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04 May 2020

Introducing Japan's gayest TV drama "Ossan's Love" aired on mainstream TV channel

While I locked down myself to prevent novel corona virus spread at home. I just happened to rent DVD drama programs "Ossan's Love" which was aired in 2018 on one of Japan's mainstream TV network channels, TV Asahi. The drama consists of 7 episodes. Each episode was about 40 minutes long.

lgbt, gay, homosexuality

What was shocking to me is the comedy drama featured male gay love affairs all the way although it was aired on the mainstream channel and then it became so popular that subsequent film version was released in nationwide theatres and another version of the TV drama was aired on the same time frame next year.

The story took place in a real estate agency in Tokyo. The protagonist is 33 year-old male worker named Haruta (Middle in the picture.) Although the story evolved around him, the most important character was his supervisor Kurosawa (right edge in the photo), 55 year-old man, which in Japan commonly referred to as “Ossan” meaning “Old guy” usually middle aged.

Kurosawa was head of sales department of the real estate agency, equivalent to vice president of the company and a rich man. One day Kurosawa told Haruta that he loved him and would divorce his wife (Second from right) to be with him. Haruta was shocked to know that because he did not share love romance with his supervisor although he respected and liked him as a good business man.

Kurosawa then asked his wife for a divorce and then Haruta got involved in Kurosawas divorce quarrel. But Haruta also got in love affair with another man, Maki (left edge in the photo) in the office. But Maki had another love affair with another male worker. Two gay love triangles crossed over in the drama. Finally Kurosawa proposed marriage to Haruta.

The drama was all about gay love and love romance between man and woman was sidelined in the story. The gay male characters were portrayed as normal and decent person, not like psychopath or deviant ones. This is the big difference from the past. Gay characters were very normal and positive in the mainstream TV drama. Gay love romance was treated just as equivalent to straight people’s love.

Not just broadcast nationally on mainstream media but the show became so popular that film version and another version in which similar gay love story took place in an airline company using the same main casts next year. In 2019 version Kurosawa was a captain pilot of the airplane and Haruta was a flight attendant. Airline company is really existing company meaning commercial airline company sponsored the program. 

Recently in Japan, more people have positive views on gay relationship and more people have become supportive of gay marriage. In national assembly there are two openly gay members, who call for legalization of the same sex marriage. Some municipal governments approved of the same sex partnership and provide certificates for the residents.

This show reflects this social change.

If you are interested, you can watch the English version of the show on Netflix.

29 February 2020

Do we need Olympics?

Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on the verge of cancellation due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

The main stadium in Tokyo.

olympic.jpg

It seems, this disease keeps spreading for months worldwide including the host nation, Japan. It is impossible to lock down. The only solution is invent the vaccine. Even someone found the one for the virus, it will take a few months or even years to bring it to practical use.

It is reported that IOC will decide whether to cancel the games by May at latest.

In my opinion, I don't care. I was actually against the Olympics to be held in Tokyo because of too much crowds and heavy traffic. Tokyo is already too crowded and busy.

Citizens don't want any more crowds in the city.

As for economic effect, it is just for a few weeks. It does not last so long and only benefits big companies who want to gain big money by sponsorship and construction of facilities.

In fact such things are true in every Olympics these days. It has been much commerialised for money making. Athletes have to do the matches in inadequate season and time to match with American TV broadcasting.

Summertime in Tokyo is too hot for athletes. It had to be scheduled in Autumn. 1964 Tokyo Olympics were held in October. But it was not good season for Americans because of baseball matches.

Swimmers had to swim early morning like 8AM in 1988 Seoul Olympics because that time was prime time in America.    

In early 20th century, Olympics were used to heighten nationalism like Nazi-Germany did in 1936 Berlin and America did in 2002 Salt Lake after 911.

It is said if the Olympics were cancelled, it may be postponed to next year's same season.

But you never know when the outbreak ends.

But most ideal thing is to cancel the event so there is no more fuss. Then no more Olympics from now.

Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, and Los Angeles. All cancelled. Or each event can be scaled down or disperse.

It costs so much money and places too much burdens on athletes.

It is a great timing to rethink the significance of Olympics. The Olympics may be one of remnants from former century.

21 October 2019

Dear US Congressmembers and Senator Re:Okinawa USMC issue

Rep. Don Bacon, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Jack Bergman, Rep. Steve Womack, and Senator Marsha Blackburn, who met Mr. Denny Tamaki, governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan and discussed Okinawa USMC new base construction issue in third week of October 2019

 

My name is MASAGATA, a Japanese man living in Tokyo. I've been engaged in this issue as a citizen. I used to study at San Francisco State University, where I majored in International Relations. I am now working as a translator using the English knowledge I acquired in the US.


