Nov. 28, 2010
But then I thought: Hope for what? Light for whom? It was Okinawa that has been in the darkness with the unfairly heavy burden of hosting US military bases.
|Iha Yoichi, surrounded by media and supporters, |
after defeat was known (Photo by Maeda Takeshi)
Before the election, all the mainland and international media supported Nakaima and his camp's strategy to blur the difference between the two candidates. Then the focus of the debate shifted to economy, and Nakaima attracted more votes, promising and hinting more economic developments, subsidies, and continued base-related contracts and incomes. He was backed by LDP and Komeito, the combination of the previous government who want to see a "relocation" base built in Henoko. Nakaima won the election by deceiving many Okinawans into believing that he was committed to moving the base outside of the prefecture and lulling others into not bothering to vote, and now that he has won, he is welcomed with open and warm hands by the mainland politicians with "the sense of relief."
Well, the "sense of relief" for the Tokyo politicians is the "sign of alarm" for Okinawans. Now the Tokyo politicians are ready to roll up their sleeves and start negotiating with Nakaima, who is more than ready to be in the talk to get the most favourable terms for Okinawa in exchange for building the Henoko base.
Here is University of Ryukyus professor Gabe Masaaki in Stars and Stripes (November 26):
Gabe said that the most effective way for Tokyo to gain the support of Okinawa is to keep pouring money into the prefecture. The government has given 3.56 billion yen (about $44.5 million) to Okinawa under the Realignment Contribution Subsidy since Camp Schwab and its adjacent community of Henoko were chosen as the relocation site, according to the Ministry of Defense.
“After all, money talks,” Gabe said.
“But the bad news is that money is like a drug,” he said. “The more you use, the more you need.”
*Text sent from Yoshio Shimoji and thankfully forwarded by M.S. on Nov. 28, 2010
This is my comment on Japan Today's Nov. 28 article "DPJ relieved after Okinawa vote”posted there also:
In yesterday's gubernatorial election in Okinawa, candidate Hirokazu Nakaima, an incumbent Governor, garnered 335,708 votes (52%), candidate Yoichi Iha 297,082 votes (46%) and candidate Tatsuro Kinjo 13,116 votes (2%), of the total 645,906 valid votes.
Nakaima and Iha campaigned on an almost identical platform that the 2006 Futenma relocation plan agreed to between Japan and the U.S. should be scrapped while Kinjo ran on a "Futenma to Henoko" platform. Of the three candidates, then, it's only Kinjo who precisely represented both governments' stance regarding the Futenma issue. But his vote count was only 13,116 or a meager 2 percent.
U.S. policymakers should recognize this hard fact and, if they consider the U.S. as a great democracy, never attempt to force their failed plan on Okinawa -- an undemocratic and immoral action on the part of the U.S.