Okinawa’s potential to fulfill large role in Sino-Japanese relations discussed
December 15, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
Tsuyoshi Arakaki reports from Beijing
The Ryukyu Forum addressing Okinawa’s present condition and aiming to assign roles in Sino-Japanese cultural exchange opened on December 14 at Beijing Normal University, with Okinawan politicians, scholars, and reporters invited to attend. In his keynote speech titled “Ryukyuan Issues: Harsh Realities Left Over From History,” Tsinghua University professor Liu Jiangyong demonstrated his perception that, “Abe’s policies made use of the issue of the Senkakus and the argument that China is a threat to justify revising the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Perhaps Abe will make use of these for next year’s House of Councillors’ election as well.” Moreover, he pointed out the importance of Sino-Japanese cultural exchange and stressed that, “We respect and support Okinawa’s right to self-determination,” with the goal of a peaceful East Asia.
Chinese experts in history, international law, and international relations observed that in addition to building peace, Okinawa could fulfill a large role to advance intercultural exchange in the veins of economy, culture, and education. Pursuing efforts to calm down the dispute over the Senkaku Islands in diplomatic and international law purviews was also discussed.
Keiko Itokazu, a member of the House of Councillors, delivered a keynote speech for Okinawa. During the speech she stated that, “Okinawan people are crying out for Japan not to become a military nation. Rather, Okinawa wants to diplomatically contribute to the world.”
During the forum, Okinawa International University professor Masaki Tomochi presented his preliminary calculations of the positive economic effect the U.S. and Japanese Self-Defense Forces withdrawing their bases would have on Okinawa, making the point that the bases should be removed.
Ryukyu Shimpo’s Tsuyoshi Arakaki proposed to hold the next summit conference between Japan, China and Korea in Okinawa, explaining that, “Okinawan people bear the identity of treasuring peace and life, and meet the requirements for providing a space for diplomacy within Asia.”
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)
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