I am writing this letter to urge Congressmembers and Senator to include the item that US military review relocation of Marine Corp. in Okinawa to Guam in currently finalizing National Defense Authority Act in a joint committee of the US Congress. The Senate passed the legislation that included the item but Congress did not.

I am very sure that you are aware of this issue since you are one of members in a joint Armed Services committee handling this matter and met Mr. Denny Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture in Japan.

Last year and five years ago, I wrote to US Ambassadors to Japan regarding the same issue. This is modified version of the letter with update information.

The below is main points I would like to describe in this letter.

1. What has been going on up until now

2. Locals strongly oppose the new base construction

3. Precious wildlife and ecosystem are threatened

4. Technically, physically infeasible project

5. This construction might deteriorate friendship between the two nations

6. Your Servicemen and women are living with hostility in Okinawa


1. What has been going on up until now

Okinawa is chain of islands and southernmost prefecture below mainland Japan. The climate is subtropical and blessed with abundance of nature surrounded by coral reef. It is 3 hour-flight from Tokyo and very famous for marine leisure tourism just like Hawaii for Americans. In fact Okinawa went through the same path as Hawaii did. Until the end of 19th century it was an independent kingdom but annexed by mainland force. In 1945 US forces occupied Okinawa and then Okinawa has been occupied until 1972, which is 20 years after mainland Japan regained sovereignty and was the only place that experienced ground battles within Japan, causing 200,000 civilian casualties during WW II.

In 1996 both the American and Japanese governments agreed to relocate US Marine Corp. Futenma base in Ginowan City to Camp Schwab to get away from the densely populated area around Futenma. Camp Schwab is on the coastline of the island, in an area called Henoko. The relocation plan includes reclamation of the sea to build a new base that consists of two runways and ports expanding existing facility. Schwab is located in between Henoko coast (left) and Oura Bay (right) as you see in the photo. (Taken in January 2018)

P1100703.JPG

2. Locals strongly oppose the new base construction


Since the plan was announced, locals and activists from all over Japan have been protesting the new base construction by holding referendums, supporting candidates of mayoral and gubernatorial elections, and municipal assembly members, who oppose the construction, as well as sit-in demonstration at the gate of Camp Schwab and kayaking at the landfilling site as civil disobedience act. Until now, tens of protesters were arrested and injured by police at the gate or coast of Camp Schwab.

military,okinawa

Last year’s September, Okinawans elected Denny Tamaki as a Governor of Okinawa after sudden death of then governor Takeshi Onaga, who was opposed to the new base construction. Mr. Tamaki succeeded the will of Onaga and won the election. He was formerly a Diet, Japan’s National Assembly member. His father was a US Marine serviceman stationed in Okinawa and mother was Okinawan native. It was first time in Japan that a mixed race man was elected as governor of one Prefecture. He proved that Japan is no longer homogeneous population and the nation can tolerate diversity.

IMG_20180909_170956.jpg IMG_20180916_110905.jpg

(Photos were taken by me during gubernatorial election in September 2018)

This year’s February, Okinawa held referendum to ask whether locals approve or oppose the landfill work at Henoko Bay for the construction of a new United States Marine Corp base. The outcome was that 71% of voters oppose the new base construction.
In April and July of this year Diet member elections were held and in Okinawa constituency, candidates who announced opposition to the new base construction won in both times.
Therefore local opposition is very obvious and hasn’t changed for decades. 

3. Precious wildlife and ecosystem are threatened

Many environmental activists also oppose the plan because of the abundance of forms of wildlife that are unique to the area around Camp Schwab.

Jfkdugong.jpg

This photo is of a dugong, an endangered marine mammal that eats grasses in the sea. It is just ridiculous that the nation that protests Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic Sea – and even dolphin hunting in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture that former Ambassador Kennedy was eager to protest – is helping to threaten another marine mammals that live in Japan.

In Oura Bay, the world’s largest, oldest and northernmost blue coral lives and has continued to grow for 3000 years.

IMG_20180428_140517.jpg

Many new species are discovered in the bay recently. A lot more may be still undiscovered.

