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An earlier version of this article appeared in Japanese in the Okinawan newspaper, Ryukyu Shimpo on August 22, 2016. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University served as the United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories from 2008-14.It seems like amateur hour over at the NCIS over at Okinawa.To raise questions about the future of Okinawa is to come face to face with the role and responsibility of global civil society.The Palestinian goals appear to remain more ambitious than those of most Okinawans, although such an impression could be misleading.Here, too, the indigenous population of Palestine has endured decades of suffering, denials of basic rights, and a dynamic of victimization initiated a century ago when the British Foreign Office issued the Balfour Declaration pledging support to the world Zionist movement for the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in historic Palestine, later placed under the tutorial role of the United Kingdom with the formal blessings of the League of Nations until the end of World War II.Whereas Japan plays the intermediate role in Okinawa and the Western Pacific, it is Israel that pursues its own interests and teams with the United States and Europe as a strategic partner to carry forward shared geopolitical goals throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Japan is constrained as a partner by its postwar peace constitution, which Abe is keen to circumvent and dilute, while Israel has become a military powerhouse in the region, enjoying a special relationship with the United States that includes the incredible assurance by Washington of a military capability sufficient to defeat any foreseeable combination of Arab adversaries.Okinawa has been effectively swept under the dual rugs of statism (Okinawa is part of the sovereign state of Japan) and geopolitics (Okinawa offers the United States indispensable military bases), and even the Japanese peace movement may have grown fatigued and distracted, being currently especially preoccupied with its opposition to the revival of Japanese militarism under Abe’s leadership, although the anti-base movement on Okinawa has always been primarily an Okinawan movement, with mainland involvement more pronounced at some times than others.Whether attention to the plight of Okinawa will give rise to false hopes is a concern, but the aspiration is to produce an empowering recognition throughout the world that for some peoples the struggle against colonialism remains a present reality rather than a heroic memory that can be annually celebrated as an independence-day holiday.
The two exchanged text messages for about 20 days, Bilecki said.For the United States Okinawa serves as a hub for its strategic military operations throughout the Pacific, with 32 military bases on the Ryukyu Islands including more than 20 on the main island of Okinawa.The Okinawa bases occupy about 20% of the island, with Kadena Air Base having been used for B-29 bombing missions during the Korean War more than a half century ago and the island serving as a major staging area throughout the Vietnam War.The Palestinian movement is centered upon realizing the right of self-determination, which means at the very least an end to occupation and a diplomacy that achieves a comprehensive, sustainable, and just peace.For Okinawans, integrated into the Japanese state since 1879 and again since 1972, earlier dreams of independence seem to have faded, and the focus of political energy is currently devoted to the anti-bases campaign, in particular to preventing the expansion of US bases anywhere in Okinawa.
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This essay offers reflections on thisunderlying reality, as well as the linkage between the network of foreign military bases and the emergence of the first global state in history, a new political phenomenon that distinguishes it from ‘empires’ of the past.