“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.
「力の基礎を欠いた外交は破綻する」─．欧州の外交当局者に永く語り継がれてきた言葉である．自らの理念を国際政局のなかで実現する力を欠いた外交は，その理想が高邁なものであればあるほど，国際政治の最前線では波乱要因になってしまう．欧州の老練な外政家たちは，彼らの経験則からそうした現実を知っていたのだろう． 超大国アメリカは，冷戦期を通じて，その強大な軍事，経済，文化の力を通じて「アメリカの世紀」を演出してきた．だが，冷たい戦争の幕がおりて十数年，アメリカはいま，自らがその威力を信じてきた「力の外交」が，新たな壁に突き当たっていることを直視しなければならなくなっている． 北朝鮮の金日成政権は，「核計画の完全な申告と核施設の無能力化」という対米約束を容易に履行しようとしていない．日米同盟が想定してきた「朝鮮半島の有事」にとって，死活的に重要な意味を持つ北朝鮮の核放棄．だがブッシュ共和党政権は，従来の「力の外交」が機能しなくなっている現実に直面している． こうした超大国アメリカの凋落は，対イラク戦争での躓きによって顕著となり，その負の影響は，東アジアにも影を落としている．本稿では，誤ったイラクへの力の行使によって，東アジアの秩序を安定させてきた日米の安全保障体制に生じた揺らぎを検証し，「日米同盟の空洞化」が東アジアにいかなる情勢をもたらしつつあるかを考えてみたい．