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Fighting for Okinawa — My Home, Not a Military Base


#1

Fighting for Okinawa — My Home, Not a Military Base

Moé Yonamine

My family moved to the United States from Okinawa when I was 7. But Okinawa is still home — and I’m hurt and angered at how the United States and Japan continue to treat Okinawa as little more than a colonial outpost. As a teacher, I’m even more dismayed at how the conventional school curriculum keeps young people in this country ignorant about the abuse, but also about the resistance, in my home islands.


#2

Thank you for your Teaching.

I was one of those service people who had the opportunity to live in your country during a war very long ago.

The people of Okinawa have forever changed my life for the better, and I have had the opportunity to continue relations with many over the years. Your people helped me grow into a better person. I owe you a debt, far beyond gratitude.

The facts you tell have always been there for any who would study rather than spout uneducated opinions.
Just the simple fact that Okinawans are not Japanese. What a piece of world history to simply not know.

The US Military just plain needs to go home and leave the islands to the self determination of its people.

When will the US admit that in today’s military, its Coverage is World Wide, with a Space Command, no less.
We don’t need to invade and occupy.

How much injustice and flagrant violence do the Okinawans have to endure before the US leaves and
no longer subjects the local populations to the occupation forces created with WWII.

Please continue to educate and teach about Okinawa, I do at every chance.

Hopefully one day, we can fish the clear reef waters without the noise of war and militarism.


#3

Okinawa has been badly used ever since the Japanese took over the islands over 100 years ago. I had an uncle that fought in that battle. Time to close the base and leave the Okinawans in peace.


#4

Can Okinawans declare independence and cancel the SOFA with USA? That seems to be the only way this travesty can end. What we have now is a two level empire: Japan lords over Okinawa and USA lords over most of the world including Japan.

Peace.
ths.


#5

Thank you to those who understand that Okinawa is not Japanese territory. This needs to be stated with absolute certainty – just as it must be stated that Hawai’i is not American territory. These facts must be stated so that they can be corrected by proper authorities, using the proper principals of democracy.


#6

Today on counterpunch.org. “Close All Military Bases on Foreign Soil” https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/31/close-all-us-military-bases-on-foreign-soil/

George W “slimeball” Bush asked why do they hate us? The sob knows damn well why they hate us; the above article pretty well spells it out!


#7

Moe, thanks for bringing your home back home to us US citizens.


#8

What is it about the U.S. military that doesn;t get …Get the fuck out of our country ! This could be repeated in 100 countries around the world. The U.S. is not your benevolent brother, it is there to control and plunder your resources. The canard of fighting communism has been resurrected recently because the “terrorist 'bs is getting old… Without war America is a tired empire screwing its population financially while distracting it with sports, Kardashian rear-ends,and LBGT nonsense. As George Carlin said, " the leaders want dumb people, just smart enough to work the machines but too dumb to catch on to the scam”


#9

that despicable degenerate, the evil bushes…“Family of Secrets” by Russ Baker reveals all about this clan. Hey Poppy, why did you not ever bring suit against Mr Baker ? We know why, because in a court of law all the evil machinations of the clan would be exposed. Poppy where were you on 11/22/63 ? Oh, that’s right, you don’t remember. Well, there is a picture of you Poppy in the doorway of the Texas School Book Depository. Gotcha , you slimy old murderer.


#10

Nice, impassioned article. However, the story offers not one word that singles out any of the many Japanese Self Defense Force Bases on the islands of Okinawa. If you are going to call out BOTH countries as “occupiers”, then you must also point your finger at the presence of military bases maintained by Japan.

And…not a word about the Civilian Land-Fill Projects all over the island that dwarf any and all landfills ever made to accommodate a US Base — landfills that would have been built anyway, even if no US Bases had ever been built on the island.

The possible contention (not mentioned, but implied) that Okinawa’s civilian landfills are due to having nowhere else to build — because the US Military occupies the valuable land — is historically unsupported and inaccurate.

For the most part, US Military Bases on Okinawa have been responsible for PREVENTING land-fills, not causing them.

The Henoko landfill is a Japanese idea, not a US Military one. The Pentagon is simply acquiescing to the Japanese plan, when the U.S. Marines would RATHER STAY IN FUTENMA.

THAT BEING SAID, who in their right mind wants to see ANY beautiful reefs and picturesque coastlines buried under concrete and rubble for the sake of either Military Bases, Shopping Malls, Golf Courses, and housing tracts that sit there waiting for a tsunami to hit them ?

