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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Okinawa East China Sea ─ Rising Anti-Americanism East?

Southern Island: Okinawa
Anti-U.S. bases
Protests Sunday September 9, 2012

Shadow story: U.S.-occupied oil reserves
Re-reporting, editing by 
Carolyn Bennett


In the East China Sea, Japan’s Okinawa Island is the largest in the Ryukyu Islands archipelago. Its population is 1,361,594. Its offshore wells yield petroleum. The United States occupies the island. Islanders protest the occupation.

Sixty-seven years ago, U.S. troops landed on the heavily-defended Okinawa Island and three months of bloody warfare left approximately 12,000 U.S. forces dead, 36,000 wounded; and  approximately 100,000 Japanese dead. U.S. forces established complete control of the island and in 1972 returned Okinawa Island to Japan but retained extensive U.S. military installations.
Anti-Japanese protests
in China

Current affairs: Okinawa Island in the mix of Far East tensions 

Today anti-Japanese demonstrations are occurring in China over resources and disputed islands in the East China Sea. The disputed islands (called by Japan Senkaku Islands, by China Diaoyu Islands) are located roughly between Okinawa and Taiwan. Japan controls them; China claims they are part of its historical territory.

Seas, resources
Conflict, occupation
East/South China Sea
This international conflict, as others to Asia’s west, is not merely about the land but about what lies underground, in the sea. In addition to rich fishing grounds in the disputed territories, there are, the French press is reporting, “Potentially huge reserves of oil and natural gas.”

A country that establishes ownership of rocks in the middle sea affirms and vastly increases its “exclusive economic zones (EEZ) or a sea zone” where a state then retains exclusive rights “to exploit and extract natural resources.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports Chinese and foreign estimates showing East China Sea (Okinawa Island home) untapped oil reserves at 100 to 160 billion barrels of oil.

For the South China Sea, estimates range from 28 to 213 billion barrels of potential oil reserves.

Japan is under fire and in China this week the Japanese have reportedly suspended operations in several of their plants and increased security around the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
Women in
crosshairs of

Dark Shadow in Asia’s continuing conflict

Japanese politician and Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama (September 16, 2009- June 2, 2010) saw his country “still in Cold War mode” and quit his post as Prime Minister over the issue of U.S. occupation. He said 

Okinawans protest U.S. occupation
The idea of having one nation’s military based on another’s soil and depending on its military is not something seen anywhere else in the world.

I felt this was something the Japanese people couldn’t avoid confronting.

The land needs to be returned to the people of Okinawa.

Sources and notes

“China protests continue over island dispute with Japan” (Joseph BAMAT), September 18, 2012,

“Another Okinawa Battle” (David McNeill), February 9, 2011,

Wikipedia note

Okinawa Prefecture (a Prefecture is an administrative jurisdiction or subdivision in any of various countries, in antiquity a Roman district governed by an appointed prefect) located in southern Japan, consisting of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) long, extending southwest from Kyūshū (the most southwestern of Japan’s main four islands) to Taiwan.

Okinawa’s capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island. The disputed Senkaku Islands are administered as part of Okinawa Prefecture.

Worldatlas notes Japan, Okinawa (U.S. connection with East China Sea)
Partial timeline

(1820) China and Japan accounted for approximately half of the world's GDP
(1853) US Navy Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Uraga, demanded that Japan open to trade
(1854) Japan and U.S. signed Treaty of Peace and Amity, two ports were opened for trade
(1855) Russia, Japan establish diplomatic relations
(1864) British, French, Dutch, American warships bombed Choshu, forced Japan to open more ports for foreign trade

(1894) Japan and China went to war, Japan declared victory in nine months
(1895) China ceded Taiwan to Japan, allows trading

(1937) Japan launched invasion of China
(1937) Japan captured Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing
(1937) Japanese forces committed major atrocities, including killing of 300,000 Chinese civilians

(1940) Japan became allies of Germany and Italy in World War II
(1941) Japan launched surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii, sunk 12 ships, damaged nine, nearly 2,500 people killed

(1941) U. S. and its allies declared war on Japan
(1942) Japan occupied Burma, Philippines, Dutch East Indies, Malaya
(1942) U.S. cut off Japanese support lines

(1945) U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki
(1945) Japan surrenders, placed under U.S. military government, all military and naval forces were disbanded, Emperor Hirohito relinquished status
(1947) New constitution ratified, all adults became eligible to vote
(1951) Japan signs peace treaties with United States and other nations

(1952) Allied occupation of Japan ended, regained its independence

(1956) Japan became member of United Nations
U.S. on Okinawa Island

(1972) Okinawa returned to Japanese; U.S. retained military base

(1995) Mass protests demanding removal of U.S. forces from Okinawa broke out after U.S. servicemen raped local schoolgirl

(2009) City on Okinawa elect mayor opposed to hosting military base; Prime Minister Hatoyama claims Japan has to rethink U.S. military bases

(2010) Prime Minister Hatoyama resigned after failing to close U.S. military base on Okinawa, succeeded by Naoto Kan

(2012) U.S. and Japan reached agreement to move thousands of U.S. Marines from Okinawa, did not reach agreement on closing the airbase

Maps: Worldatlas, Britannica, other sources


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