Protest Blog May 2013: Okinawa
Today, May 19, 2013, on our daily walk we joined a Peace March which was in its third day of protest and walked six hours….interesting to see how the Okinawan people see the American occupation here. America gave these people to Japan in 1972 to keep the land they took in 1945 [about 25% of the best flat land on the Island of Okinawa] for bases…..Imagine if the USA gave the Philippines back to the Japanese Government….amazing how Democracy really doesn’t exist except in the rhetoric of the controlling parties. The Okinawan people have no voice in base locations or expansion.
People here are fed up with the Japanese government and the arrogant Americans. The recent suggestion by a Japanese Government official that “comfort women” be supplied by the government to keep the soldiers in line was met with unbelief by the Okinawan people…..last time the Japanese Government did that it “DRAFTED” Korean farm girls into forced military prostitution….one of the speakers at the rally was an old Korean woman who survived eight years of forced prostitution by the Japanese Military. She survived the war and was put in war zones to do her “work” but when the Japanese army retreated, they left the women “draftees” behind to fend for themselves.
I was the only Caucasian person there out of thousands, the group we walked with were older women members of the Okinawa Teachers Union, luckily two very polite women spoke English and said they have protested every year since the May 15, 1972 turnover: when Okinawa was given to Japan by America.
The organized and peaceful group which was estimated to be well over five thousand people had several groups from Japan, many college students, protesting for peace. A few Nationalistic Japanese Hecklers were there but mostly stayed away from the crowds and just shouted and took pictures. The Hecklers want Japan to rearm itself and be in control of Okinawa bases for their own army, keep the Americans as their dogs and confront China…..really dangerous idiots, yet have a following in the Japanese Government.
I personally appreciate the resilience of the Okinawa people; they have a very healthy, enlightened and peaceful attitude. Hopefully their persistence for representation will not be ignored for any more generations.
I have to keep my opinions to myself here, my grandfathers were freedom fighters in Czechoslovakia, I personally think rhetoric and protests only propagate the governments position that they are powerful by some divine right, Americans have the second amendment to eventually remind them otherwise!
- China challenges Japanese sovereignty over Okinawa (counterinformation.wordpress.com)
- Alleviate Okinawa’s burden (japantimes.co.jp)
- Okinawan women call for apology from Hashimoto over prostitution remarks (japandailypress.com)
- Sovereignty celebration hit by protests (japantimes.co.jp)
- Japan PM Abe commemorates sovereignty as Okinawa rises up in protest (japandailypress.com)