Art & Design

Unhappy 50th Anniversary?: The US-Japan Relationship from an Okinawan Perspective

18 May 2010, London

Unhappy 50th Anniversary?: The US-Japan
Relationship from an Okinawan Perspective


Five decades after the adoption of the revised US-Japan Security Treaty, and two decades after the end of the Cold War, the Cold War alliance and Cold War assumptions still underpin the relationship between the world's Number One and Number Two economic powers and therefore the institutional frame of East Asia as a whole. The change of government in Japan in 2009 led some to think that a post-Cold War order might be in the offing, but within half a year hopes steadily faded, the new government's popularity declined, and tensions between the US and Japan rose. The "Okinawa problem", now centring on the location of a new marine airbase, has emerged as a crucial bone of z contention, not between the two governments so much as between the people of Okinawa and both governments. As resistance in Okinawa spreads to embrace all levels of the society, the speaker will analyse this issue and its capacity to shake the alliance itself and the Cold War frame.


Gavan McCormack is Emeritus Professor at Australian National University. A graduate of the universities of Melbourne and London (PhD from London in 1974), he joined the ANU in 1990 after teaching at the Universities of Leeds (UK), La Trobe (Melbourne), and Adelaide. He has also been Visiting Professor at many universities in Japan, where he has lived and worked on many occasions since first visiting it as a student in 1962. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Humanities of Australia in 1992. His work has been translated and published in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Arabic, and the main European languages. His most recent book is Client State: Japan in the American Embrace, London and New York, Verso, 2007,  of which Japanese, Korean, and Chinese editions were published in 2008 by Gaifusha, Changbi, and Social Science Academic Press of China. He is also a media commentator on North-East Asia and a coordinator of the web journal, Japan Focus, which in September 2008 was awarded the Ryukyu Shimpo’s inaugural Ikemiyagi Shui Prize for communicating Okinawan problems and thinking to the world. In 2008 and 2009, he contributed an invited monthly essay published in Korean to Kyunghyang Shinmun (Seoul). He is a regular visitor to Okinawa, and was convenor in December 2009 of the "Nago Conference" held in Nago City, Okinawa, on "Civil Society and Social Movements in East Asia."


J A A Stockwin (Chair) is Emeritus Fellow of St. Antony’s College and the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford. His recent publications include: Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan (2003) and Collected Writings of J.A.A. Stockwin (2004). Professor Stockwin is joint General Editor of the Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies series. In 2004, he received The Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government in recognition of his tireless efforts to promote Japanese Studies in the UK.  

Tuesday 18 May 2010, 2-3:30pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13 - 14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP. Nearest tube: Baker Street

Tel:020 7486 4348

Free but booking is essential at

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation