Japan: a difficult path to its roots


The ceremony for the handover of 4 hectares of land in Okinawa is going to be held today by the US military under the jurisdiction of the Japanese authorities. This will be the largest return of land since 1972.


Despite the fact that the transfer was announced as a major step in US-Japanese relations, this is not quite true. The matter is  that this is a redeployment, not a withdrawal: on this territory, which was previously used for military training, six takeoff and landing sites for convertiplanes will be built. Previously, the Ministry of Defence of Japan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan had demanded to ban flights of convertiplanes until “their absolute safety can be proved” (which of course is very blurry). Besides, for transferring one of the US Air Force bases outside civilian settlements, the Ministry of Defence of Japan purchased one of the uninhabited islands near Okinawa, which was the largest investment.

The attitude of the people of Okinawa  to this change, which by the way themselves being not interested in, is emphasized by the fact that the prefectural governor, Takeshi Onaga, who pushes the withdrawal of US bases and the prohibition of convertiplane’s flight, refused to participate in the ceremony.

Parallel processes

In addition, it is known that a law will be approved today, according to which, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is going to “enhance cooperation” with US Navy ships, however they are strong enough without this point. In light of the latest amendments, the creation of a single central command is going to be established. However, to talk about this being simply an increase of Washington's occupation of Japan is not true.

Tokyo carries out policy to create a full-fledged army very carefully. Japan's participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan is a direct violation of the Constitution adopted during the postwar US occupation of the country. Moreover, Japan is strengthening its mission in Africa, emphasizing the irrelevance of the “American” constitution.

Symbolic visits

Next week senior Japanese officials are going to pay a visit to the United States. The defense minister Tomomi Inada will visit the base on Guam in order to get acquainted with the missile defense systems. Earlier the possibility of a positioning the system was stated, one similar to that established in South Korea. Exactly because of the dislocation of such system the South Korean opposition for the first time considered the impeachment of Park Geun-hye.

In addition, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor on December 26-27th. This visit has already been called a historic one, but the Japanese political leader stressed that during his visit, apologies for the actions that had taken place during the war, would not be brought.