Hosted by East-West Center
A New Vision for Okinawa and Asia-Pacific Security

■The dates:
2017/07/12 Wed.

1819 L St NW, Sixth Floor Conference Room, Washington DC, 20036


With the start of seawall construction for land reclamation on the shores of the Henoko area of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, persistent resistance from Okinawans is strengthening with more legal action being undertaken by Governor Takeshi Onaga to stop the construction. Opposition may extend to other US military installations, including the highly important Kadena Air Base, which could undermine the US presence in Okinawa as well as the US-Japan alliance.


For the past three years, New Diplomacy Initiative (ND), a Japanese think tank established in 2013, has hosted study sessions for diplomacy, defense, and security experts to analyze and research the military role of the US Marines in Okinawa and the state of “deterrence.”


Since February 2016, ND has continued its research on the deployment of the US Marines in Okinawa, using US documents and facts about Marine operations as sources, and has held regular study sessions to compile a counterargument against the assertion that Henoko is the only option for the Futenma relocation. This report contains the results of those discussions, and sets forth a solution that will equally benefit Japan, the United States and Okinawa.



Tomohiro Yara (ND Senior Researcher, Former Editorial Writer of Okinawa Times)

Shigeru Handa (Member of the ND Okinawa Project, Editorialist and Senior Staff Writer at the Tokyo Shimbun)

Sayo Saruta (ND Director, Attorney at Law in Japan and the State of New York)

Mike Mochizuki (ND Board Member, Professor at George Washington University)


  • This event is free and open to the public. This seminar will be broadcast live.

Copies of the report will be available at the seminar.


Speakers’ profile:

Tomohiro Yara

He is a Board Member and Senior Researcher at New Diplomacy Initiative (ND) as well as a member of the ND Okinawa Project. He graduated from the University of the Philippines and thereafter worked at the Okinawa Times, where from 1992 he covered US military base issues. After working at the Okinawa Times Tokyo Bureau, he served as an editorial writer and social section chief. In order to research the 2006 US military defense posture review, from 2007 he spent one year at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii, as a visiting researcher. He left the Okinawa Times in June 2012 and is currently a freelance writer.


Shigeru Handa

He is a member of the ND Okinawa Project. After working at the Shimotsuke Shimbun, he joined the Chunichi Shimbun in 1991, and serves as an editorialist and senior staff writer at the Tokyo Shimbun. He is also an adjunct professor at Dokkyo University as well as Hosei University. He has been covering the Defense Agency since 1992. In 2007, he was awarded the 13th Peace and Cooperative Journalist Fund of Japan award (main prize) for his column Shin Sakimori Kou (New Guardian Thought), which was published in the Tokyo Shimbun and the Chunichi Shimbun.


Sayo Saruta

She is Director of New Diplomacy Initiative (ND), a think tank in Tokyo, and Attorney at Law in Japan and the State of New York. After graduating from Waseda University, she received her Master’s degree from Colombia University Law School as well as her second Master’s degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC. Regarding Japan’s diplomacy and other political issues, she works to bring various voices of Japan into debate between Japan, the U.S. and other East Asian countries. She has arranged Japan’s Diet members and local groups to Washington D.C. to discuss topics such as Okinawa base issues, nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear energy. Her research interest is the system of the U.S.-Japan diplomacy Paving the Way for a New Japan-U.S. Diplomacy: Okinawa, Security, Nuclear Power, TPP—Conveying Diverse Views to Washington DC [Atarashii nichibei gaiko wo kirihiraku: Okinawa, anpo, genpatsu, TPP, tayo na koe wo Washinton he] (Tokyo: Shueisha, October 2016) (Shueisha) and Voluntary Dependence on the US [Jihatsuteki Taibei Juzoku] (tentative title) (Kadokawa).


Mike M. Mochizuki

He holds the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the Elliott School of International Affairs in George Washington University. Professor Mochizuki was associate dean for academic programs at the Elliott School from 2010 to 2014 and director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies from 2001 to 2005. He co-directs the “Rising Powers Initiative” and the “Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific” research and policy project of the Sigur Center. Previously he was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was also Co-Director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at RAND and has taught at the University of Southern California and Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. His books include Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia (co-editor and co-author, 2017); Nuclear Debates in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes (co-editor and author, 2016); The Okinawa Question: Futenma, the US-Japan Alliance, and Regional Security (co-editor and author, 2013); China’s Military and the U.S.-Japan Alliance in 2030: A Strategic Net Assessment (co-author, 2013); Japan in International Politics: The Foreign Policies of an Adaptive State (co-editor and author, 2007), and Crisis on the Korean Peninsula: How to Deal with a Nuclear North Korea (co-author, 2003). He has published articles in such journals as The American Interest, Asia Pacific Review, Foreign Affairs, International Security, Japan Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies, Nonproliferation Review, Survival, and Washington Quarterly.