Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa secession

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

- Shozaburo Jimi

AFP | Feb 1, 2013

By Agencies

display_image.phpA 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. “Domestic guerrilla could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue.

Jimi’s statements, which came ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s weekend visit to Okinawa, were seen as an attempt to press the government to ease the burden on the southern Japanese prefecture, reluctant host to more than half of the 47,000 US military personnel in Japan.

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