Suspended in Time: Okinawa's Continuing Struggle

Reiko Teshiba '02
Introduction

Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. It is part of the Ryukyu archipelago that lies between Kyushu, the southernmost island of mainland Japan, and Taiwan. Okinawa comprises 160 islands that span 250 miles from north to south and 625 miles east to west. The Ryukyu Kingdom, which had enjoyed tributary relations with China since the 14th century, was absorbed into the Japanese state during the Meiji era. After the devastating Battle of Okinawa, one of the worst battles ever fought for the United States and Japan, the United States occupied Okinawa for 27 years. Okinawa was finally reverted back to Japan in 1972, but, in a sense, the occupation never ended, because Okinawa still houses three-fourths of the American forces in Japan. As a result, many Okinawans feel that Tokyo and Washington have always exploited them. The Okinawa issue lies at the nexus of the complex relationship between Okinawa, Tokyo, and Washington. In this paper, I examine the various aspects of the Okinawa problem, beginning with a short history. This paper places special emphasis on the relationship between Okinawa, Tokyo, and Washington after the February 1995 Nye Report and the rape of a twelve-year-old Okinawan girl by three servicemen seven months later.

A Brief History of Okinawa

In the 14th century, the Ryukyu Kingdom established tributary relations with China, although it refrained from interfering with local matters. The Ryukyu Kingdom profited from the trade and incorporated much Chinese culture into its own. In 1415, the Ryukyu Kingdom became a Japanese tributary under the Ashikaga Shogunate. Toyotomi Hideyoshi insisted that the Ryukyu Kingdom send supplies for his expedition to Korea in 1592-6. Tokugawa Ieyasu, who unified the Japanese mainland in 1603, declared the Ryukyu Kingdom a part of Shimazu Iehisa's domain in 1609. Shimazu was the lord of the Satsuma province and sent troops to Ryukyu to assert his control. But he allowed the Ryukyu Islands to retain a semblance of independence, as well as its tributary status with China (Itoh 119-20).

During the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the central government declared formal sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, incorporating them as Okinawa prefecture in 1879. China did not recognize the Ryukyus' incorporation into Japan until the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 (Egami 829). In 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry had actually stopped by at Naha, the capital of Okinawa, on his way to Edo, to establish a forward base for supplies such as coal and water. Perry thought Okinawa would be an alternative for American merchant marines in the event that Japan refused to open any of its ports to the United States (Yamaguchi 99). Because the Meiji government was concerned about Okinawa's vulnerability to foreign threat, it implemented a strict assimilation policy, especially in language and education. The Ryukyu dialect is structurally similar to standard Japanese, but the two are not mutually intelligible. The government encouraged Okinawans to give up their local traditions. It levied higher taxes on Okinawa than on the mainland, but prevented the prefecture from sending representatives to the Diet until 1922, 22 years after incorporation (Itoh 121). Some Okinawans willingly learned standard Japanese after Japan won the Sino-Japanese War, but mainlanders constantly discriminated against Okinawans.

This prejudice was also prevalent in the army. Okinawans began to be conscripted into the Imperial Army after 1894. In World War II, Okinawans served courageously against advancing American forces. The Battle of Okinawa, which lasted for three months, was the worst battle for Japan in the Pacific as well as one of the bloodiest battles in American history. Okinawa was chosen by the United States as the last "stepping stone" in their island-hopping strategy, with the eventual goal of invading the mainland (Watanabe 18). Some 14,500 Americans and 234,000 Japanese noncombatants and soldiers were killed in the battle (Johnson, Blowback 38). Okinawan conscripts might have represented as much as one-third of Japanese defenders (Sarantakes 8). The Japanese Imperial Army told civilians that since the Americans would kill them anyway, they should die honorably instead. Okinawans jumped from cliffs or were forced out into enemy fire by army officers. This extreme devotion to Japan may have been a result of the desire to lessen the "psychological gap" between Okinawa and the mainland and the desire of Okinawans to become Japanese (Watanabe 9). Japan scholar Steve Rabson notes that in the "most outrageous betrayal of the Okinawans' determination to assimilate, Japanese soldiers shot thousands at point-blank range in their anger over defeat, accusing the Okinawans, sometimes on the basis of a few words uttered in dialect, of being spies" ("Assimilation Policy" 144). As Chalmers Johnson points out, many Okinawans think that Emperor Hirohito sacrificed them unnecessarily in order to gain leverage in extracting more acceptable surrender conditions from the Allies, a pattern that was to be repeated in the future (Blowback 38).

After Japan's surrender, Okinawa was treated separately from the mainland. While Japan regained its independence in 1952, Okinawa was occupied by the United States until 1972. Because the United States lacked a clear sense of the purpose or duration of the occupation, the military occupation was very disorganized. Naha, for example, remained a "field of rubble" for years after the war and Okinawa "quickly developed a reputation as an assignment to avoid and became a dumping ground for incompetents" (Sarantakes 28-9). In 1946, the Okinawa Assembly and judicial system were created. The Okinawa Gunto (archipelago) Government and the Government of the Ryukyu Islands (GRI) were established in 1950 and 1953, respectively. But in reality, these structures had little political power and the Okinawan civil administrator could not enact any significant changes without the approval of the U.S. commanding general.

Okinawa gained in importance as a strategic post when the Communist threat in East Asia became more tangible with the Chinese Communist Party victory in 1949. When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, Okinawa served as an important American airbase. Bombing missions by B-29s all flew out of Kadena Air Force Base. Kadena is the largest American base in the Asia-Pacific region today. In addition, atomic bombs for use in Korea were temporarily stored in Okinawa until military strategists realized that they were too close to the Soviet Union and recommended their transfer to Guam (Sarantakes 67). The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 established "residual sovereignty" for Okinawa, while the occupation of Japan ended soon after ratification of the treaty (Sarantakes 59). Residual sovereignty meant that Japan would have legal claim to the islands, whose inhabitants would be Japanese citizens, but the United States would control and administer Okinawa (Sarantakes 58).

The United States began to build permanent military facilities on Okinawa and demanded Japan to give up more agricultural land so the bases could be expanded (Egami 829). In 1951, the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) decided to acquire farmland by lease contracts, but when the landowners resisted, it sent armed troops to forcibly remove farmers from their land. USCAR officials also bulldozed the Okinawans' houses in order to build military facilities. By 1955, the United States occupied about 12.7 percent of Okinawa's land area, of which 44 percent was farmland. On Okinawa, an island with few natural resources, most people relied heavily on farming to earn a living. The USCAR also sponsored an emigration program between 1954 and 1964, during which 3200 Okinawans were sent to Bolivia, lured by the prospect of owning their own land. Once at the settlement site, the emigrants discovered that there was no housing, as they had been promised by USCAR. There was not even drinkable water. In addition, the settlement was located on the flood plain of the Rio Grande, forcing the Okinawan emigrants to flee to a number of settlements until they built Colonia Okinawa, where their descendants still live today (Amemiya, "The Bolivian Connection" 55-60).

During the long, drawn-out discussion of reversion, Okinawa's interests were supposedly represented by Tokyo, which was pro-American because it favored a continuation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty. It was under Prime Minister Sato Eisaku that reversion took place. Although he was committed to returning Okinawa to Japan, Sato personally had no problems with the military bases remaining in Okinawa after reversion (Sarantakes 134). In his meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson, Sato suggested that the United States return all of the Ryukyu Islands except Okinawa. Sato visited Okinawa, making him the first post-war prime minister to visit the island, in an effort to mobilize support for his idea of reversion while preserving the alliance. But organizations such as the Reversion Council, Okinawa Teachers' Association, and Okinawan People's Party were unhappy because they had hoped to use reversion as an opportunity to close the military bases and end the alliance (Sarantakes 137-8). Sato then poured money into Okinawa, increasing economic aid by 40 percent in 1966. This amount was doubled the following year. Japan's aid to Okinawa increased 50 percent in 1968 and another 50 percent in 1969 (Sarantakes 139). Money from Japan surpassed that of the United States, angering Americans, who thought that Tokyo was weaning Okinawa away from the United States and toward Japan.

The onset of the Vietnam War complicated the process of reversion. Beginning in 1965, Okinawa-based B-52 bombers took off from Kadena. The United States found the bases in Okinawa necessary and Johnson wanted Japan to assume more responsibility for its national security (Sarantakes 155). Amidst the unstable international situation, Sato and Johnson reached an agreement that Japan would convey its desire for Okinawa's return "within a few years" while the United States would agree to reversion without a firm commitment to any date (Sarantakes 161). Meanwhile, in Okinawa, the first popular election for chief executive was held on November 11, 1968. Yara Chobyo of the Okinawa Teachers' Association, who advocated immediate reversion, won the election with 53.4 percent of the vote (Sarantakes 163). Richard M. Nixon was elected president during this time. The Nixon Doctrine called for a more multilateral foreign policy that would encourage Asian countries to shoulder greater responsibility for their national defense. Sato and Nixon reached an agreement that Okinawa would be returned in 1972 and the military bases would fall under the framework of the security treaty. It also banned the reintroduction of nuclear weapons on Okinawa (Sarantakes 173). In historian Nicholas E. Sarantakes' words, the reversion process was a "diplomatic triumph for Japan and the United States" because Japan regained Okinawa and the United States maintained the political status quo in East Asia (175). He points out that the primary reason why the United States agreed to return Okinawa was so the security alliance, which it resolutely believed was the basis of regional stability, could be maintained. But Okinawa's problems were not over as long as the military bases remained.

Okinawa Today

Currently, there are 39 bases on Okinawa, representing 75 percent of all American military bases in Japan (see Appendix I). Two-thirds of the 47,000 military personnel in Japan are stationed in Okinawa. But the prefecture comprises only 0.6 percent of Japan's territory, which means that Okinawa bears an extremely unequal share of the burden of the military bases in comparison to the rest of Japan. Apart from Okinawa, 13 other local governments in Japan host military bases. In Okinawa prefecture, the bases comprise 11 percent of the land and about 20 percent of the main island of Okinawa. In addition, the military authorities control 15 airspace areas around Okinawa and 29 sea zones (Itoh 122). Okinawa was once a base-dependent economy, but after reversion, Tokyo implemented the Special Measures Law for Promoting Okinawan Development, which sought to eliminate the economic gap between Okinawa and the mainland and provided infrastructure for independent development (Sasaki 249). By 1997, Tokyo had spent about five trillion yen on Okinawa, mostly on public works. Today, Okinawa is still Japan's poorest prefecture, with 70 percent of the national level of wealth (Johnson, Blowback 40). But the goal of independent development has not been met because the prefectural government is highly dependent on subsidies from Tokyo (Sasaki 249). The focus on economic development has also undermined Okinawa's reformist ideals of pacifism and self-government. Consequently, the central government consistently uses increased financial assistance as bait to subdue irredentist tendencies and extract concessions from Okinawa.

But no matter how much money Tokyo sends to Okinawa, it does not change the fact that Okinawans suffer daily from having so much of their territory occupied by military bases. According to the Okinawan Women Act Against Military Violence Web site, there have been about 47,000 crimes committed by American military personnel since Okinawa's reversion in 1972, but there are many more incidents that go unreported. For example, in 1959, a military airplane crashed into an elementary school, killing 17 children and injuring 121 people. This has been the worst accident to date in terms of the number of victims (Itoh 123). The increased risk of air accidents is partly a result of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) permitting military pilots to fly lower than the legal lowest range in densely populated residential neighborhoods. The SOFA agreements were established under the 1960 U.S.-Japan security treaty. The roaring noise of bombers flying over schools interrupts children's learning and places risks on their health. At Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, for instance, there are 52,000 takeoffs and landings each year. The military airfield is in the middle of Ginowan's neighborhoods (Johnson, Blowback 47). According to Nakasone Fujiko, a retired junior high school math teacher in Okinawa, students in schools around Kadena lose an average of two years during their twelve years of education because of the disruptive noise generated from military aircraft. These students are also more prone to nervousness, headaches, and hearing loss. In addition, results of a three-year study conducted by the Okinawa Prefecture Public Health Association showed that infants born to mothers living in the town of Kadena have the lowest average birth weights of any town in Japan. Kadena Air Base occupies 83 percent of Kadena town, with 14,000 citizens crammed into the rest of the town (Francis 201).

The bases also produce toxic wastes, which trickle into the soil and the sea, causing irreversible consequences for Okinawa's fragile subtropical ecosystem (Itoh 122). The SOFA agreement does not require the United States to return the bases to Japan in the condition they were in at the time they were provided to the United States, or to compensate Japan for not having done so. A 1995 Department of Defense policy requires the removal of any imminent or substantial dangers to health and safety caused by environmental contamination as a result of military operations (Overseas Presence 47). According to an August 1997 letter from the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls were found on the Onna communications site, which had been closed in November 1995. The letter requested the United States to carry out a survey to identify any environmental contamination and clean up bases that are scheduled to be closed. But a report prepared by the General Accounting Office called Overseas Presence: Issues Involved in Reducing the Impact of the U.S. Military Presence on Okinawa, warns that the cleanup could be expensive (47). The United States government has yet to respond to Naha's request. The severest environmental problem was caused when an American military plane discarded a bomb into the sea near Naha in December 1996. In investigating the report, American authorities discovered that Marine jets had fired 1520 depleted uranium bullets at Torishima Range, 62.5 miles off the main island of Okinawa, between December 1995 and January 1996. Although firing depleted uranium bullets is banned in Japan and goes against Pentagon regulations stipulating that they should only be used at specific firing ranges in the United States, American officials notified the Japanese government in January 1997, more than a year after the incident. The Japanese government, in turn, notified Okinawa in February, 25 days after the United States had informed Tokyo (Itoh 123). Upon hitting a target, depleted uranium bullets, each of which contains 147 grams of uranium, react and become uranium oxide, which travels through the air into the human body, possibly resulting in tumors and leukemia (Johnson, Blowback 49-50). Because Tokyo acts as the intermediary between the United States and Okinawa, the people whose welfare is most affected by the American military presence are the last to know about the dangers to their health and safety.

The 1995 Rape Incident: A Watershed

On September 4, 1995, three servicemen at Camp Hansen, Seaman Marcus Gill, Marine Pfc. Rodrico Harp, and Marine Pfc. Kendrick Ledet, randomly grabbed a twelve-year-old Okinawan girl on her way home from a stationery store. Gill and Harp said that they beat the girl violently while Gill duct-taped her mouth, eyes, hands, and legs. In court, Gill confessed to raping the girl, while Harp and Ledet said that they had only abducted and beaten her. Gill said that they had done it "just for fun" (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 116).

By September 8, the Okinawa police had identified the three servicemen from their car rental records and had issued arrest warrants. But the Americans did not turn the perpetrators to the Okinawan officials until September 29. Chalmers Johnson notes that this delay is an example of extraterritoriality, an American invention that was first written into the Treaty of Nanking that ended the Opium War in China. In Japan today, extraterritoriality allows a member of the United States armed forces, including his or her dependents, to be turned over to American consular officials instead of being tried under the law of the country where the crime took place (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 117). Under Article 17, Section 5 of SOFA, if American servicemen or their families commit crimes, "they shall be detained by U.S. authorities until Japanese law enforcement agencies file complaints with the prosecutors' office based on clear suspicion" (qtd. in Ibid.). This gives American officials the right to refuse Japanese investigators' requests to turn over suspects if they are connected to the military. Often, the delays caused by extraterritoriality have been used to send American suspects back to the United States, where they usually disappear, out of reach of Japanese law enforcement authorities (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 118).

In regard to the incident, Admiral Richard C. Macke, commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, said, "I think that [the rape] was absolutely stupid. For the price they paid to rent the car, they could have had a girl" (qtd. in Johnson, Blowback 35). This outrageous comment exposes the institutionalized relationship between sex and the military, which together often result in acts of violence. Chalmers Johnson notes that the incidence of reported rape in the United States is 41 per 100,000 people. At the military bases on Okinawa, the number is 82 per 100,000 people. But many rapes go unreported because of the humiliation of bringing a charge of rape in Okinawan society (Johnson, Blowback 42). "Covering up sexual assault is Pentagon policy," according to The Nation magazine (qtd. in Ibid.). But it is truly alarming how military violence on Okinawa has existed from the very beginning of Japan-U.S. relations. In a chronology compiled by the Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence for distribution at the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995, a sailor who accompanied Commodore Perry when he landed in Okinawa in 1853 raped an Okinawan woman. The chronology also includes acts of prewar and wartime sexual violence committed by Japanese soldiers and postwar American military sexual violence (Francis 197).

During the American occupation of Okinawa, Okinawan women provided sexual labor for military personnel. Most of the women were widows or daughters of families who had little or no source of income in the war-torn economy. This continued throughout the Korean and Vietnam warsespecially during the latter when Okinawa flourished as a "rest-and-recreation" (R&R) facility. In the early 1970s, sex and entertainment generated the most income of all the industries. According to statistics gathered by the Legal Affairs Bureau of the Government of the Ryukyus, the number of full-time prostitutes was 7362 in 1969, but the real figure was probably much higher (Sturdevant and Stoltzfus 252). Today, many Okinawan sexual laborers have been replaced by Filipina women, who are less expensive to maintain than Okinawan women, and are therefore more affordable for military personnel. Where the Filipina women and Okinawans sell their labor is kept separate under the watchful eye of the yakuza (the Japanese "Mafia"). The yakuza are often involved in bringing the Filipina women to Japan as six-month contract workers, who are recruited locally. Many Filipina women apply to work in Japan because the pay is much better than what they could hope to make at home (Sturdevant and Stoltzfus 254-6). The problem of military sexual violence is part and parcel of Japan-U.S. relations.

The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) and Problems Resulting from its Recommendations

The 1995 rape incident was not only a headline-grabbing event in Japan and abroad, but it also set off a chain reaction that challenged the foundation of the relations between Japan and the United States. The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) was established in November 1995 in an effort to address Japanese and Okinawan concerns about the impact of the American military presence on Japan. This was a joint effort by the Japanese and U.S. governments, charged with the purpose of developing recommendations on ways to "realign, consolidate and reduce U.S. facilities and areas, and adjust operational procedures of U.S. forces in Okinawa consistent with their respective obligations under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and other related agreements" ("The SACO Final Report"). The SACO Final Report was approved by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of State and Director-General of the Defense Agency of Japan on December 2, 1996. SACO's recommendations are not binding bilateral agreements, but both Japan and the United States are committed to the conclusions reached by the committee.

The SACO Final Report called for the United States to do four things. First, the United States should return land at eleven bases on Okinawa and replace Futenma Marine Corps Air Station with a sea-based facility. The returns include training areas at Aha and Ginbaru, Yomitan auxiliary airfield, and most of Camp Kuwae. This means that the United States will return about 12,000 acres, or about 21 percent of the total land area used by the American forces (Overseas Presence 26). Second, the United States should change operational procedures, such as terminating artillery live-fire training, parachute drop training, and conditioning hikes on public roads ("The SACO Final Report"). Third, the United States should implement noise reduction initiatives by transferring KC-130 Hercules aircraft and AV-8 Harrier aircraft from Futenma Air Station to Iwakuni Air Base, relocating Navy aircraft and MC-130 operations at Kadena, and limit night flight training operations at Futenma (Ibid.). The important thing to realize is that the proposed "realignments," merely rearrange aircrafts to bases from Okinawa to the mainland, which does not reduce the overall military presence in Japan. Fourth, under the SACO recommendation, the United States plans to implement seven changes in Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreements. These include providing timely reports of local officials of major accidents involving American forces, greater public exposure of Joint Committee agreements, changing the markings on American forces official vehicles, and having military personnel acquire supplemental automobile insurance (Ibid.).

