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Close Yet Distant Relations: The Politics of History Textbooks, U.S. Military Bases and Trauma in Okinawa

Tanji, M (2010) Close Yet Distant Relations: The Politics of History Textbooks, U.S. Military Bases and Trauma in Okinawa. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, 24 (June).

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The few remaining Okinawa dugongs, occasionally appearing in the sea next to the planned Marine base construction site, Henoko, symbolise the most recent phase of the Okinawan struggle. With the image of the endangered dugong at the forefront, the recent phase of anti-base struggle has taken the form of civil disobedience. The protesters on permanent encampment have physically blocked the environmental survey of the government, slowing down the construction of the replacement facilities of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Futenma, planned to start in the forest of Takae Village and on the shore of the Henoko District in Nago City. This development requires major land reclamation adjacent to the US Marine's Camp Schwab, in the ocean that provides a sea grass habitat and the now famous dugongs. Since the late 1990s, the political opposition in Henoko has been a round-the-clock war of attrition. In September 2009, Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio of the new government led by the Democratic Party of Japan claimed he would not build the new base in Henoko, or anywhere in Okinawa. Although the fate of the new base and the Okinawa dugong is still unclear, his statement marked a major transition from the conservative Liberal Democratic Party's policy on Okinawa.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Australian National University
Copyright: The Author
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