Now it's All up to the Indian Fortune-teller
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Left: Hatoyama keeps apologizing to everyone for everything he has done, or has not
Center: One of the brethren of this old man is governing Japan behind the scenes
Right: Pro golfer Ai Miyazato has already won two LPGA tournaments this spring
My friend Jack asked me about my take on the rally staged yesterday in Yomitanson, Okinawa Prefecture, in which 90,000 people participated to protest against the recent move by the government to keep the U.S. Marine Corps' "helicopter" unit in their islands. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama looks to have backed down on his pledge to relocate it to 県外 (kengai, or outside of Okinawa) or 国外 (kokugai, or outside of Japan) in the wake of the April 18 rally in Tokunoshima island, Kagoshima Prefecture.
I don't see a lot of differences between the two rallies. Protesters in both prefectures had equally ambivalent sentiments; on the one hand, they were opposed to any plan to have U.S. military bases in their respective prefectures, but on the other, they were receptive of them deep inside. Their behaviors were also similar in that they were discouraged from expressing their honne openly.
The Okinawa Governor is a good example. Hirokazu Nakaima was elected the governor basically on his campaign pledge to keep U.S. military bases in the prefecture while gradually trying to reduce the burden on the citizens. Yet, he somehow felt obliged to attend the April 25 rally to deliver a half-hearted and vaguely-worded address in support of the kengai relocation of the Futenma Air Station.
The reason behind their mixed feelings toward the U.S. presence in their lands is because Okinawa's base-related income accounts for 20% of the prefecture's GDP, whereas these bases cover only a little more than 10% of the total area of 2,276 sq.km or 879 sq.mi. Kagoshima Prefecture, too, could have expected a handsome amount of windfall from the $26 billion already funded by the previous administration had it not been for the April 18 rally.
However, there is one crucial difference between the peoples in Okinawa and other areas that include Tokunoshima.
Okinawa is Japan's last colony.
You may have been so brainwashed as to find it totally unimaginable that someday the Okinawans may seek independence from Japan. Yet, that is a little more likely than the Native Hawaiians seeking secession from the United States. To say the least, if and when Japan's first-ever civil war breaks out, Okinawa will be the major battleground.
From 1429 through 1879, these islands were an independent kingdom under the reign of the Ryukyu Dynasty. Even after Satsuma Domain, the fiefdom that is called Kagoshima Prefecture today, virtually annexed it in 1609, the rich and diverse culture has still been flourishing there among the bright, straightforward and self-respecting people.
Given their ethnological and cultural background, the Okinawans, except those who have chosen to abandon their ethnic identity to become assimilated into this nation where the process of disintegration is already irreversible, are a quite different people than the Japanese main-islanders. If you are skeptical about my argument, you just have to carefully observe any individual of Ryukyu ancestry. Just take Ai Miyazato for example; it's easy to tell the up-and-coming LPGA pro golfer has nothing in common with Hatoyama except how many eyes, nostrils and mouth they have.
In the last days of the Pacific War, Hirohito's Imperial Army killed or forced to commit suicide thousands of Okinawan women and children to shield the Honshu island against the all-out offensive being launched by the U.S. soldiers. In 1972, twenty years after Japan's nominal independence, these islands were finally "returned" to this country. Yet, these bases have remained there as the "cornerstone" of the U.S. strategy in this region.
In 1996, then-Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto promised that he would rid Okinawa of the Futenma Air Base at latest in seven years. But well before 2003, he was forced to retire from politics because of a bribery scandal. In 2006, the LDP government reached an accord with the Bush administration that the air station should be downsized by relocating 8,000 marines to Guam and the rest of them should be moved to Camp Schwab in a less-populated city of the same Okinawa Prefecture.
It is the Democratic Party of Japan that promised to tear up the 2006 accord and seek a kengai or kokugai alternative. When opening Pandora's box, Hatoyama should have been prepared to ultimately invoke Article 10 of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan. In fact, though, the termination of the 50-year-old treaty was the last thing Hatoyama would think about doing.
That is why the equally loopy President of the U.S. called him a loopy prime minister. These guys will never learn what really underlies all this ado about nothing. As I have repeatedly argued, the gut issue with the bilateral alliance lies with the fact that at least for the Japanese, there are no real enemies to fight against and there are no values to defend against them.
On the part of the Okinawans, their honne is certainly that they have had enough with the colonial rule by the Japanese. And now that the Americans, too, think of Okinawa as if it were their colony, they think serving two colonial masters at a time is way too much to tolerate.
I'm not a historian, but I'm quite sure no other sovereign country in history has accepted the presence of full-fledged foreign military forces within its territory for almost six decades. Judging from the remark Kurt M. Campbell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, made yesterday, these morons in Washington still think about staying in alliance with Japan at least for another 20 years: the bastard, apparently out of his mind, reportedly said to this effect: "The Sunday rally there sent us a clear message that we should seriously consider mitigating the burden on the Okinawans. But that takes 20 years."
It's good to know that in 10 to 20 years from now, we will see a Utopia where every nuclear state will have emptied its arsenal, every industrialized nation will have contained its greenhouse gas emissions, and the Okinawans will have had their undue burden eliminated.
The talk of the town these days has it that Hatoyama has now been seeking, through his wife, for advice from an Indian fortune-teller. The oracle that the U.K.-educated broad, who is known to be an extraordinarily superstitious person, is said to have already passed on to her husband is:
"Don't give in to Obama because eventually he will give in."
The widespread rumor has not been officially confirmed yet, but actually it needs not be confirmed at all. ·