FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Latest Happy Face of the Ruling Class

by ALLEN MENDENHALL

For decades Japanese leaders denied the existence of U.S.-Japanese agreements to shift the financial burden of U.S. military facilities in Japan from United States taxpayers to Japanese taxpayers. Yet Japan’s Foreign Ministry, pursuant to regulations it implemented in May of this year, has declassified several documents relating to the 1972 reversion of Okinawa to Japanese rule. Although the Foreign Ministry established an expert panel to clarify portions of the clandestine U.S.-Japanese pacts over the reversion, the panel failed to, or refused to, explain many of the declassified documents.

Nevertheless, a former Foreign Ministry official, speaking to Japanese media about the documents, confirmed that the U.S. forced Japan to pay an additional $65 million costs to complete the Okinawa transfer. These costs came on top of $320 million Japan was to pay to cover other costs?mostly for goods and services?pertaining to the reversion. As if this weren’t shocking enough, the documents also reveal that more files regarding the reversion were incinerated or dumped. The discarded documents most likely addressed the controversial arrest of reporter Takichi Nishiyama, who exposed the furtive U.S.-Japan collusion as early as 1972.

The declassified documents also address conspiracies between the U.S. and Japanese governments, including a secret plot to rig a 1968 gubernatorial election in favor of the pro-Washington Junji Nishime, a leader of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The plot was an inside effort to subvert the then-just-passed bilateral accord granting Okinawans the right to vote in Japanese elections. The U.S. had hoped to use Okinawan suffrage as a tool for implementing U.S. plans in the region when she urged LDP leaders to pledge more money for Nishime. The plot apparently failed when Chobyo Yara, a politician who opposed many U.S. demands regarding the reversion, triumphed in the election, albeit just barely.

As news of these declassified documents spread through Japanese media last week, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara announced his hope that some U.S. military facilities could be returned to Japan earlier than planned. This announcement flew in the face of recent declarations that the Futenma base dispute was resolved when Obama virtually unseated Yuko Hatoyama, the most recent former prime minister of Japan. Hatoyama had staked his career on the Futenma base issue, and his refusal to toe the Washington policy line resulted in his political demise.

As if to give the appearance of entertaining Okinawan interests, Maehara met with Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and American military leader Terry Robling on December 21. During these meetings, Nakaima, who pledged to defy Washington-Tokyo efforts to carry out Futenma base policies, informed Maehara that, in effect, the Futenma plan, as stated, made little sense because relocating to a site outside of Okinawa would be “faster.” Maehara apologized to Nakaima for the LDP’s failure to live up to its promises to resist American coercion during the Futenma base dispute, but the apology was not enough to please Nakaima.

Declassifying these important government documents, although intended to strengthen the trust of Japanese citizens in their government, could go great lengths toward undermining that public trust. The Japanese government is at least confirming that for decades it lied to its people, whereas in America, the public, much of it anyway, complacently accepts whatever outrageous narratives the government and ruling classes pass down. Obama is simply the latest happy face of the moment on oligarchy. It’s just ironic that this commander in chief has managed to gather the Nobel Peace Prize, among other accolades, while serving the interests of military occupation and threatening the sovereignty of a supposed ally.

ALLEN MENDENHALL has lived, taught, and studied in Japan. He is an attorney, a LL.M. candidate in transnational law at Temple University, and a Ph.D. student in English at Auburn University. Visit his website at AllenMendenhall.Com.

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail