Archive for the Okinawa Category

News analysis: Japan gov’t ignoring Okinawans’ feelings could see history of clashes repeat itself [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-USA protest, Japan, Obama, Okinawa, Pentagon, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on April 6, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Jon Day

TOKYO, April 1 (Xinhua) — A rift is widening dramatically between Japan’s central government and local officials and citizens in Okinawa Prefecture following an order by its governor for the defense bureau to halt drilling at the site of a planned new U.S. military base in a coastal region on the island being overturned and sparking protests in the region.

Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Tuesday he hopes the central government will begin work involved with reclaiming land from the sea in the coastal region of Henoko, in Nago City on Okinawa island, with drilling work concluded by June so the main reclamation work can begin in the middle 2015 and the new U.S. base’s construction expedited.

Reclaiming land from the sea is an integral part of a joint Japan-U.S. plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station from the densely populated district of Ginowan on the island, to the coastal region of Henoko. But the four-year bilateral plan has drawn a great deal of resistance from Okinawa’s prefectural officials and citizens, who are staunchly opposed to the relocation and feel overburdened by their decades-long U.S. base hosting duties.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, an opponent to the base’s relocation, on March 23 ordered the regional defense bureau to halt its drilling operations off Henoko and threatened to rescind a permit granted to the defense ministry by his predecessor.

Onaga, who became governor due to local support for his ardent opposition to the planned construction of the new U.S. base, previously said that the defense ministry’s underwater operations have damaged a coral reef in the area by sinking concrete blocks weighing up to 45 tons into the sea, to tether floating “no entry” signs around the controversial drilling zone.

The blocks, outside the demarkation [sic] zone, it was subsequently found, had crushed an endangered coral reef and officials are concerned that more damage may have been caused within the “no entry” zone, which the U.S. military refuses to grant local officials access to, to inspect.

But despite Onaga’s order, ultimately, the construction of the base entirely, saying the drilling operations by the defense ministry will cause irrevocable damage to the local environment and describing the actions of the defense ministry as “utterly deplorable,” the central government has overturned Onaga’s demands, with Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Monday nullifying Onaga’s instruction and permitting the defense bureau to continue with their drilling work.

Hayashi’s reversal of Onaga’s order angered local residents, who, once again took to the streets near to the planned site of the new base and voiced their anger and dismay at the central government, with local media quoting protestors describing the situation as an, “outrageous act that ignores the sentiments of prefectural residents.”

The central government, as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has consistently stated, plans to move forward with the drilling and construction plans regardless of the local opposition in support of its governor. Onaga himself, however, may now look to nullify Hayashi’s verdict and revoke the defense bureau’s permit as originally threatened, which would see the case go to court, the rift widen and the impasse rumble on, and local sentiment towards the central government worsen.

As the rift continues to widen between local prefectural officials, its citizens and the central government, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will likely be scratching his head for a solution, albeit a short-term one, as a keenly-eyed visit to the United States and talks with U.S. President Barack Obama loom.

The Okinawa issue has been a consistent source of irritation for Washington due to Tokyo’s inability to move forward with plans to relocate the base, as part of the U.S. broader realignment of its troops here. Washington has instructed Tokyo to work harder to gain the support of the local citizens of Okinawa for the construction of the new base, but four administrations, thus far, including Abe’s, have failed, causing the project to become severely delayed and tensions on the island to rise to a fever pitch.

And while Nakatani has made it clear that the local chapter of his defense ministry will soldier on with the original plans to relocate the base to the pristine coastal region of Henoko, and, in doing so, has once again, somewhat autocratically, brushed aside the local citizens’ and officials’ feelings on the matter, Abe himself said he wants to try and garner more local support.

Abe, who is increasingly under the international media spotlight ahead of his visit to the U.S., said that as well as moving forward with the base relocation, he wants to return other military facilities and land to the people of Okinawa.