On Henoko coast, the sea is enclosed and being reclaimed and dugongs and other creatures’ lives would be threatened. Dugongs’ sea grass is found in the reclaiming area. They will lose their feeding place. As for blue coral, reclaimed space would change the sea current and might adversely affect life of the coral. Then what will happen is that your nation will be accused of helping to diminish such wonderful and rare creatures.


Actually, the Japanese Ministry of Defense carried out an environmental assessment in which it was claimed that there were no dugongs in the sea. But the environmental organizations such as WWF and The Nature Conservation Society of Japan claim that the MoD’s assessment was wrong and the organizations’ own research found clear traces confirming the existence of dugongs. Recently, Okinawa’s local newspaper revealed the news that the MoD was aware of the finding but had covered it up.

Because of these facts, the petition to the White House to halt landfilling of the sea was launched last year.
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-landfill-henoko-oura-bay-until-referendum-can-be-held-okinawa
(Stop the landfill of Henoko / Oura Bay until a referendum can be held in Okinawa Created by R.K. on December 08, 2018)

More than 200000 signatures were collected in two months.
The petition campaign was led by a famous fashion model and TV personality, Laura (Mixed race woman between Japanese and Bangladesh), who posted the petition campaign on her Instagram page. She was an environmental activist.

military,okinawa

4. Technically, physically infeasible project

There are technical issues revealing infeasibility of the construction project as follows.


• Active faults are found down below planned construction site of runways. If that is the case in California, the project wouldn’t be permitted.


• Around planned construction site of runways there are buildings higher than US military aviation standard, flying helicopters or ospreys there might cause collision with these buildings, similar situation to Futenma Air Base in Ginowan city.

military,okinawa

The buildings include school and its dormitory at which young students attend classes or reside. The school officials were not informed of this matter until recently. No plan of relocation is announced although a power transmission tower next to the building was already planned to relocate from that site.

IMG_20180428_122112.jpg


• Geological survey conducted in the sea to landfill indicates sea ground is too soft to pile soil on like mayonnaise, which consumes more budget and time to landfill so the construction period should be much longer than expected like 20 years from now.


It is possible that the project is cancelled halfway for some reason but irreversible damages would be left together with grudge from locals. Some portion of the budget for relocation of Marine Corp. to Guam is spared by US Government. That means this project wastes not only Japanese tax payers’ money but Americans as well.
It has been done for the interests of the few. The few, you might know, are certain businesses and government people who want some gains from the project. One of major contractors of the project is Taisei Kensetsu Corporation, where son of current Cabinet Secretary, Mr Suga, works.

5. This construction might deteriorate friendship between the two nations

You might say this issue is something to be handled by the Japanese government, and that it is not the responsibility of the US military. But that sounds very hypocritical. The US military is the one that uses the facility and up until now involved in designing of new runways and annexed facilities. The US government can cancel that project and find another relocation site outside Okinawa. If the US continues to attribute this to the Japanese government, it is just like what Japanese conservative politicians say when it comes to the “Comfort Women” issue: “The Japanese Imperial Army was not responsible for kidnapping women in Asia for sexual slavery for soldiers during the war period in the early 20th century, it was what outsourced local brothels did.” The US Congress disavowed such argument and made a resolution to demand that the Japanese government apologize for former comfort women in 2007.

Doubts about US military committment to Japan's defense

In fact, the US military presence in Okinawa and even nationwide is becoming nothing but troublesome. More of us know that the US military presence no longer functions as defense or deterrence like in the Cold War era. China is said to be a new threat but we know that US-China relations have become more vital for your nation since China owns more US treasury bonds and buys more US goods than Japan does. China has become a larger economy than Japan these days.

Mr. Trump imposed sanction on China for trade issue recently but Japan is a prime target as well since Japan has run surplus on trade with US like Canada and Europe. Mr. Trump’s sanction tells how important and influential China has been for US economy.
We can easily predict that the US would not help Japan even if China and Japan became involved in a dispute for some reason such as the territorial right to the Senkaku islands located in between sea border of Japan and China. The US cannot send troops to assist Japan fighting against the Chinese military because such action might cause great losses for your national interests. China has many ways to sanction your nation as already did recently. China also played a big role in negotiating with North Korea. China is vital for US politics as well as economy.

Military experts and even former US military officials say that the biggest reason that the US military forces stay in Japan is to cut cost of their own because Japan provides host nation support fund, which we call “Sympathy Budget” that accounts for more than 70% of total expense for the US bases in Japan. There are more than 130 facilities of US military in Japan. Most of the troops are stationed at 30 facilities in Okinawa prefecture that accounts for 1 % of total of Japan’s territory and population.

