Bitter Soup For Okinawans – The Governor’s Year-End Betrayal 沖縄県民苦汁をなめる 知事、年末の裏切り


January 6, 2014

Bitter Soup For Okinawans – The Governor’s Year-End Betrayal 沖縄県民苦汁をなめる 知事、年末の裏切り
Bitter Soup For Okinawans – The Governor’s Year-End Betrayal 沖縄県民苦汁をなめる 知事、年末の裏切り

Volume 12 | Issue 1 | Number 2

Article ID 4056

In and around Okinawa, events of unparalleled importance continue to unfold, with implications for Japan, the US-Japan and US-Japan-China relationships, and for peace and democracy generally. As former Governor Ota Masahide foresaw earlier in the year, 2013 turned out to be “the worst ever (obviously excluding the utter catastrophe of 1945) for Okinawa.”1

The “special series” (“Again Okinawa”) published in this journal in November pointed to the importance of two imminent decisions: one in December when the Okinawan governor was to give his response to the national government’s request that he license reclamation of the seas off northern Okinawa to allow construction of a major new military complex there for the US Marine Corps, and one in January when the electors of Nago City were to choose a mayor for the city designated as site of the new base. 2 The reverberations of the former were heard around the world in December. Here we focus on it.

Tokyo, 17 December

On 17 December, Okinawan Governor Nakaima Hirokazu, in Tokyo supposedly for medical treatment, attended a meeting of the Okinawa Policy Council, with the entire Abe cabinet. While Nakaima promised cooperation in the national defense policy that was increasingly focused on confrontation with China and reinforcement of both Japanese and US military presence on Okinawa, saying “I want to contribute to the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region,” Abe spoke of his determination to do whatever was within his power to “ease the burden” of bases on Okinawa.

Nakaima had been under mounting pressure through the year to submit to a request lodged by the national government in March to license reclamation of the seas of Oura Bay in Nago City in Northern Okinawa in order to allow construction of a “Futenma Replacement Facility.” Over three years from 2010, especially since the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s Okinawa Chapter had distanced itself from the national party organization and adopted a policy of opposition to any such new base project, an “all-Okinawa consensus” on base issues had taken shape. By 2013 it seemed adamantine. It was unequivocally demonstrated in the special Okinawan delegation to Tokyo in January 2013. A 150-strong delegation comprising 38 city, town, and village mayors, 41 heads of city, town, or village assemblies, and 29 members of the Okinawan prefectural assembly, together with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Okinawan Women’s Association, presented to the government in Tokyo a “Kempakusho” or set of demands on behalf of the prefecture. It sought two things: that the Marine Corps’ tilt-rotor “Osprey” aircraft be withdrawn and no new such aircraft introduced, and that the 481-hectare Futenma site should be immediately and unconditionally returned, without substitution (i.e. construction of any new base).

Nakaima in 2013 was thus sandwiched between the prefecture he represented that was insistent on making these demands and the national government that he knew was determined to reject them. Before the year was out he knew he would have to make a choice.

Meeting in Tokyo with the Prime Minister and Cabinet in the Okinawa Policy Council on 17 December, Nakaima presented a series of requests on behalf of the prefecture. The meeting, including remarks by three members of the cabinet and by Prime Minister Abe as well as Nakaima’s submission, took a mere 18 minutes.3 Nakaima asked for the following:

1) that operations within Futenma Marine Air Station, located in the middle of Ginowan City, be terminated within five years and the base land be returned to Japan;

2) that the Marine Corps’ Makiminato logistics base (Camp Kinser) be returned to Japan within seven years;

3) that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) granting virtual extraterritorial privilege to US military personnel be revised to allow at least some on-site environmental inspection of bases;

4) that some (around half) of the projected 24 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in process of deployment to Okinawa be diverted to mainland bases;

5) that the national government approve a requested block allocation to Okinawa of 340.8 billion yen for fy 2014 and make commitment to further, continuing economic assistance to the prefecture including specifically construction of a “railway” and positive consideration to the candidacy of Okinawa as site for “Special Comprehensive Tourism Facilities Zone.”