In an Upper House session Monday, Abe said it would be efficacious for his government to talk to officials on the island, including Onaga, and aim to build more trust. But political watchers here, however, have said that Abe’s new-found congenial remarks on the matter run completely contrary to actual moves by the central government, as evidenced in the words of Suga, Nakatani and the moves by the regional defense bureau.

Observers have stated that it may be the case that Abe needs to be seen to be actively improving the ever-worsening relationship between his government and prefectural officials and citizens in Okinawa, ahead of his trip to the U.S. or deal with the wrath of Washington on the issue, which under former administrations, had negatively impacted bilateral relations between the two allies each time Tokyo failed.

Abe said that on Tuesday the U.S. Camp Zukeran, which is spread over a large area in the central part of the main island and more than 1,000 hectares in the densely populated regions will be returned to the island over the next 15 years.

But local citizens have heard it all before and, according to local sources, there is a growing mistrust of anything the central government says on such issues, due to the current administration’ s plans to bulldoze through Onaga’s orders and previous administrations flip-flopping over the Futenma relocation issue.

Such mistrust is leading to increasing frustration from the local citizens, who have been seen taking to the streets with placards and megaphones, and, in a number of instances recently, taking to the water in small boats to show their opposition to the central government’s moves.

Anti-U.S. sentiment has been steadily growing on the island as base-related pollution and accidents threatens the environment and safety of the locals and crimes committed by U.S. military personnel, in particular, continue to spark fury among the locals.

Political analysts have said the central government needs to remain cognizant of the feelings of the people of Okinawa and the history of their base-hosting suffering, which, among other heinous crimes, includes the brutal rape of an elementary schoolgirl in Okinawa by three U.S. servicemen in 1995 and other incidents such as in 2004 when a Marine CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter plowed into the Okinawa International University in Ginowan.

The situation in Okinawa has been described as something of a powder keg at the moment, as Okinawan locals shoulder the burden of hosting 75 percent of Japan’s U.S. bases and around half of all the Japan-based U.S. military personnel, with the tiny island only accounting for just one percent of Japan’s total land area.

In 1970, following an unpunished drunk driving incident by a U. S. soldier, more than 3,000 local residents took to the streets of Okinawa and attacked U.S. service people, their vehicles and successfully entered military premises and burned buildings…

…the message from analysts close to the matter is that Abe’s government must stop regarding the local population of Okinawa as pushovers, or lesser citizens than those residing on mainland Japan, or history could indeed repeat itself.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/01/c_134115800.htm

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“We used chemical weapons in Vietnam”: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explain how telling the untold history can change the world for the better [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Bill Clinton, El Salvador, Genocide, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Nagasaki, Obama, Okinawa, Pentagon, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on May 22, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sep. 29, 2013

Joint Interview by The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Shukan Kinyobi, Tokyo, August 11, 2013

Satoko Oka Norimatsu and Narusawa Muneo

The Japanese weekly Shukan Kinyobi and The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus jointly interviewed Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, co-authors of The Untold History of the United States, a 10-episode documentary series (broadcast on Showtime Network, 2012-13) and a companion book of the same name (Simon and Schuster, 2012), on August 11 in Tokyo. It was the 8th day of the duo’s 12-day tour of Japan, right after they visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the 68th memorial of the atomic-bombing on August 6 and 9 respectively, and before they visited Okinawa, to witness the realities of the continuing US military base occupation and resistance to it. Stone and Kuznick, relaxed with a few late-afternoon drinks between two large public events in Hibiya, Tokyo, talked about the importance of learning and teaching history, the “thread of civilization” as a people’s “weapon of truth,” to defend against the power of the American empire, whose image has been molded on the continuing distortion of history and glorification of past wars. This applies to Japan and its government’s denial of aggression in its past wars, too. The interview ranges widely over their five years of collaboration on the Untold History.

Q. At the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War in 2012, Obama reflected on the war “with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor,” and initiated a 13-year program to “pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.”[1] Why are the experiences of the Vietnam War being glorified now? Did the war not bring about disastrous outcomes, as you argue in your book?

