Layered Security on Okinawa: Reconciling International, National, and Subnational Narratives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Lying between Tokyo, Beijing and Taipei and hosting more than 74% of American military bases in Japan, Okinawa has often been referred to as the ‘Keystone of the Pacific’ within regional security narratives. This is primarily because of its geo-strategically pivotal position along the so-called ‘first island chain’, separating the Western Pacific and East China Sea, and its historically contested political status as a former tributary of China, colony of Japan and protectorate of the United States (US). Amid this checkered history, the chapter below reexamines regional security issues from a layered perspective. In so doing, it critically interrogates how Okinawa has been (mis)understood, (re)constructed, and (re)framed across intersecting international, national and sub-national (local) spheres as a means to shape respective policies under the reasoning or pretext of security, be that in geo-military, socio-economic, environmental or other terms. This is facilitated by adopting an interpretive case study methodology to a broad range of qualitative data. Facilitated through a synthesis of critical discourse analysis (CDA) and risk-based theories of International Relations (IR) , the discussion reveals how the intersections between key actors, such as ministers of state, political parties, mass media, commercial interests (private-sector businesses), local government and a diverse range of activists, have created a highly complex and asymmetrical tapestry of security layers, articulated via competing and contradictory narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJapan's Security Policy
EditorsKeiji Nakatsuji
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781003231653
ISBN (Print)9781032139531, 9781032139551
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2023

Publication series

NamePolitics in Asia

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