Of all the changes that SACO recommended, the biggest challenge is replacing Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. Futenma is the home base of the First Marine Air Wing, whose central mission is to maintain and operate facilities and provide services for the III Marine Expeditionary Force (Overseas Presence 27). A working group to explore options for replacing Futenma suggested that the air station be moved to Kadena Air Base or Camp Schwab, or build a replacement sea-based facility that would be located offshore of Okinawa island and connected by a causeway or a pier. The SACO Report states that a sea-based facility would be the best option to increase the safety and quality of life of the Okinawans while maintaining the level of American military capabilities (Overseas Presence 29). The chosen location for the "floating heliport," as it became known, was Nago, a seacoast suburb of Henoko, where the Camp Schwab Marine base is located (Johnson, "The Heliport" 218). Japan is supposed to design, build, and pay for this new facility, which will be provided free of rent to the United States Forces of Japan. The floating heliport would cost Japan between $2.4 billion and $4.9 billion and operations costs are expected to be much higher than they are at Futenma. American engineers estimate that the yearly maintenance cost of the new facility would be around $200 million in contrast to $2.8 million for Futenma.

There are three possible designs for the floating heliport: a pontoon-based, pile-supported, or semisubmersible facility. But there are problems with the designs because of the scale of the project. The pontoon-based facility is deemed "at the edge of technical feasibility" and "no floating structure of the size required has ever been built." As for the semisubmersible-type facility, the Department of Defense says that this "relies on technology that does not yet exist" (Overseas Presence 33-6). Any sea-based facility would have to withstand the typhoons that strike within 180 nautical miles of Okinawa a few times every year. Chalmers Johnson comments that a major typhoon would turn "Okinawa's first floating air facility into Okinawa's first underwater air facility, with the greatest sinking of U.S. military assets into the Pacific Ocean since Pearl Harbor" ("The Heliport" 223). Tsunamis, caused by earthquake or volcanic activity, are also a threat (Overseas Presence 47). The floating heliport would have to be heavily anchored to the sea floor and propped by huge seawalls, resulting in substantial damage to Okinawa's coral reefs ("The Heliport" 223). Thus, the sea-based facility replacing Futenma is an extremely risky, costly, unprecedented venture. To date, no concrete plans for construction have been developed.

Governor Masahide Ota at the Helm: A Look at Okinawa-Tokyo Relations

Masahide Ota was elected as governor in 1990 on a platform of reducing the bases on Okinawa. Ota was a retired professor of the University of the Ryukyus who had also studied in the United States for a time. Ota was one of the most popular academics in Okinawa and had participated in the Battle of Okinawa as a student soldier (Egami 838). Ota had published widely on the American and Japanese discrimination against Okinawa (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 119). But Ota faced many difficulties from the beginning of his term as governor. While Ota was reformist, the conservatives held the majority in the Okinawan prefectural assembly. He visited Washington twice to advocate greater awareness of Okinawa's problems associated with hosting the majority of the military bases in Japan (Egami 838).

After the rape incident in September 1995, Ota sought a review of the SOFA, which prevented Japanese police from getting full custody of suspects that had not yet been indicted, thus effectively limiting the police's investigations of the incident. Ota met with Kono Yohei, the Foreign Minister, to persuade the central government to review the SOFA and to take up the issue of the disproportionate number of bases on Okinawa (Eldridge 882). However, the central government rejected the possibility of asking the United States government to revise the SOFA. Ota was angry that Tokyo had refused to consider his appealTokyo could not understand the Okinawans' anger and resentment of hosting the military bases that the rape incident had brought to the fore.

On September 28, Ota declared that he would not cooperate in renewing the leases on land occupied by the bases that were due to expire in the spring of 1996 (Eldridge 882). Much of the land used by the American military is still under legal possession of 31,521 individuals or families that are coerced to lease the land to Tokyo, which then subleases it to the United States without charge. There is also a substantial number of anti-war landlords (hansen jinushi) who have bought one-tsubo (about 3.3 square meters) plots of base land to oppose the military presence (Johnson, Blowback 53). In response to Ota's defiance, then Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi sent Ota a letter demanding his cooperation, which he refused to receive. Murayama then sent a direct order, which Ota again refused, resulting in Murayama launching a court case against Ota for neglecting his administrative duties as governor (Eldridge 884). When Murayama resigned in December 1995, the new prime minister, Hashimoto Ryutaro, continued the legal battle. The Hashimoto government argued that Ota's lack of cooperation made it difficult for Tokyo to fulfill its responsibilities outlined by the 1960 U.S.-Japan security treaty. The Fukuoka High Court, Naha Branch, ruled that Tokyo was correct in claiming that Ota's refusal went against public interest. It also ruled that the laws on the use of land by Tokyo for military bases were constitutional (Eldridge 898).

Ota then appealed to the Supreme Court because of his frustration with the High Court ruling. He focused on the unfairness of Okinawa having to host three-fourths of the military bases in Japan:

For 50 years since the end of the war, my people have been forced to live side by side with military bases and to suffer their enormous impact. This means, without exaggeration, that we have fully cooperated with the Mutual Security Treaty. . . .

The 1972 reversion was a return to the rule of the pacifist Constitution and should have been a great turning point for Okinawa. What my people sincerely wished for at the time of the reversion was a reduction of bases at a rate comparable to that experienced on the mainland (hondo nami), together with the restoration of human rights and the establishment of home rule.

However, today, a quarter of a century after the reversion, the condition of Okinawa has hardly changed. Today, just as before, the extensive bases packed with military functions remain. Incidents, accidents, and pollution on account of the bases keep appearing. This is a far cry from the meaning of reversion my people desired. The Status of Forces Agreement, Article 2, permits military bases to be built in any area of Japan under the authority of the Mutual Security Treatythe so-called "bases anywhere formula." If so, then why should Okinawa alone shoulder the excessive burden? One would be hard put to understand it.

Many people in Okinawa do not wish to transfer their sufferings to others. However, if the Mutual Security Treaty is important for Japan, they believe that responsibility and burdens under the treaty should be assumed by all Japanese citizens. If not, many of my people point out that the outcome is discriminatory and goes counter to [the principle of] equality under the law.

In Okinawa, there are about 1.27 million Japanese nationals. Although this lawsuit [formally] concerns the prime minister's order to the prefectural governor to carry out certain duties, I believe that it implies issues of basic human rights such as constitutionally guaranteed property rights, people's rights to a life in peace, and [the prefectures'] right to home rule. Because of these constitutional issues, all Japanese nationals everywhere should be actively concerned with Okinawa's base issue as one that impinges on their own basic human rights. In that sense, Okinawa's base issue is not peculiar to one local areaOkinawabut is eminently general as Japan's problem with implications for Japan's sovereignty and democracy. Is that not so? ("Governor Ota" 212-3)

Unfortunately, in spite of initial media reports that the Supreme Court had responded favorably to Ota's testimony, in the end, it rejected the appeal with a terse two-sentence statement: "[We] reject and dismiss the appeal. The court expenses shall be borne by the appellant" (Ota, "Governor Ota" 205).

Furthermore, Hashimoto initiated a set of amendments to the 1952 Special Measures Law that transferred all control of land leases for U.S. military bases to the central government (Johnson, Blowback 53; Eldridge 902). This was something that Ota had been afraid of throughout the legal struggle, since the new measure further empowered the central government. After the appeal, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Kato Koichi visited Ota and offered the central government's apologies for not adequately addressing the base issue in the past. Kato brought an economic package that had been hastily put together the day before. It included financial incentives such as the expansion of the free trade zone near Naha's airport, as well as discount in airfares to and from the mainland. Later, Hashimoto offered an additional five billion yen to boost Okinawa's economy. In return, Ota would have to pledge to cooperate with Tokyo on the land lease issue (Eldridge, 900-1). Tokyo's approach of bribing Okinawa on any base-related issue is classic of the relationship between the central and local governments. The local governments, especially Okinawa, are fiscally dependent on the locus of power, which makes economic aid from Tokyo irresistible for governors who need to keep their constituencies on their side.

During Ota's standoff with Tokyo, the Okinawa Prefectural People's Rally was held. Sponsored by 18 major Okinawan citizen and labor organizations, 85,000 people gathered on October 21, 1995, in Ginowan, near Futenma Air Station. The rally centered upon four demands: the reduction of the bases, doing away with crimes committed by military personnel and greater enforcement of discipline, revision of the SOFA as soon as possible, and prompt compensation and apologies to victims of crimes committed by military personnel (Eldridge 883). The rally was attended by representatives of all the central political parties in Okinawa, demonstrating that the demands were in the interest of all Okinawan citizens, regardless of where they stood on the political spectrum.

Most importantly, the rally mobilized the public and raised awareness for the non-binding prefectural referendum that was to be held in Okinawa a year later. This was only the second referendum to be held in all of Japan, even though Japanese citizens have the right to hold a public referendum under the 1947 Constitution (Eldridge 880). The referendum asked, "[How do you feel about] reviewing the Japan-United States Status of Forces Agreement and reducing the American bases in our prefecture?" Eighty-nine percent of participants answered "agree," but only 59.53 percent of voters participated in the referendum. This corresponds to about 53 percent of all eligible voters in Okinawa who agreed with the question on the referendum (Eldridge 879). Despite the low voter turnout, it was a direct challenge to the central government in its policies of national defense and the obligations stipulated by the Japan-U.S. security treaty.

The democratic, constitutional referendum was the only way Okinawa could make its voice heard to the central government as well as the United States. According to Taira Koji, professor emeritus of industrial relations and coeditor of The Ryukyuanist, says the Okinawans' "'irrational' confidence in the constitution has made them a laughing stock among mainland Japanese who, secure in their rights, seldom think about the constitution, or even the Japanese state" (176). In contrast to much of the mainland where the word "democracy" rings hollow, Okinawans are keenly aware that the Constitution can be used as a means to reaffirm what is rightfully theirs, especially in regard to human rights, property rights, citizens' right to a peaceful life, and a prefecture's right to home rule. In 1997, another non-binding referendum was held in Nago, protesting the construction of the floating heliport replacing Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. This referendum had a voter turnout of 80 percent, with 53.8 percent opposing construction (Johnson, "The Heliport" 219-20). In 1998, Ota, who had been governor throughout this turbulent period, lost his bid for a third term to Inamine Keiichi, who was enthusiastically backed by the Liberal Democratic Party (Johnson, "The Heliport" 221).

The Nye Report and the Reassessment of the United States' Role in East Asia

The Clinton administration reversed the previous Bush administration's policy of gradualy reducing American forces in East Asia. The February 1995 East Asian Strategic Review, also known as the Nye Report, stated the United States' "commitment to maintain a stable forward presence in the region, at the existing level of about 100,000 troops, for the foreseeable future" (qtd. in Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 10). The "foreseeable future" meant at least until the year 2015 (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 120). The Nye Initiative, of which the report is a part, is named for Joseph S. Nye, then Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs. It was a reevaluation of the Japan-U.S. bilateral security agreement and defense cooperation. The report begins, "security is like oxygen; you do not tend to notice it until you begin to lose it" (qtd. in Johnson and Keehn). Many Japanese understood this new stance to mean that the Clinton administration would stop pursuing its aggressive trade policy, especially in regard to automobiles, and placing priority on security instead. Some policy analysts argue that the automobile trade negotiators knew that as a result of the Nye Report, the United States had given up its "most important bargaining chip," or the commitment to defend Japan (Johnson, "The Rape Incident" 120). But others contend that the concept behind the Nye Report was for the United States to endorse both trade and security issues simultaneously. A stronger security alliance would actually put the United States in a better position to promote trade issues without neglecting Japan politically (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 12).

On September 4, 1995, the same day as the rape incident, Nye addressed the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ). He said that North Korea and China were the reasons for the continued presence of American forces in Japan. Nye elaborated that 100,000 troops were necessary because of the "clear and present danger" posed by North Korea. Secretary of Defense William Perry later added that the U.S.-Japan security alliance is crucial for deterring China's military expansion. At the FCCJ, Nye gave two more reasons for his recommendation. He said, "The U.S.-Japan alliance is not against a particular adversary but against a situation where countries in the region might feel pushed to arm themselves against each other and against uncertainty, were it not for a stabilizing and reassuring U.S. presence" (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 121, emphasis added). In addition, Nye stated that it costs the United States less to keep troops in Japan than it would to keep them in the United States, alluding to Japan's host nation support, which usually amounts to over four billion dollars a year (Ibid.).

Nye's argument about host nation support points to an often misunderstood aspect of who bears the cost of having the bases in Japan. Under SOFA, Japan is not legally required to pay for the maintenance of the American forces (Johnson, Blowback 54). Shin Kanemaru, then head of the Defense Agency, first created the system of host nation support, or omoiyari yosan.1 In 1978, Japan donated 6.2 billion yen toward the upkeep of American forces and the United States has requested more ever since. Although the United States has bases in 19 countries around the world, Japan is the only one that absorbs the costs of all the local employees of the bases (Johnson, Blowback 55). According to Chalmers Johnson, the total cost of the bases in Japan is about $6.2 billion. In fiscal year 1997, Japan's host nation support totaled around $4.9 billion, which supports the common view that Japan pays for approximately 70 percent of the bases (Overseas Presence 16; Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 125). The host nation support falls into four categories. First, Japan pays for the leased land on which the bases are situated. Second, as outlined by the Special Measures Agreement, Japan pays for the salaries of local employees working on the bases, public utilities for U.S. forces, and the transfer of the training of U.S. forces from bases to other facilities when Japan requests for them to do so. Third, Japan pays for the indirect costs, including rents that are foregone at fair market value and tax concession. Fourth, Japan provides for new facilities, improvements around the bases, and relocation construction (Overseas Presence 16). Chalmers Johnson says that "none of the Japanese funds ever goes into an American account," but a simple calculation hardly suffices the costs of maintaining the military bases in Japan ("The 1995 Rape Incident" 125). If we broaden the definition of cost to include opportunity cost and the immeasurable grievances caused by the military bases, it becomes clear that Japan may be paying more than what the bases are worth in utility and function.

The Nye Initiative also brought about a new National Defense Program Outline (NDPO), which was approved by the Japanese Diet in November 1995. The NDPO was the result of bilateral discussions that called for the streamlining and restructuring of the Self-Defense Forces, such as making the SDF ground forces more mobile to deal with more diverse missions, including international peacekeeping and disaster relief. The NDPO also expanded the range of national defense (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 13).

Japan and the United States originally intended to announce the reaffirmation of their security relationship with a bilateral summit, but this was postponed because of the Okinawa rape incident and the ensuing standoff between Governor Ota and Prime Minister Hashimoto. The summit was finally held in April 1996. Prior to the summit, Hashimoto and President Clinton signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that called for Japan's logistical support for American forces during peacetime in training, peacekeeping operations, joint exercises, and humanitarian missions. The two leaders also decided to review the 1997 Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines, the groundwork for which had been established by the NPDO (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 15). In addition, Japan and the United States accepted the SACO recommendations. The United States pledged to return Futenma Marine Corps Air Station within five to seven years and Japan would replace it with a heliport (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 16).

At the summit itself, Clinton confirmed the presence of 100,000 forward deployed troops in East Asia. Hashimoto approved of the United States' "determination to remain a stable and steadfast presence in the region" and promised to continue Japanese financial contributions to maintain the American forces. The Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security outlined the objectives, including cooperation with China so as to encourage it to play a constructive role in the region, encouragement of Russia's economic and political reforms, continued efforts for the establishment of stability on the Korean peninsula, and eventual development of multilateral regional security cooperation for Northeast Asia similar to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 16). In essence, the Clinton-Hashimoto communiqué restated the status quo, but failed to address security concerns that had remained unanswered for decades. What would Japan's military role be in the context of the security alliance? What does the United States expect Japan's military contribution to be in the next century? Can the bilateral security treaty continue without a fundamental reevaluation of the responsibilities and expectations of both the United States and Japan?

An Outdated Security Strategy

The Nye Report brought about a renewed, vigorous dialogue about Japan-U.S. relations. While some applauded the Pentagon's commitment to a forward presence in East Asia, others criticized the strategy as obsolete, suspended in an outdated Cold War framework. Why were 100,000 forward deployed troops necessary? Why should the United States act as a stabilizing force in East Asia? What were the implications of the continued American military presence in the Asia-Pacific region?

Chalmers Johnson and E. B. Keehn, in "The Pentagon's Ossified Strategy," question the appropriateness of Nye's recommendations in a post-Cold War world. They claim that the 1951 Japan-U.S. security treaty was drawn up when Japan was still recovering from the Second World War. The economic situation in Japan and the rest of East Asia has changed dramatically since then. East Asia's prosperity is an achievement that Johnson and Keehn attribute to its "own invention of state-guided capitalism" that was more effective in preventing the spread of communism than any military role played by the United States. They also argue that America's insistence on a defense commitment in Japan does not encourage democratic development, but rather supports a "reactionary, narrow-minded political leadership" that makes it even more difficult to establish an equal partnership. Johnson and Keehn believe that if Japan is to stay the true "linchpin" of American strategy in Asia, the Japan-U.S. security treaty must be rewritten or dissolved. While much of the current policy analysis of security issues focuses on the expansion of China, the greater threat to the Asia-Pacific region is a United States that does not trust Japan to become a "normal" country that is well-rounded in terms of economic, political, technological, and military power, as opposition leader Ozawa Ichiro envisions. In fact, the United States still cannot decide whether Japan is an enemy or an ally, so the military presence both defends and contains Japan, depending on the interpretation.

Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute also criticizes what he dubs Washington's "smothering" strategy. He claims that the Japan-U.S. security treaty was never mutual in any way. A continuation of the security alliance only encourages Japan to evade military responsibility by "free riding" on the American security guarantee. He worries that the cutback in the number of active duty personnel of the Self-Defense Force and the defense budget signal Japan's heightened reluctance to play a more significant security role. Writing in 1995 about nine months after the Nye Report was released, Carpenter recommends that the United States should withdraw its forces within five years, after which Japan would be expected to be responsible for its own defense. In addition, the United States ought to let Tokyo know that it does not oppose Japan's playing a greater political and military role in East Asia. However, Carpenter does not believe in scrapping the security alliance entirely. He proposes that the United States and Japan should pursue a "new, more limited security relationship" where both countries cooperate where they have common interests. He concludes, "The United States should be the balancer of last resort, not the intervener of first resort, in East Asia's security equation" ("Paternalism and Dependence").

In a Foreign Affairs article in 1998, former prime minister Hosokawa Morihiro points out the perception gap between Americans and Japanese regarding the security alliance. He states, "It is egotistical for Americans to believe that the United States has done Japan a favor by defending it all these years by stationing its forces within the country." He cites a May 1996 public opinion poll conducted by Asahi Shimbun, a liberal daily newspaper, which found that 70 percent of the people favored the security alliance but 67 percent supported a reduction of the number of American military bases. The American ground forces in Japan consist of the marines in Okinawa, one of the islands that was least susceptible to Soviet attack during the Cold War. He also notes that Japan has been responsible for its own air defense since 1959. But, like Carpenter, Hosokawa believes the security alliance should be preserved. For example, even if the United States returns the two naval bases at Sasebo and Yokosuka, it can still have access to Japanese ports and maintain its maritime presence in the Asia-Pacific region. "The U.S. military presence should fade with this century's end," Hosokawa declares. He, like Carpenter, Johnson, and Keehn, recommends that the security alliance needs to be redefined.

Therefore, there are many strong voices for the necessity of the reconsideration of the Japan-U.S. security alliance after the Cold War, as well as a review of the United States' role in East Asia. But in the 1998 United States Security for the East Asia-Pacific Region reiterated the strategies outlined in the Nye Report. The United States intends to maintain a presence of 100,000 military personnel in East Asia. It also claims that 100,000 troops is not a random number. It is equivalent to the capacity of the U.S. Eighth Army and Seventh Air Force in Korea, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Fifth Air Force in Japan, and U.S. Seventh Fleet to achieve "security and stability" in the region. The United States will continue to act as a stabilizing force, promoting peace and stability in the region and detering conflict. Nye, who has returned to teach at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, also defended his report last year. He stated that the Clinton administration, which focused primarily on the liberal concepts of economic interdependence, needed a "healthy dose" of realism, bringing national interest again to the forefront (95). While Nye believes that the number 100,000 should not become a "shibboleth," he argues that it is in the United States' interest to play a stabilizing and reassuring role in East Asia to prevent the rise of "hostile hegemonic states" (102).