Okinawa Governor Nakaima (right) and Prime Minister Abe meet at the prime minister’s official residence, 17 December 2013

The Nakaima submission was unprecedented. It had been compiled not only without consultation with the representative Okinawan institutions, but in major respects in opposition to policies established by them which he himself had stated and restated many times. Henoko was the key issue on everyone’s mind as the clock ticked towards year’s end. A gulf separated Tokyo and Naha on this issue. While Abe and his government had made repeated pledges to the government in Washington that the project would go ahead, Nakaima from 2010 had kept repeating that he was committed to kengai isetsu (relocation of Futenma elsewhere in Japan), and that the Henoko construction project was “virtually impossible.” To the national government’s threat that Futenma would become a permanent fixture unless Henoko construction went ahead, he had responded that the very act of imagining or giving voice to the thought of Futenma becoming a permanent fixture was “a kind of decadence.”4

In December 2013 Henoko was plainly the key issue. Nakaima had promised his response around year’s end, yet yet neither the Prime Minister nor Governor Nakaima before the Okinawa Policy Council did not so much as mention it.

However, it is also the case that not once, even at the high point of the Kempakusho mobilization in January, did Nakaima explicitly say that he actually opposed, or would forbid, construction at Henoko. Nor had he participated in the Kempakusho or sat on the platform of the mass meetings that led to it. In retrospect he seems to chosen equivocation, appearing to side with the base opponents in order to gain their political support but leaving open a path to turn against them when the time was right.

The Futenma problem had vexed Okinawa for decades. Return of the base within five to seven years (i.e., by 2002) had been first promised by the two governments in 1996, a prospect steadily pushed back over subsequent years, first (in 2006) to 2014 and most recently (in April 2013) to “2023 or later.”5 Nakaima’s “five year” request was thus in defiance of democratic process to the extent that it constituted a unilateral reversal of prefectural policy.

Furthermore, it was also the case that the request for Futenma return “within five years” was not something that the government of Japan could grant even it were so inclined. That was something only the government of the US could grant, and a Pentagon spokesperson immediately scotched any prospect of that happening by saying it was impossible.6 A little later it was learned that the Government of Japan had in fact approached Washington in mid-November to try to secure agreement to the Nakaima agenda, i.e. before Nakaima actually sat at the Tokyo table to propose it, but been given a point-blank refusal.7 In other words, what Nakaima was asking, and Prime Minister Abe appeared to be considering, was something Washington had already ruled out.

In that sense, the public performance that Abe and Nakaima participated in was not so much a negotiation as a theatrical performance, most likely according to a script written by the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Suga Yoshihide, for their performance,8 and in the tradition of recent Okinawan history determined at crucial junctures by secret deals, lies, and manipulation on the part of the national government. While attention focused on the performances on the Tokyo stage, the real deals were done far from public scrutiny. It also seemed likely that Nakaima had checked into hospital in Tokyo for political as much as health reasons, wanting to closet himself with the Prime Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary in order to work out a mutually satisfactory deal, in secrecy, free from the responsibility of having to answer to Okinawan opinion.

As for the Makiminato service area, it had been slated for partial return in 2013 and 2014 (one and two hectare sectors respectively) with its major parts (129 and 142 hectares) to revert in “2025 or later” and “2024 or later.” For the base as a whole to be returned “in seven years” could only mean advancing the already planned date by about one year. Why Nakaima should have chosen to make special reference to this, rather than, for example, Naha Port (56 hectares), whose return, first promised in 1974, had most recently been put back to “2028 or later” was not clear, but presumably the US forces had indicated a readiness to relinquish the one but not the other. In any case, whether Futenma or Makiminato, all “return” areas were conditional upon the readiness of new, substitute facilities. They were all “transfer and upgrade” rather than simply “return.”

On the Osprey, the “All Okinawa” demand of the January Kempakusho had been clear: the Osprey was a threat and a nuisance, should never have been allowed in to Okinawa in the first place, and should be completely withdrawn. Yet what Nakaima presented as a request for “burden easing” amounted to statement of readiness to abandon the prefecture’s formally stated position and to put up with 12 of the very objects that Okinawans had found most burdensome. Not only would the burden not be eased, it stood to be increased, since all that would be transferred was some of the training exercises, and since Japan’s own Self Defense Forces were expected to start purchasing and deploying them in the near future.