During Vietnam War, it was a transit point to transport soldiers, military weapons and equipment. Now there is no strategic importance. How many of US congressmen and senators knows Okinawa? Is this place worth keeping bases in?


Deploying your military so much in our country, especially Okinawa is just causing growing distrust against your country. I believe the Okinawa issue presents the perfect timing for your nation to rethink its military deployment in Japan in order to improve the relationship between the two nations. Constructing a base on reclaimed land in the Henoko sea is the worst possible idea.


US military presence functions to apply American influence on our nation. Yes, it did work that way but you really have to know this may be working negatively. The image of your country itself is no longer positive like in the past. In other words, the US is no longer a powerful land of dreams, nor is it any longer a role model for us. One example of this can be seen in a recent best-selling book on your country’s poverty issue. The title of the book is “Rupo Hinkontaikoku America” (Report, Poverty Superpower, America). It was written by a Japanese journalist, TSUTSUMI Mika. The book describes how Americans are struggling with poverty in a plutonomy society and explains how Japan should not follow suit.


We know that a lot of young Marine troops stationed there come from poor families that cannot afford college education and have problems like domestic violence. They join the Marines by system, so called, Poverty Draft. That is why they cause troubles with Okinawa locals.

6. Your Servicemen and women are living with hostility


Just recently, US Marines faced apparent resistance from locals and activists. On September 17, 2019 citizens blocked civilian port entry of US Marine vehicles carrying a boat for training at Motobu Pier in Motobu town, 30 minutes drive from Camp Schwab.

military, Okinawa,military, Okinawa,

 

Young military servicemen and women had to hear yelling from protesters and waited inside the vehicle for hours without air conditioner.

military,okinawa

The Marine vehicle was trying to enter the port to unload the boat on its trailer for training on the sea.

military, Okinawa,

Even port workers were standing at the entrance as human shield. The workers oppose military use of the port because they want to allow only civilian use. After 10 hours of sit-in protest from 7 AM, Marine vehicles had to leave the port with the boat on a trailer to get back to Camp Schwab.  

I was there joining the sit-ins and talked with servicemen and woman. They seemed very unhappy doing their jobs. They should feel like being deployed on enemy line, not in an allied nation.

military, Okinawa,

When I said "Traitor" to one of workers of Japan's Defense Department who corporated with Marines and then a servicewoman said "No, he is not" to me.  

At the Camp Schwab gate, every day they have to see the protesters civil disobedience act and in many times being yelled at and called names. They never feel welcome. I do not think they feel being honored to serve Marine Corp. as long as they are stationed in Okinawa.

military, Okinawa,

military, Okinawa, military, Okinawa,

Do you think this situation creates healthier relationship among US, Japan and Okinawa? Proceeding of such unnecessary and infeasible construction are just making things worse. It should be halted immediately for the friendship or for the time being, construction must be temporarily stopped for the review. 

As for practical solutions, I recommend your organization to review a proposal by a private think tank, The New Diplomacy Initiatives (http://www.nd-initiative.org/en/), which suggests removal of US Marine bases from Okinawa but instead, establishing joint Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) Corp. with Japan’s Self-Defense Force equipped with high speed transport vessels, which rotates around East Asia. It is cost-effective and able to contribute to security of the region more realistically.


Sincerely,   

P.S.

Permit me for writing some awkward or grammatically incorrect phrases since I am not a native speaker of English.

21 June 2018

Dear US Ambassador to Japan, regarding Okinawa issue

I sent a letter to US Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Bill Hagerty today. It should be handed to him next Monday hopelly.

The below is what I wrote to him.

 

Dear Mr. Ambassador Hagerty,

June 24, 2018

My name is MASAGATA, a Japanese man living in Tokyo. I used to study at San Francisco State University, where I majored in International Relations. I am now working as a translator using the English knowledge I acquired in the US.

I am writing this letter to tell you about a matter that is very important to both of our nations. I am sure that you are well aware of many issues between the two nations. I would like to mention the most important of these: a matter that might result in long-term deterioration of the current healthy relationship between the two nations. I urge your government to rethink its ways of dealing with this issue. Four years ago, I wrote to former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy regarding the same issue. This is modified version of the letter with update information.

The matter in question is the relocation of the US Marine Base from Futenma in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan’s southernmost tropical islands, which are a little like Hawaii. In 1996 both the American and Japanese governments agreed to relocate Futenma base to Camp Schwab to get away from the densely populated area around Futenma. Camp Schwab is on the coastline of the island, in an area called Henoko.