Stone: There has certainly been a strong drift to the right both in the United States and now in Japan. The drift to the right started with Reagan, though some people would argue that it started with Nixon, and Johnson, after Kennedy was killed – you can argue that. The drift to the right accelerated under Reagan, and it was Reagan who was most aggressive in redefining the Vietnam War as, not a disgrace, but something to be proud of. He termed negativity toward the war as the “Vietnam syndrome,” which was quite strong, considering that only ten years before we had withdrawn from Vietnam and we were really lost. I think Reagan believed that he could revamp American society by giving it economic strength and historical purpose, as Abe is trying in Japan. You redefine the history, and you redefine the economy. Reagan starts it, and George H.W. Bush does it better. He is the one who suffered from the “wimp factor,” but after the Kuwait invasion in 1991 he announces that the “specter of Vietnam has been buried forever under the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula,”[2] and then this is backed by Clinton. So this is the tradition now. Obama recently made a statement on the 60th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War that “the war was no tie. Korea was a victory.”[3] He was praising the US military extravagantly.

So, this is a different kind of syndrome in the United States. No matter what history says, the military is worshipped. If you look at Obama’s statement on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, he does not really talk about the war when he says, “we reflect with solemn reverence, upon the valor of a generation that served with honor.” You can never question your soldiers’ valor. Many of the veterans who go to war want to feel that they served with honor, even if it was a losing cause or a bad cause. On the other hand, behind that is a revising of history where he is basically saying that the war in Vietnam was a noble cause. I think it was a lost cause; a bad cause. The battlefield of the future is the history. History, memory of history, and the correct memory of history is the slender thread of our civilization.

I know this in my heart, because if you think about it, in our own lives, previous lives, my life, your life, what do we have? Where are we right now? Every one of us has a history. We have loves, hates, affairs – we have gone through life and every single one of us has a say about history. Those people who remember history and have an awareness of themselves do better in life, generally speaking. They are able to evaluate themselves as they mature, they can change as I did, to evolve, if evolution comes from knowing who you are. So the very concept of denying your own past is lying at the greatest level. It goes to the heart of every individual and to the heart of a nation.

Kuznick: The Vietnam syndrome is very important. The attack on the Vietnam syndrome began as soon as the war ended. Gerald Ford during his presidency said, “We have to stop looking to the past; we have to look to the future.”[4] This was one week before the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the end of the Vietnam War. The process began from that point, to forget Vietnam, to wipe it from history – the causes of Vietnam, and the consequences of Vietnam. In 1980, Commentary, a leading neocon magazine, edited by Norman Podhoretz, devoted an issue to the Vietnam syndrome. Conservatives understood at that point that unless they could change the perception of the American people about the Vietnam War, they could not intervene capriciously in other countries and expand what had become an American empire. So they made a deliberate effort to change the narrative about the Vietnam War, because Vietnam had become for most Americans by that point a nightmare. Some people saw it as a mistake, as an aberration, but many of us understood it as an extremely ugly example of an interventionist American policy that had been playing out around the world for decades. So the right-wing made a systemic effort to cleanse history, because they knew that was essential to build the kind of empire that they wanted to attain, and, as Oliver says, Reagan pursued it most aggressively. But we saw it also with Carter. Carter starts his administration progressively, but by the end he had moved to the right and was talking about the nobility of the struggle in Vietnam. Reagan embraced it directly, as did Clinton who, in his student days, had actively opposed the war. If you look at what he says, it is the same as Ford, Reagan and everybody else: the nobility of the cause – the American troops were great, just because they fought and died, and you have to wave the flag for the American troops.