What Can Be Done For Okinawa?

Although the realist, Cold War perspective prevails in the Pentagon, it is important to consider what can be done to improve the situation in Okinawa while preserving the security alliance, which the majority of both American and Japanese policy analysts support. As we have seen in the case of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, the relocation of bases is no easy task. The euphemism of "realignment" does not reduce the American military presence on the whole. As of today, nothing has changed. The Futenma Relocation Committee is still contemplating numerous designs and methods of construction, even though there is no guarantee that the floating heliport will be technologically possible. Meanwhile, Okinawa is dormant until the next collision between its people and the American forces.

Mike M. Mochizuki and Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellows at the Brookings Institution, argue that the United States should withdraw the Marines, who comprise about 20,000 of the 29,000 troops in Okinawa. The Marines are ill equipped to make rapid deployments to potential places of conflict such as the Korean Peninsula. The four amphibious vessels homeported at Sasebo can transport only about 3000 troops and their equipment. Taoka Shunji, military correspondent for Asahi Shimbun, says that the United States lacks in-theater sea-lift capability to move other Marine units from Okinawa to regions of conflict. If other Marine or Army units were using the limited amphibious and airlift capacity for an emergency on the Korean Peninsula or the Middle East, most of the Marines in Okinawa would be stranded until the vessels became available (243). Mochizuki and O'Hanlon believe that the Marines are inappropriate for land combat in Asia. Should a conflict erupt in the Spratly Islands, Taiwan, or the sea lanes of the South China Sea, the Navy and Air Force, rather than the Marines, are much suitable to provide the bombers, submarines, fighter aircrafts, and surface warfare ships that would be necessary in such conflicts. They also point out that although basing the III Marine Expeditionary Force on the mainland United States would cost Americans more in maintenance and operations, the money would be spent on the domestic economy. Removing the Marines from Okinawa would significantly reduce the total number of servicemen, which could then alleviate the psychological burden placed on Okinawa as a result of the military presence.

Taoka, in an interview with the Japan Policy Research Institute, disagrees with the Pentagon's logic that maintaining the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa deters North Korea. The U.S. Army's Second Division is deployed at the demilitarized zone and the air capacity of both the American and South Korean forces is "overwhelming" (Taoka 244). A crisis on the Korean Peninsula, in Taoka's words, "implies the clash of million-man armies on each side," in which context one Marine regiment from Okinawa would hardly be useful (Ibid.). He recommends that moving the divisional headquarters of the III Expeditionary Force, one infantry regiment, and one artillery battalion from Okinawa to Hawaii would actually improve the general command and structure of the division. Taoka says that the Governor of Hawaii has reacted positively to such a move and the Governor of Okinawa would be happy to help finance. The measures recommended by Taoka, Mochizuki, and O'Hanlon may appear small, but could mean a lot to Okinawans, who have had to live with the unpleasantness of the military bases since World War II.

Conclusion

The Okinawa problem brings to light how deep the strains are in Okinawa-Tokyo and Tokyo-Washington relations. Okinawa-Washington relations have largely been missing because Tokyo represents the interests of Japan as a whole. It uses a carrot-and-stick approach with Okinawa and other local governmentswith the carrot being economic incentives and the stick being political marginalization. Would Tokyo have allowed the military presence to remain in Japan for so long if the bases were located on more prominent places of the mainland? Probably not, since the mainlanders would not have tolerated it. But Tokyo continues its checkbook diplomacy to buy off Okinawa, keeping out of sight the most unseemly aspect of its relationship with the United States.

It is also surprising and depressing how many things have not changed since World War II and the ensuing Cold War. The United States occupied Okinawa because, as historian Nicholas Evan Sarantakes says, it could not decide whether Japan was a friend or foe (193). The United States decided to keep Okinawa as a forward base against communism and Japanese remilitarization. Fifty-seven years later, the question remains the same. Since no one is able to give a good enough answer, the United States retains its forward presence in Okinawa. Chalmers Johnson, in Blowback, states that life in Okinawa and other "military colonies" is "better than anything most of them could possibly have experienced back home" (64). Life might be good for the overseas military personnel, but when we think of the environmental degradation, sexual violence, noise pollution, and health risks posed by the bases, we cannot help but think that this cannot go on forever. The 1995 rape incident was definitely a wake-up call, but it was disturbing to see that the response of key American and Japanese policymakers was no different than it was before. What would it take for Japan and the United States to breathe new life into their mutual relationship? Only Okinawa, which is most affected by the American military presence, seems to be aware of the need to challenge the status quo vis-à-vis Tokyo and the United States and the now-obsolete security alliance. The 1996 prefecture-wide referendum that asked about whether Japan should review SOFA and reduce the military bases was a constitutional means to assert their human rights. Okinawa might be a relic of the Cold War, but Tokyo and Washington can certainly learn much from listening to the calls from one of the few places in Japan where democracy really exists.

Alchemy

Spring 2003

The act of writing is the act of making soul - alchemy.
Gloria Anzaldua

Contents

Introduction

"Jesus thrown everything off balance:" Religious crises and agents of grace in Flannery O'Connor's short stories
Anna Woodiwiss '02 / Religion

Justifying the tobacco tax
David Kamin '02 / Economics

Interruption of the life cycle of Schistosomiasis parasite using engineered Caulobacter bio-films
Matthew Goldstein '04 / Biology

Close reading of P.B. Shelley's "To Wordsworth"
Pei Pei Liu '04 / English

Suspended in time: Okinawa's continuing struggle
Reiko Teshiba '02 / Political Science

Reflections on representation in women's testimonial literature in Latin America
Andy Shie Kee Wong '02 / Literature

Studying and teaching Whiteness
Jessica Lee '03 / Education

an absent center - a present potential: apocalypse, ending, and the last delta-t of possibility
Christine Smallwood '03 / English

The Moosewood generation (excerpts)
Deborah Bacharach '88



Introduction [top]
Welcome to the first issue of Alchemy, a publication edited by the Writing Associates (WA) Program at Swarthmore College. For more than 15 years, the WA Program has been helping students to develop their writing process. The WA program consists of students who are trained in composition studies and writing conventions in order to help their peers with writing. Each semester over 800 students interact with the WA Program by enrolling in a course that uses course WAs, by bringing a paper to the Writing Center, by attending a workshop on different aspects of the writing process, or by working with a Writing Associate Mentor (WAM) or Thesis WA.

Writing is an integral and valued part of the Swarthmore curriculum. Semester after semester, students are asked to use writing as a tool for learning about and communicating the content of their classes. In addition, students are instructed through Primary Distribution Courses (PDCs) on the demands of successful academic writing as it pertains to a particular discipline. The philosophy of the WA Program is that everyone who writes is involved in an ongoing process that can be improved through suggestions and feedback.

To celebrate over 15 years of working with student writing, the WA program created Alchemy to provide a space where student, faculty, and alumni academic writing could be displayed in one volume. We wanted to provide a new forum for the academic discourse that is produced both at the college and amongst its alumni. After putting out a general call for submissions, the editors met to select strong works that comprised a wide variety of disciplines and writing styles. This volume contains eight essays written for Swarthmore classes by current students and recent graduates. In an effort to demonstrate the continuing importance and pleasure of writing after the college years, we have also included excerpts from a personal essay by an alumnus.

It is our hope to continue what was started in this issue online in an electronic journal. If you have any feedback or suggestions about this publication, please contact us at writing@swarthmore.edu

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jill Gladstein
Director, Writing Associates Program


"Jesus thrown everything off balance:" Religious crises and agents of grace in Flannery O'Connor's short stories
[top]
by Anna Woodiwis '02

Winner of the Jesse H. Holmes Prize in Religion

Flannery O'Connor's short stories are, at first glance, small in scope. They describe a baptism, a trip to Florida, life on a farm. Each of them, however, centers on a moment of crisis and revelation that bears enormous implications for the individual and that is evidence of a sweeping religious vision that O'Connor sees intertwined with the bread and butter of everyday life. Faith for O'Connor is an absolute, totalizing force. One has it or one doesn't, and the transition from one state of belief to another often comes as a shock to the person experiencing it. From her vantage point as a reclusive Catholic in a largely evangelical Protestant, sociable culture, O'Connor crafts a scathing critique of self-righteous, complacent, well-intentioned people, the people who populate most of (white) Southern society. At the same time, she offers a constructive, though disconcerting, idea of the nature of belief. She chooses marginal characters as her representatives and suggests that God does the same. The mere presence of freaks, as she terms them, in people's lives serves to burst the bubble of their self-satisfaction and offers them the chance to view life with newly-opened eyes. The major themes in O'Connor's workcrisis/revelation, the need for true awareness of reality, and the use of children and freaks as Christ figures or agents of redemption in the elaboration of her religious visionpoint to the omnipresence of grace. Her characters cannot escape grace, try though they might.

In O'Connor's literary theology, the attributes and workings of God are incomprehensible to ordinary people. The salvific work that characters like The Misfit, Harry/Bevel, Mr. Guizac, and others perform for themselves and others often occur against their will. Frederick Crews characterized O'Connor's writing as "not finally about salvation, but about doomthe sudden and irremediable realization that there is no exit from being, for better or worse, exactly who one is" (Crews qtd. in McMullen 58). I would argue instead that O'Connor's idea of salvation is "being exactly who one is." Her characters are often shocked into recognizing unpleasant or difficult realities. Grace serves to bring about recognition of things as they are. O'Connor alluded to this when she wrote, "We should not be so prone to ignore how very divisive grace is; we should not so often forget that it cuts with the sword Christ came to bring" (O'Connor qtd. in Muller 100). Freaks, criminals, foreigners and childrenpeople on the margins of societyintroduce crises of grace into everyday life and provide those around them with the opportunity to recognize the presence of something Other than themselves.

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find," one of O'Connor's best-known works, describes a family on a trip to Florida and their encounter with an escaped criminal called The Misfit. The family members are a normal, instantly recognizable group of charactersthe loud, fussy kids; the over-worked mother with a baby; the sullen, distant father; and the nostalgic, interfering grandmother. Their lives seem insular, but no more than ours. They are jolted out of their everyday existence, however, when, after an accident caused by the grandmother and her cat, they encounter the Misfit and his henchmen. The criminals threaten their lives, but they are oddly courteous and friendly while doing sofar from the monsters portrayed earlier in a newspaper story. The Misfit creates a dual crisis for them: the physical crisis of survival and a spiritual crisis for the grandmother, as she pleads with the Misfit to spare their lives and change his ways. She tells him that she knows he's a good man at heart "I can just look at you and tell" (128). While she is saying this in a desperate attempt to save herself, her words force her to pay attention to the Misfit as a person, not just as a stereotype of a hardened criminal on the loose. She urges him to pray, saying that Jesus would help him, to which the Misfit responds that he doesn't want any help.

The Misfit then launches into an extraordinary monologue about Jesus. He says that Jesus threw everything off balance and that, except for the proof against him, his case is the same as Jesus'. He had said earlier that he was the kind of child who had to know everything, and he explains that not being able to know whether Jesus did what people claim for him has made him (the Misfit) like he is. The message of Jesus is portrayed here as one that requires absolute devotion or absolute rejection. The desire of the Misfit to know everything and his inability to confirm or deny Jesus' story has created an intractable dilemma that consumes him. He is on the verge of tears when the grandmother, through the miasma of fear that consumes her, experiences a moment of clarity and revelation. "Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children," she says (132). This strange acceptance is too much for the Misfit to take and he recoils and shoots her.

The grandmother's acceptance of someone so different from her is wrenched out of her by extraordinary circumstances, and she is only partly conscious or rational as she expresses it. It forms the climax of the story and is the culmination of the interchange between the grandmother and the Misfit. This interchange incorporates all the themes of crisis, the need for perception, and the freak as teacher. The Misfit, in a sense, is the good man that's hard to find and an instrument of clarity, even as he is also a murderer. The grandmother's death is an example of another O'Connor trademark: the dramatic and irreversible consequences of revelation.

In the religious drama within the story, the Misfit acts as both Christ and anti-Christ figure. He compares himself to Christ, saying, "It was the same case with Him as me, except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me" (131). Even though the Misfit cannot dedicate himself to either path, he recognizes that there are really only two alternatives in life: belief and disbelief. Inattention and indifference to faith, the position held by most of the characters in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and many in O'Connor's other stories, are unacceptable and ultimately untenable responses. The Misfit has named himself aptlyhe believes and yet cannot accept the message of Jesus. Gilbert Muller suggests that since the Misfit finds himself unable to attach his loyalties to an overriding ethical or theological position, he finds his consolation only in amoral acts of violence (85). The inability of the Misfit to live by a faith he believes to be true makes him a surprising vehicle for grace. There can be no question, however, of O'Connor's intent. The Misfit and his gun create a moment of redemption for the grandmother, albeit against her will. Despite his amorality, his actions extract from her a recognition born out of compassion, one that invites, simultaneously, her salvation and her destruction.

"The Lame Shall Enter First" is a story illustrating the dictum that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sheppard, the main character, is a man involved in local government and in counseling youths at the nearby detention center. He is very intent on rehabilitating the young people he meets, especially a troubled boy named Rufus Johnson. Sheppard sees this work as his special mission, and he is confident of his success. His wife died a year previously and his only son, Norton, is still distraught. Sheppard refuses to recognize this, however, and constantly criticizes Norton as being stupid, selfish, and overly dramatic in his grief. Rufus comes to live with them after he is released and it is soon clear that he is a challenge to all that Sheppard believes in. Although Sheppard persuades himself that Rufus is actually touched by his charity and simply too defensive to show it, the reader sees that Rufus is mortally insulted by charity and by Sheppard's condescension. Joyce Carol Oates suggests that Sheppard stuffs himself with what he believes to be good works in order to disguise the terrifying fact of his own emptiness (165). Sheppard, who thinks of himself and his methods as bringing light and reason into Rufus' world, is blind to Rufus' resentment. Sheppard continually places Rufus above his own son, making comments in Norton's presence about his selfishness and asking Rufus to help Norton with this problem.

One day, Rufus starts talking about heaven and hell and Norton is fascinated. He has not been able to accept the agnostic platitudes his father uses in reference to his mother's death and Rufus' belief in concrete afterworlds heartens him. Rufus starts to encourage Norton, reading the Bible with him and looking through a telescope with him. He acts as an iconoclast for all of Sheppard's truisms and he refuses to be altered in the slightest. The night that Sheppard finally kicks Rufus out, he sees Norton standing at the telescope. Norton has spoken of wanting to be an astronaut and he tells his father excitedly that he sees his mother through the telescope. Rather than listening, Sheppard continues to be consumed by thoughts of Rufus and tells Norton to go to bed. Rufus returns, arrested by the police and in talking to them, Sheppard finally experiences his moment of revelation. He says self-righteously, "I did more for him than I did for my own child" (480). After the door closes, his words ring in his ears. O'Connor describes his transformation:

His heart constricted with a repulsion for himself so clear and intense that he gasped for breath. He had stuffed his own emptiness with good works like a glutton. He had ignored his own child to feed his vision of himselfA rush of agonized love for the child rushed over him like a transfusion of life. The little boy's face appeared to him transformed; the image of his salvation; all light. (481-82).

Sheppard runs up the stairs to apologize to Norton, but the "image of his salvation" has hung himself, an act O'Connor calls his "flight into space" (482). Sheppard, an agnostic who has set himself up as his own Christ, is simultaneously redeemed and shattered.

O'Connor here reiterates her theme of revelation and redemption coming too late. Norton hangs himself out of desperation and love for his mother and Sheppard runs to his son out of the same emotions. His refusal for so long to see Rufus and Norton as they are, not as he wants them to be, has doomed him to live without either of them. Like the Misfit, Rufus is certainly no angelic messenger. He brings all kinds of disruption and disturbance into Sheppard's and Norton's lives. Both the Misfit and Rufus cannot accept the traditional virtues of Christianity, but neither can they escape its power. Rufus says of the Bible (and one could imagine the Misfit concurring), "Even if I didn't believe it, it would still be true" (477). Curiously, though, he (again like the Misfit) serves as a conduit for gracea fierce grace, perhaps, but still grace. Rufus's words bring a kind of pitiless consolation to Norton and he proves instrumental to Sheppard's full realization of suffering (McMullen 111). O'Connor may not see revelation as a glorious or positive experience, but she argues, through her stories, that it is necessary. Although her characters may not agree, she considers it better to live with suffering and be aware of it than to walk blindly and smugly through life. Her readers are left with no resolution to Sheppard's crisis, suggesting that the crisis itself provides all the meaning and lesson necessary.

"A Temple of the Holy Ghost" echoes similar themes of awareness and of a messenger from outside. Its protagonist is a child, however, and the story lacks a clear moment of crisis that appears in conjunction with adult characters. The child, unlike Sheppard and the grandmother, is fascinated by religion. She doesn't necessarily like saying her prayers, but she listens closely to the folk hymns and Latin anthems that her cousins and their backcountry guests sing, even as she scorns their company. The child imagines martyrdom at bedtime, gleefully rehearsing her mauling by lions in a great arena. She ponders being a saint, but decides she is too sinful, even though to the reader, her sins are far from mortal faults.

When her cousins come back from the fair, they tell her about a freak that was "a man and a woman both" (245). She's curious and tries to puzzle out how such a thing could be. As she falls asleep, the story of the freak mingles in her imagination with a story told earlier that day about a nun calling the body "a temple of the Holy Ghost." In her dream/vision, the girl sees the freak walking back and forth and preaching, as if in a worship service, claiming that God made it that way and that it, like the people watching it, was a temple of the Holy Ghost. The next day, the child accompanies her cousins back to their Catholic school and stays there for Mass. During the Mass, her thoughts drift for a while and then she begins to pray rather mechanically, no doubt as her mother taught her. At the climax of the Mass, however, when the priest raises the Host in the monstrance, she envisions the freak in his place, saying, "I don't dispute it. This is the way He wanted me to be" (248).

Marshall Gentry draws an illuminating parallel between the child's vision of the hermaphrodite as priest and the benediction hymn her cousins sang, a line of which runs, in English, "Types and shadows have their ending/ Newer rites of grace prevail" (Gentry 66). The hermaphrodite's speech is a new ritual, enlarging and perhaps supplanting the more rigid forms of worship and religious life. While O'Connor juxtaposes the freak with the priest, she does not do so in order to generate irony between the freak as freak and someone's lofty concept of it as a temple of the Holy Ghost (Oates 146). The hermaphrodite in all its freakishness simply is a temple of the Holy Ghost and as such, it causes those who see it (and those who read about it) to revisit their definitions of what is beautiful or loved by God and society. The child sees the connection that many adults have missed: that the freak, in all its grotesque splendor, is bound up with a deeper spiritual order of suffering, acceptance of reality, and strange grace. Ironically, the child learns on her way home that preachers have inspected the carnival (because, one assumes, of the hermaphrodite) and ordered it to be shut down.

"A Temple of the Holy Ghost" elaborates O'Connor's understanding of faith and of institutional religion much more fully than the other stories. Here, the freak is not only God's unlikely messenger, but it is directly identified with God's ordained servants. This pairing can be seen as both an indictment of organized religion's self-importance and an affirmation of God's own affirmation of all creation. Although they are only mentioned in the last paragraphs, the reader sees again the self-righteous ordinary Christians demonstrating their inability to understand what they profess to believe. The preachers shut down the carnival, no doubt on charges of displaying sexual perversion, even as the child understands that all people are temples of the Holy Ghost.

