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Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Environment, International, Law, Media, Places, Politics, Society, War | 0 comments

Okinawans Will No Longer be ‘Pawned Away’ to Curry American Favor (Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun, Japan)

Do the democratically-expressed wishes of the people of Okinawa count for anything? That is the question posed by this editorial from Japan’s Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun, which accuses newly-reminted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of planning to ignore their demands for closure of America’s bases there to satisfy the United States.

One of the most strongly-worded editorials you are likely to read in a Japanese newspaper starts off this way:

Mr. Shinzo Abe, your visit to the prefecture [Okinawa] is the first since your return to the office of the prime minister, and people here are watching cold-eyed and with a measure of apprehension.

Before visiting the U.S. later this month, you want to apply to the governor’s office for permits to reclaim land in public waters, which is required for relocating the U.S. military’s Futenma Air Station to Henoko. And like a souvenir, you would like to bring signs of progress on the relocation plan for the prefecture to the president of the United States. Could this be the reason for your visit [to Okinawa]?

If so, you are not welcomed here. Okinawa has decided not to resign itself to being treated as an item to be “pawned,” to the United States to curry favor with it.

At the National Diet yesterday, you said you will “listen carefully to the voice of Okinawa.” How many times have we have heard such words from the mouths of prime ministers? And while uttering them, isn’t it the case that you hope only to hear what you want to hear?: “Relocation with the prefecture is acceptable.”

We ask you to please “hear” us correctly. If you do, you’ll acknowledge that for Okinawa there is no going back, and that the people of the prefecture have an indomitable will to reject this relocation.

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