This was also essential for neocon proponents of “the new American century.” People behind George W. Bush again rewrote the history of Vietnam. Conservative obfuscation has been deliberate and systematic. Even in the naming. We refer to it in America as “the war in Vietnam.” We talk about “the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” but we do not talk about the “American ‘invasion’ of Vietnam.” But that was what it was — a bloody invasion that began slowly and built up over the years, in which the United States used every kind of lethal power, except for the atomic bomb. We had free fire zones in which we were able to shoot and kill anything that moved. It was a war of atrocities. People say that the My Lai Massacre was an atrocity, but dismiss it as an aberration. But if you study the actual history, read Nick Turse’s recent book,[5] or look at Oliver’s movies, you see that Vietnam was a series of atrocities on a smaller scale. That is why the Vietnamese are surprised by the American focus on My Lai. They know that My Lais, though on a smaller scale, were occurring throughout the country with shocking regularity.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC is powerful and moving. It has the names of all the 58,286 Americans who died in the war. The message is that the tragedy of Vietnam was the fact that 58,286 Americans died. That is indeed tragic. Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense 1961-68) came into my class and said he accepted the fact that 3.8 million Vietnamese died. The memorial does not have the names of 3.8 million Vietnamese or the hundreds of thousands of Laotians, Cambodians and others. The Okinawa war memorial tells a different story. It has the names of all the Okinawans, Japanese, Americans, and all the others who died in the Battle of Okinawa, and that makes a real statement about the horrors of war. The Vietnam memorial does not. If the 250 foot long Vietnam memorial wall contained all the names of the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, do you know how long it would be? Over four miles! What a statement that would make. But right now, there is a campaign to forget, and Obama participated in it when he welcomed the troops home from Iraq. Obama is the voice of the empire, and empire requires forgetting, cleansing, and wiping out the past about Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, Salvador, and even WWII. None of these stories have been told honestly and truthfully in the United States and that is why it is so important to fight over the correct interpretation of history; otherwise U.S. leaders are going to repeat the crimes and atrocities in much the same way that they got away with them in the past…

Excerpted; full article link: http://japanfocus.org/events/view/197

Oliver Stone joins Jeju residents’ battle against naval base [The Hankyoreh / 한겨레]

Posted in Australia, Cambodia, China, Encirclement of China, Hiroshima, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nagasaki, North wind campaign, Obama, Okinawa, Philippines, Protest action, south Korea, Taiwan, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam, World War II on August 10, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

August 5, 2013

* Acclaimed director is touring Asia in criticism of the US government’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy *

By Huh Ho-joon, Jeju correspondent

“Ever since the Second World War, the US has been building military alliances and setting up military bases overseas. A lot of those bases are in Japan and Korea. Jeju Island is less than 500 kilometers from Shanghai. It could end up on the front lines if a military conflict breaks out between the US and China.”

Internationally renowned filmmaker Oliver Stone said this about the naval base currently under construction on Jeju Island. The 67-year-old director, whose works on the Vietnam War include “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” met with the Hankyoreh on Aug. 3 at the Peace Center in Gangjeong Village in Jeju.

Noting the US’s overseas military strategy, Stone said the issue with the Jeju base was “global, not regional.”

“The Obama administration has adopted a ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy as a way of containing China,” he said. “It’s similar to the way the Soviet Union was contained during the Cold War. And in its push to do this, Washington has built or is building military alliances not just with South Korea and Japan, but with the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, and Myanmar. It’s a foolish, paranoid strategy.”

In view of this strategy, the Jeju naval base may be a military extension of the US forces, who could eventually end up using it, Stone said.

The director said he came to Jeju after seeing documentaries by US directors on Gangjeong Village and the April 3 Uprising of 1948 and reading articles on the villagers battle against the construction.

“I wanted to see for myself,” he said. He arrived on the island on Aug. 2 for a three-day stay.

As soon as he arrived, he went to visit film critic Yang Yun-mo, who was arrested while campaigning against the base, as well as people involved in the Grand March for Life and Peace, an event organized to call for a halt to the construction. On Aug. 3, he went to see activists opposing the base in their battle against police at the construction site in Gangjeong – a visit that left him looking very troubled.

“They’re calling the people who oppose the base ‘pro-North Korea,’ but that’s a very simplistic expression and their methods are easy to attack,” Stone said. “But the residents and activists are very sincere about their home, their rights, and this beautiful island of Jeju.”

