Neolucanus insulicola donan, is a stag beetle endemic to Yonaguni Island, a small island in the Ryukyu Archipelago of Japan. The species is known to be a valuable indicator of the unique biogeographical composition of the archipelago and is useful for taxonomic research. However, it is now feared that this stag beetle is facing extinction as a result of the activities of insect dealers and collectors. Specimens are traded for high prices and are a rare commodity on the Japanese insect market. The species' population size was originally estimated to be over 600 but has declined to less than 1% of this number. In order to catch the larvae, the worst collectors have destroyed the tree cavities that the beetle uses for nesting. Collecting damages the habitat and this is likely to cause extinction of the species. It is obvious that such overexploitation has harmed the forest ecosystem on this island. Protection of this beetle depends on a prohibition on collecting and on preservation of Yonaguni Island's natural forest.
“U.S. Military Base Issues in Okinawa” refers to the issues and problems
caused by the presence of U.S. Military bases in Okinawa. People living in
Okinawa have been tormented by accidents and incidents caused by the U.S.
Army. The U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement has prevented inhabitants
as well as national and local governments from taking effective action to solve
the problems caused by the U.S. Army. This article reports how the regional
newspaper“ Ryukyu Shimpo” has grappled with such issues and problems.
Right before the outbreak of the Pacific War, the then-Japanese government
forced “Ryukyu Shimpo” to be integrated with other papers into “Okinawa
Shimpo” as the single regional newspaper published in Okinawa. After
the integration, the newspaper cooperated with the government to fight the
war and played the part to raise the fighting sprits of inhabitants. The lesson
that people working for the newspaper learned from the experience during the
war was that “we must not write to help the government wage a war again.”
With this principle in mind, the journalists working for“ Ryukyu Shimpo” tackle
the issues concerning the presence of the U.S. Military bases. On the other
hand, the national government of Japan apparently learned how to successfully
control public opinion from its experience during the war period.
The suffering caused by the stationing of the U.S. Army began at the
moment when the Japanese government abandoned Okinawa and provided the
United States with the most southern prefecture in Japan as a military base in
exchange for the restoration of the sovereignty of mainland Japan. The message
issued by the Japanese emperor regarding the Okinawa War confirmed
that Okinawa was sacrificed for the restoration of Japan’s sovereignty. Even
after the U.S. government handed over Okinawa to the administration of Japan,the Japanese government requested that the U.S. government maintain their
military bases and that the U.S. keep them in Okinawa. This is why people in
Okinawa have been tormented by the problems that the U.S. Army causes.
“Ryukyu Shimpo” has repeatedly reported the issues and problems concerning
the U.S. bases. It constantly reports the unfairness and unjustness of
the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement and campaigns for its revision. The
national news media, however, are not so eager to report the issues in Okinawa
caused by the U.S. Military bases.
The current Abe Cabinet put the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated
Secrets into force, which is argued to have the consequences of shrinking
the activities of journalists. In Okinawa, journalists were exposed to pressure
from the national government. A notable incident occurred in which journalists
were detained at the site of their coverage of the Okinawa U.S. bases. While the
spirit of the Japanese Constitution that stipulates the renouncement of war is
faltering, the raison d’être of journalists are called into question.
This paper aims to consider the role of local journalism from the positionality
of Okinawan newspapers concerning what is called “Okinawa Problem”
（Okinawa-mondai,）, especially problems related to the U.S. military base in
When a U.S. military helicopter crashed over Okinawa International University
in the summer of 2004, the accident was reported as a news event with
important and contrasting differences between the articles of mainland media
and Okinawan media. It can be considered that these differences were generated
by their different standards of news values and the differences in the positionality
of the event as news media.
In this paper, I try to explain the positionality and the role of Okinawan
local newspapers, namely Ryukyu Simpo and Okinawa Times, in taking up the
news event of the rape and murder of a woman by a U.S. military contractor
that occurred in the spring of 2016, and by analyzing the news reports, special
features, and editorials relating to the Okinawa mass protest rallies on June 19
against the vicious crime.
Results of my research show that both newspapers are positioned not only
as “agents” embodying and reflecting “the will of the people,” the sentiments
and thoughts of Okinawan people who have been forced to bear the heavy burden
of U.S. military bases, but also as “parties involved” standing on the same
side as the Okinawan people or sitting close together, by always reporting baserelated
problems like accidents, crimes, noise pollution, and environmental
destruction that affect their living space.