Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Japanese & Okinawan scholars urge Tokyo to stop relocating bases & reconsider revising the Cold War-era US-Japan security arrangement

Okinawan and Japanese scholars, writers, and journalists have written this statement questioning the real issues at hand regarding the Futenma Base and its "replacement" at Henoko and Tokunoshima.

They say that instead of playing musical chairs military base construction throughout Okinawa and Japan--that the Japanese government needs to reexamine its outdated Cold War security agreement with the U.S. They urge a reconsideration of the Japan-US Security Treaty system, including the Status of Forces Agreement and the Guidelines (Japan-US Defence Cooperation Guidelines).
"For the Withdrawal of the US Marines, (Second) Statement on the Futenma Replacement Problem"

The US Marine Air Base at Futenma, set in the middle of a residential district, is the most dangerous base in the world and it should be immediately closed and dismantled. The former LDP government “agreed” with the US on construction of a Futenma replacement base at Henoko in Northern Okinawa (on-shore at camp Schwab), but this amounted to the construction of a large, new base in Okinawa, and so the Okinawan people have taken every opportunity to express their opposition to it.

The Autumn 2009 change of government, and the electoral pledge of the DPJ for [Futenma transfer] “out of Japan or at least out of Okinawa” transformed the situation and gave hope to the Okinawan people. In the January 2010 Nago mayoral election, Inamine Susumu, the candidate opposed to any Futenma relocation, was victorious. In February, the Okinawan Prefectural assembly passed unanimously a resolution calling for “Futenma base to be moved out of Okinawa.” It was supported even by the LDP and Komeito, both of which had hitherto accepted transfer within the prefecture. Also, all 41 Okinawan town and village mayors have called for the base to be shifted out of Okinawa and the conservative-backed Governor, Nakaima Hirokazu, has begun to speak of the outlook for [relocation] within Okinawa as “harsh.” Okinawa has adopted an “all-Okinawa” stance of outright opposition to relocation within the prefecture.

However, the Hatoyama government, having postponed any “decision” until May 2010, has begun to move in the direction of a resolution of the matter on a “within Okinawa” basis, with plans for a Camp Schwab land-based structure and for reclamation off the Katsuren peninsula.

Deeply concerned over the moves by the Government, we issue the following Statement.

(The first group of 18 signatories listed below are those over whose names the January 2010 statement by scholars and intellectuals was issued. The second group comprises 20 scholars and intellectuals from Okinawa. Since they have also issued previous statements in Okinawa demanding withdrawal of the Marines, this Joint Statement may be considered a “Second Statement” for both.)

1. We oppose not just the Henoko land-based Camp Schwab plan and the Katsuren peninsula offshore plan, but all plans for Futenma base transfer within Okinawa. Okinawa’s burden must not be made heavier. Okinawa’s feelings must not be ignored. Okinawa’s environment must not be destroyed.

2. At the House of Representatives election in 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan’s position was for Futenma transfer “outside Japan, or at least outside Okinawa.” In the Nago City mayoral election, it supported the candidate, Inamine Susumu, who opposed any move to Henoko, and he was victorious. If the DPJ was to decide now on a transfer within Okinawa it would be a clear breach of promise and a betrayal of the people of Japan and the people of Okinawa. Even taking for granted the current US-Japan security treaty system, the Hatoyama government must make the utmost effort to explore the possibilities of relocation beyond Okinawa.

3. One proposal is that, in the event of there being no place, either elsewhere in Japan or in Okinawa, that will accept a Futenma transfer, Futenma air base should continue being used as it is now. This must not be allowed. This dangerous base that threatens the lives and livelihoods of the people living in its vicinity must be promptly closed.

4. Should it be the case that, after searching for a relocation site elsewhere in Japan, there is no place ready to accept the base, that would mean that the people of Japan have no desire to have any Marine base and in that case there would be no alternative but for the US Marines to quit Japan completely. It would mean that the people of Japan had the will to play a positive role in building peace and security in East Asia without the US marines. The US would have to respect the will of the Japanese people.

5. What the Hatoyama government has been intent on, and what the media attention has concentrated on, is the search for a (new) “base site.” Is it really this that we should be concentrating on at this time?

Is it not rather necessary for us to cast doubt on the notions of “deterrence,” “enemy,” “alliance” as they exist in Cold War logic, and to cast off their spell? Notions of “common security” and “human security” now emerge in international society and become a major force pushing for dissolution of Cold War hostilities.

What we should be questioning is not how to shuffle US bases around by finding new sites but the very structure under which US bases are kept in Okinawa and on the mainland and the US military is allowed to use them as it wishes. The US-Japan Security Treaty is a relic of the Cold War era. There has never been a better time than now to undertake a fundamental reconsideration of the Japan-US Security Treaty system, including the Status of Forces Agreement and the Guidelines (Japan-US Defence Cooperation Guidelines). We call on the government and people of Japan to begin this task.

Issued by:

Chiba Shin, Professor of Political Thought, International Christian University
Endo Seiji, Professor of Politics, Seikei University
Harashina Sachihiko, Professor of Environmental Planning, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Kamo Toshio, Professor of Politics, Ritsumeikan University
Kawase Mitsuyoshi, Professor of Ecomomics, Kyoto Prefectural University
Koseki Shoichi, Professor of Law,  Dokkyo University
Kobayashi Masaya, Professor of Politics, Chiba University
Komori Yoichi, Professor of Japanese Literature, Tokyo University
Miyamoto Kenichi, Professor Emeritus of Osaka City University, Former President of Shiga University
Mizusima Asaho, Professor of Law, Waseda University
Maeda Tetsuo, Critic
Nishikawa Jun, Professor Emeritus of Waseda University
Nishitani Osamu, Professor of Philosophy, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Okamoto Atsushi, Editor in chief of Magazine SEKAI
Teranishi Shunichi, Professor of Economics, Hitotsubashi University
Uzawa Hirofumi, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University
Yamaguchi Jiro, Professor of Politics, Hokkaido University
Wada Haruki, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University

Arasaki Moriteru, Professor Emeritus of Okinawa University
Gabe Masaaki, Professor of International Relations, University of the Ryukyus
Hiyane Teruo, Professor Emeritus of University of Ryukyus
Miki Ken, Journalist
Miyazato Seigen, Representative, Okinawa External Study Group
Miyazato Akiya, Journalist
Nakachi Hiroshi, Professor of Administrative law, Okinawa University
Nakazato Isao, Journalist
Ohshiro Tatsuiro, Writer
Ohta Masahide, Former Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
Sakurai Kunitoshi, Professor of Environmental Planning, Okinawa University
Shimabukuro Jun, Professor of Political Science, University of Ryukyus
Shinjo Ikuo, Professor of Japanese Literature, University of Ryukyus
Takasato Suzuyo, Former Vice Chairperson, Naha City Assembly
Takara Ben, Poet, Critic
Takara Tetsumi, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Ryukyus
Teruya Hiroyuki, Professor of Public Administration, Okinawa International University
Tomikawa Moritake, Professor of Economics, Okinawa International University
Yamashiro Noriko, Journalist
Yui Akiko, Journalist

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