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Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa unrest, secession

Published: January 31, 2013
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Source: SCMP

A former Japanese minister has warned domestic terrorists could strike Tokyo if the government fails to address anger in Okinawa over a heavy US military presence there.

Shozaburo Jimi, minister in charge of financial services and postal reform, under the last government, suggested Wednesday that residents of the sub-tropical island chain may also push for secession from Japan.

“Okinawa has long had a history of independence movements and movements for self-governance. I hope those things will not blaze up,” he told local media.

“There’s a possibility that [Okinawa] will say it will become an independent state,” Jimi said, according to Kyodo News.

“Domestic guerilla [struggles] could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue, said Jimi.

The comments came as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who swept to power in a December election, reiterated his policy of strengthening the Japan-US military alliance and said he was pushing ahead with an unpopular plan to move a large US air base within the prefecture.


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