In that regard, “big business” is by far the larger conqueror of Okinawa’s land and seas, and has laid waste to more of the island than any Japanese or US Military Base ever built here.

As an ideal, fair, and ethical point, I do agree with the author in the “right” of Okinawans to call the shots in determining their own future, and, right or wrong, destroying their own island if they want to. It should be their island to do what they want with it, and suffer the glory or demise of their own choices.

Unfortunately, the words “Indigenous Rights”, “Fair”, “Ideal”, and “Ethical” are not found anywhere in the rule books that govern the actions of conquering occupiers, the world of global politics, and the military-industrial complex — all of whom could care less about a million people or so, when projecting and maintaining power in the region takes precedence over everything else.

While America subverted Democracy on the island for 27 years, the Okinawans themselves lobbied hard for the “return to Japan” — analogous to a rape victim begging to be handed back to her rapist.

The author reveals her misunderstanding of the true situation when she laments the “…ongoing threat to… island sovereignty”. Island sovereignty ? There is no island sovereignty. This erroneous concept of “island sovereignty” probably stems from growing up in America, and conflating “State’s Rights” with the wholly different nature of what it means to be a “Prefecture” of Japan.

Okinawa got what they wished for — to once again be a Prefecture of Japan. Being a “Prefecture” (and not a "State) means Okinawa agrees to a situation where TOKYO IS SOVEREIGN, and not Okinawa or the Okinawans. Being a Prefecture means Tokyo calls the shots, and extends no “regional sovereignty” or “state’s rights” to the island.

Okinawa, as one of Japan’s 47 " Todōfuken" (都道府県) jurisdictions, is now a place where the extension of National Polity may be exercised by the will and wishes of Tokyo, for the ostensible good of the nation, and a defense of the Japanese territorial sphere.

Japan has no legal, contractual, or ethical obligation to treat Okinawa as a separate “ethnic region”, nor any obligation to abide by any “Democratic” referendums and public surveys held on Okinawa.

For an island that voted YES for “Reversion”, instead lobbying / fighting for Independence, this is completely fair.

Okinawa gave up their “ethnic identity” and “regional uniqueness” when they begged, groveled, and pushed to once again “be Japanese”, and blindly clamor for a return to “the Motherland”.

If Okinawans REALLY believed in their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic uniqueness, they would have clamored for independence, and established their own destiny. There are a good 50 other small countries and territories around the world (such as Singapore) who — for better or worse — have done the same, and gone their own way.

But the majority of Okinawans said NO to that lofty idea, squashing the minority who were aiming for self determination and independence. The clear majority said, “We are Japanese, and we want our Mommy”.

May 15th, 1972. The deal was done.

So, does Tokyo now have the right to call the shots on Okinawa ?

Absolutely YES.

Does Okinawa feel a pinch of “sour grapes” and “buyers remorse” ?

Ask Governor Onaga.

As a people, protesting the U.S. Military’s presence while waving signs and shouting outside the gates of Camp Schwab (and all other bases) — only to go in and eat your fill of Anthony’s Pizza and Corn Dogs, while dancing to the music every time there is a Base Festival — is no way to have yourselves taken seriously by anyone in the world.


#11

The new generations of Okinawans generally LOVE being Japanese. Yes, there are well-meaning, dedicated “Independence” groups on the island, but their membership is scant, and the rest of the Okinawans look at them as real odd-balls. As for me, the idea that the majority of Okinawans now consider themselves “Japanese” is as odd as a so-called “American Indian” considering himself a “European White Man”.


#12

The fact is, Okinawa is a bona fide Prefecture of Japan. The majority of Okinawans lobbied to that end, and they got their wish to “return to the Motherland” on May 15th, 1972. Japan is under no obligation to recognize the “proper principles of democracy” in any Okinawan referendum, but how could they refuse when a “democratic majority” Okinawans were all clamoring and begging “be Japanese” and become part of Japan ? Japan said, “Sure, welcome to the country, You are now an official Prefecture. Congratulations!”. While the 1870s forced annexation of Okinawa to Japan was a “Hawaii situation”, the 1972 reversion to Japan was not so. Just ask all one million plus Okinawans yourself, and see what they say. What I just wrote is stated with absolute certainty.


#13

If that is true about modern Okinawans (I take your word for it as I have no direct knowledge), I am not surprised. It is pretty common for the colonized to succumb to the colonizer’s brain-washing.

Peace.
ths.