Former Prime Minister Hatoyama: “Okinawa will serve as a hub for peace in East Asia”
June 1, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
The East Asian Community Research Institute held a symposium to commemorate the opening of the Ryukyu Okinawa Center in Naha at a hotel in Naha. About 700 people, including scholars and peace advocates, took part in the May 31 symposium. They discussed the potential role that Okinawa could play in East Asia. The president of the institute is former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
Referring to the former Ryukyu Kingdom, which flourished in trade with the countries of East Asia, the former prime minister stressed Okinawa’s potentially central role in maintaining peace. “Okinawa, being located in the middle of East Asia, has advantages not only geographically, historically, and culturally but also in political and administrative areas. It is one of the regions offering a bright hope,” he said. “Okinawa became a sacrificial stone to protect the mainland of Japan from the United States during the Battle of Okinawa. It has served as the cornerstone of military power after the war. We look forward to a day when Okinawa will serve as a hub or the cornerstone for peace in East Asia.”
After the symposium, Hatoyama commented on the Futenma issue, “There remains sufficient possibility to move it out of Japan. The government has a hard-line approach to people opposing the relocation plan. We will support Okinawan people in expressing their opinion.” He declared that he would work to oppose relocating the Futenma base within the prefecture, respecting the popular will of Okinawa.
Eiichi Shindo, an emeritus professor at the University of Tsukuba and the president of the International Academic Society for Asian Community, Hajime Takano, the editor-in-chief for the magazine Insider and Ukeru Magosaki, a former director of the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, also gave lectures at the symposium. Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine also reported on his activities on the Futenma issue during his visit to the United States.
(English translation by T&CT)
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