O'Connor's marginal characters often act as agents of grace, and sometimes as representatives of faith, but she also creates characters that are clearly intended to point to Christ. In "The Displaced Person," she links Mr. Guizac, the immigrant Pole, and the farm's peacock with each other and with images of Christ. The peacock appears in the first sentence of the story and the characters' attitudes toward it parallel their attitudes toward Guizac. When Mrs. McIntyre complains about the displaced person to his sponsor Father Flynn, the old priest looks at the peacock spread its tale and murmurs about the Transfiguration. Mrs. McIntyre complains that Mr. Guizac did not have to come in the first place; the priest, still watching the bird, answers, "He came to redeem us" (226). Guizac, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe, offers the farm inhabitants the chance to make up for their lack of interest in the mass murders occurring there. He gives them the opportunity to break out of their insular, petty lives and recognize the needs of the world outside of the farm. The peacock is a source of sheer beauty, one that is nevertheless rejected by the farm people as loud and obnoxious. Muller suggests that Guizac represents the historical suffering Christ, while the peacock implies a Christ transcendent and divine (110).

"The Displaced Person" lacks the single crisis moment of some of O'Connor's other stories. Rather, the fact of Mr. Guizac's mostly silent presence serves as a constant chance for awareness, one that Mrs. McIntyre and the others consistently reject, even to the point of colluding in killing him with a tractor. There may be no crisis moment, but Mrs. McIntyre does at one point clearly deny the possible revelation that Mr. Guizac offers. Father Flynn is talking to her about matters of faith and begins discussing Christ when she cuts in.

"Father Flynn!" she said in a voice that made him jump. "I want to talk to you about something serious!" The skin under the old man's right eye flinched. "As far as I'm concerned," she said and glared at him fiercely, "Christ was just another D.P." (229).

Dismissing the conjoined identities of Christ and Guizac prepares Mrs. McIntyre for her tacit approval of the displaced person's murder. Unlike in "The Lame Shall Enter First" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find," O'Connor lingers on the after-effects of the religious crisis in her characters' lives. Once Guizac's death is perpetrated, the world loses its formerly sharp outlines and is translated into something amorphous and terrifying for those who assumed complicity in his murder (Muller 86). If the displaced person's death achieves any redemption, it is a negative oneone that requires the destruction of the farm and the purgatorial suffering of its owner. Although O'Connor makes her message clearit is dangerous and destructive to refuse grace in othersshe ends the story with the vignette of the gentle priest explaining to the bedridden Mrs. McIntyre the doctrines of the Church, indicating that a second chance for conversion may arise.

O'Connor chooses freaks and other marginal people to be her messengers, and she writes about them and about children as people who are fully aware of who and what they are, and who possess a dynamic, if mysterious, faith.1 Her child characters, the girl in "A Temple of the Holy Ghost," Bevel/Harry in "The River," Norton and to some extent Rufus in "The Lame Shall Enter First," are able to accept faith and its totalizing power without fear and without feeling the need to shape it to their comfort. For these children, acceptance of faith sometimes brings dreadful consequences. Bevel/Harry drowns himself looking for the Kingdom of Christ in the river and Norton hangs himself in an attempt to reach his mother in heaven or space. As terrible as these endings seem to adult readers, O'Connor suggests the children are rewarded for their faith and given what they seek, even as those around them are shocked into a kind of conversion. Mrs. Turpin's cry to God in "Revelation" voices what almost all adult characters feel: "Who do you think you are?" (507). The children do not ask this. They know who God is, they recognize God's messengers and if they do not understand, at least they have no fear of the uncomfortable answers that may lie at the end of their search. The child protagonists do not always understand the workings of grace, but somehow they manage to penetrate it at the end of their journeys, perhaps because they learn to accept the interrelatedness of the temporal and the spiritual and to recognize grace's presence (Muller 60).

Flannery O'Connor's argument for openness to difference, to surprise, and to reality is eloquent, if disturbing. It is easy to read her religious vision as entirely negative, calculated only to unsettle her presumably very settled readers. This view is overly simplistic. Throughout her stories, O'Connor affirms the need for crises and revelation, the value of the cast-offs of society. She does not guarantee happy endingsfar from itbut she insists that it is better to be aware of suffering than to live in a daydream. When she writes about freaks and other marginal people, Christ's lesson about feeding, clothing, and welcoming him through feeding, clothing and welcoming those in need is echoed. Her use of a child's faith as a model for adults references the gospels directly, in which Jesus tells his followers that they must have faith like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only her child characters receive that reward. O'Connor's depiction of faith may be frightening, but with a close reading, one realizes that it is deeply grounded in the everyday, familiar words of the Bible. Her writing forces us to read those words with new eyes. Jesus may have "thown everything off balance," but O'Connor tells us that what we call balance is nothing but blindness and denial. The strange, incomprehensible grace that Christ and his messengers offer forms the path to true salvation, even though it may shatter all our ideals and expectations along the way.

Anna Woodiwiss was a religion and political science double major at Swarthmore College. She currently lives in DC and is looking for jobs in the House of Representatives, having just finished a stint as deputy finance director for a Florida congressional campaign. She looks forward to attending graduate school in a few years and plans to study international human rights and humanitarian crises from religious and political/legal angles.

Her approach to writing varies depending on how interested she is in the subject, and how long she's procrastinated before starting. She says, "If I'm really interested in the subject, time flies, and the words all come out right. I enjoy playing with words, and I often take as much pleasure in the turn of a phrase as in the construction of an argument. I do think it's important to leave yourself enough time to sink into the actual writing of the paper. All the preparation is worthwhile when I can sit down and just write for hours. I love that."

Note

1 For further examples of freaks/outsiders as messengers, see "The Displaced Person," "Revelation," and "The River." Also, Rufus' line to Norton about where he'd end up if he died"Right now you'd go where she is, but if you lived long enough, you'd go to hell (p. 462)"is in keeping with O'Connor's theme of children as not yet blind in their faith.

References

Gentry, Marshall Bruce. Flannery O'Connor's Religion of the Grotesque. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. 1986.

McMullen, Joanne Halleran. Writing Against God: Language as Message in the Literature of Flannery O'Connor. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. 1996.

Muller, Gilbert H. Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. 1972.

O'Connor, Flannery. The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. 1971.

Oates, Joyce Carol. New Heaven, New Earth: The Visionary Experience in Literature. New York: The Vanguard Press. 1974.


Justifying the Tobacco Tax
[top]
by David Kamin '02

This paper was written for Professor Bernard Saffran's Economics 141: Public Finance.

Introduction

Almost as long as there has been a tobacco trade, there has been a tobacco tax.1 Soon after Columbus introduced tobacco to Europe, governments realized the benefit that the weed could yield to their treasuries, and, hence, the tobacco tax was born (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 237-238). Long designed only as a government revenue-maker, the tobacco tax has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last twenty years. As the health risks of smoking became increasingly apparent and as the cigarette companies lost their chokehold on political power, this excise tax came to be a tool for public health initiatives. The per unit tax rates on cigarettes were driven down by inflation in the 1970's and early 80's, but the rates began to recover in the early 90's, as federal, state, and local governments drove-up duties purportedly in response to the public health concerns (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 256). Currently, the per-pack federal tax rate stands at $0.39, while, as of 2000, the average state per-pack tax was also $0.39, and further large increases remain under serious consideration (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company). This rise in rates has been met with heated debate. On the one hand, detractors depict the tax as nothing more than a vast government windfall, generating inefficiency, burdening the poor, and imposing on the individual. Supporters, on the other hand, argue that the increased taxes can save millions of dollars and thousands of lives per year, while improving both individual and social welfare.

In this paper, I intend to cut through the rhetoric of the tobacco wars, evaluating the tobacco tax in light of the rules of economic efficiency and widely accepted social values. First, I demonstrate that an individual's decision to smoke is potentially rational and utility maximizing. Given that most smokers fall into the habit as adolescents, I next argue that this potential for rational decision-making is rarely realized due to a failure in the individual decision-making process. In particular, adolescents are both ignorant and myopic, and they, therefore, tend to impose exorbitant costs on their future selves. The paper then turns its attention to the elasticity of demand in the tobacco market, concluding that it is relatively inelastic for adults and elastic for children, which makes the tobacco tax a particularly effective and efficient correction for overly exuberant youth tobacco consumption. Next, the paper evaluates the popular notion that smoking imposes negative externalities on society, determining that this justification for the tobacco tax is a faulty one. Finally, I consider the tax's potential benefit as an efficient source of government revenue, as well as its potential detriments, discussing the feared consequences for equity and individual autonomy. Weighing this analysis, I conclude that the benefits of the tobacco tax exceed the costs. While not flawless, the tobacco tax is justified ­ dually justified as a correction on a market that does not adequately account for the risks of smoking and justified as an efficient source of government revenue.

Finding the Sense in Smoking

Until recent years, smoking and other addictive behaviors were assumed to be perfectly irrational. Instead of being guided by utility maximization, drug use, it was believed, came as the result of an uncalculating urge that would violate fundamental economic laws. The behavior was seen as independent of costs and benefits ­ independent even of price. By the late 1970's, economists had grown increasingly dissatisfied with this interpretation of drug demand, as it was inconsistent with the canonical utility maximization and, moreover, precluded any rigorous analysis of the cigarette market (Chaloupka, Tauras, et al. 107).

First, it is important to define the characteristics of tobacco addiction. Cigarette use is distinguished as an addictive behavior by two key factors ­ reinforcement and withdrawal. Reinforcement is a learned response to consumption, leading smokers to grow dependent on the rewards of tobacco use. For cigarettes, positive reinforcement comes in the form of both the pharmacological effects associated with nicotine and also the psychological benefits of lighting up. Moreover, tobacco users are influenced by negative reinforcement. They smoke to avoid negative stimuli such as stress or weight gain. Withdrawal is an extreme physical and psychological form of negative reinforcement, as a smoker's body and mind react adversely to the cessation or reduction of cigarette consumption. The symptoms often include irritability, anxiety, and increased blood pressure. Given that the levels of reinforcement and withdrawal are a function of total consumption over time, past consumption comes to affect the utility of smoking today, and the decision to smoke today comes to affect the utility of smoking tomorrow (Chaloupka, Tauras, et al. 110).

To integrate addiction into a rational framework, many economists have come to rely on the life-cycle model ­ a model that links past, present, and future consumption choices. In this model, a fully informed, rational smoker calculates the future addiction implications of current behavior. This smoker understands that as she builds a stock of cigarette consumption, she reinforces her tobacco habit, thereby threatening to impose a large future transition cost on herself. Taking into account both this transition cost and the net benefits of smoking, the rational smoker decides on a level of cigarette consumption that maximizes utility over her entire lifetime. In other words, tobacco use can be a rational and utility maximizing behavior, although it is also addictive.

Given this potential for rational decision-making, the values of a liberal, market-based system dictate that the consumer should be seen as the best judge of his own self-interest. Government second-guessing of potentially rational individual decision-making is believed to raise the specter of an all encroaching government ­ a government that would tend to limit liberty and that, on the whole, would less effectively protect the individual's self-interest than the individual himself. In the case of cigarettes, this principle implies that, so long as the benefits and costs of tobacco use are fully internalized by the consumers and producers, the government should steer clear of intervening in individual decision-making. Yet, there is a key exception to this principle of consumer autonomy ­ the case of children. It is widely understood that children are often not competent ­ both because of a general lack of knowledge and of judgment ­ to properly evaluate their own self-interest. This point is particularly pertinent to the case of tobacco.

Irrational Exuberance: Teenagers' Failure to Assess the Risks of Cigarettes

Over 90% of smokers in the U.S. start smoking in their teenage years (Gajalakshmi, et al. 19). These are years in which tobacco-users tend to be misinformed about the risk of addiction and, moreover, to discount future costs at exorbitant rates. This leads to an irrational exuberance for smoking ­ an irrational exuberance that costs smokers dearly later in life and that potentially justifies government intervention in the tobacco market.

Young smokers tend to be misinformed about addiction, having unrealistic notions about their ability to break the cigarette habit. A 1994 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study of teen smokers found that 55% of past month smokers and 45% of daily smokers predict that they probably would not, or definitely would not, be smoking in five years. Yet, in a longitudinal follow-up study five years later, the researchers found that, typically, the teen smokers had maintained or increased their quantity consumed (Kenkel and Chen 193). Some suggest that teens' ignorance may be a function of lack of personal experience. Adults may only come to understand addiction from having observed the effects of the addictive good on others as well as perhaps themselves. Teens, on the other hand, do not have the benefit of this understanding (Chaloupka, Tauras, et al. 120).

Rationality in the cigarette market not only necessitates that consumers understand addiction, but it also requires that the consumers reasonably care about the future. If consumers are too myopic, they will place an exorbitantly high discount rate on the long-term costs of smoking. This will unreasonably reduce the apparent cost of addiction, as well as the costs of the long-term health effects.

Evidence suggests that teenagers tend to discount at exorbitant rates. In constructing models of human development, researchers have found that children are more myopic than adults. Adolescents tend to ignore their futures, and this shortsightedness is reflected in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finding that seven out of ten adult smokers regret their choice to start smoking (Jha, et al. 158). So, when teenagers begin lighting up, they may suspect that smoking will lead to future costs, but the young smokers fail to properly internalize those costs in their decisions. They short-sightedly impose these expenses on their future selves ­ expenses that, as adults, they come to regret.

Teenagers' ignorance about the addictiveness of cigarettes in combination with their lack of judgement leads to a failure in the cigarette market. Adolescents' demand schedule for cigarettes does not reflect the true marginal private benefit of consumption. It fails to properly account for costs that will be imposed on smokers in the future. Children are being duped, as they consume a product that is more harmful than they realize, and this justifies some form of government intervention.

Saving the Day: Taxation to Correct the Cigarette Market

Although intervention need not be in the form of a tax, other methods do not appear to be particularly effective. The sale of tobacco to minors is already illegal in every state in the nation, but, as economists Frank Chaloupka and Michael Grossman reported in a 1996 study, these minimum-age-at-sale laws have had little impact on the supply of tobacco to minors (Woolery, et al. 278). Education is another option that has often been tried, but its efficacy is dubious. Even if anti-drug classes managed to fully inform students about the dangers of smoking, teenagers would still be myopic and would not be able to properly integrate such information into their decision-making. This leaves us with the possibility of taxing cigarettes. Admittedly, taxation is a rather blunt tool with which to affect teen cigarette use, since adult consumers must also pay the tax. Yet, in analyzing the elasticities of demand, one finds that the tobacco tax is particularly effective and efficient.

Primarily due to the impact of addiction, the market for cigarettes can be considered segmented ­ segmented into the market for teenagers and the market for adults. In the short run, there is a significant gap between the elasticities for adults and for minors. One study concluded that teenagers are up to three times more sensitive to price than adults, with estimates of teenagers' elasticity running from ­0.58 all the way up to ­1.31 (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 252). Unlike adults, teenagers are not constrained by past consumption. Having just begun smoking, most are not yet addicted, and so teenagers' demand adjusts more dramatically to changes in the current price level. This is in contrast to the adult market ­ a market almost universally composed of addicts. Adults' current consumption is not only a function of the price today; it is also a function of the price yesterday. Moreover, adult demand is further insulated from changes in price by adults' relatively large disposable incomes. Since an adult is likely to spend a smaller percentage of disposable income on cigarettes than a teenager, the adult's demand curve is all the more inelastic (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 252).

An increase in cigarettes' price would therefore substantially decrease teen cigarette demand, while having a much smaller impact on adult consumption. One could not ask for a better effect. As the demand curve for teenagers is relatively elastic, a tax increase reflecting the costs which teenagers irrationally impose on their future selves would substantially increase the market's efficiency. This efficiency would come at the expense of consumer surplus in the adult market, since the tax would also affect assumedly rational adult cigarette consumers. Yet, leading health economists have concluded that, since adult demand is relatively inelastic compared to teenage demand, "the benefits from the large reduction in youth tobacco use resulting from a tax increase would be substantially larger than the losses incurred by adult tobacco users" (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 265).

The tobacco tax is therefore justified as a correction for teenagers' irrationally exuberant consumption. Still, there is another argument for the tobacco tax that is even more widely accepted. The tax is often mentioned as a Pigouvian-style means of addressing negative externalities. Yet, when rigorously evaluated, this particular justification for the tax proves to be a faulty one.

Evaluating the External Costs and Benefits of Smoking

An externality is either a cost or benefit that a transaction imposes on those not involved and that is not mediated through market prices. The most often cited tobacco externalities are physical (related to second-hand smoke) and financial (related to the costs of healthcare, sick leave, etc.). Yet, the negative physical externalities of second-hand smoke tend to be ambiguous and easily corrected through less invasive measures than taxation, while the net financial externality of tobacco use is very close to zero.

The physical externalities resulting from second-hand smoke can be divided into two categories ­ the adverse health effects and the nuisance of breathing second-hand smoke. In terms of the adverse health impact, it is difficult to differentiate between the external and internalized costs. Environmental tobacco smoke only affects the health of those who are chronically exposed, and most of those chronically affected are smokers' family members. Since the economic decision-making unit is often considered to be the family, the smoker may take into account the total health risks of second-hand smoke. The same may be said for babies' health problems due to exposure to nicotine during pregnancy. The mother may internalize these extra health care costs in her own decision-making (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 261). Since the health care impact of second-hand smoke may, to a great extent, be internalized, this externality is amorphous and, in all likelihood, small ­ certainly not justifying significant intervention in the market.

Second-hand cigarette smoke is also a nuisance to non-smokers in terms of its odors and physical irritation, but even this does not point towards the remedy of taxation (Jha, et al. 159). The nuisance of second-hand smoke is clearly a negative externality, which leads some to argue for a Pigouvian tax. Yet, interventions in the market should, as much as possible, focus narrowly on the problem at hand. To correct for the nuisance factor, there would seem to be far more effective and far less intrusive corrections than a tax. The trend among states and localities to limit smoking in public areas represents the most appropriate course of action. A Pigouvian tax, on the other hand, simply seems to be too blunt a tool.

The negative financial externalities that smokers impose on society are also frequently cited as another justification for upping the price of tobacco. These negative financial externalities are both clearly apparent and readily calculated. Smokers impose a large external health care cost. This external cost is the portion of the total health care bill due to cigarette use for which smokers do not pay. As private health insurance fails to perfectly discriminate between smokers and non-smokers, the costs are passed on through universally higher premiums. Similarly, group life-insurance premiums also tend to rise, pushed up by smokers' relatively early deaths. External costs are not only passed along through private insurance plans but also through public insurance plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid, that bear part of the brunt of smoking-related illness. The labor market is also negatively affected, as smokers tend to take more days of sick leave. Indirectly, smokers' poor health has an adverse effect on government revenues, as the smoking-related deaths of productive workers cut into tax proceeds. The size of these negative externalities per pack of cigarettes in the U.S., as calculated by the economist W. Kip Viscusi, can be found in a table in the appendix. The externalities are calculated for the two different discount rates of 3% and 5% (Viscusi 74).

Contrary to popular notion, these large negative externalities are counterbalanced by smoking's positive externalities. Cigarette use, by cutting down smokers' life spans, does save society on certain large expenses ­ expenses related to elderly care and living. The primary savings are found in public and private pension plans. Many smokers contribute to pension plans such as Social Security until around retirement age and then die before they can claim a substantial portion of their benefits (Jha, et al. 161). As the required pension contributions are not lower for smokers, the savings are passed on to the rest of society. Cigarettes also lower the nursing home care costs paid by Medicaid, as smokers spend less time in long-term care. The positive externalities per pack of cigarettes, as calculated by Viscusi, are also shown in a table in the appendix (Jha, et al. 161).

Viscusi calculates the net financial externality from smoking to be close to zero. At the lower discount rate of 3%, there is a positive externality of $0.32 per pack, while at the 5% discount rate, there is a negative externality of $0.27. As the external costs tend to come earlier (during the smoker's lifetime) and the external benefits later (after the smoker has died), the higher discount rate simply lowers the value of the external benefits relative to the external costs. Assuming that the true discount rate lies somewhere between 3% and 5%, the present values of the external financial benefits and costs are very nearly equal.

