senkaku-7: An independent Okinawa: Japan’s worst-case scenario

In May, a private-sector study group advocating the independence of Okinawa Prefecture from Japan was formed. The group is led by Ryukoku University Prof. Yasukatsu Matsushima, a native of Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, and its secretariat is based at Okinawa International University.

The group, known as the “comprehensive study group on the independence of Ryukyuans,” has about 150 members, including House of Representatives and Social Democratic Party member Kantoku Teruya, who repre-sents Okinawa Constituency No. 2.

Its charter states: “Ryukyu has been under the rule of Japan and the United States. It is necessary that we Ryukyuans declare independence from Japan, have all military bases withdrawn from our islands, and build the islands of peace and hope with our own hands.”

What does it mean for Japan?

This spring, the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, whose chairman is Yoichi Funabashi, a former editor-in-chief of The Asahi Shimbun, published a book titled “Nihon Saiaku no Shinario: Kokonotsu no Shikaku” (The Worst-case Scenario for Japan: Nine blind spots) which looks at the national crisis that Japan could face.

Taking up the Senkaku issue, the book imagines a scenario in which a Chinese group disguised as fishermen and armed with automatic rifles land on the Senkakus and occupy them. Under the worst-case scenario, the Japanese government would be unable to remove them and fail in diplomatic talks, while the Chinese group would set up its own facilities on the islands, effectively putting them under China’s control.

On the assumption of such a scenario, the book hypothesizes the impact of Japan’s loss of the Senkakus as follows: “As China has turned the western Pacific Ocean into its backyard, the possibility of a clash with U.S. forces has naturally risen. Caught between the United States and China, Okinawa decides to become a neutral actor.”

Full article: senkaku-7: An independent Okinawa: Japan’s worst-case scenario (The Japan News)

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