Nobel laureate Oe speaks out on Okinawa problem in Tokyo

Nobel laureate Oe speaks out on Okinawa problem in Tokyo

On April 26, Nobel laureate and novelist Kenzaburo Oe and other scholars discussed the Okinawa military base issue at a symposium held at a campus of the Hosei University in Tokyo.

April 27, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

A symposium on the Futenma-Henoko issue was held in Tokyo on April 26. Nobel laureate and novelist Kenzaburo Oe, Gavan McCormack, an emeritus professor of the Australian National University and Masaaki Gabe, a professor at the University of the Ryukyus, made the keynote lectures. After that, the participants discussed the relocation issue of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

In light of the Okinawan Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s approval of the Henoko landfill application from the central government, they discussed how to find a way to resolve the base issue in Okinawa. In addition, they discussed the Abe administration’s controversial policies such as his assertive stance on the Senkaku Islands dispute with China and his push to change the constiution to allow for collective self-defense.

Novelist Oe visited Okinawa many times to conduct interviews with residents about mass suicides during the Battle of Okinawa for his book of essays, “Okinawa Notes.” “We should not allow the government to destroy democracy by exercising the right to collective self-defense. We are concerned that the people of Okinawa will suffer great damage,“ he said. “Let us protect our pacifist constitution. This is the action or struggle that we living in the mainland of Japan can take up for the sake Okinawan people.”

McCormack presented a statement published by many influential individuals who live in the United States, Europe and other foreign countries and protested against building a new U.S. base in Henoko. He said it was only to be expected that Okinawan people would reject the new base plan because successive governments had placed a heavy burden on Okinawa. He stressed it is important to continue to voice opposition against the U.S. base.

The Hosei University Okinawa Culture Research Institute and the group considering the Futenma-Henoko co-sponsored the symposium.

(English translation by T&CT)

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