Although the tobacco tax is justified as a correction on an inefficient market, its purpose should not be seen as addressing the harm that smokers impose on others. Instead, the tobacco tax should be regarded as a tool to minimize the unforeseen and unintended costs that adolescent smokers impose on their future selves. As described below, the tax can also be seen in another light ­ as a relatively efficient source of government revenue.

The Revenues

As it has for nearly five hundred years, the tobacco tax continues to provide healthy revenue streams to the government with relatively little welfare loss. The Ramsey Rule dictates that, to maximize the efficiency of consumption taxation, the level of taxes imposed on a good should be inversely related to the price-elasticity of demand. Especially in the short run, the demand for cigarettes is relatively inelastic as compared to other products, and so, under the Ramsey rule, tobacco should be subject to a relatively high tax rate. Although the duty dissuades tobacco use among parts of the population, the overall elasticity is such that the tobacco tax still yields respectable government revenues ­ approximately $12 billion per year over the last decade ­ with relatively little welfare loss (Jha, et al. 161; Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 254).

Although the tobacco tax is a drop in the bucket in terms of total U.S. government revenues (composing only 0.41%), the tax is essential to the specific programs for which it is often earmarked. Increasingly, state and local governments have set aside tobacco funds for specific uses (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 255). In such states as California, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Oregon, tobacco tax funds are funneled towards tobacco-related education, counter-advertising, and health care for the underinsured. Although the tobacco tax revenues may not be fiscally substantial, they make such programs politically feasible, and, thereby, the tax on cigarettes has real impact on public policy.

Weighing the Tax's Potential Detriments

While the tobacco tax efficiently raises government revenues and protects children from the overuse of tobacco, the tax is not without its potential detriments. The tax, as discussed below, violates the principles of vertical and horizontal equity and, according to some, represents an affront to consumer autonomy. Still, I conclude that the tobacco tax is a justified public policy measure ­ that the benefits of raising revenues and protecting children outweigh the tax's negative impact.

Vertical equity suggests that individuals with the greatest ability to pay should be taxed more heavily, but the duty on cigarettes is a severely regressive tax that undermines this principle (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 257). The cigarette tax, like many forms of sales tax, is regressive in percentage terms, as lower income individuals devote a higher percentage of their income to paying the tobacco tax than do higher income individuals. Moreover, the tobacco tax is even regressive in absolute terms, and this is unique ­ that lower income individuals actually pay more tobacco taxes per capita than those with higher incomes. This phenomenon results from the inverse correlation between income and education, on the one hand, and smoking, on the other. As people of lower socioeconomic status tend to have higher smoking rates, they pay more tobacco tax, aggravating America's already skewed distribution of income.

Although the tobacco tax is itself regressive, raising the tax is actually progressive, since lower income smokers are more sensitive to changes in price than higher income smokers. A 1998 Center for Disease Control study found that the price-elasticity of demand for those in families at or below the U.S. median household income was 70% larger than for persons in families above the median (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 253). Therefore, as the tobacco tax rises, the smoking prevalence gap between the socioeconomic classes closes, and the incidence of the tax becomes more equitable. In other words, an increase in the tobacco tax tends to make the tax less regressive (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 258-259).

Yet, unless the duty is exorbitant, the tobacco tax will still take a larger bite from the wallets of the lower socioeconomic classes than from the higher socioeconomic classes. This is certainly worrisome, but the problem must be viewed in the context of the overall fiscal system ­ a fiscal system replete with programs and taxes that can be used to offset the regressivity of the tobacco tax. For example, new cigarette tax revenues are frequently earmarked for programs that target low-income populations, and so, while the tax may be regressive, the programs that it funds may counterbalance the tax's adverse effects on distribution of income (Chaloupka, Hu, et al. 256). Since the regressive impact of the tobacco tax is readily wiped away, its violation of vertical equity should not disqualify the tax from being used as a public policy tool.

Less easily remedied is the tobacco tax's blatant violation of horizontal equity. Otherwise identical people who consume different quantities of tobacco are taxed at different rates. This is unfair to the many smokers who impose neither externalities on society nor unreasonable costs on their future selves. Yet, the tax's injury to smokers is neither easily avoidable nor rectifiable. The costs to horizontal equity must be weighed against the tax's substantial benefits ­ the benefits from protecting children in the cigarette market and the benefits from efficiently raising government revenue. The judgment is subjective, but I believe that most would agree that the tobacco tax does more good in terms of protecting children and raising revenues than it does harm to horizontal equity.

Finally, the tobacco tax is often characterized as a dangerous violation of personal autonomy. As noted earlier, our society gives great value to consumer freedom ­ to allowing the individual to choose the best course for herself, so long as her decisions do not impose external costs on others. Otherwise, we face the prospect of a government, reaching deep into our lives, dictating the minutiae of life. Many have interpreted the tobacco tax as a troubling, unjustified attempt by the government to impose values on the citizenry. Envisioning a slippery-slope, they ask, "Will a 'fat tax' be next? Will the government someday see no difference between Ronald McDonald and Joe Camel?" (Rosin).

Such alarmism is belied by a unique justification for the tobacco tax ­ that children are irrationally imposing particularly large costs on their future selves through addiction. Our society has long differentiated minors from adults. We have long recognized that children should not have full personal autonomy, as they do not have the same ability to make rational decisions ­ hence the age limits for voting, driving, drinking, etc. The tobacco tax is fully consistent with this precedent as its key purpose is to transform the behavior of young people. The tax's impact on the behavior of adults is an unavoidable byproduct that represents a detriment of the tobacco tax, but this effect is relatively small due to the inelasticity of adult demand. If anything, the tobacco tax, as an intervention in the market, is meant to expand personal autonomy ­ the personal autonomy of tomorrow's adults who will no longer be constrained by the irrational, youthful decisions of today.

Conclusion

The tobacco tax is justified, but the question remains, "At what level?" The tobacco tax exuberance sweeping the nation carries along the myth that higher is always better since higher will always save more lives. The myth is reinforced by the stream of public health reports that focus on the millions of premature deaths that could be avoided under increased rates. Yet, this goal of saving lives is a pie-in-the-sky that will lead us to sacrifice social welfare, as we push up rates too high. Today, the challenge for both economists and public leaders is to calculate and legislate a tax level that maximizes social welfare ­ a tax level that most efficiently raises revenues, while stopping our children from lighting up due to their own ignorance and myopia.

David Kamin '02 graduated with a degree in economics and political science. He is currently a research associate at the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a public-policy think-tank in Washington, D.C. About writing he says, "Both in my current job and at Swarthmore, being able to write cogent, coherent prose has been an invaluable skill. For me, thisability did not comenaturally. I was not born with an innate understanding that each paragraph deserved a topic sentence.My writing skills only developed with hard work, some excellent teachers of prose writing, and plenty of red ink.My teachers showed me how a good essay required not only inspiration butalsoa structure that could effectively convey my ideas. And,even if I was deflated when their pens cut apart my papers, I would try and try again, until their "rules" of prose writing were deeply instilled.For me, this learning process is noteven at an end.I, luckily, workfor a man (a former Swarthmore professor) who is an even better writer than I. So, I continue to see red ink, and I continue to learn."

Note

1 In the United States today, the vast majority of tobacco tax revenue (98.7% as of 1993) is accounted for by cigarette taxes, and so I use the terms "cigarette tax" and "tobacco tax" interchangeably. Although issues of smokeless tobacco are gaining importance given its increased use among young Americans, I choose to focus on the central concern in today's public policy debate ­ cigarettes. W. Kip Viscusi, "Cigarette Taxation and the Social Consequences of Smoking," Tax Policy and the Economy 9 (1995): p. 57.

 

References

Becker, Gary, Michael Grossman, and Kevin Murphy. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction." The American Economic Review 84 (June, 1994): p. 396-418.

Chaloupka, Frank J., John A. Tauras, and Micahel Grossman. "The Economics of Addiction." In Tobacco Control in Developing Countries, ed. Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka, p. 107- 129. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Chaloupka, Frank J., The-wei Hu, Kenneth E. Warner, Rowena Jacobs, and Ayda Yurekli. "The Taxation of Tobacco Prod ucts." In Tobacco Control in Developing Countries, ed. Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka, p. 237-272. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

"Cigarette Tax Summary." R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Retrieved March 15, 2002, from the World Wide Web: www.rjrt.com/TI/Pages/TITaxesLegisCigTaxSum.asp

Gajalakshmi, G.K., Prabhat Jha, Kent Ransom, and Son Nguyen. "Global Patterns of Smoking and Smoking-At tributable Mortality." In Tobacco Control in Developing Countries, ed. Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka, p. 11-39. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Jha, Prabhat, Philip Musgrove, Frank J. Chaloupka, and Ayda Yurekli. "The Economic Rationale for intervention in the Tobacco Market." In Tobacco Control in Developing Countries, ed. Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka, p. 159-174. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Kenkel, Donald and Likwang Chen. "Consumer Information and Tobacco Use." In Tobacco Control in Developing Countries, ed. Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka, p. 177-214. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Rosin, Hanna. "The Fat Tax," The New Republic. 18 May 1998. (The New Republic Online Archive) Viscusi, W. Kip. "Cigarette Taxation and the Social Consequences of Smoking." Tax Policy and the Economy 9 (1995): p. 51-101.

Woolery, Trevor, Samira Asma, and Donald Sharp. "Clean In door-Air Laws and Youth Access Restrictions." In Tobacco Control in Developing Countries, ed. Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka, p. 273-286. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

 

 


Interruption of the life cycle of Schistosomiasis parasite using engineered Caulobacter bio-films
[top]
by Matthew Goldstein '04

This paper was written for Professor Amy Vollmer's Biology 116: Microbial Processes and Biotechnology.

Abstract

Schistosomiasis is one of the world's most prevalent parasitic problems, affecting over 200 million people in over 75 countries. The problem is most acute in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America. Contact with parasite-infested water results in immediate infection from larvae that burrow into the skin and take up residence in blood vessels, primarily those around the urinary tract and intestine. Symptoms are visible in both the intestine and spleen and are most often the result of cellular, granulomatous inflammation around trapped eggs. Currently, methods of schistosomiasis control vary; widespread, short-term success has been shown with the chemotherapeutic agents oxamniquine and praziquantel. While a number of short-term treatments may have immediate effectiveness in tempering infection in the human host (in particular, drug treatment with oxamniquine and praziquantel), the long-term perspective both in terms of human treatment and environmental eradication shows little hope for parasite control. As a result, the goal of this prospectus is the introduction of an ecosystem friendly, genetically engineered bacterium that will interrupt and prevent parasite infection of the intermediate snail host. By affecting the parasite at a crucial stage in its lifecycle, not only will wild populations decrease but the incidence of human infection will also go down. Utilizing the natural anti-parasitical system of NO production, a strain of bio-film forming bacteria will be engineered to recognize and destroy the larval form of the parasite before it infects the intermediate snail host.

Biological Problem

The parasitic infection schistosomiasis is a worldwide problem that affects over 75 countries and over 200 million individuals. While infection rates in some areas are decreasing and some control projects have had positive results, overall the number of infected individuals has "not been reduced and may well be increasing" (38). More specifically, some control programs have been successful in certain countries in Asia and the Americas and accordingly infection rates and risks in those areas are on the decline. Conversely, a predominant number of countries in Africa have been ineffective at controlling the parasite and as a result the number of infected individuals and, more importantly those at risk has risen sharply in recent years (38).

Schistosomiasis infection is caused by contact with the small free-swimming trematode flatworm of the genus Schistosoma. The parasite's lifecycle initially depends upon the infection of an intermediate hostthe freshwater snail Biomphalaria. Once the tiny larva, at this point called a miracidium, finds this temporary host, it will divide a number of times to produce thousands of new parasites or cercariae. These cercariae are then excreted from the snail into the water and now may infect humans, their final host (Figure 1) (15). Requiring only a few seconds of human contact, the cercariae penetrate an individual's skin and continue their life cycle in the blood stream of this definite host. Over a period of 30-45 days the parasite will mature into a long worm, pair with a mating partner, and settle in the blood vessels of the host (12, 37). Once mature, the female releases eggs, some of which are excreted through the host urine or feces while the remainder become trapped in various human tissues. Those eggs elicit the immune response that is the primary cause of the infection's symptomatology. Infection typically occurs in the liver, urinary tract and intestine and is rarely seen in other tissues. A urinary tract infection is usually characterized by painful urination, damage to the bladder, ureters, and kidneys, and in severe cases can even result in fatal bladder cancer (12). Intestinal infection is slower to develop and is usually characterized by bloody stools and an enlargement of the liver and spleen, as well as damage to intestinal tissue. Bleeding from damaged tissue seriously weakens the infected individual and can eventually cause death (12, 37).

One of the more complex aspects of infection is the apparent absence of both human and snail immune responses to the larvae and mature schistosome. In both the snail and human hosts the parasite somehow eludes host defense systems while maintaining the ability to reproduce. Interestingly enough, the schistosome has developed advanced systems to deal with host-specific immune responses (9). Upon infection of the intermediate host (Biomphalaria), the parasite ensures its survival by interfering with two necessary regulatory systems; the IDS (Internal Defense System) and the NES (neuroendocrine system) (14). For reasons which are currently unknown, the parasite secretes neuropeptide or neuropeptide-like elements that interfere with both the IDS and NES (14). This could occur through some modulation of gene expression, but the mechanism is currently unknown. In the case of the human host, the schistosome achieves concealment through "several unusual parasite adaptations," (32) among which are reduced surface antigenicity and the ability to combat and resist typical immune damage. As Fishelson has shown, there are four parasitic proteins that inhibit human proteasome, neutrophil, and antibody action, preventing the common immune response mechanisms from having any real effect both in terms of immediate elimination and immunity development. Further, some schistosomes have been shown to mask their surfaces with "adsorbed host proteins including erythrocyte antigens, immunoglobulins, major histocompatability complex class I, and beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m), presumably as a means of avoiding host immune responses" (28).

As far as current treatments, a number of short-term solutions have shown positive effectsthe most attractive of which is the use of the chemotherapy drugs oxamniquine and praziquantel (12, 37). In recent years the price of these drugs, praziquantel in particular, has dropped significantly, making it a much more viable solution to third-world communities. Unfortunately, because of its consistently higher price over praziquantel, the use of oxamniquine has dropped, leading to the potentially "dangerous situation" of "praziquantel as the only available anti-schistosomal drug, with very serious consequences in the event that the parasite [develops] resistance to praziquantel" (37). Along these same lines, resistance to both drugs, albeit in low levels, has been shown in the field since 1973, further highlighting the potential threat of significant resistance. In addition to drug treatments, other methods of control such as mollusciciding and habitat destruction have been shown to have moderate short-term success. However, as was the case with drug treatment, these provide only acute solutions (2).

Population/Country

Schistosomiasis is found in over 75 countries around the globe, being most prevalent in Africa, South America and select areas in Asia. Generally speaking, infection is common in small, isolated, economically-stressed communities situated near rivers and/or major bodies of fresh water (12, 17, 37). In most of these communities, the nearby water is heavily relied upon for "personal or domestic purposes such as hygiene and recreation, [as well as] professional activities such as fishing, rice cultivation, irrigation etc." (37). As a result, contact with the water is an absolute necessity for the majority of residents, and infection can have seriously damaging effects socially and economically. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, initial infection does not convey immunity, and individuals are susceptible to repeated re-infections. In communities where water treatment and waste management essentially do not exist, this can result in nearly continuous outbreaks of schistosomiasis (26).

Drug treatment in these impoverished communities is very difficult. Despite the low cost ofpraziquantel and its relative accessibility, administering successful treatment proves to be much more taxing. The majority of individuals being unfamiliar with traditional Western medicine makes delivering and maintaining drug regimens on a case-by-case basis nearly impossible (17, 37). Further, lack of funding and infrastructure for proper education, water treatment and waste management combine to inhibit a stable solution. Additionally, a significant black market for pharmaceutical drugs adds further difficulties to the effective execution of drug treatment (2, 26).

Another problem facing schistosomiasis treatment is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In many of the affected countries, African ones in particular, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has greatly overshadowed the urgency of the schistosomiasis problem. HIV/AIDS is a very pressing issue with shockingly high mortality and infection rates and a current number of infected individuals exceeding 28.5 million adults and children (6). Accordingly, huge amounts of funds and energy have been focused on education, prevention, and treatment of HIV, which has unfortunately resulted in reduced attention to areas such as schistosomiasis management.

Proposed Research

In order to prevent schistosomiasis ifrom infecting the terminal human host and to maintain a more long-term solution for overall Schistosoma control, this research aims to interrupt the parasite at a crucial stage in its life cycle: prior to infection of its intermediate snail host. This interruption will be carried out by a bacterium genetically-engineered to recognize and eliminate Schistosoma parasites before they infect and colonize the snail. A strain of Caulobacter will be developed that is well suited to biofilm formation on the Schistosoma intermediate host Biomphalaria mansoni. Antibodies against parasite surface antigens will be introduced into the Caulobacter cell membrane, enabling the bacterium to recognize and bind to incoming parasites. Upon parasite recognition (i.e. antibody binding to the parasite surface antigen), cloned nitric oxide synthase (NOS) genes will be activated in the Caulobacter, resulting in self-destructing nitrous oxide (NO) production that will eliminate the parasite. In summary, the proposed strategy uses modified Caluobacter in the motile phase of their life cycle to recognize, bind to and eliminate Schistosoma parasites through antigen binding-induced, nitric oxide release.

The concept of nitric oxide as a parasiticidal, anti-microbial, anti-tumor agent is gaining strong worldwide support. Recently, a number of studies have shown that the use of oxygen and nitrogen radicals is a very effective means to regulate and prevent infection in a wide variety of systems (5, 22, 30). From humans to Drosophila to the Eastern Oyster, the use of nitric oxide as a fundamental immune defense mechanism is highly conserved and absolutely necessary for survival. As Nappi wrote in 2000, the "reactive intermediates of both oxygen and nitrogen constitute a part of the cytotoxic arsenal employed by Drosophila in defense against both microbial pathogens and Eukaryotic parasites. These [intermediates] appear to represent an evolutionarily conserved innate immune response that is mediated by regulatory proteins that are homologous to those of mammalian species" (30). Interestingly enough, current research is showing the role of NO to be more and more prominent in human as well as other organisms' immune defense systems. It has been shown to contribute to the immune response in "non-specific host defense" as well as to be a significant tool in the killing of tumor cells by cytotoxic effector cells (13).

In terms of the choice of bacteria, Caulobacter fulfills the requirements of being both a bio-film former as well as native to aquatic environments (35). Further, Smit et al. showed C. crescentus "is stable and amenable to high density monolayer growth and resists starvation" (35), which identifies it as an almost perfect candidate. Additionally, the proposed strategy takes advantage of the dimorphic life cycle of the bacterium. Caulobacter exists for almost half its life cycle as a swarmer cell (10). The primary purpose of these swarmer cells is to colonize new areas of potential bio-film growth, but in this case their motility will be used to seek out and destroy incoming Schistosome parasites.

Experimental Strategy/Design

Incorporating research from a variety of different fields, the experiment is projected to take place in a stepwise fashion over a number of years. While there are particular aspects of the project that will be conducted concurrently, several of the later trials are contingent upon the successful completion of earlier experiments. Additionally, it is important to note that while the particular goals of the project could be compromised by negative results, proposed experiments will contribute valuable knowledge to the field, whether or not these experiments are successful.

