The Japanese and American governments have both ignored the popular will of the Okinawan people, and embraced the new American base. In response to this, a declaration to launch a full-blown counterattack rooted in history has been sounded. Prefectural Governor Takeshi Onaga’s strong will and sometimes even anger rests within the words he has fired.
The target of this argument is considered to be the acceptance of the new base in Henoko, Nagoya, but it’s also pointed at the domestic media, which picks up only the confrontation between Okinawa and the Abe administration, and the mainland citizens who are apathetic to Okinawa’s suffering.
In a press conference with Tokyo’s Japan National Press Club and The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ), Governor Onaga squelched the popular will and unraveled a chain of absurdities that had amassed on American bases during the postwar period. Gazing over our history with a cool head, he refuted the Japanese government’s treatment of Okinawa as discriminatory, and voiced a universal complaint that prospective Japan-America relationships and Japan’s future were being jeopardized.
While waiting to visit America, Onaga told domestic and international media directly of his determination to prevent the construction of the new base in Henoko. This action also served as a strategic move to gauge public opinion in America. Some 238 members of the Japan National Press Club and about 150 members of the FCCJ crowded around. Global news agencies from America’s AP to Britain’s Reuters distributed related news articles, playing a significant role in informing the media of many other countries.
Japan has ignored Okinawa’s popular will, which was clearly displayed in its prefectural elections and more, and enforced the creation of the new base. Isn’t that strange, given that they are a democratic nation? This question should carry persuasive power, and resound throughout.
In preparation for successive conferences with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani, Onaga prepared a great number of words that would prove key, and faced them in careful fashion.
On this day too, Onaga spun symbolic words, saying “they are using bayonets and bulldozers to forcibly build a military base in the sea,” and “the only reason you can say the Japan-U.S. alliance and Anpo are important is because you won’t take responsibility for them yourselves.” *
The governor became irritated at the domestic media, who viewed Okinawa in an indifferent light and questioned what he could do. When asked whether Okinawa will move toward independence from Japan, Onaga declared back, “Despite the fact that Okinawa is being driven there out of necessity, will we cut loose? If we do so in the distant future, it would fill even the master with terror.”
Tension hung in the air, yet Okinawa’s direct display of its capable will and resolution will no doubt connect us from here on out. Okinawa has a history of being unable to control its own fate, but the governor has shown his determination to close the books on this. Against him, the former aces of the conservative political world, the reporters who chose to give in to harsh governmental pressure, will no doubt disappear.
*Editor’s Note: Anpo is an abbreviated reference to the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United State and Japan.