Book Break “Resistant Islands -Okinawa Confronts Japan and The United States-" By Gavan McCormack and Satoko Oka Norimatsu
*The speaker will be Gavan McCormack.
The “Okinawa problem” is widely known as the struggle by the people of Okinawa to prevent the construction of a comprehensive military base for the US Marine Corps at Henoko in northern Okinawa, nominally as replacement for the Futenma base that sits in the middle of Ginowan township in central Okinawa.
Satoko Oka Norimatsu and Gavan McCormack document and analyse that struggle. Former Prime Minister Hatoyama said (of the Japanese translation of our book, published earlier this year) that he learned more from reading the chapter on his government than he knew when he was running it. The Henoko issue now comes to a head. The Abe government has demanded of Governor Nakaima that he license the reclamation of Oura Bay as first step in construction. Okinawan civil society says No, demonstrating remarkable coherence, tenacity, and commitment to non-violence. A mayoral election at Nago City (location of the Henoko site) is to be held on 19 January 2014.
At issue now is not only the Henoko construction design on Okinawa’s main island but also various projects to construct military facilities and to impose educational curricula compatible with a revived Japanese military role on the farther islands, including Yonaguni, Ishigaki, Taketomi, and as far north as Mageshima.
What are the prospects for reconciliation between the national government and local Okinawan society? Is it conceivable that Tokyo will simply crush Okinawan opposition and in that case what would be the implications for Japanese democracy or regional security? What justification is there for the widely-held Okinawan belief that Okinawans are discriminated against in the Japanese state? How does the Okinawan resistance address the “China threat” and the “North Korean threat?” Where does Okinawa stand on the “Senkaku Island” issue? His talk will address these issues.
Gavan McCormack is emeritus professor at Australian National University, Canberra. Satoko Oka Norimatsu is director of Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver. Both are coordinators of The Asia-Pacific Journal- Japan Focus. Resistant Islands - Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2012, in Japanese by Horitsu Bunkasha in 2013, and publication in Korean and Chinese (by Changbi and SSAP) is imminent.
The library committee is offering a cocktail party - "Meet the Author" - starting at 6.15 pm. Followed by dinner at 6.45pm (Menu: twenty dishes of Grilled Swordfish with Citron Sauce and other fish dishes will be available). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges 2,000 yen (including tax) for the event.
Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.
(The talk will be in English)
Library Committee, THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS' CLUB OF JAPAN