Stage IA: Isolation and Characterization of Surface Antigens of the Schistosome Miracidium

A number of experiments have previously been conducted to determine the existence of conserved surface antigens of the Schistosome parasite in its human host stage (or as cercariae) (1, 4, 14, 18, 21, 24, 28). A number of these studies have identified potential vaccine candidates with particular reference to Paramyosin (24, 28) as well as the Sm23, Sm28, and Sm37 surface antigen families.1 While research being conducted on parasite surface antigens primarily focuses on the cercariae or adult form, studies have been performed showing that conserved surface antigens do exist and can be tracked in the larval forms as well (16).2 A hybridoma technique followed by immunoblots will identify the relevent conserved larval surface antigens.3

IA1: Isolation of gene responsible for antibody to larval surface antigen

Once the antibody to the larval surface antigen has been identified, the genes coding for that antibody need to be isolated. This will be accomplished by creating a cDNA library of the selected hybridoma cell line, sequencing the variable domain of the antibody, and then cloning a peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein gene into the same promoter as that of the antibody. This will promote binding of the antibody to the bacterial surface membrane.4

IB: Establishment of a strain of Caulobacter (most-likely C. crescentus) suited to healthy biofilm formation on the shell of the intermediate host Biomphalarai glabrata (11, 29)

Caulobacteria are "biofilm-forming members of the natural flora of soil and aquatic environments," (35) which makes them ideal candidates to be the aquatic host for the Schistosome-specific antibody. With the goal of attacking and eliminating the Schistosome parasite prior to its infection of the snail host, a Caulobacter biofilm will be engineered to display on its cellular surface the parasite-specific antibody --note Part II-- that is well suited to live on the shell of the intermediate snail host. The acclimation process will in essence be a forced evolution whereby, in a stepwise fashion, C. crescentus will be artificially selected to inhabit an environment more and more similar to the one they would encounter in the wild. Initial phases will include cultivating bio-films on sections of snail shell, then selecting for those individual bacteria which display higher reproductive success and greater longevity. Eventually, the hope is that an easily cultivatable, environmentally durable, snail shell-specific C. crescentus biofilm will evolve (11).5

IC: Isolation of genes involved in Nitric Oxide synthesis and characterization of effects on C. crescentus

A good deal of recent research has been conducted on the parasiticidal, anti-microbial, anti-pathogenic, and anti-tumor effects of nitric oxide (NO). Additionally, NO has been shown to operate in systems ranging from humans to bi-valves to Drosophila and even to single celled bacteria (3, 7, 19, 30, 31). In this particular situation, the parasiticidal effects of NO are being harnessed in order to eliminate the potentially infecting Schistosome parasite (miracidium). Genes for NO production already have been identified by Eizirik et al. (1996); the real task for our investigators is to isolate those genes and successfully insert them into C. crescentus under the control of an inducible promoter in (see Stage II) (20). Once cloned into the host bacterium, experiments will also be conducted to characterize the effects of NO induction and synthesis upon the C. crescentus.

Stage II: Microarray characterization of gene expression patterns during antibody-antigen binding of engineered swarmer cells

One of the major hurdles will be initiating NO synthesis specific to the binding of the antibody-expressing swarmer cell to the parasite surface antigen. A microarray will be used to determine a gene that is already expressed under these circumstances, and the promotor for this gene will be fused to the NO synthesis genes.6

Stage III: The Big Dance

After successfully engineering a biofilm-forming strain of C. crescentus that displays on its surface antibody to the miracidium Schistosome and contain s genes for NO synthesis that are induced only upon antibody-antigen binding, experiments will be conducted in a simulated natural environment to measure the effectiveness of the system. Efforts will be made within reason to replicate nutrient availability, natural flora and fauna and conditional changes i.e. temperature and tide.7

Legal and Ethical Issues

Concerns over the process of genetic modification and the introduction of such a highly engineered organism into a natural environment will be raised, but there are no consequences reasonably envisioned which would cause a significant problem. Additionally, issues surrounding the introduction of bacteria into the natural environment will most likely be noted, but as C. crescentus is a non-pathogenic bacterium, concerns about infection or adverse health effects should be minimal. Further, the introduced bacteria are effectively playing the role of kamikazes and will self-destruct upon binding to the Schistosome parasite.

Applicability to Other Countries

As mentioned earlier, Schistosomiasis is a worldwide problem occurring in over 75 countries and affecting approximately 200 million people, with another 400 million at high risk for infection. The proposed solution will be applicable to all of these problem areas. Success in different environments may require species-specific engineering to insure successful bio-film formation and antibody-antigen binding, both of which may differ on a case-to-case basis.

 

Matthew Goldstein '04 is a biology major with an interest in putting his technical knowledge to work. He thanks Amy Vollmer, his roommate Dan Winkel, and the rest of his biology seminar for providing guidance, advice, and humor during his writing process.

Notes

1 (4, 18, 21). As an aside, Dupre et al. showed effective immunization of murine hosts upon exposure to Sm28GST antigen followed by treatment with Praziquantel chemotherapeutic agent (18). The Praziquantel allowed for the "unmasking of the native GST enzyme at the surface of the worms, thus permitting its neutralization by the antibodies raised by DNA immunization" (4, 18)

2 In particular, there is evidence to show that the Schistosoma larvae constitutively express "several tegumental surface components" that contain recognizable carbohydrate epitopes (16).

3 Using parallel techniques to those outlined by Kurtis and Hernandez, monoclonal antibodies specific to larval parasite surface antigens will be obtained (24, 27). The screen for these larval antigens will be conducted using a number of previously known target antigens as described in the literature. More specifically, Schistosoma larval surface antigen will be prepared by techniques described by Hernandez, 1999. Female ICR mice (24) will be immunized with surface antigen adjuvant. Upon significant antibody production these mice will be sacrificed and their spleens harvested. Spleen cells will be isolated via a cell sorter and placed into the individual wells of 96-well plates where they will be fused with myeloma cells by the addition of polyethylene glycol. Purification on HAT medium will ensure successful hybridization (34, 36). At this point, immunoblots to potential surface antigens described by Abath, Argiro, Dunn, Fan, Hernandez, Kurtis and Loukas will identify the relevant conserved larval surface antigens.

4 Two methods could be employed to accomplish this: (1) A cDNA library of the selected hybridoma cell line would be created at which point cDNA's (in pairs of two to account for the gene for heavy chain and the gene for light chain) would be cloned into our Caulobacter host. Through a larval surface antigen screen, the cell expressing both the correct heavy and light chain (corresponding to the larval surface antigen) could be isolated in its bacterial host (2). To clone an antibody, the amino acid sequence of the variable domain needs to be determined. This can be accomplished by sequencing a purified sample of both the heavy and light chain proteins of the antibody to the larval surface antigen. Once accomplished, the same sequence will be cloned from hybridoma cDNA. This cDNA will be prepared by screening hybridoma mRNA with reverse transcriptase and probes specific to the constant regions of antibody heavy and light chains. Having isolated general antibody cDNA, the target genes for the specific antibodies will be cloned in the following manner: Hybridoma mRNA will be subjected to PCR twice, once using primers for the conserved regions and a second time using primers for the previously determined variable regions. In this way, the specific antibody cDNA will be generated and cloned into the Caulobacter (8, 25, 33, 36).

An additional step can be taken to further promote the transport and binding of the cloned antibody to the bacterial surface membrane. Further, this step may be taken to ensure that in the wild, the antibody is in fact being bound to the surface of the Caulobacter and not released into the surrounding mediumas the success of the strategy relies on the antibody being bound to the Caulobacter surface membrane. Fuchs et al. showed in 1991 that co-expression of the desired antibody with peptidoglycan associated lipoprotein (PAL) resulted in tight binding to the "murein layer of the cell envelope" with little to no effect "on cell growth and viability" (23). Thus, it is proposed that in the final Caulobacter strain the peptidoglycan associated lipoprotein gene be cloned into the same promoter as that of the antibody.

5 As an aside, there could be the potential to further engineer or select the strain of Caulobacter to be dependent on some aspect of the snail i.e. waste-products, essential nutrients, or something in the immediate environment to ensure/limit biofilm formation to the snail host only. This would most likely be similar to the use of selective media and plasmid cloning to ensure the cellular uptake of cloned genes.

6 The iNOS gene (NO synthetase gene) cannot be placed under the control of a promoter associated with quorum sensing proteins or surface binding proteins of the swarmer cell, as that would significantly hamper any chances of the biofilm survivingfor Caluobacter cells. In those cases, upon attaching to any surface or forming a biofilm, NO synthesis would be initiated resulting in the destruction of Caulobacter cells in the immediate vicinity. Thus, an RNA microarray experiment will be carried out in order to determine the differences in gene expression between a wild type swarmer cell colonizing or binding to a new surface and the engineered swarmer cell binding (via antibody-antigen bond) to the parasite surface antigen. In the latter case, a unique suite of genes will be activated which are not normally activated in the wild-type cells. Thus, an ideal place to situate the NO synthetase genes will be identified so that induction occurs only upon the binding of the antibody on the surface of the swarmer cell to the parasite antigen and not during any other time in the Caulobacter cell cycle.

7 Biomphalaria harvested from previously studied sites in sub-Saharan Africa will be seeded with both engineered and wild type C. crescentus and placed into an S. mansoni infested environment (with S. mansoni concentration similar to that of previously studied sites). Every two days snails will be removed, observed for biofilm characteristics, and examined for presence of parasite infection, using characteristics and criteria determined by earlier studies of snail response to parasite infection.

 

References

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2. Allam, A. F. 2000. Evaluation of different means of control of snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 30:441-50.

3. Anderson, R. S. 2001. Nitric Oxide as an Immune Effector Molecule of Bivalves: Modulation by Environmental Chemicals.

4. Argiro, L. L., S. S. Kohlstadt, S. S. Henri, H. H. Dessein, V. V. Matabiau, P. P. Paris, A. A. Bourgois, and A. J. Dessein. 2000. Identification of a candidate vaccine peptide on the 37 kDa Schistosoma mansoni GAPDH. Vaccine 18:2039-48.

5. Ascenzi, P., and L. Gradoni. 2002. Nitric oxide limits parasite development in vectors and in invertebrate interme diate hosts. IUBMB Life 53:121-3.

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8. Berg, J., E. Lotscher, K. S. Steimer, D. J. Capon, J. Baenziger, H. M. Jack, and M. Wabl. 1991. Bispecific antibodies that mediate killing of cells infected with human immunodeficiency virus of any strain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 88:4723-7.

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URL's Cited (referenced above)

6. Avert.org, HIV and AIDS Statistics in Africa. http://www.avert.org/subaadults/htm., accessed Nov. 2002

12. Chitsulo L., Research and Training in Tropical Disease. http://www.who.int/tdr/diseases/schisto/default.htm , accessed Nov. 2002

15. Dubel S., Image http://www.mgen.uni-heidelberg.de/SD/ SDscFvSite.html, accessed Nov. 2002

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37. World Health Organization: Schistosomiasis. http:// www.who.int/ctd/schisto/index.htm, accessed Nov. 2002


Close reading of P.B. Shelley's "To Wordsworth"
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by Pei Pei Liu '04

This paper was written for Professor Betsy Bolton's English 33: The Romantic Sublime

To Wordsworth

Poet of nature, thou hast wept to know
That things depart which never may return;
Childhood and youth, friendship and love's first glow
Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
These common woes I feel. One loss is mine
Which thou too feel'st, yet I alone deplore.
Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine
On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar;
Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
Above the blind and battling mutitude;
In honoured poverty thy voice did weave
Songs consecrate to truth and liberty
Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,
Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.

--Percy Bysshe Shelley

Harold Bloom defines daemonization as "movement towards a personalized Counter-Sublime, in reaction to the precursor's Sublime." Shelley uses daemonization in "To Wordsworth" to demonstrate that his poetic capabilities exceed Wordsworth's. He does this by first acknowledging and then mockingly employing Wordsworth's poetic contributions to "generalize away the uniqueness of the earlier work" and impose himself as the new leading romantic poet.

Shelley neatly contains the themes from Wordsworth's poetry­"childhood and youth, friendship and love's first glow"­in a one-sentence stanza of iambic pentameter and A-B-A-B rhyme scheme. These first four lines, however, are immediately followed by a short and direct sentence that introduces Shelley's voice and dismisses the uniqueness of Wordsworth's: "These common woes I feel." The word "common" implies the experience is shared, but also mundane. In Shelley's eyes, Wordsworth, whose latest book at this time was considered a critical and creative failure, is now figuratively dead in the poetic world and will never surpass his previous work.

By contrast, Shelley is prospering and will only continue to grow in fame and success. In a move of wicked humor, Shelley equates Wordsworth with one of the "things depart[ed]" for the remainder of the poem, using Wordsworth's own themes to create a mock obituary that effectively proclaims him as good as dead and announces Shelley as the heir apparent. Shelley ostensibly appears to praise Wordsworth for his past works, but he peppers the eulogy with images of transience and weakness ("lone star," "frail bark," "winter's midnight," "blind and battling"), though he disguises them as descriptions of an audience as unappreciative of Wordsworth as of childhood, youth, or love. While these themes of Wordsworth's "fle[e] like sweet dreams" after naturally running their course, Shelley accuses Wordsworth of "deserting" his poetic virtues and ideals. Yet even this barb is subtle­"deserting" can also refer to true death­and in keeping with Wordsworth's theme, allowing Shelley to fulfill the role of mourner as Wordsworth did in his own poems. It is this skillful imitation and manipulation of Wordsworth's great poems that best showcases Shelley's own talents and proves the most pointed usurpation of the poet who has lost his touch and might as well be dead.

Pei Pei Liu is an honors Special Major in English Literature and Education. She enjoys working with students and their writing through the Writing Associates Program and hopes to continue her work with students, writing, and literacy. This paper was written for Professor Betsy Bolton's English 33: The Romantic Sublime.

References

Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. "To Wordsworth." Romanticism: An Anthology, Ed. Duncan Wu. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1998. 823.


Suspended in time: Okinawa's continuing struggle
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by Reiko Teshiba '02

This paper was written for Professor Tyrene White's Political Science 64: American-East Asian Relations.

Introduction

Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. It is part of the Ryukyu archipelago that lies between Kyushu, the southernmost island of mainland Japan, and Taiwan. Okinawa comprises 160 islands that span 250 miles from north to south and 625 miles east to west. The Ryukyu Kingdom, which had enjoyed tributary relations with China since the 14th century, was absorbed into the Japanese state during the Meiji era. After the devastating Battle of Okinawa, one of the worst battles ever fought for the United States and Japan, the United States occupied Okinawa for 27 years. Okinawa was finally reverted back to Japan in 1972, but, in a sense, the occupation never ended, because Okinawa still houses three-fourths of the American forces in Japan. As a result, many Okinawans feel that Tokyo and Washington have always exploited them. The Okinawa issue lies at the nexus of the complex relationship between Okinawa, Tokyo, and Washington. In this paper, I examine the various aspects of the Okinawa problem, beginning with a short history. This paper places special emphasis on the relationship between Okinawa, Tokyo, and Washington after the February 1995 Nye Report and the rape of a twelve-year-old Okinawan girl by three servicemen seven months later.

A Brief History of Okinawa

In the 14th century, the Ryukyu Kingdom established tributary relations with China, although it refrained from interfering with local matters. The Ryukyu Kingdom profited from the trade and incorporated much Chinese culture into its own. In 1415, the Ryukyu Kingdom became a Japanese tributary under the Ashikaga Shogunate. Toyotomi Hideyoshi insisted that the Ryukyu Kingdom send supplies for his expedition to Korea in 1592-6. Tokugawa Ieyasu, who unified the Japanese mainland in 1603, declared the Ryukyu Kingdom a part of Shimazu Iehisa's domain in 1609. Shimazu was the lord of the Satsuma province and sent troops to Ryukyu to assert his control. But he allowed the Ryukyu Islands to retain a semblance of independence, as well as its tributary status with China (Itoh 119-20).

During the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the central government declared formal sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, incorporating them as Okinawa prefecture in 1879. China did not recognize the Ryukyus' incorporation into Japan until the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 (Egami 829). In 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry had actually stopped by at Naha, the capital of Okinawa, on his way to Edo, to establish a forward base for supplies such as coal and water. Perry thought Okinawa would be an alternative for American merchant marines in the event that Japan refused to open any of its ports to the United States (Yamaguchi 99). Because the Meiji government was concerned about Okinawa's vulnerability to foreign threat, it implemented a strict assimilation policy, especially in language and education. The Ryukyu dialect is structurally similar to standard Japanese, but the two are not mutually intelligible. The government encouraged Okinawans to give up their local traditions. It levied higher taxes on Okinawa than on the mainland, but prevented the prefecture from sending representatives to the Diet until 1922, 22 years after incorporation (Itoh 121). Some Okinawans willingly learned standard Japanese after Japan won the Sino-Japanese War, but mainlanders constantly discriminated against Okinawans.

This prejudice was also prevalent in the army. Okinawans began to be conscripted into the Imperial Army after 1894. In World War II, Okinawans served courageously against advancing American forces. The Battle of Okinawa, which lasted for three months, was the worst battle for Japan in the Pacific as well as one of the bloodiest battles in American history. Okinawa was chosen by the United States as the last "stepping stone" in their island-hopping strategy, with the eventual goal of invading the mainland (Watanabe 18). Some 14,500 Americans and 234,000 Japanese noncombatants and soldiers were killed in the battle (Johnson, Blowback 38). Okinawan conscripts might have represented as much as one-third of Japanese defenders (Sarantakes 8). The Japanese Imperial Army told civilians that since the Americans would kill them anyway, they should die honorably instead. Okinawans jumped from cliffs or were forced out into enemy fire by army officers. This extreme devotion to Japan may have been a result of the desire to lessen the "psychological gap" between Okinawa and the mainland and the desire of Okinawans to become Japanese (Watanabe 9). Japan scholar Steve Rabson notes that in the "most outrageous betrayal of the Okinawans' determination to assimilate, Japanese soldiers shot thousands at point-blank range in their anger over defeat, accusing the Okinawans, sometimes on the basis of a few words uttered in dialect, of being spies" ("Assimilation Policy" 144). As Chalmers Johnson points out, many Okinawans think that Emperor Hirohito sacrificed them unnecessarily in order to gain leverage in extracting more acceptable surrender conditions from the Allies, a pattern that was to be repeated in the future (Blowback 38).

After Japan's surrender, Okinawa was treated separately from the mainland. While Japan regained its independence in 1952, Okinawa was occupied by the United States until 1972. Because the United States lacked a clear sense of the purpose or duration of the occupation, the military occupation was very disorganized. Naha, for example, remained a "field of rubble" for years after the war and Okinawa "quickly developed a reputation as an assignment to avoid and became a dumping ground for incompetents" (Sarantakes 28-9). In 1946, the Okinawa Assembly and judicial system were created. The Okinawa Gunto (archipelago) Government and the Government of the Ryukyu Islands (GRI) were established in 1950 and 1953, respectively. But in reality, these structures had little political power and the Okinawan civil administrator could not enact any significant changes without the approval of the U.S. commanding general.

Okinawa gained in importance as a strategic post when the Communist threat in East Asia became more tangible with the Chinese Communist Party victory in 1949. When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, Okinawa served as an important American airbase. Bombing missions by B-29s all flew out of Kadena Air Force Base. Kadena is the largest American base in the Asia-Pacific region today. In addition, atomic bombs for use in Korea were temporarily stored in Okinawa until military strategists realized that they were too close to the Soviet Union and recommended their transfer to Guam (Sarantakes 67). The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 established "residual sovereignty" for Okinawa, while the occupation of Japan ended soon after ratification of the treaty (Sarantakes 59). Residual sovereignty meant that Japan would have legal claim to the islands, whose inhabitants would be Japanese citizens, but the United States would control and administer Okinawa (Sarantakes 58).