He also spoke on environmental concerns, noting the base was “destroying beautiful soft coral reefs and contaminating the water.”

“I’ve heard that Jeju water was some of the cleanest and best in the world,” he said. “What happens when it ends up getting polluted?”

“The Gangjeong residents and activists aren’t alone in their battle against the base. This is going beyond South Korea and turning into a worldwide issue,” he continued. “I don’t know how this battle is going to go, but the residents’ fight will not be forgotten.”

Following his trip to Jeju, Stone plans to head to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs were dropped during the Second World War. There, he plans to attend a conference opposing atomic and hydrogen bombs before traveling on to Okinawa, site of a large US military base.

Article link: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/598369.html

“Ryukyu issue offers leverage to China” – Issue of Okinawan island chain’s independence from Japan raised [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Japan, Okinawa, US imperialism, USA, World War II on May 20, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 11, 2013

A bylined article published Wednesday in the People’s Daily called for the revisiting of the unsolved historical issue of the Ryukyu Islands, the largest of which is Okinawa.

The article stirred strong protest from Japan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying Tokyo “must voice its position to the world” by rejecting China’s “inappropriate claim.” The US Department of State expressed support for Japan’s sovereignty over Okinawa.

Japan’s overreaction toward the suggestion made by two Chinese scholars in State media mirrors its lack of confidence. In 1971, the US unilaterally handed over control of the Ryukyu Islands to Tokyo. There has always been a legal basis to challenge this illegal act.

The Ryukyu Islands, different from the Diaoyu Islands, were not historically part of Chinese territory. They were an independent kingdom that paid tribute to China. It’s not that China wants to “recover” the Ryukyu Islands, but it is able to negate the islets’ current status.

If Japan ultimately chooses antagonism with China, Beijing should consider changing its current stance and revisit the Ryukyu issue as an unsolved historical problem.

The Ryukyu issue can be reinitiated through three steps. The first is to open up public discussion and studies of the Ryukyu issue, including allowing the founding of related research organizations. Authorities should not directly participate in these activities, but should not oppose them either.

The second, based on Japan’s attitude toward China, is for Beijing to decide when to bring up the Ryukyu issue in the international arena. This can be played as a powerful card when necessary.

Finally, if Japan seeks to be a pioneer in sabotaging China’s rise, China can carry out practical input, fostering forces in Okinawa that seek the restoration of the independence of the Ryukyu Chain. If Japan, binding itself with the US, tries to threaten China’s future, China should impose threats on the country’s integrity. This is a fair game.

Japan is the most active provoker in China’s international strategic environment. Friendly relations with Japan can barely be realized through China’s repeated tolerance. Japan must be forced to give up its role as a political pirate and stop its endless disturbance and confrontation.

China and Japan will engage in a long-term rivalry in the 21st century. However, time is on the side of China, which has been seeking peace in regional dynamics amid its rise.

China doesn’t need to worry that bringing up the Ryukyu issue will provide an excuse for external forces to foment separatism in China. As long as significant economic and social setbacks do not take place in the country, the threat of separatism is set to diminish.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90883/8240741.html

Also see related article: “US plays disgraceful role in China-Japan ties: Qian Lihua” by Wang Wei [China.org.cn] – http://english.people.com.cn/90883/8159275.html

U.S. wanted to turn all of Okinawa Island into base site in 1945-46: documents [Japan Times]

Posted in Japan, Okinawa, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on November 13, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Friday, Nov. 9, 2012

Kyodo

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military was planning between 1945 to 1946 to use all of Okinawa Island as a permanent site for its bases, declassified U.S. documents have shown.

The documents are the latest evidence to apparently reinforce the background of the current bases’ location.

The Okinawa community has been trying to consolidate and reduce the U.S. bases in the prefecture, which has long hosted about 75 percent of all U.S. military facilities in Japan in terms of land area.

The documents contained two charts showing a map of Okinawa Island with proposed major U.S. military installations, excluding U.S. Marine Corps bases that were transferred to Okinawa in the 1950s. Some of the bases still exist.

