【PART 1】 Mystery of Okinawa: Military Bases and the Constitution

 

【9】 Japanese people had no right to decide policies

 

Yet the Japanese power structure was not the clean democratic one we had been taught at school. Until the collapse of the Hatoyama administration, we believed that we had been choosing the LDP and its policies of our own free will, in the framework of democracy. Between the two options A and B, we had always chosen A, or the policy of slavish obedience to the U.S. But that was our own decision?or so we thought.

On the contrary, it turned out to be untrue. We discovered that we’d had no right to choose in the first place. No matter what Japanese politicians set forth in their manifestos, or who wins the elections, policies that deviate from what is predetermined “somewhere else” cannot be implemented. Indeed, when you look at the Kan, Noda and Abe administrations following Hatoyama’s, they have implemented policies in direct opposition to their pre-election manifestos.

“Oh, that explains why…” was my thought when I found this out, and slowly yet steadily, a violent rage began to simmer in me. It came from discovering that the way I believed the society ought to be was completely different from the reality.

The U.S. military base issue is a symbolic example of this. Even in circumstances where Japanese people’s human rights are violated, the Japanese are unable to intervene. Even the prime minister cannot lift a finger. This reality, which had been concealed while the LDP was in power, became revealed with the birth and collapse of the Hatoyama government.

What exactly are the U.S. military bases in Okinawa? What is the Henoko Peninsula? Who was the one who actually brought Prime Minister Hatoyama down?

When I thought about it, I realized I didn’t know a thing about such important issues. I felt ashamed as a publisher. That was how I became determined to go see for myself, to take photos and make a book.