The United States began to build permanent military facilities on Okinawa and demanded Japan to give up more agricultural land so the bases could be expanded (Egami 829). In 1951, the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) decided to acquire farmland by lease contracts, but when the landowners resisted, it sent armed troops to forcibly remove farmers from their land. USCAR officials also bulldozed the Okinawans' houses in order to build military facilities. By 1955, the United States occupied about 12.7 percent of Okinawa's land area, of which 44 percent was farmland. On Okinawa, an island with few natural resources, most people relied heavily on farming to earn a living. The USCAR also sponsored an emigration program between 1954 and 1964, during which 3200 Okinawans were sent to Bolivia, lured by the prospect of owning their own land. Once at the settlement site, the emigrants discovered that there was no housing, as they had been promised by USCAR. There was not even drinkable water. In addition, the settlement was located on the flood plain of the Rio Grande, forcing the Okinawan emigrants to flee to a number of settlements until they built Colonia Okinawa, where their descendants still live today (Amemiya, "The Bolivian Connection" 55-60).

During the long, drawn-out discussion of reversion, Okinawa's interests were supposedly represented by Tokyo, which was pro-American because it favored a continuation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty. It was under Prime Minister Sato Eisaku that reversion took place. Although he was committed to returning Okinawa to Japan, Sato personally had no problems with the military bases remaining in Okinawa after reversion (Sarantakes 134). In his meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson, Sato suggested that the United States return all of the Ryukyu Islands except Okinawa. Sato visited Okinawa, making him the first post-war prime minister to visit the island, in an effort to mobilize support for his idea of reversion while preserving the alliance. But organizations such as the Reversion Council, Okinawa Teachers' Association, and Okinawan People's Party were unhappy because they had hoped to use reversion as an opportunity to close the military bases and end the alliance (Sarantakes 137-8). Sato then poured money into Okinawa, increasing economic aid by 40 percent in 1966. This amount was doubled the following year. Japan's aid to Okinawa increased 50 percent in 1968 and another 50 percent in 1969 (Sarantakes 139). Money from Japan surpassed that of the United States, angering Americans, who thought that Tokyo was weaning Okinawa away from the United States and toward Japan.

The onset of the Vietnam War complicated the process of reversion. Beginning in 1965, Okinawa-based B-52 bombers took off from Kadena. The United States found the bases in Okinawa necessary and Johnson wanted Japan to assume more responsibility for its national security (Sarantakes 155). Amidst the unstable international situation, Sato and Johnson reached an agreement that Japan would convey its desire for Okinawa's return "within a few years" while the United States would agree to reversion without a firm commitment to any date (Sarantakes 161). Meanwhile, in Okinawa, the first popular election for chief executive was held on November 11, 1968. Yara Chobyo of the Okinawa Teachers' Association, who advocated immediate reversion, won the election with 53.4 percent of the vote (Sarantakes 163). Richard M. Nixon was elected president during this time. The Nixon Doctrine called for a more multilateral foreign policy that would encourage Asian countries to shoulder greater responsibility for their national defense. Sato and Nixon reached an agreement that Okinawa would be returned in 1972 and the military bases would fall under the framework of the security treaty. It also banned the reintroduction of nuclear weapons on Okinawa (Sarantakes 173). In historian Nicholas E. Sarantakes' words, the reversion process was a "diplomatic triumph for Japan and the United States" because Japan regained Okinawa and the United States maintained the political status quo in East Asia (175). He points out that the primary reason why the United States agreed to return Okinawa was so the security alliance, which it resolutely believed was the basis of regional stability, could be maintained. But Okinawa's problems were not over as long as the military bases remained.

Okinawa Today

Currently, there are 39 bases on Okinawa, representing 75 percent of all American military bases in Japan (see Appendix I). Two-thirds of the 47,000 military personnel in Japan are stationed in Okinawa. But the prefecture comprises only 0.6 percent of Japan's territory, which means that Okinawa bears an extremely unequal share of the burden of the military bases in comparison to the rest of Japan. Apart from Okinawa, 13 other local governments in Japan host military bases. In Okinawa prefecture, the bases comprise 11 percent of the land and about 20 percent of the main island of Okinawa. In addition, the military authorities control 15 airspace areas around Okinawa and 29 sea zones (Itoh 122). Okinawa was once a base-dependent economy, but after reversion, Tokyo implemented the Special Measures Law for Promoting Okinawan Development, which sought to eliminate the economic gap between Okinawa and the mainland and provided infrastructure for independent development (Sasaki 249). By 1997, Tokyo had spent about five trillion yen on Okinawa, mostly on public works. Today, Okinawa is still Japan's poorest prefecture, with 70 percent of the national level of wealth (Johnson, Blowback 40). But the goal of independent development has not been met because the prefectural government is highly dependent on subsidies from Tokyo (Sasaki 249). The focus on economic development has also undermined Okinawa's reformist ideals of pacifism and self-government. Consequently, the central government consistently uses increased financial assistance as bait to subdue irredentist tendencies and extract concessions from Okinawa.

But no matter how much money Tokyo sends to Okinawa, it does not change the fact that Okinawans suffer daily from having so much of their territory occupied by military bases. According to the Okinawan Women Act Against Military Violence Web site, there have been about 47,000 crimes committed by American military personnel since Okinawa's reversion in 1972, but there are many more incidents that go unreported. For example, in 1959, a military airplane crashed into an elementary school, killing 17 children and injuring 121 people. This has been the worst accident to date in terms of the number of victims (Itoh 123). The increased risk of air accidents is partly a result of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) permitting military pilots to fly lower than the legal lowest range in densely populated residential neighborhoods. The SOFA agreements were established under the 1960 U.S.-Japan security treaty. The roaring noise of bombers flying over schools interrupts children's learning and places risks on their health. At Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, for instance, there are 52,000 takeoffs and landings each year. The military airfield is in the middle of Ginowan's neighborhoods (Johnson, Blowback 47). According to Nakasone Fujiko, a retired junior high school math teacher in Okinawa, students in schools around Kadena lose an average of two years during their twelve years of education because of the disruptive noise generated from military aircraft. These students are also more prone to nervousness, headaches, and hearing loss. In addition, results of a three-year study conducted by the Okinawa Prefecture Public Health Association showed that infants born to mothers living in the town of Kadena have the lowest average birth weights of any town in Japan. Kadena Air Base occupies 83 percent of Kadena town, with 14,000 citizens crammed into the rest of the town (Francis 201).

The bases also produce toxic wastes, which trickle into the soil and the sea, causing irreversible consequences for Okinawa's fragile subtropical ecosystem (Itoh 122). The SOFA agreement does not require the United States to return the bases to Japan in the condition they were in at the time they were provided to the United States, or to compensate Japan for not having done so. A 1995 Department of Defense policy requires the removal of any imminent or substantial dangers to health and safety caused by environmental contamination as a result of military operations (Overseas Presence 47). According to an August 1997 letter from the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls were found on the Onna communications site, which had been closed in November 1995. The letter requested the United States to carry out a survey to identify any environmental contamination and clean up bases that are scheduled to be closed. But a report prepared by the General Accounting Office called Overseas Presence: Issues Involved in Reducing the Impact of the U.S. Military Presence on Okinawa, warns that the cleanup could be expensive (47). The United States government has yet to respond to Naha's request. The severest environmental problem was caused when an American military plane discarded a bomb into the sea near Naha in December 1996. In investigating the report, American authorities discovered that Marine jets had fired 1520 depleted uranium bullets at Torishima Range, 62.5 miles off the main island of Okinawa, between December 1995 and January 1996. Although firing depleted uranium bullets is banned in Japan and goes against Pentagon regulations stipulating that they should only be used at specific firing ranges in the United States, American officials notified the Japanese government in January 1997, more than a year after the incident. The Japanese government, in turn, notified Okinawa in February, 25 days after the United States had informed Tokyo (Itoh 123). Upon hitting a target, depleted uranium bullets, each of which contains 147 grams of uranium, react and become uranium oxide, which travels through the air into the human body, possibly resulting in tumors and leukemia (Johnson, Blowback 49-50). Because Tokyo acts as the intermediary between the United States and Okinawa, the people whose welfare is most affected by the American military presence are the last to know about the dangers to their health and safety.

The 1995 Rape Incident: A Watershed

On September 4, 1995, three servicemen at Camp Hansen, Seaman Marcus Gill, Marine Pfc. Rodrico Harp, and Marine Pfc. Kendrick Ledet, randomly grabbed a twelve-year-old Okinawan girl on her way home from a stationery store. Gill and Harp said that they beat the girl violently while Gill duct-taped her mouth, eyes, hands, and legs. In court, Gill confessed to raping the girl, while Harp and Ledet said that they had only abducted and beaten her. Gill said that they had done it "just for fun" (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 116).

By September 8, the Okinawa police had identified the three servicemen from their car rental records and had issued arrest warrants. But the Americans did not turn the perpetrators to the Okinawan officials until September 29. Chalmers Johnson notes that this delay is an example of extraterritoriality, an American invention that was first written into the Treaty of Nanking that ended the Opium War in China. In Japan today, extraterritoriality allows a member of the United States armed forces, including his or her dependents, to be turned over to American consular officials instead of being tried under the law of the country where the crime took place (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 117). Under Article 17, Section 5 of SOFA, if American servicemen or their families commit crimes, "they shall be detained by U.S. authorities until Japanese law enforcement agencies file complaints with the prosecutors' office based on clear suspicion" (qtd. in Ibid.). This gives American officials the right to refuse Japanese investigators' requests to turn over suspects if they are connected to the military. Often, the delays caused by extraterritoriality have been used to send American suspects back to the United States, where they usually disappear, out of reach of Japanese law enforcement authorities (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 118).

In regard to the incident, Admiral Richard C. Macke, commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, said, "I think that [the rape] was absolutely stupid. For the price they paid to rent the car, they could have had a girl" (qtd. in Johnson, Blowback 35). This outrageous comment exposes the institutionalized relationship between sex and the military, which together often result in acts of violence. Chalmers Johnson notes that the incidence of reported rape in the United States is 41 per 100,000 people. At the military bases on Okinawa, the number is 82 per 100,000 people. But many rapes go unreported because of the humiliation of bringing a charge of rape in Okinawan society (Johnson, Blowback 42). "Covering up sexual assault is Pentagon policy," according to The Nation magazine (qtd. in Ibid.). But it is truly alarming how military violence on Okinawa has existed from the very beginning of Japan-U.S. relations. In a chronology compiled by the Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence for distribution at the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995, a sailor who accompanied Commodore Perry when he landed in Okinawa in 1853 raped an Okinawan woman. The chronology also includes acts of prewar and wartime sexual violence committed by Japanese soldiers and postwar American military sexual violence (Francis 197).

During the American occupation of Okinawa, Okinawan women provided sexual labor for military personnel. Most of the women were widows or daughters of families who had little or no source of income in the war-torn economy. This continued throughout the Korean and Vietnam warsespecially during the latter when Okinawa flourished as a "rest-and-recreation" (R&R) facility. In the early 1970s, sex and entertainment generated the most income of all the industries. According to statistics gathered by the Legal Affairs Bureau of the Government of the Ryukyus, the number of full-time prostitutes was 7362 in 1969, but the real figure was probably much higher (Sturdevant and Stoltzfus 252). Today, many Okinawan sexual laborers have been replaced by Filipina women, who are less expensive to maintain than Okinawan women, and are therefore more affordable for military personnel. Where the Filipina women and Okinawans sell their labor is kept separate under the watchful eye of the yakuza (the Japanese "Mafia"). The yakuza are often involved in bringing the Filipina women to Japan as six-month contract workers, who are recruited locally. Many Filipina women apply to work in Japan because the pay is much better than what they could hope to make at home (Sturdevant and Stoltzfus 254-6). The problem of military sexual violence is part and parcel of Japan-U.S. relations.

The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) and Problems Resulting from its Recommendations

The 1995 rape incident was not only a headline-grabbing event in Japan and abroad, but it also set off a chain reaction that challenged the foundation of the relations between Japan and the United States. The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) was established in November 1995 in an effort to address Japanese and Okinawan concerns about the impact of the American military presence on Japan. This was a joint effort by the Japanese and U.S. governments, charged with the purpose of developing recommendations on ways to "realign, consolidate and reduce U.S. facilities and areas, and adjust operational procedures of U.S. forces in Okinawa consistent with their respective obligations under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and other related agreements" ("The SACO Final Report"). The SACO Final Report was approved by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of State and Director-General of the Defense Agency of Japan on December 2, 1996. SACO's recommendations are not binding bilateral agreements, but both Japan and the United States are committed to the conclusions reached by the committee.

The SACO Final Report called for the United States to do four things. First, the United States should return land at eleven bases on Okinawa and replace Futenma Marine Corps Air Station with a sea-based facility. The returns include training areas at Aha and Ginbaru, Yomitan auxiliary airfield, and most of Camp Kuwae. This means that the United States will return about 12,000 acres, or about 21 percent of the total land area used by the American forces (Overseas Presence 26). Second, the United States should change operational procedures, such as terminating artillery live-fire training, parachute drop training, and conditioning hikes on public roads ("The SACO Final Report"). Third, the United States should implement noise reduction initiatives by transferring KC-130 Hercules aircraft and AV-8 Harrier aircraft from Futenma Air Station to Iwakuni Air Base, relocating Navy aircraft and MC-130 operations at Kadena, and limit night flight training operations at Futenma (Ibid.). The important thing to realize is that the proposed "realignments," merely rearrange aircrafts to bases from Okinawa to the mainland, which does not reduce the overall military presence in Japan. Fourth, under the SACO recommendation, the United States plans to implement seven changes in Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreements. These include providing timely reports of local officials of major accidents involving American forces, greater public exposure of Joint Committee agreements, changing the markings on American forces official vehicles, and having military personnel acquire supplemental automobile insurance (Ibid.).

Of all the changes that SACO recommended, the biggest challenge is replacing Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. Futenma is the home base of the First Marine Air Wing, whose central mission is to maintain and operate facilities and provide services for the III Marine Expeditionary Force (Overseas Presence 27). A working group to explore options for replacing Futenma suggested that the air station be moved to Kadena Air Base or Camp Schwab, or build a replacement sea-based facility that would be located offshore of Okinawa island and connected by a causeway or a pier. The SACO Report states that a sea-based facility would be the best option to increase the safety and quality of life of the Okinawans while maintaining the level of American military capabilities (Overseas Presence 29). The chosen location for the "floating heliport," as it became known, was Nago, a seacoast suburb of Henoko, where the Camp Schwab Marine base is located (Johnson, "The Heliport" 218). Japan is supposed to design, build, and pay for this new facility, which will be provided free of rent to the United States Forces of Japan. The floating heliport would cost Japan between $2.4 billion and $4.9 billion and operations costs are expected to be much higher than they are at Futenma. American engineers estimate that the yearly maintenance cost of the new facility would be around $200 million in contrast to $2.8 million for Futenma.

There are three possible designs for the floating heliport: a pontoon-based, pile-supported, or semisubmersible facility. But there are problems with the designs because of the scale of the project. The pontoon-based facility is deemed "at the edge of technical feasibility" and "no floating structure of the size required has ever been built." As for the semisubmersible-type facility, the Department of Defense says that this "relies on technology that does not yet exist" (Overseas Presence 33-6). Any sea-based facility would have to withstand the typhoons that strike within 180 nautical miles of Okinawa a few times every year. Chalmers Johnson comments that a major typhoon would turn "Okinawa's first floating air facility into Okinawa's first underwater air facility, with the greatest sinking of U.S. military assets into the Pacific Ocean since Pearl Harbor" ("The Heliport" 223). Tsunamis, caused by earthquake or volcanic activity, are also a threat (Overseas Presence 47). The floating heliport would have to be heavily anchored to the sea floor and propped by huge seawalls, resulting in substantial damage to Okinawa's coral reefs ("The Heliport" 223). Thus, the sea-based facility replacing Futenma is an extremely risky, costly, unprecedented venture. To date, no concrete plans for construction have been developed.

Governor Masahide Ota at the Helm: A Look at Okinawa-Tokyo Relations

Masahide Ota was elected as governor in 1990 on a platform of reducing the bases on Okinawa. Ota was a retired professor of the University of the Ryukyus who had also studied in the United States for a time. Ota was one of the most popular academics in Okinawa and had participated in the Battle of Okinawa as a student soldier (Egami 838). Ota had published widely on the American and Japanese discrimination against Okinawa (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 119). But Ota faced many difficulties from the beginning of his term as governor. While Ota was reformist, the conservatives held the majority in the Okinawan prefectural assembly. He visited Washington twice to advocate greater awareness of Okinawa's problems associated with hosting the majority of the military bases in Japan (Egami 838).

After the rape incident in September 1995, Ota sought a review of the SOFA, which prevented Japanese police from getting full custody of suspects that had not yet been indicted, thus effectively limiting the police's investigations of the incident. Ota met with Kono Yohei, the Foreign Minister, to persuade the central government to review the SOFA and to take up the issue of the disproportionate number of bases on Okinawa (Eldridge 882). However, the central government rejected the possibility of asking the United States government to revise the SOFA. Ota was angry that Tokyo had refused to consider his appealTokyo could not understand the Okinawans' anger and resentment of hosting the military bases that the rape incident had brought to the fore.

On September 28, Ota declared that he would not cooperate in renewing the leases on land occupied by the bases that were due to expire in the spring of 1996 (Eldridge 882). Much of the land used by the American military is still under legal possession of 31,521 individuals or families that are coerced to lease the land to Tokyo, which then subleases it to the United States without charge. There is also a substantial number of anti-war landlords (hansen jinushi) who have bought one-tsubo (about 3.3 square meters) plots of base land to oppose the military presence (Johnson, Blowback 53). In response to Ota's defiance, then Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi sent Ota a letter demanding his cooperation, which he refused to receive. Murayama then sent a direct order, which Ota again refused, resulting in Murayama launching a court case against Ota for neglecting his administrative duties as governor (Eldridge 884). When Murayama resigned in December 1995, the new prime minister, Hashimoto Ryutaro, continued the legal battle. The Hashimoto government argued that Ota's lack of cooperation made it difficult for Tokyo to fulfill its responsibilities outlined by the 1960 U.S.-Japan security treaty. The Fukuoka High Court, Naha Branch, ruled that Tokyo was correct in claiming that Ota's refusal went against public interest. It also ruled that the laws on the use of land by Tokyo for military bases were constitutional (Eldridge 898).

Ota then appealed to the Supreme Court because of his frustration with the High Court ruling. He focused on the unfairness of Okinawa having to host three-fourths of the military bases in Japan:

For 50 years since the end of the war, my people have been forced to live side by side with military bases and to suffer their enormous impact. This means, without exaggeration, that we have fully cooperated with the Mutual Security Treaty. . . .

The 1972 reversion was a return to the rule of the pacifist Constitution and should have been a great turning point for Okinawa. What my people sincerely wished for at the time of the reversion was a reduction of bases at a rate comparable to that experienced on the mainland (hondo nami), together with the restoration of human rights and the establishment of home rule.

However, today, a quarter of a century after the reversion, the condition of Okinawa has hardly changed. Today, just as before, the extensive bases packed with military functions remain. Incidents, accidents, and pollution on account of the bases keep appearing. This is a far cry from the meaning of reversion my people desired. The Status of Forces Agreement, Article 2, permits military bases to be built in any area of Japan under the authority of the Mutual Security Treatythe so-called "bases anywhere formula." If so, then why should Okinawa alone shoulder the excessive burden? One would be hard put to understand it.

Many people in Okinawa do not wish to transfer their sufferings to others. However, if the Mutual Security Treaty is important for Japan, they believe that responsibility and burdens under the treaty should be assumed by all Japanese citizens. If not, many of my people point out that the outcome is discriminatory and goes counter to [the principle of] equality under the law.

In Okinawa, there are about 1.27 million Japanese nationals. Although this lawsuit [formally] concerns the prime minister's order to the prefectural governor to carry out certain duties, I believe that it implies issues of basic human rights such as constitutionally guaranteed property rights, people's rights to a life in peace, and [the prefectures'] right to home rule. Because of these constitutional issues, all Japanese nationals everywhere should be actively concerned with Okinawa's base issue as one that impinges on their own basic human rights. In that sense, Okinawa's base issue is not peculiar to one local areaOkinawabut is eminently general as Japan's problem with implications for Japan's sovereignty and democracy. Is that not so? ("Governor Ota" 212-3)

Unfortunately, in spite of initial media reports that the Supreme Court had responded favorably to Ota's testimony, in the end, it rejected the appeal with a terse two-sentence statement: "[We] reject and dismiss the appeal. The court expenses shall be borne by the appellant" (Ota, "Governor Ota" 205).

