From September 2009 to May 2010, Japan-US relations were dominated by a controversy regarding a 2006 base relocation agreement – the so-called “Futenma issue”. Whereas Japan’s newly-elected government led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) requested a re-negotiation of the agreement, Washington wanted to keep the current accord unchanged.
After months of US pressure and US policymakers and scholars presenting the controversy as a “life-or-death” issue for the Japan-US alliance, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned.
As it turned out, the media coverage in both the international and Japanese press was very biased, almost exclusively presenting the Futenma case from a US perspective. This article seeks to offer an alternative and arguably more non-US biased interpretation of the Futenma base controversy.