11/1/2021 0 Comments
Reuters has published an article in which they claim that Okinawans are moving in an anti-China direction, using the results of Okinawa's recent election as 'evidence' to support their argument. This strongly contradicts reports from Okinawa, which clearly state that some voters have chosen to support certain candidates due to their economic policies in light of the ongoing pandemic - not due to the so-called 'China threat.'
The Reuters article entirely omits the recent major victories of the All-Okinawa Coalition, including the election of Seiken Akamine of the Communist Party and Kunio Arakaki of the Social Democratic Party. Reuters quotes a few Okinawans in an attempt to support their 'anti-China' claim, while ignoring the overwhelming majority of Okinawans who oppose the U.S. and Japanese military bases. While the article claims that 'young Okinawans are moving in an anti-China direction,' this also contradicts the factual evidence. The petition started by Rob Kajiwara in December 2018 against the Henoko military base obtained over 212,000 signatures - the vast majority of which were from millennials. Millennials continue to make up around 90% of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition's membership and active participants. Numerous other millennial Okinawans have voiced their opposition to the U.S. / Japanese military bases in a variety of other ways.
Even the U.S. government has acknowledged that Okinawans do not see China as a threat.
The writer of the article is Ju-min Park, a South Korean journalist who covers Japan and North Korea. The vast majority of articles about Okinawa published in the English language are written by non-Okinawans, almost all of whom have little-to-no understanding of Okinawan culture, history, language, issues, or identity. The inclusion of Okinawan voices regarding Okinawan issues is an essential element in any society claiming to be democratic.
Additionally, referring to Okinawa as "Japan" is deeply offensive to the majority of Okinawans, and is a major human rights violation. Ryukyuans / Okinawans are recognized by the United Nations as the Indigenous people of the Ryukyu Islands. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples guarantees Ryukyuan rights under international law.
Western and Japanese mainstream media have an extensive history of manipulating and misreporting Okinawan issues in order to advance U.S. and Japanese imperialist propaganda. Superimposing U.S. and Japanese views onto Okinawans is unprofessional, inappropriate, and an act of aggression.
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