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Ryukyushimpo, Japan

Head of Executive Office of
the Governor Visits US:
Is America a Democracy?

... Is America itself really democratic? If the U.S. wants to maintain a logical and consistent argument, it must do away with its intention to relocate its base within Okinawa.

Translated By Ethan Ferraro

14 January 2013

Edited by Heather Martin


Japan - Ryukyushimpo - Original Article (Japanese)

I do not understand what they mean by “their best.” Just repeating the same conclusion over and over, even if that conclusion is logical, without showing any foundation is not “your best.” It is as if they are confessing their intention to chip away at their own logic.

The head of the Executive Office of the Governor, Susumu Matayoshi, held a meeting to discuss the relocation of the Futenma Air Base with Director of the State Department’s Office of Japanese Affairs Marc Knapper and Director for Northeast Asia of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Christopher Johnstone. This meeting resulted in a statement that “the current mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan is at its best”* and in the end only reaffirmed their intention to relocate the base to the Henoko area near Nago City.

Even the U.S. should understand that there is little logic and even less morality behind this relocation to Henoko. At times, the U.S. criticizes countries that violate human rights and pressures undemocratic countries toward more democratic governments. However, is America itself really democratic? If the U.S. wants to maintain a logical and consistent argument, it must do away with its intention to relocate its base within Okinawa.

Mr. Matayoshi used examples such as the opposition in Nago City and the unanimous vote opposing the move by the prefectural assembly to strongly declare that “the relocation to Henoko is impossible.” He is clearly showing the opinions of the Okinawan people, which are grounded in legitimacy and democracy. Mr. Matayoshi also stated that, “Our opposition is not just an emotional anti-American or anti-base reaction.” His argument is opposition to the atmosphere between the U.S. and a Japan that is starting to regard the opinions of Okinawa as “emotional arguments.”

Anyone can see that Okinawa’s argument is more logical than what the Americans are calling their “best.”

There is meaning behind the Okinawa administration sending an envoy to the U.S. immediately following the Liberal Democratic Party’s return to power to ensure understanding that Okinawa’s position that the base must be moved outside the prefecture is unchanged. Without making this opposition clear, there will be an ever-growing misunderstanding that the prefectural governor will eventually give in and accept the move to Henoko. For this reason, I support the visit.

The Japanese administration seems so pathetic in comparison. Immediately following the general election, Abe Shinzo stated, “I would like to gain the understanding of the residents of Henoko with regard to the relocation.” He says this even though all of the candidates from the Liberal Democratic Party who were elected in Okinawa asserted that the base must be moved out of the prefecture.

The prime minister’s statement came just before he took office, but it was as if he was saying that democracy does not apply to the people of Okinawa and that there is no need to listen to our popular will.

However, there is no reason for Okinawa to give up. An editorial in The New York Times criticized the U.S. government by stating that, “Washington needs to be more responsive to legitimate Okinawan concerns” as well as advocated for the relocation of the U.S. military out of Okinawa. Even when looking at international opinion, there are those who understand Okinawa’s concern. We must persistently pressure the international community to bring to light the inhumanity and injustice of the U.S. and Japanese governments.

* Editor’s Note: This quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.



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