The documents were recently discovered at the U.S. National Archives by Hirofumi Hayashi, a contemporary history professor at Kanto Gakuin University.

Hayashi said the documents, and charts, serve as the prototypes of the current U.S. bases.

The charts, one created by the U.S. Navy in November 1945 and the other by the U.S. Army in October 1946, both measured about 1 meter long and 60 meters wide.

The U.S. Army’s chart carried the wording “Post War Planning Permbase Project Locations Site Plan” and “Confidential” in bold letters.

The western area of the island was administered by the U.S. Army and the eastern area by the navy…

Full article link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121109a2.html

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Commentary: U.S. seems unusually ignorant about history of Diaoyu Islands [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, Diaoyu Islands, Hillary Clinton, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, Tokyo, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, World War II on September 20, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Wu Liming

BEIJING, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) — While the diplomatic standoff between Beijing and Tokyo simmers following Japan’s farce to buy China’s Diaoyu Islands, the United States has kept unusually silent concerning the true history of the territory.

Even if Washington deliberately neglects the fact that the Diaoyu Islands were first discovered and named by the Chinese, it has no excuse to deny that it does know the history of the islands after the Second World War.

The reason is simple because the United States is one of the parties that played a key role in the evolution of the issue.

After the end of World War II, China recovered territory invaded and occupied by Japan – including Taiwan and the Penghu Islands – in accordance with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, which the United States had approved.

According to international law, the Diaoyu Islands have already been returned to China.

In other words, returning the islands to China is a post-war arrangement made by major powers, including the United States itself.

However, what Japan is presently doing is an outright denial of the outcome of the victory of the world anti-Fascist war, which constitutes a grave challenge to the post-war international order [sic].

It is undeniable that America has made great contributions to the war victory. But as a major player in establishing the post-war international order, Washington should shoulder the responsibility to prevent Japan from changing it.

Americans must have been quite clear about the illegal and arbitrary reversion of the Diaoyu Islands to Japan. It is not difficult for U.S. officials and independent media to find relevant original documents in American diplomatic files.

In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco, partial in nature, placed the Ryukyu Islands (known as Okinawa today) under the trusteeship of the United States.

In 1953, the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands arbitrarily expanded its jurisdiction to include the Diaoyu Islands, which are in fact Chinese territory.

In 1971, the Okinawa Reversion Agreement signed by Japan and the United States arbitrarily included the islands in the territories and territorial waters to be reverted to Japan.

Those were backroom deals between Tokyo and Washington, agreements that China firmly opposed and never acknowledged from the beginning.

Facts are facts, and history can’t be reversed. If the United States truly is a responsible international player, it should tell the world the truth about the evolution of the Diaoyu Islands issue.

Unfortunately, the United States contradicts itself in its position regarding the islands and even goes so far as to support Japan in its provocations against China.

For one thing, the U.S. State Department stated the islands are under the administrative control of the Japanese government, and that they fall under the scope of the U.S.-Japan security treaty.

For another, Washington claims it does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands.

Washington apparently is clear that openly supporting Japan would damage the image of a world leader that it has been pursuing.

No wonder, then, that when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Japanese leaders earlier this week, she made empty talk about the islands, only giving a hint for Tokyo to continue its confrontation with China.

The United States seemingly is playing the old trick of “divide and rule,” attempting to play a bigger role when the western Pacific is in turmoil.

In short, the action fits with the American strategy of “pivot to Asia,” a strategic shift that experts say won’t solve Asia’s problems and instead may add to uncertainty in the region.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-09/12/c_131846328.htm

“Time for tough measures” – Op-ed on China fighting Japan over Diaoyu Islands’ sovereignty [China Daily]

Posted in China, Diaoyu Islands, Encirclement of China, Hu Jintao, Japan, Okinawa, Reform and opening up, Sino-Japanese Friendship, South China Sea, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on September 17, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Chu Zhaogen

9-15-2012

China should forget about forging Sino-Japanese economic integration and fight against Japan’s resurging militarism

The Japanese government claims to have “purchased” China’s Diaoyu Island and Nanxiao and Beixiao islands for 2.05 billion yen ($26.15 million) from the Kurihara family, the so-called private owner of the Diaoyu Islands, and “nationalized” them.