Demand for the revision of SOFA, best understood as the statement of extraterritorial privilege enjoyed by US forces, has long been central to Okinawan protest. Nakaima himself had associated himself with the demand, commonly attaching the adjective “fundamental” (komponteki) to his call for revision. Before the Okinawa Policy Council, however, he deleted that word. Like his other requests, this too was something that the US had long resisted, insisting on its privileges, and even as Nakaima was ensconced in his Tokyo hospital, US authorities made clear once again that they would not countenance any revision. The same message issued from both the Pentagon and the State Department.9 As the State Department’s Marie Harf put it, the United States “has not agreed to and will not consider” opening SOFA to renegotiation.10 As soon became clear, all that was under consideration as of 2013 was a discussion on a possible supplemental agreement, of the kind agreed with South Korea in 2001, under which Okinawan authorities might be given some base access for environmental inspection purposes. Even that seemed unlikely to impinge on the US’s final, discretionary power or to soften its refusal to compensate for environmental damage caused by decades of lands subjection to military usage. 11

The matter of requested financial support is further discussed below. The request for a “railway” was notable for his coining the strange term tekkido (lit: “iron rail line”) rather than the common term tetsudo, and for the lack of reference to any existing prefectural study or policy or to where any such train might run. At his meeting with the Prime Minister a week later, however, Nakaima referred to this as a “North-South” project, presumably linking Nago to the capital, Naha. 12 Such a scheme has periodically emerged in the past, usually when an important election is forthcoming in Nago City, vanishing from the screen once the election was over.

The “Special Comprehensive Tourism Facilities Zone” may be understood as a slightly veiled reference to the project for a casino. A high-powered group within the National Diet is expected to present a bill within the coming session of 2014 to make possible a Japanese casino and since both Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Aso are “senior advisers” to the group, Nakaima was seeking their backing to have Okinawa chosen as the, or a, preferred site as soon as the proscription on gambling could be removed.

The set of demands Nakaima presented was therefore neither substantial nor practicable, and promised little by way of “burden reduction.” In presenting such a case to the Abe government “on behalf of the prefecture’s 1.4 million people,” without ever consulting or seeking the opinion of Okinawa’s representative institutions, Nakaima was assuming the prerogatives of sovereign rather than the position of an elected and responsible official. That this might constitute a problem for Japanese democracy seemed to strike few observers outside of Okinawa itself.

Tokyo 25 December, Naha 27 December

Just over a week later, on 25 December (Christmas Day), Nakaima, still in Tokyo, met again with Prime Minister Abe who delivered to him the government’s response. Abe promised to set up working groups within the Ministry of Defense to look into possible reversion of Futenma and Makiminato, to divert some Osprey aircraft training to mainland Japan, and to open negotiations with the US towards an agreement that would make it possible for local governments in Okinawa to enter the US bases to investigate environmental conditions. In financial terms, he agreed to provide 346 billion yen for FY 2014 (slightly more even than the 340.8 billion Nakaima had sought), and to continue the “special” arrangements for subsidizing Okinawa (over 300 billion yen, or approximately 2.9 billion, per year) up to 2021.13

Nakaima found these offers “amazing and splendid.” The financial arrangements especially seemed to him to ensure “the best budgets ever in history.” Departing the scene in high spirits, he shouted greetings to journalists to “have a nice vacation” and spoke of looking forward to the New Year. The illness that had afflicted him on arrival in Tokyo just over a week earlier seemed gone.

Two days later, in Naha, he made the expected announcement on Henoko. He would approve the request to commence reclamation of the seas in order to begin work on construction of the new facilities for the Marine Corps. Between his early 2012 position, when he listed 175 major problems that led him to the view that it would be “impossible, by the environmental protection measures spelled out in the EI [environmental assessment] to maintain completely the preservation of people’s livelihood and the natural environment,” and the position he now adopted that “At this stage the government is taking all the measures it can to protect the environment. I have therefore judged that the application meets the standards set out under the Public Water Body Reclamation Act,” lay a wide, unexplained gulf.14

Nakaima’s Decision as reported in special issue of Okinawa taimusu, 27 December

As noted above, the matters seemingly negotiated between Prime Minister and Governor had actually been under secret negotiation between the governments of Japan and the US since mid-November, with the Governor almost certainly kept informed, and the purport of those discussions, quite the contrary to the carefully orchestrated messages emanating from the Abe government’s Tokyo theatre, was that there could be no “within five years” return of Futenma, no revision of SOFA, and that, far from a reduction in it, the Osprey deployment was to be substantially expanded, and extended to mainland Japan as well as Okinawa and by Japan’s own Self Defense Forces as well as the Marine Corps.15 In key respects, the Abe theatre presented a show that was diametrically at odds with reality.

