The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 9. 2011  
February 28, 2011  
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This week we feature two articles on the continuing conflict over US and Japanese plans to build a new Marine air and naval base on Okinawa, a conflict whose implications are profound for both the US-Japan relationship and the American military on Okinawa. Yonamine Michiyo probes the economic crisis that threatens US plans for base expansion on Okinawa and Guam. Norimatsu Satoko examines the reasons for the failure of the Hatoyama administration to deliver on its pledge to close the dangerous Futenma base and to block new base construction in Okinawa, for more than six decades overburdened by US bases. Totsuka Etsuro reconsiders the legal and political foundations of Japanese subordination and colonization of Korea one hundred years ago and concludes that the treat foundations of empire, the 1905 and 1910 treaties, were illegal and null and void.   


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Yonamine Michiyo,  Economic Crisis Shakes US Forces Overseas: The Price of Base Expansion in Okinawa and Guam

On August 31, President Obama delivered a speech from the White House. Because he was expected to declare the end of the Iraqi war, the entire nation focused its attention on the content to the speech. 'Operation Iraqi Freedom is over. ... We have spent over a trillion dollars on this war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits.... Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work'. It marked the beginning of a new era, and under other circumstances this speech would have impressed people. The president, however looked troubled, and the atmosphere was gloomy - hardly the context for a forward-looking policy announcement; this was largely due to the severity of the economic crisis the US currently faces.

Examining the deepening US troubled financial prospects, with mounting deficits, cutbacks in government programs, and a political mood which virtually rules out increased taxation, Okinawan investigative report Yonamine surveys the implications for US plans to expand military bases on Okinawa and Guam.

This is a slightly abbreviated version of an article that appeared in Sekai, February 2010.

Yonamine Michiyo was a journalist in Okinawa and Tokyo before being posted to Washington in 2010 as correspondent for the Ryukyu Shimpo. She is presently reporting from Okinawa.

Recommended citation: Yonanime Michiyo, Economic Crisis Shakes US Forces Overseas: The Price of Base Expansion in Okinawa and Guam, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 9 No 2, February 28, 2011.

  Read more . . . 
Norimatsu Satoko,  Hatoyama's Confession: The Myth of Deterrence and the Failure to Move a Marine Base Outside Okinawa

While most Japanese newspapers led with the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the morning of February 13, it was different in Okinawa. Both Okinawan dailies, Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Taimusu, ran as their top story, "Deterrence was [just] a Pretext," (Yokushiryoku wa hoben). In a joint interview held in Tokyo on January 31 and February 8 with the two Okinawan papers and the Kyodo News Agency, former Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio conceded that he had just given "deterrence" as the factor necessitating retention of the US Marine Corps on Okinawa (and hence the building of a new Okinawa base for them) because he needed a pretext. Nine months after stepping down as Prime Minister, he conceded that this was not true. Since then, Hatoyama has scarcely stopped talking, even giving an interview to a Hong Kong TV station, and in the process he has shed vivid light on Japanese policymaking and the US-Japan-Okinawa relationship. Japan scarcely needs a Wikileaks when it has a Hatoyama.

This article examines the reasons for the failure of Hatoyama and the DPJ to fulfill their pledge to prevent the construction of a new base on Okinawa, and the implications for the future of the Japan-Okinawa-US relationship as confrontation looms as a result of US-Japan plans to press forward with construction at Henoko and Takae in the face of Okinawan resistance.

Norimatsu Satoko, a Japan Focus Coordinator, is Director of Peace Philosophy Centre, a peace-education centre in Vancouver, Canada, and Director of Vancouver Save Article 9.

Recommended citation: Norimatsu Satoko, Hatoyama's Confession: The Myth of Deterrence and the Failure to Move a Marine Base Outside Okinawa, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 9 No 3, February 28, 2011.

 Read more . . . 

Totsuka Etsuro, Japan's Colonization of Korea in Light of International Law 

Examining the 1905 and 1910 Japan-Korea treaties which provided for turning Korea first into a protectorate (1905) and then into a colony (1910), the author finds that both treaties were illegal and null and void, both because they were based on coercion and because they lack the signature of the Korean King. The findings raise important questions concerning the Korea-Japan relationship, above all pertaining to Japan's acceptance of responsibility for its actions in the course of four decades of colonial rule.

Totsuka Etsuro was Professor of International Human Rights Law at Ryukoku University until his retirement in March 2010. Dr. Totsuka dedicated his legal career to defending human rights. He brought the issue of the 'comfort women' to the United Nations in 1992 and has written extensively on the issues. He frequently appears before United Nations bodies in defense of victims of human rights abuses, and represents United Nations NGOs, such as the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and the Japan Fellowship of Reconciliation (JFOR).


Recommended citation: Totsuka Etsuro, Japan's Colonization of Korea in Light of International Law, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 9 No 1, February 28, 2011.

 Read more . . .

What's Hot?,

Breaking news articles, documents, videos, contentions, and snippets from across the web that illuminate major Asia-Pacific Journal themes.

Birds & Bombs: US Live-Fire Air Force/Navy Training in the Pacific Centers on No'os Island in the Northern Marianas;Tokyo Police Crackdown on Okinawa Protestors

 Read more . . .