IMG_20180526_115822-PANO.jpg

I am sure you have already been there and talked with Okinawa governor, Mr. Onaga about this issue. As you may know, there has been a local resistance movement since the relocation plan was announced. Locals near Camp Schwab are concerned about the deterioration of their living environment. Many environmental activists also oppose the plan because of the abundance of forms of wildlife that are unique to the area around Camp Schwab. The relocation plan includes reclamation of the sea to build two runways expanding existing facility. Schwab is located in between Henoko coast (left) and Oura Bay (right).

Okinawa,

This photo is of a dugong, an endangered marine mammal that eats grasses in the sea. It is just ridiculous that the nation that protests Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic Sea – and even dolphin hunting in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture that former Ambassador Kennedy was eager to protest – is helping to threaten another marine mammals that live in Japan.

 

Jfkdugong.jpg

In Oura Bay, the world’s largest, oldest and northernmost blue coral lives and has continued to grow for 3000 years.

coral 

Many new species are discovered in the bay recently. A lot more may be still undiscovered.

IMG_20180526_091720.jpg

On Henoko coast, the sea is enclosed and scheduled to be reclaimed in August and dugongs and other creatures’ lives would be threatened. Dugongs’ sea grass is found in the reclaiming area. They will lose their feeding place. As for blue coral, reclaimed space would change the sea current and might adversely affect life of the coral. Then what will happen is that your nation will be accused of helping to diminish such wonderful and rare creatures for the interests of the few.

The few, you might know, are certain businesses and government people who want some gains from the project. One of major contractors of the project is Taisei Kensetsu Corporation, where son of current Cabinet Secretary, Mr Suga, works. Actually, the Japanese Ministry of Defense carried out an environmental assessment in which it was claimed that there were no dugongs in the sea. But the environmental organizations such as WWF and The Nature Conservation Society of Japan claim that the MoD’s assessment was wrong and the organizations’ own research found clear traces confirming the existence of dugongs. Recently, Okinawa’s local newspaper revealed the news that the MoD was aware of the finding but had covered it up.

On November 22nd, 2013, in Nago City (to which Camp Schwab is attached), the city council made a resolution demanding the Okinawa Governor not to permit landfilling of the sea. However, the governor permitted the landfill in December even though a majority of Okinawans disapproved his decision.

The following month, in January, Okinawa Prefectural Council made a resolution demanding the Governor’s resignation. Okinawan protest activists announced legal action against the prefectural government in order to cancel the permit. Later, on January 19th, the mayor of Nago City, INAMINE Susumu was re-elected because of public support for his policy of the city’s refusing corporation with central and US governments regarding construction of the new base project.

However, last February INAMINE lost to a candidate Mr. Toguchi who was backed up by the Japanese government’s ruling parties. But Mr. Toguchi never mentioned whether he agree the relocation plan or not during the election campaign, rather he claimed that he request the US Marines move out of Okinawa. So he could not be seen as pro-relocation and construction of new base in Henoko from voters’ perspective although he is betraying the voters’ expectation now.

You might say this issue is something to be handled by the Japanese government, and that it is not the responsibility of the US military. But that sounds very hypocritical. The US military is the one that uses the facility and up until now involved in designing of new runways and annexed facilities. The US government can cancel that project and find another relocation site outside Okinawa. If the US continues to attribute this to the Japanese government, it is just like what Japanese conservative politicians say when it comes to the “Comfort Women” issue: “The Japanese Imperial Army was not responsible for kidnapping women in Asia for sexual slavery for soldiers during the war period in the early 20th century, it was what outsourced local brothels did.” The US Congress disavowed such argument and made a resolution to demand that the Japanese government apologize for former comfort women in 2007.

Until now, tens of protestant were arrested and injured by police at the gate or coast of Camp Schwab. Such news reports have been broadcast all over Japan. The construction will take many years to complete, while resentment is continuing to build. Your military and diplomats are dealing with such problems for a very long time. Young marines trained there as well. During mayoral election, I met group of young marines in Nago city. I talked to them but they said they were not allowed to talk with strangers.

Besides these factors, there are technical issues revealing infeasibility of the construction project as follows.

