Militarism Outguns Democracy in Okinawa Politics

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    On January 23, incumbent Toguchi Taketoyo defeated contender Kishimoto Yohei in the election for mayor of Nago city in northern Okinawa. With a population of 61,000, Nago, about an hour’s drive north of the capital Naha, is not a particularly large or important city, but this election was of more than common importance. This was because the city is the site of a major military base being built by Japan for the US Marine Corps, and the contradictions of the Japanese state and the US-Japan relationship can be seen in their sharpest form there. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is one of about 800 US bases around the world, and in Okinawa such bases occupy about a quarter of the prefecture’s land and have done so since 1945. Futenma sits on 480 hectares of prime land in the middle of Ginowan township, close to Naha. Since the cost of maintaining bases such as Futenma is mostly met by Japan, it is cheaper for the US to station forces there than on US soil.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3
    JournalThe Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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