Furthermore, virtually nobody believed Nakaima’s protestations that there was no link between his negotiations with the national government on base and development issues and his deliberations on the matter of reclamation or believed it could be just by chance that the outcome of the one should have come just two days before announcement of his decision on the other. They saw the events of 25 and 27 December as a comprehensive deal in which Tokyo won consent to its base expansion program for the price of a few empty promises plus a slight increase in the block grant payment to the prefecture.

The “story” recounted by the national media basically followed the script prepared by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, merely reporting that a deal had been done and a long-unresolved problem at last “resolved,” but in Okinawa it was quickly and widely seen as one more episode in the ongoing saga of official lies, deception, and discrimination against Okinawa on the part of the national government. For them, Abe’s vague and unenforceable promises to “do his best” for base burden reduction, plus his apparent commitment to give generous financial aid to Okinawan development, persuaded few. Most asked skeptically why Nakaima had surrendered so much while securing so little in return, and called for investigation rather than celebration.

Nakaima’s appearance of delighted astonishment and gratitude to the national government, as if Okinawa were being shown exceptional generosity, was disingenuous to say the least. It was also likely to convey to the country as a whole the impression that for Okinawa cash mattered above any anti-base principle. Yet despite the widespread impression of national generosity and Okinawan toughness of negotiation, setting aside “special” items (discussed below), Okinawa’s grant increased for FY 2014 by roughly 15.3 per cent over FY 2013, having actually been cut by around 10 per cent over the fourteen-year period from 1999, while the rest of Japan had seen an increase of over 10 per cent.16

The figures were slanted by inclusion of two specific items: 30 billion yen towards construction of a second runway for Naha Airport and 19.8 billion for the further development of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST, established 2001). Nakaima’s business backers welcomed the prospect of massive reclamation works just over one kilometer offshore from Naha City (a 2,700 metre runway on a 160 hectare site) continuing for around 7 years, costing an estimated 198 billion in total, and merging with the even greater reclamation works anticipated on the Henoko site. Yet the airport is national, not prefectural. Already in 2010 Naha Airport was ranked 5th busiest in the country (after Haneda, Narita, New Chitose, and Fukuoka) and it had long been recognized that its single runway would become a serious bottleneck. Construction of a second runway was to have commenced in 2014 anyway, under Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, budgeted long before the Nakaima-Abe December 2013 meetings.17 Nakaima himself had attempted to have the second runway funding detached from the prefectural grant, but Abe had declined, retaining it as valuable leverage to extract Okinawa’s submission to his base agenda.18

Furthermore, Naha Airport is a joint civil-military facility and much of the need for expansion arises from steady increase in use by Air Self-Defense Force F 15s. The Abe government commitment to step up military operations in Okinawa as part of the confrontation with China meant that Naha Airport had to be expanded, irrespective of “Asian hub” civil airport plans.19 Civic and environmental groups objected to the Abe government’s insistence on linking civil and military projects, speculated that the new runway might turn out to be exclusively for the SDF, and suggested that the need for Asian “hub” purposes could be met by simply cutting back on military use.20

As for OIST, it too was a national institution and in the normal bureaucratic process its funding would have been appropriated directly through the ministries of education, science and technology. Having set it up in 2001, irrespective of the prefecture’s stance on the base issues the state was bound to have continued funding it, and the suggestion that such funds were somehow discretionary was misleading.

In any case, none of Abe’s December promises had any binding force, even in case of the unlikely event of his continuing in government to the end of the nine-year term for which he had made the financial commitments.

Governor vs. Okinawa?

The contrast between the Okinawan missions to Tokyo in January and December of 2013 was stark. Where the unprecedentedly representative Kempakusho delegation of January was ignored in the national political and media worlds, and its members abused in the streets of Tokyo in January, 11 months later the Governor was widely acclaimed, nationally and internationally, for negating the prefecture’s formally defined democratic stance.

Some, especially in Tokyo, might argue that the Governor’s reversal of stance on Henoko merely reflected a realistic shift by Okinawan society but the more common view in Okinawa itself was that on the eve of his retirement he was using the authority of his office to impose a view almost universally rejected in Okinawa.