  • Active faults are found to exit down below planned construction site of runways. If that is the case in California, the project wouldn’t be permitted.
  • Around planned construction site of runways are buildings higher than US military aviation standard, flying there might cause collision with these buildings, similar situation to Futenma Air Base in Ginowan city. The buildings include school and its dormitory at which young students attend classes or reside. The school officials were not informed of this matter until recently. No plan of relocation is announced although a power transmission tower next to the building was already planned to relocate from that site.
  • henoko_school.jpg

  • Geological survey conducted in the sea indicates seabed is too fragile to reclaim like mayonnaise, which consumes more budget and time so the construction period should be much longer than expected like 15 years from now.

It is possible that the project is cancelled halfway for some reason but irreversible damages would be left together with grudge from locals.

In fact, the US military presence in Okinawa and even nationwide is becoming nothing but troublesome. More of us know that the US military presence no longer functions as defense or deterrence like in the Cold War era. China is said to be a new threat but we know that US-China relations have become more vital for your nation since China owns more US treasury bonds and buys more US goods than Japan does. China has become a larger economy than Japan these days. Trade amount between US and China is three times more than that between US and Japan. President Trump’s family has businesses in China. Unlike former Presidents, Mr. Trump never mentioned human rights issues in China.

Mr. Trump imposed sanctioned on China for trade issue recently but Japan is a prime target as well since Japan has run surplus on trade with US like Canada and Europe. Mr. Trump’s sanction tells how important and influential China has been for US economy.

We can easily predict that the US would not help Japan even if China and Japan became involved in a dispute for some reason such as the territorial right to the Senkaku islands. The US cannot send troops to assist Japan fighting against the Chinese military because such action might cause great losses for your national interests. China has many ways to sanction your nation as already did recently. China also played a big role in negotiating with North Korea. China is vital for US politics as well as economy.

Military experts say that the biggest reason that the US military forces stay in Japan is to cut cost of their own because Japan provides host nation support fund, which we call “Sympathy Budget” that accounts for more than 70% of total expense for the US bases in Japan. There are more than 130 facilities of US military in Japan. Most of the troops are stationed at 30 facilities in Okinawa prefecture that accounts for 1 % of total of Japan’s territory and population. Okinawa has been occupied until 1972, which is 20 years after mainland Japan regained sovereignty and was the only place that experienced ground battles within Japan, causing 200,000 civilian casualties during WW II. During Vietnam War, it was a transit point to transport soldiers, military weapons and equipment. Now there is no strategic importance. How many of US congressmen and senators knows Okinawa? Is this place worth keeping bases in?

Deploying your military so much in our country, especially Okinawa is just causing growing distrust against your country. I believe the Okinawa issue presents the perfect timing for your nation to rethink its military deployment in Japan in order to improve the relationship between the two nations. Constructing a base on reclaimed land in the Henoko sea is the worst possible idea.

US military presence functions to apply American influence on our nation. Yes, it did work that way but you really have to know this may be working negatively. The image of your country itself is no longer positive like in the past. In other words, the US is no longer a powerful land of dreams, nor is it any longer a role model for us. One example of this can be seen in a recent best-selling book on your country’s poverty issue. The title of the book is “Rupo Hinkontaikoku America” (Report, Poverty Superpower, America). It was written by a Japanese journalist, TSUTSUMI Mika. The book describes how Americans are struggling with poverty in a plutonomy society and explains how Japan should not follow suit.

We know that a lot of young Marine troops stationed there come from poor families that cannot afford college education and have problems like domestic violence. They join the Marines by system, so called, Poverty Draft. That is why they cause troubles with Okinawa locals.

The interesting thing to note is that Japan was democratized and the wealth of the nation was redistributed from pre-war plutonomy by the US occupying forces. Thanks to them, Japan has become the most egalitarian society among industrialized nations. We do appreciate that. We are always good friends to you as long as you are what you should be. However, recently I, myself turned a former friend due to what is happening in Okinawa.

When Okinawa was first occupied by US Army which defeated Japanese Imperial Army, Okinawans saw Americans arrived there as liberators but later that was found to be false. But this time is a greatest chance to be the one since the Japanese government is too rigid to hear voice of Okinawa. Please do not miss this chance.

As for practical solutions, I recommend your organization to review a proposal by a private think tank, The New Diplomacy Initiatives (http://www.nd-initiative.org/en/), which suggests removal of US Marine bases from Okinawa but instead, establishing joint Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) Corp. with Japan’s Self-Defense Force equipped with high speed transport vessels, which rotates around East Asia. It is cost-effective and able to contribute to security of the region.

Sincerely,        

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