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.
|Title of host publication||Japan's Security Policy|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2022|
|Name||Politics in Asia|