Organization for Regional and Inter-regional StudiesWaseda University


【2017/12/9 Seminar Summary】Revising the institutions and basic rights: International politics and grassroots perspectives

  • Date&Time
    Saturday,9 December 2017, 11:00~18:00
  • Venue
    Department of Okinawa Prefectural Museum
  • Lecturer
    FURUSAWA Kiyoko (Tokyo Women’s Christian University)
    ABE Kosuzu (University of the Ryukyus)
    EGAMI Takayoshi (Emeritus, University of the Ryukyus)
    KOBAYASHI Somei (Nihon University)
    SHIMABUKURO Jun (University of the Ryukyus)
    MORI Yoshio (Doshisha University)
    KUMAMOTO Hiroyuki (Meisei University)
    SATO Manabu (Okinawa International University)
    UMEMORI Naoyuki (Waseda University) ※facilitator of the session 3.
  • Language


This inter-regional symposium held in Naha, Okinawa consists of the three sessions. Session 1 “Independence, stay and self-government: the relationships between regions and central governments” contains 5 presentations. Prof. Furusawa introduced the independence process of East Timor. She focus on the resistance against Indonesia including international network since 1975 and emphasized the unfair framework in 1999 UN referendum. Second speaker prof. Abe analyzed the outcome of the 6th official ballot in Puerto Rico in 2017 suggesting the U.S. statehood is not necessarily the majority’s will. She also introduced the success in closing U.S. bases in Vieques island as the memory to support longstanding resistance practice against U.S. Prof. Egami explained the historical relationship between Scotland and England then detailed the process of the referendum in 2014 and Scotland National Party’s won in the general election in 2015. Prof. Kobayashi focus on the small group of Korean lived in U.S. control postwar Okinawa with question that to whom they should ask for the right to live when the administrative power moved to Japan in 1972. Prof. Shimabukuro, the last speaker of session 1, talked about the activities of “All Okinawa Council for Human Rights” in U.N. His main message is how applicable the concepts of ancestral “territories” and “rights to land” to the present Okinawa’s situation.

Session 2 “Rights and outside of rights: grassroots practice and the change in the international politics” has three presentations mainly on Okinawa. Prof. Mori picked up the unique demonstration of the building block piling in front of Henoko gate, Camp Schwab in North Okinawa in order to imply the possibility of “constitutional power” emerging from among people. Prof. Kumamoto, on the other hand, introduced the voices of the local Henoko people that are not simply categorized in the binary of for / against the new base. He emphasized the historical and political configuration, the necessity to share the particular context of Henoko area, and that remaining silence does not meant the supporter of new base. Prof. Sato who published several leaflets to correct the “rumors” on U.S. bases in Okinawa, pointed out the presence of China in East Asia. How to establish the new relationship with China, neither simple anti-China nor totally dependent, and the cross bordered communications are the key to refrain from status of war in Asian region, he said.

Session 3 “Future of the basic rights and norm: history and practice” invited all of the presenters for the Q&A and discussion. Variety issues are discussed such as how to evaluate the exercise of “violence” as a tool of resistance by the minority people, how to define the subject and practitioners of resistance, and how to understand the relationship between the Land Rights and indigenous people. One of the panelists clarified that it is unrealistic idea to compete with Chinese military power, emphasizing the positive role of the private sectors exchange in reply to the question of how to deal with the “threat of China” discourse.


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