Sunday, April 28, 2013

Japan "Sovereignty Day" celebration or humiliation?

In Asia, Cold War history and treaties remain tumultuous times

Demonstration in Ginowan, Okinawa, April 28

"Sovereignty Anniversary a Day of Celebration, or Humiliation?" That's the title of the Wall Street Journal today: "As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led a ceremony Sunday to commemorate Japan’s return to independence from U.S. occupation after World War II, a flame of anger erupted in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa." 

Earlier  April 28 this Editorial of the Japan Times: "Japan ceremony an affront to Okinawans" 69.9 % of polled didn't support the ceremony… former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said in a recent interview with Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times: “I am afraid that this ceremony will serve as a step to change the shape of Japan and to open the door for changing the Constitution...” most politicians do not know the cruelty of war and these politicians are trying to change the Constitution including its Article 9. " EoQ.

Here is Japanese TV ANN news Evening news screen copy April 28, 2013. A recent poll by a local Okinawa media found that about 70% of respondents opposed the ceremony in Tokyo, and about 60% said Okinawan prefectural officials shouldn’t attend. Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima did not attend the ceremony.

Here is the ceremony with the Imperial couple and the nationalist prime minister Abe with deputy prime minister Taro Aso (also a nationalist) celebrating the Treaty of San Francisco April 28 which infuriated majority of the Okinawans.

Prime minister Abe speech

Some wonder if: "sovereignty really came back to Okinawa and to Japan." Abroad, among countries who suffered from the Pacific War, neither the Republic of China in Taiwan nor the People's Republic of China in mainland China were invited to the signature of San Francisco Peace Treaty because of the Chinese Civil War and the controversy over which government was legitimate. On August 15, 1951 and September 18, 1951 the People's Republic of China published statements denouncing the treaty, stating that it was illegal and should not be recognised. Russia, then the Soviet Union's objections were detailed in a lengthy September 8, 1951 statement by Gromyko. The statement contained a number of Soviet Union's claims and assertions: that the treaty did not provide any guarantees against the rise of Japanese militarism...

Futenma in Ginowan city, Okinawa

How to illustrate the extremely tense situation between Okinawa and the rest of Japan, between the injured hearts of Okinawans and Washington? To find out I have just been flying to Okinawa this month of April to see how Okinawa could be a target for North Korea, about opposition of Okinawa to US military bases and the noisy take-off of US Air Force jets, and to discover current issues of social and cultural life of this strategic island. Here is my news-report aired from Naha, "en Français" on RTL Monde news, program anchored from Paris by Daniel Férin.

The "hawkish" prime minister Shinzo Abe consider that such a "Sovereignty Day" ceremony would help younger Japanese "recognise" that the country regained independence following seven years of postwar occupation by US forces after its surrender. "We should particularly bear in mind the fact that the administrative rights over Okinawa, which experienced, he said, brutal ground battles and suffered an immense toll, were separated from Japan for the longest period of time. Any casual statement would be meaningless in light of the sufferings that the people of Okinawa endured, and were forced to conceal, both during and after the war..."

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