Public Security Intelligence Agency’s report claims Ryukyu-China programs aim to divide country

Public Security Intelligence Agency's report claims Ryukyu-China programs aim to divide country

The report, Retrospect and Outlook on Internal and External Situations in 2017 released by Japan's Public Security Intelligence Agency.

January 18, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

Japan’s Public Security Intelligence Agency claimed in its latest report that China was moving to deepen its ties with Ryukyu (Okinawa) independence groups through academic exchanges, and that it could be a strategy to divide Japan by promoting favorable public opinion of China.

The intelligence agency noted in the report, Retrospect and Outlook on Internal and External Situations in 2017, that China had called on the international community to caution against Japan’s drift to the right.
According to the report, China approached Ryukyu independence groups, which demand the withdrawal of all U.S. bases from Okinawa, where the U.S. bases in Japan are concentrated. The intelligence agency suggested that China was moving to promote favorable public opinion of the communist nation, alleging that the inclusion of the Ryukyus within Japan remains legally unconfirmed.

In its report, the intelligence agency also referred to an opinion column published in August in the Global Times, a subsidiary of the People’s Daily. The opinion column stated that China should use the old name Ryukyu to refer to the islands because calling them Okinawa was tantamount to accepting Japanese sovereignty over them.

The Second Ryukyu Okinawa Frontier Issue International Academic Conference was held by historians from Okinawa and China at Beijing University in May 2016.

“The Ryukyu independence groups” described in the report seem to refer to the historians who took part in the conference from Okinawa.

The intelligence agency stated: “The Chinese side, including think tanks, facilitates academic exchanges with Japanese groups, which advocate for Okinawa’s independence movement, and they have visited Okinawa.”
The intelligence agency refused to answer questions about which think tanks in China were involved, when and how many times members of the think tanks visited Okinawa.

Regarding the reports, the intelligence agency said, “They are not the official statements from the Chinese government. We did not refer to the Chinese government in any sentences.”
The intelligence agency, which is administered by the Ministry of Justice, analyzes information on domestic and foreign terrorist organizations and the situations in various countries including China. The report will be published on the agency’s website for the remainder of Fiscal 2016, which ends March 31.

Intellectual criticizes “low-level thinking.”

Morikiyo Matayoshi, affiliate professor at Okinawa University, who coordinated The Second Ryukyu Okinawa Frontier Issue International Academic Conference, said, “It is a matter for Okinawan people to decide whether to become an independent country or not. This isn’t a matter for China to decide.” He added, “None of the members of the conference has heard from the intelligence agency. It is irresponsible for an organization to announce such a claim without carrying out enough research.”

Teruo Hiyane, professor emeritus of the University of the Ryukyus, said, “The purpose of the conference was to retrace the footsteps of the Ryukyuan people around Beijing. At the conference, we discussed the recent contemporary history of Okinawa and the military base issue,” “I doubt that they have read what was discussed at the conference. Their approach reflects too much low-level thinking,” He criticized the intelligence agency for committing hate speech against Okinawa.

Yasukatsu Matsushima, professor at Ryukoku University and co-leader of the Association of Comprehensive Studies for Independence of the Lew Chewans (ACSILs) , said, “There is no concept among Chinese researchers that China will invade if Ryukyu become an independent country.” He denied the idea that the Ryukyu independence movement will do China good.

Hiroyoshi Sunagawa, professor at Rikkyo University and researcher into the relationship between power and media, indicated that the content was inappropriate. He further said, “Together with news media in Okinawa we have to refute it based on the facts.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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