Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Introduction: The Continued Saga of the Henoko Base and Japan-US-Okinawa Relations :: JapanFocus

Okinawa may have temporarily receded from the headlines, but the contradictions and conflicts that have roiled it for most of the post-War era, in acute form now for 17 years, have not been resolved. Rival forces steadily mobilize for a perhaps decisive phase in the contest over whether or not US military design should continue to be the prefecture’s. The standoff may not last much longer in its current form, but how it will be resolved is far from clear.

On January 19 2014, the people of Nago City in Northern Okinawa (population ca. 60,000) go to the polls to elect a new mayor. It is the quintessential local political event, yet this particular election has significant national and international implications. Previous elections, at roughly 4-yearly intervals, attracted intense outside attention, and this one is no different. The “Nago election” file must sit close to the top of urgent and ongoing matters on the desk of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

The reason is that within Nago City lies the hamlet of Henoko, facing Oura Bay, and it is there that the United States and Japan decided in 1996 that a “replacement base” would be constructed to accommodate the existing Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City in the densely populated centre of the island. The City’s first response to that announcement was a plebiscite on 1997. The outcome was a clear “No” to the plan, but then-mayor Higa Tetsuya took it upon himself to reverse that decision, accepting the plan on the City’s behalf and promptly resigning.

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Comment: Yup, much as I hate to admit it, the Obama-Nation of Desolation as spoken of by the profit Daniel doesn't have a lock on lies, corruption and/or incompetence! Here's something that America is NOT number one at but like Hertz Rent-a-car, you gotta give them credit because they do try harder!

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