A number of Okinawan women have demanded for an apology from Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto over his suggestion that US troops stationed on the island should take advantage of prostitution to release their sexual frustrations. This follows another controversial statement from the outspoken politician wherein he said that comfort women played a "necessary" part in keeping the Japanese soldiers in line during World War II.
China’s most popular newspaper on Wednesday published an article that pushed for the government to “reconsider” Japan’s sovereignty over the Ryukyu island chain, which includes Okinawa – home to most of the United States bases and forces in Japan. Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, but the People’s Daily newspaper thinks that China may have rights to the group of islands, and opinion that is likely to escalate the already tense situation between the two countries regarding sovereignty of territories in the East China Sea.
North Korea is believed to have moved its two medium range Musudan missiles – the very same that caused much alarm in the region a few weeks ago when they were transported and seemingly prepped for launch readiness – away from the country’s east coast. This was revealed by U.S. government officials on Monday, signaling an easing of the wave of concern as Pyongyang looked poised to do a test launch.
A report from the Pentagon says that China has been engaged in cyber espionage, mostly targeting the United States government to gain more information about its foreign policy and military plan. The report is part of an annual assessment of China's military capabilities and is the most explicit statement so far regarding cyber spying activities.
In what is considered a "rare bird" in military/security circles, an unclassified net assessment of the dynamics between China, Japan and the United States. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released the document and says it's the first and only one of its kind and includes "relative military capabilities and domestic and external variables."
While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is enjoying record high approval ratings in his second term, he has also made it clear that he wants to revise Japan's constitution which hasn't been changed since it was drafted by the United States right after World War II. This has raised alarm among his critics, particularly since it might bring Japan back to its socially conservative, authoritarian past.
Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, co-leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), traveled to Okinawa Prefecture for a three-day visit starting on Tuesday. Hashimoto is looking to meet up with a local political group to flesh out, and if possible, sign an agreement of policy that supports the Futenma military base relocation plan within Okinawa.
On January 27 this year, a large group of residents from Okinawa prefecture – including mayors, assembly members and labor union leaders – gathered in the glitzy streets of Ginza in Tokyo to protest the deployment of MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft to a U.S. military base on the southern island. As the Okinawan protest marched by, a large group of people also gathered by the sidewalks, carrying their hinomaru rising-sun flags (Japanese war flag) and raining insults and threats on the protesting southerners.
United States defense officials revealed that the Pentagon has approved the deployment of a second squadron of MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Okinawa, Japan – 12 more of the hybrid vertical take-off/landing vehicles – even as Okinawa residents worry about the safety of the said aircraft. The U.S. military said that the Osprey aircraft increases their capabilities in the region, especially for regional security efforts.
North Korea has apparently stopped its preparations for a test launch of a Musudan medium range ballistic missile, this according to government sources from Japan, South Korea and the United States. Because of this, the U.S. military has temporarily eased back on its high alert status, although the three nations have said that it will continue to keep an eye on Pyongyang’s activities, as it is highly unlikely that its provocative warlike attitude will change in the near future.