New publication on Okinawa and East Asian Geopolitics
The title of the chapter is "Learning from Okinawa’s geopolitical history: how easing the burden of the bases makes good geopolitical sense".
The chapter examines the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing Okinawa by considering the geopolitical history of the islands. It pays particular attention to the events precipitating the Meiji Restoration, and of the subsequent Meiji Era. Meiji may have led to the modernization of Japan, but imperial policy relegated Okinawa to economic-backwater status, and of course eventually the islanders were sacrificed to protect the homeland. However, historically, discrimination and sacrifice did not lead to widespread rejection of unity with the Japanese mainland. Today, Okinawa is at a crossroads. Changes in military technology and regional geopolitics have put the islands in the line of fire in the event of any conflict. Meanwhile, Okinawan nationalism is growing, fueled by the indefinite burden of the bases and the tragic history of the islands. If Tokyo and Washington continue the differential treatment of Okinawa, they may well find that this time, the islanders insist on taking their fate into their own hands.