Ignoring China’s repeated and strong representations, Japan stuck to its decision to “nationalize” the islands. Since Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced the metropolitan government’s plan on April 16 to “buy” the Diaoyu Islands, Japanese right-wing forces have been wolfishly pushing their luck on China’s Diaoyu Islands.

Besides, the Japanese Lower House Committee on Land, Infrastructure and Transport has passed two amendments, granting Japan coast guards the power to arrest non-Japanese nationals, if necessary, from the uninhabited islands.

Ironically, the Japanese government has claimed that the Diaoyu Islands are being brought under state ownership to “maintain and manage them in a peaceful and stable manner”, not to irritate China.

To avoid a strong reaction from China, Japan also tried to downplay the Diaoyu Islands dispute by sending a letter written by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to Chinese President Hu Jintao, conducting “corridor diplomacy” on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, and promising not to change the status quo or build new structures on the Diaoyu Islands. It is clear that Japan is using both hard and soft tactics to further consolidate its illegal occupation of the Diaoyu Islands.

Behind the farce of “buying” the Diaoyu Islands, Japan has a much bigger plan. Since the United States announced its strategy of returning to Asia, Japan has been acting as “a pawn of the US” to encircle China.

By getting involved in the South China Sea dispute, playing up the “China maritime threat” and frequently holding large-scale joint military exercises with US forces, Japan, together with other US allies, is trying to contain China’s rise. Japan is not expected to stop provoking China and does not take seriously either the overall situation of Sino-Japanese relations or the peace and stability in Asia-Pacific. On the contrary, it has intensified its offensive against China, which poses the most serious challenge to Sino-Japanese relations in the new century.

Japan has ignored the Chinese government’s strong representations and resolute opposition and President Hu’s solemn warning at the APEC meeting against “purchasing” the Diaoyu Islands, which is a gross violation of China’s sovereignty. It has trampled historical facts and international law, made a mockery of the anti-fascist war (World War II) and poses a challenge to the post-war international order.

China should understand that under the garb of attempting to be a “normal country”, Japan is actually reviving its militarist past. History tells us that appeasement and compromise cannot halt the pace of an aggressor, and the result of appeasement will only be an even greater disaster. To avoid a repetition of history, China should exert sustained political and economic pressure on Japan, and take steps to avoid being led by the nose and to prevent Japanese right-wing aggressive actions.

First, a broader view is needed to resolve the Diaoyu Islands issue. The stealing of the Diaoyu Islands by Japan is a provocation for China and a blatant denial of the values and lessons of the anti-fascist war. So China needs to take a clear-cut stand on protecting these achievements, and use historical facts to expose Japan to the rest of the world.

China is a defender of the order in Asia-Pacific, particularly Western Pacific. It can further unite countries and peoples that once suffered under Japanese aggression. China should forget about forging Sino-Japanese economic integration and fight against Japan’s resurging militarism

The Japanese government claims to have “purchased” China’s Diaoyu Island and Nanxiao and Beixiao islands for 2.05 billion yen ($26.15 million) from the Kurihara family, the so-called private owner of the Diaoyu Islands, and “nationalized” them.

Ignoring China’s repeated and strong representations, Japan stuck to its decision to “nationalize” the islands. Since Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced the metropolitan government’s plan on April 16 to “buy” the Diaoyu Islands, Japanese right-wing forces have been wolfishly pushing their luck on China’s Diaoyu Islands.

Besides, the Japanese Lower House Committee on Land, Infrastructure and Transport has passed two amendments, granting Japan coast guards the power to arrest non-Japanese nationals, if necessary, from the uninhabited islands.

Ironically, the Japanese government has claimed that the Diaoyu Islands are being brought under state ownership to “maintain and manage them in a peaceful and stable manner”, not to irritate China.

