Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Slicing through the Gordonian knot of Futenma, one thread at a time

It's not a task for the faint-hearted, but Asia Policy Point's very own Bill Brooks has grasped the many tangled threads of the Futenma saga and unravelled them to find what lies at the core: a knot of conflicting demands between nations, capital city and province, and civilians and the military.

Bill's landmark paper for SAIS on the two sets of negotiations to relocate Futenma Air Station in Okinawa is a must read for it not only reveals how contentious and divisive the talks were, even to the point of near crisis situations, but also why the two agreements were never implemented.

Bill also has aptly compared the past attempts to resolve the Futenma issue with the current efforts of the Hatoyama administration, concluding that those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

THE POLITICS OF THE FUTENMA BASE ISSUE IN OKINAWA: RELOCATION NEGOTIATIONS IN 1995-1997, 2005-2006
By William L. Brooks
(Asia-Pacific Policy Papers Series, Reischauer Center, SAIS Johns Hopkins University, May 2010, 109 pages)

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