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The seminar will be chaired by Inger Skjelsbæk, Deputy Director at PRIO, and Professor Arne Røkkum of the University of Oslo will act as discussant.
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 a half-year hopes steadily faded, the new government's popularity plummeted, and tensions getween US and Japan rose. The relationship that I wrote about in 2007 as "Client State"-ish proves difficult to escape.
The "Okinawa problem" has emerged as a crucial bone of contention, not between the two governments so much as between the people of Okinawa and both governments. While Washington insists on its "pound of flesh" in the form of the new marine base promised by the previous (LDP) government, and Tokyo's Hatoyama government struggles to obey, the resistance in Okinawa itself spreads to embrace all levels of the society and to shake the alliance and the Cold War frame.
Throughout modern Japanese history, no region has ever been in such confrontation as exists today between the prefecture of Okinawa and the government in Tokyo. The paper analyses that confrontation and its implications.
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, http://japanfocus.org <http://japanfocus.org/>, 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.