Yasukatsu Matsushima

Author:Yasukatsu Matsushima


Yasukatsu Matsushima








-天気予報コム- -FC2-




Okinawa is a Japanese Colony 3

reclamation or extension of the stimulation and development plan. In this way, the
authorities destroyed the harmony of local communities and labor unions and undermined
resistance to the government. The colonial tactic of “divide and rule” is alive and well in
21st century Okinawa!
The development plan was designed under Japanese guidance and directly applied
Japanese methods and regulations to Okinawa. However, Okinawa is an insular society
with hilly landscapes. Since the administration employed the soil improvement technique
used in Japan, red loam was washed into the sea and destroyed many coral reefs. In the
Ryûkyûs, the history, culture, subsistence, social structure, size of population and life
style differ from island to island. The region is wonderfully diverse. Nevertheless, the
stimulation and development plan - designed and implemented by Japanese for Japanese -
was forced onto the region. The Okinawan legal system and infrastructure were aligned
from the perspective and with the procedures used in Japan and, in fact, were designed to
facilitate Japanese rule. The administration of Okinawa, political parties, enterprises, and
labor unions were all placed under the umbrella of large Japanese labor unions, swayed
by the politics of Japan and forced to assimilate. A failure to recognize and appreciate the
nature of the “Other”, leads to discrimination and forced assimilation.
The Okinawa Boom and Coexistence of Discrimination of Okinawa
Discrimination occurs when the “Other” is not only seen as different, but inferior to
oneself. However, in this age of democracy and heightened consciousness of human
rights, discrimination cannot be practiced openly. To pretend to understand Okinawans
and to sympathize with them has become a general trend of this “masked” discrimination.
Okinawa is a favorite tourist destination. Okinawan performers and athletes have made
names for themselves. Okinawa is also known as the “Islands of relaxed healing” and a
“longed-for land”. Japanese who play Shamisen, sing Okinawan songs and know more
Okinawan news than Okinawans have multiplied.
This kind of Japanese person frequently bolsters up Okinawans and makes the statement,
“I understand Okinawa, and I sympathize with you”. Will discrimination of Okinawa end
if the numbers of such people multiply? The power structure of those who understand and
those who are made to understand has been reproduced unchanged since the days when
we were forced to “humbly make a pilgrimage up to Edo”. Knowledge and
understanding of Okinawa have continued to be abused as a means for dominating the
islands. Those who stress their knowledge and understanding are those who enforce
subjugation. Those who inflict the military bases on Okinawa never forget to stress how
well they understand the islands. Those who claim an understanding also promote the
notion of “Okinawan orientalism” and consolidate Japanese rule.
Japanese who think they understand and love Okinawa, who have been “healed by
Okinawa”, force military bases on Okinawa without batting an eyelid. They concentrate
all bases on Okinawa in order to protect Japan, irrespective of whether the island may
become a battleground. For Japan, this is a means to protect its security and prosperity at
little cost to itself. If these bases were situated in areas like Kyûshû or the Inland sea area,
which are nearest to the Korean peninsula and China, the geopolitical strategy of needing
Okinawa to “protect Japan” would lose credibility. However, if this formulation is
meant to mean, “protecting Japan with the exception of Okinawa”, it is merely a modern
form of the structural, historical discrimination of Okinawa. Until the Japanese public
accepts American military bases on Japanese soil and fully understands that the lives and
livelihoods of Okinawans have the same value as their own, discrimination of Okinawans
will not end.
The Japanese government persistently ignores voices pointing out that it gives special
privileges to American military personnel who even boast of crimes against Okinawans.
This means that the contractual status of both nations is unequal. The Japanese
government values Japanese-American relations and the improvement of its deterrent
ability higher than the lives and livelihoods of Okinawans. It abrogates the basic
responsibility of a state to protect its citizens. Even if a political power swept into office
that officially approved the withdrawal and removal of the military bases to a location
outside of the prefecture, it may be expecting too much from present-day Japanese that
they accept the bases in Japan, unless the structure of Japanese discrimination against
Okinawa is dismantled and Japan itself changes radically.
Centralization of Bases on Okinawa is the Japanese Intention
As long as Okinawa is part of Japan, the American military bases will not disappear. It
was Japan’s intention to use Okinawa as an island base. A document known as the
“Imperial Message” is in existence. In September of 1947, the official in charge of
official business of the Imperial Household Agency, Terasaki Hidenari, transmitted this
message to Siebold, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan. It contained
Emperor Hirohito ‘s (Showa Tennô) view on Okinawa.
The former US-Japan Security Treaty, valid from 1952-60, records in section 1 that Japan
grants the United States of America the right to deploy army, air and naval forces in
Japan and her environment, a grant accepted by the United States. The term
“environment” indicates Okinawa, and this means that Japan approved of American
military bases on Okinawa. The message also stated that leaving Okinawa under
American administration for another 50 to 100 years would not only profit the USA, but
also be useful for the defense of Japan. In the 1950s, when the “Anti-bases movement” in
Okinawa became violent in the context of the Sunagawa insurrection or Uchinada
insurrection, many Marines were moved to and stationed on Okinawa.
The issue of military bases is a domestic issue. It is well known in Japan that Okinawans
incur damages caused by the military bases on a daily basis, be it persistent intolerable
levels of noise pollution, crashes of military planes or helicopters, misfiring of missiles,
property damages or rapes by American soldiers etc. The Japanese, therefore, refuse to
station them in Japan. When the Okinawans object to the military bases, the Japanese
mass media keep screaming that the US-Japanese Security Treaty is being violated and
Japanese security and wellbeing are threatened. Even if they or their loved ones are killed
or raped by American soldiers, or are subjected to noise pollution, crashes of military

<< Okinawa is a Japanese Colony 4 | ホーム | Okinawa is a Japanese Colony 2 >>