Yahoo in its UK and Ireland-based portal is reporting that the Hatoyama Government is denying that there is serious friction between Japan and the United States over the DPJ’s back-tracking on the 2006 transfer of troops and base relocation.
Now, wait a minute! The last two weeks in Tokyo seem to have been spent making trouble about the U.S.-Japan (Pacific alliance). There have been snubs back and forth, and proposals to exclude the U.S. from any future “Far East Asian Co-Properity Sphere” like the one proposed (with land invasions) by Japan in the 1930’s.
A ton of anti-American sentiment has been encouraged by the Hatoyama Government with its nudge-nudge wink-wink approach to anti-Americanism in the new “more equal partnership”.
We see what the era of More Equal Partnership is: an era where the Americans become the goats, the foils, or the Guys in Black Hats for every failure to deliver of the DPJ government. For every point of the Manifesto that doesn’t happen, the excuse will–through typical Japanese bureaucrat twists and turn–start with, “if it weren’t for the Americans . . . ”
If you read about the Okinawans, and in particular the Ryuukyuu Kingdom that the Japanese Tokugawa junta made into a feifdom in 1609, and the Meiji Government annexed in 1879, you will probably agree that the people there have been put upon for hundreds of years.
And not just when the Meiji Government assassinated anti-annexation politicians in the 1870’s and ’80’s.
Stupidly, when America occupied Okinawa in the last century, we did not press for a restoration of the Ryuukyuus as its own Republic, which, in the end, sounds like what the Okinawans actually want. Instead, we gave Okinawa back to the Japanese at the end of 1972.
We didn’t understand that a future Japanese government would politick our presence there. I don’t think this was ever “on the radar” in Washington when the decisions were made. I think we assumed that putting the Ryuukyuu Kingdom back with Japan was appropriate, and that the Ryuukyuus united with Japan wanted America’s assistance in those re-united countries as a bulwark against Chinese and/or Soviet encroachment.
I don’t know what the resolution of the Okinawa base issue will be, now that Washington is being pressured to renegotiate the 2006 accord. But I wish the Ryuukyuuans well in their ongoing struggle with the Japanese over governance in their islands.
[Update: I found a map of U.S. bases on the Ryuukyuus/Okinawa courtesy of: Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles.
It sounds like the bigger question is why Tokyo ever agreed to let so much of the Japanese national joint defense be based on the Ryuukyuus (Okinawa).]