This presentation will examine how it may be possible to explicate the extent to which intersecting key actors disputing the Futenma relocation issue on Okinawa adhere to Japan’s national norms of (US-allied) bilateralism, (anti)militarism and mercantilism – and how policy is shaped in accordance.
In contrast to extant scholarship, which has approached the Futenma base relocation case from single scientific or economic disciplines, I seek to explain interactive influences of nationalism and localism affecting key issues in the dispute. These include: the constraints and opportunities of the international system, rhetoric used by political, commercial and societal stakeholders involved in policy direction, and societal norms that embed shifting national and local interests into the policymaking process, primarily via agenda-setting and dictation of (nationalist) ideology which informs political decision making. I combine theories of nationalism with an eclectic approach, using the analytical categories of structure, agency and norms, rather than relying solely on traditional International Relations paradigms.
By doing so, I hope to offer a deeper understanding of how Japan's domestic and foreign policies stem from the development and change of intersecting nationalist and localised discourses, as well as a means by which to aid more constructive policy creation and implementation from within Okinawa.
Ra Mason is a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of the Ryukyus, Lecturer in Asia-Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire and Honorary Fellow of the White Rose East Asia Centre, University of Sheffield. His recent academic works include Japan’s Relations with North Korea and the Recalibration of Risk, published by Routledge.