Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Deception and Diplomacy: The US, Japan, and Okinawa

The following text makes extensive use of the treasure trove of documents on the US-Japan-Okinawa relationship released by Wikileaks and published in The Asahi Shimbun and Ryukyu Shimpo in May 2001, setting them in the frame of four decades of chicanery.

It also discusses the so-called "mitsuyaku" or secret diplomacy between the two countries that has gradualy come to light in the past two years without any help from Wiki, the "confession" of former Prime Minister Hatoyama, the strange case of the "Maher affair, and the shock waves of recent shifts in thinking about the Okinawa problem in Washington. APJ

1. Zokkoku Blues

For the student of contemporary Japan, these are sad times, and it is not just because of the catastrophe that struck the country in March and the Chernobyl-like horrors that have continued since then to spread across the Northeast, though it has been impossible to observe these without shock and grief. But it is sad above all because of the growing sense that Japan lacks a truly responsible democratic government to address these issues, and because its people deserve better.

It seems only yesterday that the Japanese people, tired and disgusted with a half century of corrupt and collusive LDP rule, voted to end it. How quickly since September 2009 their efforts were reversed, renewal and reform blocked, and a compliant US-oriented regime reinstated whose irresponsibility is matched only by its incompetence. This is true whether considering the response to the nuclear crisis, marked by evasion, manipulation and collusion (of bureaucrats, politicians, the media, and the nuclear industry), or of the handling of the Okinawa base issue, which is central to the country's most important relationship, that with the United States. Read More