Last November 15th when Keiichi Inamine
() won the election as new Governor of
Okinawa (), I was very shocked to hear the
defeat of ex-Governor Ohta () who had
been fighting against both Japanese and the US government, with an unique
views on the problem of the US bases in Okinawa I could easily imagine that
the effort for solving the problem on Governor level
would be relaxed.
In this concern, I have been pondering over how to
solve the problem of the US bases in Okinawa. How can we deal with this
problem? How can we make our region stand up on our feet? Now I would like to
suggest one remedy to solve this problem. Actually, it will be very difficult
for the Prime Minister of Japan and Governor of Okinawa to take up this remedy
and to execute it, since they need to be resolved to tackle with the pending
matters including diplomatic and national security, discussing with US
counterpart to settle and finalize them.
At first, please refer to the diagram as below.
The small province of Okinawa has as much as 75% of
the total US bases in Japan. To put it frankly, it is extremely "unsound". We
have to admit that the citizens of Okinawa take the problem more seriously
than those who live on the main island, including me. The build-up policy by
the Japanese Government is not sufficient to solve all the problems stemmed
from the US bases in Okinawa. For example, suppose that there are many US
bases in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, can the Japanese government solve
these many problems only with the build-up policy? I do not think the Japanese
government regards these problem in Okinawa as important, because it is a
"distant borderland," from Tokyo. Regret to say that Japanese government seems
to think that way.
Then, how can we solve "the problem in Okinawa"?
Although it sounds a little bit tricky, for Japan and also for Okinawa, the
best way to solve this issue is to establish the Independence of the Ryukyu
Kingdom (; the Old name of Okinawa prefecture)
In other words, Okinawa province should be independent from Japan. Some people
may wonder how they can solve "the problem of Okinawa" with this idea.
Certainly, the US would intervene in this domestic affairs of Japan. Whatever
the US complains, it is possible that Okinawa be independent from the
Why is the independence of Ryukyu possible? The
reason comes from the historical background which everyone knows but has not
mention so far. It is true that Okinawa used to be an… "Independent Country"
only 100 years ago. On the other hand, there is a national principle in
today's modern era which implies "self-determination." It means "the nation
decides what she wants to do, or should do." Good examples are the Old
Yugoslav dispute, the Palestine, and the Basque problems. As you are aware of,
Okinawa had been an independent country 100 years ago. Then, Okinawa belonged
to Japan but not so peacefully. Therefore there is no problem for Okinawa to
choose to be independent from Japan based on "self-determination" policy.
Now, what would happen to the problem of the US
bases in Okinawa, if it were independent? This would be a strong advantage for
Okinawa. "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States
of America and Japan" would not be applied to Ryukyu Kingdom!! As you know,
the treaty was concluded between the US and Japan. If Okinawa were independent
as Ryukyu Kingdom from Japan, it will mean that the effect of the treaty would
be void. In short, Okinawa will be relieved from the bondage of the treaty.
Therefore, there will be no more reason for the US bases to be stationed in
Okinawa, because there is no direct safety treaty between Ryukyu Kingdom and
the US. If the US persisits to remain in Okinawa, they have to request a new
treaty. However, if Ryukyu Kingdom refuses it, the US military have no way but
to leave the island for going home. Instead, if the US military refuses to
leave Okinawa, it means that the US would illegally occupy a foreign country.
After the independence, what should Ryukyu Kingdom
do? I would recommend Uniting both Japan and Ryukyu Kingdom. In short, it is a
type of federation or economic partnership. If it is possible to remain in the
same economic and defense system as it is today, there will be no problem to
continue an economical relationship (no tariff and exchange), as well as to
keep cultural exchange (non-visa required between Japan and Ryukyu Kingdom).
Also, if Japan can establish a security treaty between Taiwan and the
Philipines, it will be a good idea to set Ryukyu as a neutral nation without
armaments. In addition, it can provide a foreign commerce center by using the
geographical advantage of Ryukyu which will connect with Southeastern
countries and Taipei. This will enable Okinawa, which has been depending
solely upon tourisim, to be an important economic center among Japan, Taipei
and southeastern countries.
I have been writing about this issue in details.
Finally I would like to point out that the most important thing lies in the
decision by the people of Okinawa to solve the problem of the US bases in
Okinawa and to improve their economy. Even if we, outsiders, make a fuss about
their affairs, the problems cannot be solved unless they speak loudly with
firm resolution. In this sense, I am going to watch carefully further how new
Govenor Inamine tackles with the difficult problem and make every effort to
settle and finalize the situation, as if it tells his fortune, with ”lucky” or
”unlucky” written oracle.