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The Evolution of Japan's Constitution and Implications for U.S. Forces on Okinawa

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Master's thesis

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Okinawa serves as a strategic base for U.S. forces in maintaining regional security and protecting Japanese and American interests based on the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States and its 1951 predecessor. This thesis assesses the developing factors in Japans constitutional debate after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It examines the myriad issues influencing the reinterpretation or potential revision of Article 9 of Japans constitution and what implications revision would have on Japan-based U.S. forces stationed primarily in Okinawa. This thesis argues that Tokyos reinterpretation or revision of Article 9 of Japans constitution would not require a major withdrawal of U.S. forces from Okinawa. Regional threats still validate the half-century old U.S.-Japan Security Alliance and most of its current structure. The major questions the thesis addresses are how and why Japan is reinterpreting or may revise its constitution, what dangers threaten Japanese and American security and interests, and how Okinawas bases contribute to the security and stability of the region and at what price. Furthermore, this thesis evaluates the validity of perceptions regarding U.S. troops on Okinawa, and it seeks to clarify the situation on Okinawa. This thesis arguments set the stage for a policy-prescriptive conclusion which is predicated on six individual premises. A major point is the validation of a viable and proven U.S. expeditionary force to remain stationed within Japan. Also, it offers practical recommendations for what is next for U.S. forces on Okinawa, including maintaining the status quo with certain adjustments, overhauling public relations and media interactions, and examining the merits of Kadena Air Base and Ie Island for the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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