Japanese candidate favors turning Okinawa into U.N. protectorate
CHATAN, Okinawa — A popular singer and candidate for Japan’s Diet told reporters in Tokyo on Monday that his chief goal is to make Okinawa an independent United Nations protectorate.
Shokichi Kina, a candidate for the House of Councilors from the Democratic Party of Japan, the major opposition party, said he envisions Okinawa being under U.N. trusteeship but didn’t elaborate on the framework in which an independent island would operate, according to Japanese press reports.
Kina, 55, is a well-known peace activist and advocate of an independent Okinawa free of U.S. and Japanese military bases. In the past, he’s spoken about turning the island into a “free enterprise zone” for the Pacific and replacing U.S. and Japanese military forces with U.N. peacekeepers.
A month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Kina and his band, Champloose, held a peace concert in Baghdad called “No Wars But Celebration!”
The Democratic Party of Japan has placed him on its proportional representation list for the July 11 election.
Kina, the son of a renowned Okinawa folk singer, perhaps is best known for taking Okinawa folk music, with its bouncy twang of the samisen, a three-stringed banjo-like instrument, and adding guitars, drums and keyboards, then amplifying it all into a rocking concoction of traditional island music, jazz and even hints of reggae.
Kina and his band have traveled the globe promoting peace and Okinawan independence. In 1996, Champloose was among groups representing Asia at the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies in Atlanta, where Kina said his purpose in the United States was to convince Washington to trade weapons for musical instruments.
One of Kina’s favorite slogans is “Turn all the military bases into flower gardens.” Next week, he’s flying to Vietnam to receive the World Peace Music Award at a U.N.-sponsored gala concert and ceremony.