Furthermore, Hashimoto initiated a set of amendments to the 1952 Special Measures Law that transferred all control of land leases for U.S. military bases to the central government (Johnson, Blowback 53; Eldridge 902). This was something that Ota had been afraid of throughout the legal struggle, since the new measure further empowered the central government. After the appeal, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Kato Koichi visited Ota and offered the central government's apologies for not adequately addressing the base issue in the past. Kato brought an economic package that had been hastily put together the day before. It included financial incentives such as the expansion of the free trade zone near Naha's airport, as well as discount in airfares to and from the mainland. Later, Hashimoto offered an additional five billion yen to boost Okinawa's economy. In return, Ota would have to pledge to cooperate with Tokyo on the land lease issue (Eldridge, 900-1). Tokyo's approach of bribing Okinawa on any base-related issue is classic of the relationship between the central and local governments. The local governments, especially Okinawa, are fiscally dependent on the locus of power, which makes economic aid from Tokyo irresistible for governors who need to keep their constituencies on their side.

During Ota's standoff with Tokyo, the Okinawa Prefectural People's Rally was held. Sponsored by 18 major Okinawan citizen and labor organizations, 85,000 people gathered on October 21, 1995, in Ginowan, near Futenma Air Station. The rally centered upon four demands: the reduction of the bases, doing away with crimes committed by military personnel and greater enforcement of discipline, revision of the SOFA as soon as possible, and prompt compensation and apologies to victims of crimes committed by military personnel (Eldridge 883). The rally was attended by representatives of all the central political parties in Okinawa, demonstrating that the demands were in the interest of all Okinawan citizens, regardless of where they stood on the political spectrum.

Most importantly, the rally mobilized the public and raised awareness for the non-binding prefectural referendum that was to be held in Okinawa a year later. This was only the second referendum to be held in all of Japan, even though Japanese citizens have the right to hold a public referendum under the 1947 Constitution (Eldridge 880). The referendum asked, "[How do you feel about] reviewing the Japan-United States Status of Forces Agreement and reducing the American bases in our prefecture?" Eighty-nine percent of participants answered "agree," but only 59.53 percent of voters participated in the referendum. This corresponds to about 53 percent of all eligible voters in Okinawa who agreed with the question on the referendum (Eldridge 879). Despite the low voter turnout, it was a direct challenge to the central government in its policies of national defense and the obligations stipulated by the Japan-U.S. security treaty.

The democratic, constitutional referendum was the only way Okinawa could make its voice heard to the central government as well as the United States. According to Taira Koji, professor emeritus of industrial relations and coeditor of The Ryukyuanist, says the Okinawans' "'irrational' confidence in the constitution has made them a laughing stock among mainland Japanese who, secure in their rights, seldom think about the constitution, or even the Japanese state" (176). In contrast to much of the mainland where the word "democracy" rings hollow, Okinawans are keenly aware that the Constitution can be used as a means to reaffirm what is rightfully theirs, especially in regard to human rights, property rights, citizens' right to a peaceful life, and a prefecture's right to home rule. In 1997, another non-binding referendum was held in Nago, protesting the construction of the floating heliport replacing Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. This referendum had a voter turnout of 80 percent, with 53.8 percent opposing construction (Johnson, "The Heliport" 219-20). In 1998, Ota, who had been governor throughout this turbulent period, lost his bid for a third term to Inamine Keiichi, who was enthusiastically backed by the Liberal Democratic Party (Johnson, "The Heliport" 221).

The Nye Report and the Reassessment of the United States' Role in East Asia

The Clinton administration reversed the previous Bush administration's policy of gradualy reducing American forces in East Asia. The February 1995 East Asian Strategic Review, also known as the Nye Report, stated the United States' "commitment to maintain a stable forward presence in the region, at the existing level of about 100,000 troops, for the foreseeable future" (qtd. in Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 10). The "foreseeable future" meant at least until the year 2015 (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 120). The Nye Initiative, of which the report is a part, is named for Joseph S. Nye, then Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs. It was a reevaluation of the Japan-U.S. bilateral security agreement and defense cooperation. The report begins, "security is like oxygen; you do not tend to notice it until you begin to lose it" (qtd. in Johnson and Keehn). Many Japanese understood this new stance to mean that the Clinton administration would stop pursuing its aggressive trade policy, especially in regard to automobiles, and placing priority on security instead. Some policy analysts argue that the automobile trade negotiators knew that as a result of the Nye Report, the United States had given up its "most important bargaining chip," or the commitment to defend Japan (Johnson, "The Rape Incident" 120). But others contend that the concept behind the Nye Report was for the United States to endorse both trade and security issues simultaneously. A stronger security alliance would actually put the United States in a better position to promote trade issues without neglecting Japan politically (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 12).

On September 4, 1995, the same day as the rape incident, Nye addressed the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ). He said that North Korea and China were the reasons for the continued presence of American forces in Japan. Nye elaborated that 100,000 troops were necessary because of the "clear and present danger" posed by North Korea. Secretary of Defense William Perry later added that the U.S.-Japan security alliance is crucial for deterring China's military expansion. At the FCCJ, Nye gave two more reasons for his recommendation. He said, "The U.S.-Japan alliance is not against a particular adversary but against a situation where countries in the region might feel pushed to arm themselves against each other and against uncertainty, were it not for a stabilizing and reassuring U.S. presence" (Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 121, emphasis added). In addition, Nye stated that it costs the United States less to keep troops in Japan than it would to keep them in the United States, alluding to Japan's host nation support, which usually amounts to over four billion dollars a year (Ibid.).

Nye's argument about host nation support points to an often misunderstood aspect of who bears the cost of having the bases in Japan. Under SOFA, Japan is not legally required to pay for the maintenance of the American forces (Johnson, Blowback 54). Shin Kanemaru, then head of the Defense Agency, first created the system of host nation support, or omoiyari yosan.1 In 1978, Japan donated 6.2 billion yen toward the upkeep of American forces and the United States has requested more ever since. Although the United States has bases in 19 countries around the world, Japan is the only one that absorbs the costs of all the local employees of the bases (Johnson, Blowback 55). According to Chalmers Johnson, the total cost of the bases in Japan is about $6.2 billion. In fiscal year 1997, Japan's host nation support totaled around $4.9 billion, which supports the common view that Japan pays for approximately 70 percent of the bases (Overseas Presence 16; Johnson, "The 1995 Rape Incident" 125). The host nation support falls into four categories. First, Japan pays for the leased land on which the bases are situated. Second, as outlined by the Special Measures Agreement, Japan pays for the salaries of local employees working on the bases, public utilities for U.S. forces, and the transfer of the training of U.S. forces from bases to other facilities when Japan requests for them to do so. Third, Japan pays for the indirect costs, including rents that are foregone at fair market value and tax concession. Fourth, Japan provides for new facilities, improvements around the bases, and relocation construction (Overseas Presence 16). Chalmers Johnson says that "none of the Japanese funds ever goes into an American account," but a simple calculation hardly suffices the costs of maintaining the military bases in Japan ("The 1995 Rape Incident" 125). If we broaden the definition of cost to include opportunity cost and the immeasurable grievances caused by the military bases, it becomes clear that Japan may be paying more than what the bases are worth in utility and function.

The Nye Initiative also brought about a new National Defense Program Outline (NDPO), which was approved by the Japanese Diet in November 1995. The NDPO was the result of bilateral discussions that called for the streamlining and restructuring of the Self-Defense Forces, such as making the SDF ground forces more mobile to deal with more diverse missions, including international peacekeeping and disaster relief. The NDPO also expanded the range of national defense (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 13).

Japan and the United States originally intended to announce the reaffirmation of their security relationship with a bilateral summit, but this was postponed because of the Okinawa rape incident and the ensuing standoff between Governor Ota and Prime Minister Hashimoto. The summit was finally held in April 1996. Prior to the summit, Hashimoto and President Clinton signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that called for Japan's logistical support for American forces during peacetime in training, peacekeeping operations, joint exercises, and humanitarian missions. The two leaders also decided to review the 1997 Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines, the groundwork for which had been established by the NPDO (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 15). In addition, Japan and the United States accepted the SACO recommendations. The United States pledged to return Futenma Marine Corps Air Station within five to seven years and Japan would replace it with a heliport (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 16).

At the summit itself, Clinton confirmed the presence of 100,000 forward deployed troops in East Asia. Hashimoto approved of the United States' "determination to remain a stable and steadfast presence in the region" and promised to continue Japanese financial contributions to maintain the American forces. The Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security outlined the objectives, including cooperation with China so as to encourage it to play a constructive role in the region, encouragement of Russia's economic and political reforms, continued efforts for the establishment of stability on the Korean peninsula, and eventual development of multilateral regional security cooperation for Northeast Asia similar to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Mochizuki, "A New Bargain" 16). In essence, the Clinton-Hashimoto communiqué restated the status quo, but failed to address security concerns that had remained unanswered for decades. What would Japan's military role be in the context of the security alliance? What does the United States expect Japan's military contribution to be in the next century? Can the bilateral security treaty continue without a fundamental reevaluation of the responsibilities and expectations of both the United States and Japan?

An Outdated Security Strategy

The Nye Report brought about a renewed, vigorous dialogue about Japan-U.S. relations. While some applauded the Pentagon's commitment to a forward presence in East Asia, others criticized the strategy as obsolete, suspended in an outdated Cold War framework. Why were 100,000 forward deployed troops necessary? Why should the United States act as a stabilizing force in East Asia? What were the implications of the continued American military presence in the Asia-Pacific region?

Chalmers Johnson and E. B. Keehn, in "The Pentagon's Ossified Strategy," question the appropriateness of Nye's recommendations in a post-Cold War world. They claim that the 1951 Japan-U.S. security treaty was drawn up when Japan was still recovering from the Second World War. The economic situation in Japan and the rest of East Asia has changed dramatically since then. East Asia's prosperity is an achievement that Johnson and Keehn attribute to its "own invention of state-guided capitalism" that was more effective in preventing the spread of communism than any military role played by the United States. They also argue that America's insistence on a defense commitment in Japan does not encourage democratic development, but rather supports a "reactionary, narrow-minded political leadership" that makes it even more difficult to establish an equal partnership. Johnson and Keehn believe that if Japan is to stay the true "linchpin" of American strategy in Asia, the Japan-U.S. security treaty must be rewritten or dissolved. While much of the current policy analysis of security issues focuses on the expansion of China, the greater threat to the Asia-Pacific region is a United States that does not trust Japan to become a "normal" country that is well-rounded in terms of economic, political, technological, and military power, as opposition leader Ozawa Ichiro envisions. In fact, the United States still cannot decide whether Japan is an enemy or an ally, so the military presence both defends and contains Japan, depending on the interpretation.

Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute also criticizes what he dubs Washington's "smothering" strategy. He claims that the Japan-U.S. security treaty was never mutual in any way. A continuation of the security alliance only encourages Japan to evade military responsibility by "free riding" on the American security guarantee. He worries that the cutback in the number of active duty personnel of the Self-Defense Force and the defense budget signal Japan's heightened reluctance to play a more significant security role. Writing in 1995 about nine months after the Nye Report was released, Carpenter recommends that the United States should withdraw its forces within five years, after which Japan would be expected to be responsible for its own defense. In addition, the United States ought to let Tokyo know that it does not oppose Japan's playing a greater political and military role in East Asia. However, Carpenter does not believe in scrapping the security alliance entirely. He proposes that the United States and Japan should pursue a "new, more limited security relationship" where both countries cooperate where they have common interests. He concludes, "The United States should be the balancer of last resort, not the intervener of first resort, in East Asia's security equation" ("Paternalism and Dependence").

In a Foreign Affairs article in 1998, former prime minister Hosokawa Morihiro points out the perception gap between Americans and Japanese regarding the security alliance. He states, "It is egotistical for Americans to believe that the United States has done Japan a favor by defending it all these years by stationing its forces within the country." He cites a May 1996 public opinion poll conducted by Asahi Shimbun, a liberal daily newspaper, which found that 70 percent of the people favored the security alliance but 67 percent supported a reduction of the number of American military bases. The American ground forces in Japan consist of the marines in Okinawa, one of the islands that was least susceptible to Soviet attack during the Cold War. He also notes that Japan has been responsible for its own air defense since 1959. But, like Carpenter, Hosokawa believes the security alliance should be preserved. For example, even if the United States returns the two naval bases at Sasebo and Yokosuka, it can still have access to Japanese ports and maintain its maritime presence in the Asia-Pacific region. "The U.S. military presence should fade with this century's end," Hosokawa declares. He, like Carpenter, Johnson, and Keehn, recommends that the security alliance needs to be redefined.

Therefore, there are many strong voices for the necessity of the reconsideration of the Japan-U.S. security alliance after the Cold War, as well as a review of the United States' role in East Asia. But in the 1998 United States Security for the East Asia-Pacific Region reiterated the strategies outlined in the Nye Report. The United States intends to maintain a presence of 100,000 military personnel in East Asia. It also claims that 100,000 troops is not a random number. It is equivalent to the capacity of the U.S. Eighth Army and Seventh Air Force in Korea, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Fifth Air Force in Japan, and U.S. Seventh Fleet to achieve "security and stability" in the region. The United States will continue to act as a stabilizing force, promoting peace and stability in the region and detering conflict. Nye, who has returned to teach at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, also defended his report last year. He stated that the Clinton administration, which focused primarily on the liberal concepts of economic interdependence, needed a "healthy dose" of realism, bringing national interest again to the forefront (95). While Nye believes that the number 100,000 should not become a "shibboleth," he argues that it is in the United States' interest to play a stabilizing and reassuring role in East Asia to prevent the rise of "hostile hegemonic states" (102).

What Can Be Done For Okinawa?

Although the realist, Cold War perspective prevails in the Pentagon, it is important to consider what can be done to improve the situation in Okinawa while preserving the security alliance, which the majority of both American and Japanese policy analysts support. As we have seen in the case of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, the relocation of bases is no easy task. The euphemism of "realignment" does not reduce the American military presence on the whole. As of today, nothing has changed. The Futenma Relocation Committee is still contemplating numerous designs and methods of construction, even though there is no guarantee that the floating heliport will be technologically possible. Meanwhile, Okinawa is dormant until the next collision between its people and the American forces.

Mike M. Mochizuki and Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellows at the Brookings Institution, argue that the United States should withdraw the Marines, who comprise about 20,000 of the 29,000 troops in Okinawa. The Marines are ill equipped to make rapid deployments to potential places of conflict such as the Korean Peninsula. The four amphibious vessels homeported at Sasebo can transport only about 3000 troops and their equipment. Taoka Shunji, military correspondent for Asahi Shimbun, says that the United States lacks in-theater sea-lift capability to move other Marine units from Okinawa to regions of conflict. If other Marine or Army units were using the limited amphibious and airlift capacity for an emergency on the Korean Peninsula or the Middle East, most of the Marines in Okinawa would be stranded until the vessels became available (243). Mochizuki and O'Hanlon believe that the Marines are inappropriate for land combat in Asia. Should a conflict erupt in the Spratly Islands, Taiwan, or the sea lanes of the South China Sea, the Navy and Air Force, rather than the Marines, are much suitable to provide the bombers, submarines, fighter aircrafts, and surface warfare ships that would be necessary in such conflicts. They also point out that although basing the III Marine Expeditionary Force on the mainland United States would cost Americans more in maintenance and operations, the money would be spent on the domestic economy. Removing the Marines from Okinawa would significantly reduce the total number of servicemen, which could then alleviate the psychological burden placed on Okinawa as a result of the military presence.

Taoka, in an interview with the Japan Policy Research Institute, disagrees with the Pentagon's logic that maintaining the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa deters North Korea. The U.S. Army's Second Division is deployed at the demilitarized zone and the air capacity of both the American and South Korean forces is "overwhelming" (Taoka 244). A crisis on the Korean Peninsula, in Taoka's words, "implies the clash of million-man armies on each side," in which context one Marine regiment from Okinawa would hardly be useful (Ibid.). He recommends that moving the divisional headquarters of the III Expeditionary Force, one infantry regiment, and one artillery battalion from Okinawa to Hawaii would actually improve the general command and structure of the division. Taoka says that the Governor of Hawaii has reacted positively to such a move and the Governor of Okinawa would be happy to help finance. The measures recommended by Taoka, Mochizuki, and O'Hanlon may appear small, but could mean a lot to Okinawans, who have had to live with the unpleasantness of the military bases since World War II.

Conclusion

The Okinawa problem brings to light how deep the strains are in Okinawa-Tokyo and Tokyo-Washington relations. Okinawa-Washington relations have largely been missing because Tokyo represents the interests of Japan as a whole. It uses a carrot-and-stick approach with Okinawa and other local governmentswith the carrot being economic incentives and the stick being political marginalization. Would Tokyo have allowed the military presence to remain in Japan for so long if the bases were located on more prominent places of the mainland? Probably not, since the mainlanders would not have tolerated it. But Tokyo continues its checkbook diplomacy to buy off Okinawa, keeping out of sight the most unseemly aspect of its relationship with the United States.

It is also surprising and depressing how many things have not changed since World War II and the ensuing Cold War. The United States occupied Okinawa because, as historian Nicholas Evan Sarantakes says, it could not decide whether Japan was a friend or foe (193). The United States decided to keep Okinawa as a forward base against communism and Japanese remilitarization. Fifty-seven years later, the question remains the same. Since no one is able to give a good enough answer, the United States retains its forward presence in Okinawa. Chalmers Johnson, in Blowback, states that life in Okinawa and other "military colonies" is "better than anything most of them could possibly have experienced back home" (64). Life might be good for the overseas military personnel, but when we think of the environmental degradation, sexual violence, noise pollution, and health risks posed by the bases, we cannot help but think that this cannot go on forever. The 1995 rape incident was definitely a wake-up call, but it was disturbing to see that the response of key American and Japanese policymakers was no different than it was before. What would it take for Japan and the United States to breathe new life into their mutual relationship? Only Okinawa, which is most affected by the American military presence, seems to be aware of the need to challenge the status quo vis-à-vis Tokyo and the United States and the now-obsolete security alliance. The 1996 prefecture-wide referendum that asked about whether Japan should review SOFA and reduce the military bases was a constitutional means to assert their human rights. Okinawa might be a relic of the Cold War, but Tokyo and Washington can certainly learn much from listening to the calls from one of the few places in Japan where democracy really exists.

 

Reiko Teshiba '02 is currently working in Tokyo as a Japanese to English translator. She recently worked on a project to translate press conference responses of the Crown Prince and Princess! While at Swarthmore, Reiko worked as a WA. She says, " In the real world, there isn't a whole lot of commitment ­ or time, rather ­ to enjoy writing and putting effort into making something better." At Swarthmore, however, she was able to savor the process. This paper was the last paper that she wrote at school here, and is very close to her heart in subject matter.

Note

1 Omoiyari yosan is usually translated as "sympathy budget," but omoiyari may be closer to "consideration" or "thoughtfulness."

 

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Reiko Teshiba '02 is currently working in Tokyo as a Japanese to English translator. She recently worked on a project to translate press conference responses of the Crown Prince and Princess! While at Swarthmore, Reiko worked as a WA. She says, " In the real world, there isn't a whole lot of commitment ­ or time, rather ­ to enjoy writing and putting effort into making something better." At Swarthmore, however, she was able to savor the process. This paper was the last paper that she wrote at school here, and is very close to her heart in subject matter. This paper was written for Professor Tyrene White's Political Science 64: American-East Asian Relations.