Building a maritime “Great Wall” to contain China? Explaining Japan's recalibration of risk with the militarization of Okinawa

Son Key-Young, Ra Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we aim to illustrate both the progress and the stalemates of the US and Japanese strategies to fortify the Okinawan Islands as a bulwark against China. As a conceptual tool to analyze the accommodation and resistance of militarization, we use the notion of a complex interplay of state, market, and societal actors, which showcases the process of mediating and recalibrating risks perceived by policymakers in Tokyo in response to the rise of China. In this process, risk has been shifted to individual stakeholders within society. We argue that the full-scale fortification of the Okinawan Islands will be hard to achieve because of the resistance of local residents and anti-base activists, as well as China's military and commercial strategies to circumvent any form of blockade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-461
Number of pages25
JournalAsian Perspective
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Okinawa
  • militarization
  • China's rise
  • civil society in Japan

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