obvious that haven't looked at a map of Ginowan city once and apparently don't understand the situation of the local citizens.
There's simply is no location in Ginowan that is not directly affected by Futenma military action.
Over 90% of Ginowan is located within 1 km of the Futenma base and helicopters are flying in and out of Futenma in almost all directions and at all times even in the middle of the night.
There is no school in Ginowan that is not bothered by US military noise and worried about "equipment falling from the sky". Your talk about safe places for schools in Ginowan is nonsensical.
And because of the illegally confiscated US base land there is a huge lack of developable land in Ginowan and the city's ability to do meaningful urban planning is extremely limited.
3 ( +3 / -0 )
@ Droll Quarry
Initially this move was hailed as a good solution by both the Okinawa government and Japan,
Actually the people of Okinawa never ever hailed the Henoko relocation plan. It was forced upon them by corrupt and discriminating Tokyo politics and their Okinawan henchman.
The Okinawan population was never asked about the decision and all polls ever conducted send a very clear message: the Okinawan people do not want this new US military facility in their prefecture.
The influx of millions of outside political money has ensured this faction remains in power.
Droll Quarry won't be able to give us one piece of hard evidence for this baseless rumors spread by ultra nationalist trolls.
The newspapers and TV on Okinawa are controlled by this faction and report a continuous diet of fake or distorted news and disinformation, while the Okinawa people continue to suffer from a government that that does address it's real problems and needs.
Again baseless rumors. The Okinawan newspapers are reflecting Okinawan sentiment in a very accurate way and therefor are dominating the media market in the prefecture.
why is there a school beside an airforce base? because some smart government planning official thought it would be a good idea. the base was there long before the city was.
Completely untrue. There were a number of villages there before the base was built by the US military. Inhabitants were illegally forced out of their property and the base took away on of the prime location for agriculture in southern central Okinawa.
If you look at google earth you will understand that every piece of land in Ginowan is close to Futenma, so planning officials don't have much of a choice and in Japan school have to be within the neighborhood they serve.
3 ( +4 / -1 )
yeah, because fighters flying in from Hokkaido could prevent an invasion or incursion in Okinawan territory... ummm.... faster? Sure makes sense!
First, the US military is not in Okinawa to protect Okinawa. It is there to protect US interests and possibly to protect Japan.
Second, the most imminent threat to Japan is coming from North Korea and the majority of Japanese prefectures are much closer to NK than Okinawa. So maybe smithinjapan can explain to us, why then the bulk of US military (given the fact that it is there to protect Japan) is located in the remotest part of Japan?
And even if we consider China to be a credible threat there are at least 8 other prefectures in comparable vicinity to China that share close to zero burden with Okinawa in protecting Japan. Or does smithinjapan believe Japan might be facing an attack from the Philippines or Taiwan⸮
bamboo: and I like how you guys cry foul about safety then say, “let other prefectures deal with it!” You don’t care about safety if you’re suggesting that.
Who says "let other prefectures deal with it"? Trying to twist my words? I didn't say that, nor have I ever heard Okinawan people say something similar. What they say is, lets at least share the burden (and the danger) in a reasonable way.
2 ( +3 / -1 )
For people living on a small island of which close to 20% are occupied by the US military, and where one can hardly spend a day without being flown over by military flight vehicles of all kinds, of course every accident involving the US military will reinforce the latent fear and remind Okinawans of the dangers that this unwanted foreign force poses to them on a daily basis.
Solution of the problem is Okinawa's independence from Japan.
Not a realistic solution for the time being.
The real solution would be to...
... properly enforce what is written in the Japanese constitution about equality and local autonomy
... share the burden of defending the nation in a reasonable way between the prefectures
... give Okinawa the same rights and treat it in the same way other prefecture are treated by the central government
4 ( +5 / -1 )