Terashima claims Okinawa as hub for harmonized Asia rather than military

Terashima claims Okinawa as hub for harmonized Asia rather than military

Jitsuro Terashima talks about change in sentiment among Okinawans regarding U.S military base issues at Palette Civic Theater in Naha City on September 9. 

September 10, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

President of the Japan Research Institute, Jitsuro Terashima, gave a talk titled “Summer 70-Years After the War, Strategic Perspective on Okinawa: beyond Security Legislation” on September 9 at Palette Civic Theater in Naha City.
Three hundred and forty people attended the event to hear Terashima talk. In his speech, Terashima overviewed the history and contemporary society of Okinawa, and discussed its future. Terashima analyzed the result of the Okinawa gubernatorial election held last year and other various elections, pointing out the change in the public sentiment of Okinawans facing the military base issues. Terashima stated, “Okinawa has been changing its direction from being the island of military to being a hub that facilitates mutual understanding and collaboration among East Asia.”

On the other hand, Terashima addressed a lack of awareness outside of the prefecture. He said, “There are limits with solutions argued in the context of merely reducing the burden of military or increasing the Okinawa promotion budget.”

Terashima mentioned how Germany managed to revise the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) as well as reduce U.S military bases in the country. Further arguing for the need to gradually reduce U.S. military in Japan as well as revise the US-Japan SOFA, Terashima stressed, “Japan would no longer exist as a nation if we did not claim our sovereignty by reducing U.S. military and revising the U.S.-Japan SOFA.” Referring to the revision of an unequal treaty made during the Meiji era, Terashima insisted, “This is our treaty revision today.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)

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