There has actually been little to indicate significant softening of the united “all-Okinawa” opposition to Tokyo’s designs for new base construction. In April, a prefecture-wide survey showed opinion running at 74.7 per cent against the Henoko project, only 15 per cent in favour, and the figure for Nago City, the location of the Henoko site, virtually the same: 77.3 per cent against to 18.8 in favour.21 At the end of the year, another survey, as the national campaign to shift Okinawan opinion reached a peak, found that still 64 per cent of Okinawans believed that Nakaima should not submit to the request for the reclamation; only 22 per cent were in favour of his doing so.22 After announcement of his decision, still 61 per cent did not support it and 72 per cent believed he had betrayed his pledges to the Okinawan people.23

Such figures suggest a gradual and slight attrition under consistent Tokyo pressure, a process that gathered some momentum late in the year when the LDP subverted “all Okinawa” by reversing its position and surrendering to national discipline. It is also clear, however, that the Tokyo theatre had persuaded few. A majority remained opposed to Tokyo’s designs, opposed to the Governor’s submission, and opposed to any new base being constructed in Okinawa. Many saw his stance as degrading and humiliating, or even as a repeat of the humiliation Okinawa suffered under the “punishment official” sent to supervise the incorporation of the islands into the nation state in 1879.

As a Ryukyu shimpo editorial put it on 28 December,

“Nakaima’s decision to ignore the Okinawan people’s opposition to the Henoko relocation has significantly wounded their dignity.

His decision to effectively revoke the application in Okinawa of universal values such as freedom, democracy and respect for basic human rights that the United States and Japan trumpet is humiliating. By rights he should have pointed out the double standards of the US and Japanese governments, and called for democracy to be applied in Okinawa as well….

Nakaima’s ravings essentially approve the US and Japanese governments turning Okinawa into a military fortress. This is an act of sacrilege not only towards the Okinawans alive now, but also to those who died in the war, and to the generations yet to come. It is a crime of historic proportions…. He must resign.”24

Even among conservative organizations and individuals anger at the sequence of events beginning with the surrender of the Okinawan chapter of the LDP at the end of November was widespread. The president of the LDP’s Okinawa chapter, Onaga Masatoshi, resigned in protest at his organization’s submission. An adviser to the organization and former president of the Prefectural Assembly, Nakazato Toshinobu, also resigned, criticizing the government for enforcing “conversion” on national Diet members, and saying “surrender to Yamato (mainland Japan) on this issue would make Okinawa forever an island of bases.”25 Onaga Takeshi, mayor of Naha, leader of the January “all-Okinawa” delegation to Tokyo and a key power broker in Okinawan conservative circles, warned of the mobilization of all its resources by the Japanese state to crush Okinawa’s unity but insisted that 70 per cent of Okinawans remained firm behind their January stance.26 For him, the national government’s pressure amounted to “a threat to Okinawan identity.”27 Naha City Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution against the government for “ignoring, oppressing, dividing, enforcing, compelling” Okinawa. “There is no democracy in Okinawa,” it insisted, and Okinawa should appeal to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations against the intolerable discrimination it was subjected to.28 The Okinawan chapter of New Komeito, whose political support for LDP candidates at elections has long been crucial, refused to follow the LDP lead, calling instead on the Governor to “take a stand of which to be proud before history” by saying “No” to the national government.29 Chairman Kinjo Tsutomu declared that

“Around 80 per cent of Okinawans demand that Futenma be transferred out of the prefecture. A basic understanding as to why it has to be outside Okinawa, and why it cannot be Henoko, has taken shape. It is not the fault of he Okinawan people that Futenma becomes a fixture, but because of political negligence.”30

Although Nakaima’s 27 December announcement had some shock effect, available evidence suggests it might have alienated and divided his own support base at least as much as it split or weakened the anti-base movement. One hint of this was the publication of a survey of the responses to the Governor’s decision on the part of the 41 heads of city, town, and village assemblies who had participated in the January “all-Okinawa” manifestations. Twelve were prepared to see his efforts in a positive light as opening a way to achieve return of Futenma “within five years,” but a majority expressed grave doubts and regrets, believed that he owed the prefecture an explanation and doubted that the national government could be trusted to deliver on its promises. Overwhelmingly, they clung to the spirit of the Kempakusho. Despite some attrition, in other words, as the relentless combination of pressure and cajolery – sticks and carrots – took their toll and despite the natural inclination to follow the lead of the Governor, the majority opposition seemed to be holding firm, even in the relatively “elite,” conservative sector of Okinawan society.31