To avoid a strong reaction from China, Japan also tried to downplay the Diaoyu Islands dispute by sending a letter written by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to Chinese President Hu Jintao, conducting “corridor diplomacy” on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, and promising not to change the status quo or build new structures on the Diaoyu Islands. It is clear that Japan is using both hard and soft tactics to further consolidate its illegal occupation of the Diaoyu Islands.

Behind the farce of “buying” the Diaoyu Islands, Japan has a much bigger plan. Since the United States announced its strategy of returning to Asia, Japan has been acting as “a pawn of the US” to encircle China.

By getting involved in the South China Sea dispute, playing up the “China maritime threat” and frequently holding large-scale joint military exercises with US forces, Japan, together with other US allies, is trying to contain China’s rise. Japan is not expected to stop provoking China and does not take seriously either the overall situation of Sino-Japanese relations or the peace and stability in Asia-Pacific. On the contrary, it has intensified its offensive against China, which poses the most serious challenge to Sino-Japanese relations in the new century.

Japan has ignored the Chinese government’s strong representations and resolute opposition and President Hu’s solemn warning at the APEC meeting against “purchasing” the Diaoyu Islands, which is a gross violation of China’s sovereignty. It has trampled historical facts and international law, made a mockery of the anti-fascist war (World War II) and poses a challenge to the post-war international order.

China should understand that under the garb of attempting to be a “normal country”, Japan is actually reviving its militarist past. History tells us that appeasement and compromise cannot halt the pace of an aggressor, and the result of appeasement will only be an even greater disaster. To avoid a repetition of history, China should exert sustained political and economic pressure on Japan, and take steps to avoid being led by the nose and to prevent Japanese right-wing aggressive actions.

First, a broader view is needed to resolve the Diaoyu Islands issue. The stealing of the Diaoyu Islands by Japan is a provocation for China and a blatant denial of the values and lessons of the anti-fascist war. So China needs to take a clear-cut stand on protecting these achievements, and use historical facts to expose Japan to the rest of the world.

China is a defender of the order in Asia-Pacific, particularly Western Pacific. It can further unite countries and peoples that once suffered under Japanese aggression…

Second, the Diaoyu Islands dispute is intricately related to the status of the Liu Chiu or Ryukyu Islands. In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco, which China says is illegal, was signed between Japan, the US and other countries, placing the Liu Chiu Islands (known as Okinawa today) under the trusteeship of the US. In 1971, Japan and the US signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement, which arbitrarily included the Diaoyu Islands in the territories and territorial waters to be “handed back” to Japan. The Chinese government has condemned such backroom deals between Japan and the US.

China’s goal should at least be to gain actual control of the Diaoyu Islands. Also, because Japan unilaterally broke the understanding and agreement on the Diaoyu Islands that it reached with China during the talks to normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, China can change its decision to abandon claims of monetary compensation from Japan and make the compensation a prerequisite of the second normalization of bilateral ties.

Finally, China should get fully prepared to confront Japan’s right-wing extremism and militarism. Japan launched two wars against China – 1894-95 and in 1937-45 – which halted China’s modernization process.

Now after 30 years of reform and opening-up, China is rising peacefully. But many Japanese see that as a nightmare for Japan and are trying to foil China’s modernization drive a second time. Given Japan’s provocations, China should not adopt an ostrich-like policy.

Economically, China can forget about Sino-Japanese economic integration and instead impose political and economic sanctions on Japan. On the diplomatic front, China’s strategic competition with Japan should be direct until Japan unconditionally accepts the post-World War II order in East Asia.

Japan has to recognize China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and atone for its past aggressions and atrocities, and take measures to punish those Japanese who deny the country’s violent past…Only if Japan does that will China and other Asian countries see it as a normal country. Otherwise, China should prepare for a long-term struggle.

The author is a Shanghai-based scholar in international studies.

[Edited by Zuo Shou]

Full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2012-09/15/content_15760047.htm