On the eve of Obama’s visit to Japan on April 23-25, the Japanese media are reporting that President Obama and Prime Minister Abe plan to issue a joint statement reaffirming the alliance between the two nations. The United States views Japan, which hosts the largest U.S. forces (about 50,000) in Asia, as a key ally in the “Pivot” to Asia (or “rebalance” in U.S. government parlance), and the Abe administration desperately seeks U.S. support in its conflict with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands while it has taken significant steps to change Japan’s peace constitution so that its “self-defense forces” can engage in combat alongside the U.S. military. “Read more”
Photo: Okinawa Times, April 19, 2014 <http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/photo_detail/?id=67194&pid=103444>
by Gwyn Kirk
Originally Posted on the Oregon WAND
August 22, 2013
I believe that no woman should be a victim of rape or sexual assault. So it’s been heartening, this summer, to see women speaking out about the epidemic of military sexual violence and demanding change. Their testimonies and official complaints, lawsuits against Pentagon top brass, media reports, Congressional hearings, and an award-winning documentary, The Invisible War, have all forced this issue into the spotlight.
Read more at http://www.oregonwand.org/blog
by Ikehara Ariko, Ginoza Ayano
A part analysis and reflection piece written by two women of Okinawan heritage about the recent statement made by Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, regarding his public statement on the issue of “comfort women” and the current situation on US military sexual assaults in Okinawa.
On May 13, 2013, the mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, made a deplorable comment about the necessity of a prostitution system in Okinawa and asked US military officials to enact such a policy in order to “take control of the libidinous energy of the US Marines stationed in Okinawa.” There is a colonial impulse and imperial undercurrent running through his statement. Okinawa has been shouldering the burden of the legacy of WWII by hosting approximately 75% of US bases in Japan today, which is a precarious situation after being occupied by the US military from 1946 ~ 1972, and reinstituting its governance as part of Japan in 1972. The current focus by the media on the rise of military-related sexual assault is not new. On the contrary, the problem has been going on in Okinawa since 1945 as reported by the Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, which was established in 1995 after the highly publicized rape case of a 12-year-old girl by three service men in Okinawa. Furthermore, the Osprey deployment to Okinawa, not mainland Japan, continues to position Okinawa as the “dumping ground” for Japan’s unwanted problems.  By ignoring the colonial and the imperial markings in the present, the mayor continues to recreate a hierarchy that maintains Japan’s hegemony over Okinawa. Read more…
By Annie Isabel Fukushima and Gwyn Kirk
As more U.S. military women break the silence about sexual violence committed by their comrades in arms, it is clear that sporadic “scandals”—at the Tailhook Naval Aviators’ Convention (1991), Aberdeen Proving Grounds Ordnance Center (1996), the U.S. Air Force Academy (2003)—are not isolated incidents, but spring from the mycelium of U.S. military culture and ideology. Read more…
Moana Nui 2013 revealed how the currents of the great Pacific Ocean are layered with colonialism after colonialism, lapping up onto every shore. Palm oil plantations in Papua New Guinea, the redefinition of Gross National Product in Vanuatu, and the Tongan diasporic activists reconnecting to their roots in the U.S., are filled with meanings of mimicry and resistance to colonialism. Through stories of pain and struggle, we were shown paths of healing—paths not far from our own here in the U.S. Read more…