Tokyo vs. Nago

Over the year from January 2013, however, the Abe government had repeatedly assured the United States that the Futenma replacement Facility would be constructed according to plan at Henoko. By year’s end its efforts to bring Okinawa to heel had borne some fruit with the Governor’s 27 December decision, yet that shift marked a moment in an ongoing struggle, not its resolution. Ahead lay potential legal challenge (including a possible resolution of lack of confidence in the Governor or a recall motion), court challenges to the legality of the procedures adopted by Tokyo, and undoubted political and social obstacles. Following the “victories” of its November and December stratagems, the national government had to concentrate on prefecture-wide pacification, paying particular attention to winning back the support of New Komeito. And most immediately it faced the problem of Nago City.

In the looming election, on 19 January 2014, for Nago City mayor, incumbent Inamine Susumu, elected in 2010 on an explicitly anti-base platform and maintaining a firm position of “no base to be constructed on sea or land in Nago City,” confronts Suematsu Bunshin, a close associate of Governor Nakaima who now represents the explicitly pro-Henoko base construction position. Where Inamine had actually refused any base-related national government subsidies, Suematsu insisted the City could not develop without them. Abe and his government very much needed a Suematsu victory.

With the exception of the brief window of DPJ government under Hatoyama Yukio in 2009-2010, government after Tokyo government since 1997 has clung to the idea that Futenma should be replaced not returned, that the replacement had to be in Okinawa not elsewhere in Japan, and that within Okinawa it could only be in Henoko. For Abe and his associates, Inamine and Nago City constitute a kind of last redoubt, which absolutely must be defeated. The fact that Nago City had rejected Tokyo’s subsidy as inducing a dependent mentality that actually impeded development and that it seemed to be having some success in charting an alternative, self-generated or autochthonous path, made it the more urgent in Tokyo eyes that control over it be re-established.32

No town or city in modern Japan has ever faced anything like the pressure that Nago City has faced, or accomplished such effective resistance for so long. Nago citizens have borne the pressure of the base project ever since it was first announced in 1996, rejecting it by plebiscite in 1997 only to have the then mayor overturn the result and recommend the project go ahead. Since then, they have thwarted it determinedly through the term of 11 Prime Ministers, 3 Governors, and 4 Nago City mayors.

For his 2014 election campaign, Inamine and his Nago City (population: 61,000) citizen backers face the full power and resources of the Japanese nation state (and its American backer). The stakes could not be higher, the contestants more unequal, the outcome more uncertain.


Gavan McCormack is an emeritus professor of Australian National University and coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal. He is co-author with Satoko Oka Norimatsu of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012, Horitsu bunkasha, 2013)) and co-author with John Dower of the just published Tenkanki no Nihon e – Pax Americana ka Pax Asia ka (NHK Bukkusu, 2014).

Recommended citation:Gavan McCormack, “Bitter Soup For Okinawans – The Governor’s Year-End Betrayal,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 12, Issue 1, No. 2, January 6, 2014.



1 “‘Okinawa wa seijiteki shichikusa’ Ota moto chiji ni kiku,” Okinawa taimusu, 9 March 2013.

2Agaon Okinawa: Japan-Okinawa-US relations in a Time of Turmoil,” The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus, 25 November 2013, and “‘Okinawa Again’ – Okinawa Special Series – A Postscript,” The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus, 1 December 2013.

3 The only publicly accessible record of this meeting appears to be the following, although it is exceedingly brief: Okinawa seisaku kyogikai, “Giji gaiyo,” 17 December 2013. The details that follow, therefore, are compiled from Okinawan and national media sources.

4 Quoted in “‘Kyo ‘shonin hyomei’ kengai koyaku hoki suru no ka,” Okinawa taimusu, 27 December 2013.

5 “Consolidation Plan for Facilities and Areas in Okinawa,” April 2013.

6 “Futenma teishi yokyu, kuchisaki no karayakusoku wa tsujnai,” editorial, Ryukyu shimpo, 21 December 2013.

7 Heianna Sumio, “Bei Futenma 5 nen teishi kobamu, 11 gatsu kyokucho kyu kaigi,” Okinawa taimusu, 1 January 2014.

8 Matsumoto Takeshi, “Henoko umetate shonin ‘bundan’ katan no omoi sekinin,” Tokubetsu hyoron, Ryukyu shimpo, 27 December 2013.

9 A Pentagon spokesman commented, “We do not agree to any revision [of SOFA] and have no thought to begin negotiations about it hereafter,” quoted in “Futenma teishi no yokyu, kuchisaki no kara yakusoku wa tsujinai,” Ryukyu shimpo, 21 December 2013.

10 Kyodo, “Japan mulls talks with US on earlier relocation of Futenma air base,” Japan Times, 21 December 2013.

11 See Sakurai Kunitoshi, “Environmental restoration of former US military bases in Okinawa,” The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus, 25 November 2013. 

12 Shusho kantei, “Nakaima Okinawa ken chiji to no mendan,” 25 December 2013.

13 For details: Shusho kantei, “Nakaima Okinawa ken chiji to no mendan,” 25 December 2013.

14 For the former, Gavan McCormack and Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, 2012, p. 163, and for the latter, “Chiji, Henoko umetate shonin, jinin ni genkyu sezu,” Ryukyu shimpo, 28 December 2013.

15 Heianna, op. cit.

16 “‘Kogu’ wa insho sosaku da kichi kyoyo no seitoka yameyo,” Ryukyu shimpo, 25 December 2013.

17 Ibid. and Wikipedia for ranking details.

18 “‘Naha kuko umetate’ kenen mo haramitsutsu aru,” Okinawa taimusu, editorial, 21 September 2013.

19 “Naha kuko F15, kassoro zosetsu de hiko 5000 kai zo,” Okinawa taimusu, 21 September 2013.

20 Ibid.

21 “‘Futenma’ seron chosa” min-i o shimesu omoi suji da,” Okinawa taimusu, 13 April 2013.

22 “Henoko ‘fushonin’ 64%, umetate hantai tsuyoku,” Okinawa taimusu, 17 December 2013.

23 “Chiji shonin fushiji 61%, koyaku ihan 72%, Shimpo, OTV chosa,” Ryukyu shimpo, 30 December 2013. By contrast, majority (56%) mainland opinion supported the Governor’s decision. (“Chiji shonin to seron, ‘mo, damasarenai’ sokokatai Henoko No no min –i,” Ryukyu shimpo, 31 December 2013

24 “Chiji umetate shonin, sokkoku jishoku shin o toe, min-i ni somuku rekishiteki oten,” editorial, Ryukyu shimpo, 28 December 2013. Here I am quoting from the translation by Mark Ealey posted on the newspaper site on 1 January 2014 under the heading “Okinawa Governor Nakaima should resign for betraying the Okinawan people by approving the Henoko landfill.”

25 “‘Henoko yonin ‘yukensha damasu jimin kenren toin mo hihan,” Mainichi shimbun, 1 December 2013.

26 “Futangen no tanpo, chiji amai, Onaga ken shichokaicho ga hihan,” Okinawa taimusu, 27 December 2013.

27 “Henoko yonin, Naha shicho ‘sabishii omoi’,” Okinawa taimusu, 2 December 2013.

28 “Naha shigikai ikensho, minshuteki seitosei wa Okinawa ni,” Ryukyu shimpo, 3 December 2013.

29 Komeito Okinawa-ken honbu, “Beigun Futenma hikojo isetsu mondai ni kansuru teigen,” 13 December 2013.

30 “Okinawa o kataru: Kinjo Tsutomu san (62) Komeito honbu kanjicho,” Okinawa taimusu, 15 December 2013

31 “Kakon, mujun, hyoka mo,” Ryukyu shimpo, 28 December 2013. (Figures based on my reading of the opinion statements provided by the 41 officials).

32 See, for example, Urashima, op. cit.

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Volume 12 | Issue 1 | Number 2

Article ID 4056

About the author:

The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus is a peer-reviewed publication, providing critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific and the world.

    About the author:


    Our monthly newsletter provides readers with an in-depth analysis of forces shaping the Asia-Pacific and the world.

      Since 2002

      Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus has produced critical reporting on geopolitics, economics, history, environment, and international relations.