• Indigenous peoples in Japan

    Indigenous peoples in Japan

The Indigenous World 2022: Japan

The two Indigenous Peoples of Japan, the Ainu and the Okinawans, live on the northernmost and southernmost islands of the country’s archipelago. The Ainu territory stretches from Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands (now both Russian territories) to the northern part of present-day Japan, including the entire island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido was unilaterally incorporated into the Japanese state in 1869. Although most Ainu still live in Hokkaido, over the second half of the 20th century, tens of thousands migrated to Japan’s urban centres for work and to escape the more prevalent discrimination on Hokkaido. Since June 2008, the Ainu have been officially recognised as Indigenous people of Japan. The most recent government surveys put the Ainu population in Hokkaido at 13,118 (2017) and in the rest of Japan at 210 (2011), though experts estimate the actual population to be much higher.[1]

Ryūkyūans, or Okinawans, live in the Ryūkyū Islands, which make up Japan's present-day Okinawa prefecture. They comprise several Indigenous language groups with distinct cultural traits. Japan annexed the Ryūkyū Islands into its territory and established Okinawa prefecture in 1879 but later relinquished the islands to the United States in exchange for independence after World War II. In 1972, the islands were reincorporated into the Japanese state. Okinawa Island is home to some 1.3 million of the 1.45 million people living throughout Okinawa. The Japanese government does not recognise Okinawans as Indigenous Peoples.

Japan has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – although it does not recognise the unconditional right to self-determination. It has not ratified ILO Convention 169.

Following implementation of the New Ainu Law in 2019[2] and the opening of an Ainu National Museum and Park in 2020,[3] in 2021 the Ainu again drew international attention through their participation in the ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. However, numerous issues remain in terms of the need to eradicate discrimination and enforce the right to self-determination.

Ainu participation in the opening ceremonies of the Race Walking and Marathon events at the Sapporo venue of the Tokyo Olympics

The matter of Ainu participation in the Olympic ceremonies has left lingering ambivalence regarding the issue of the Ainu’s voice in their own representation at international level. To begin with, a February 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee decision to drop the Ainu dance performance from the programme of the opening ceremonies drew criticism that Japan was not honouring its commitment to support the culture of its Indigenous minority.[4]

Eventually, persistent negotiations on the part of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido (AAH) representatives culminated in an Ainu dance being performed in the opening ceremonies of the Race Walking and Marathon events at the Sapporo venue of the Tokyo Olympics, with Japan’s Cabinet Minister delivering an opening greeting and footage of the performances being recognised as an official programme of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.[5] [6]

The debate over the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the Ceremonies of the Olympic Games as a problem of appropriation and political showmanship[7] is likely to continue, elements of both sides of this argument having been present in regard to Ainu participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. On the one hand, there was criticism that the planned Ainu participation in the Tokyo Olympics might be merely an element of show to boost Japan’s international image as a place of “harmony”.[8] Other people who were in favour of Ainu participation, including the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, expressed consternation at the Tokyo Olympic Committee’s decision to drop the Ainu participation.[9] Amidst criticism of the quality of the opening ceremonies, likely due in part to overall problems of funding and the controversy involved in holding the Olympic Games during the COVID-19 pandemic,[10] the question of the extent to which the February 2020 decision by the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee to drop Ainu participation was a reflection of how much power the Government of Japan has to support its Indigenous citizens in such situations may be a debatable one. However, one thing is certain, and that is that this time the push by AAH representatives to include the Ainu in the Olympic Ceremonies, albeit ultimately only in the opening of certain local events in Ainu country, is reflective of the fact that the Ainu people themselves are centrally involved in this debate.[11]

Ainu women in the public sphere and discrimination in the media

Ainu women have recently become increasingly visible in the public sphere. In 2021 alone, Ainu women were active in an Ainu museum exhibition[12] abroad, a professional musical performance, creating avant-garde theatre, launching an NGO,[13] appearing on TV, and creating their own video channels, as well as participating, along with their cultural preservation societies, in the Opening Ceremony of the Race Walk and Marathon for the Tokyo Olympics.

The flip side of greater visibility is increased exposure to discrimination. Discriminatory remarks continue to characterise Internet discourse and Japanese media coverage of the Ainu. The word Ainu itself drew much attention in the Japanese media in 2021, with a racial slur by a Japanese comedian on the Nippon Television Network Corp morning show Sukkiri[14] raising intense discussion.[15] In the show, a comment was made by the comedian about the short documentary film Ainu My Voice which focuses on Ainu women’s empowerment in contemporary Japanese society. The word Ainu was used in a play on words, “ah inu” which implies identification of Ainu with animals through use of “inu”, the Japanese word for dog. This has an historical significance with deep roots, as the phrase has continually been used discriminatorily towards the Ainu to degrade their culture and identify them as an inferior race.

The incident triggered extensive coverage in the media and drew an official statement from the AAH in coalition with Hokkaido Governor Suzuki Naomichi,[16] Japan Television responded with an official apology to the AAH expressing deep regret for the inappropriate expression,[17] and has recently commenced airing a series of awareness-raising programmes on the Ainu.

Lack of self-determination and free, prior and informed consent

More issues came to light in 2021 regarding the problem of the lack of legislative structures governing the Ainu’s right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent.[18] Firstly, despite implementation of the New Ainu Law in 2019,[19] purported to support Ainu cultural transmission and economic advancement, there are reports that local Ainu have been refused assistance to use the law as a mean to achieve their local cultural aspirations.[20] For instance, the town council of Honbetsu in central Hokkaido denied a request from the Honbetsu Ainu Association to build a traditional cise dwelling in which to conduct Ainu ceremonies on the grounds that the law stipulates that applications for financial subsidies made available by the law must be made by local municipalities and that they cannot be made by private organisations. The town government claimed that it first needed to “(hear) the opinions of local residents”.[21]

Meanwhile, against a backdrop of ongoing denial of Ainu collective voice and rights, Ainu activist groups and individuals have joined forces with Japanese citizens’ activist groups to raise awareness through vocal criticism. In opposition to what is essentially a denial of Ainu FPIC,[22] approximately a dozen Ainu individuals took to the stage to voice their dissent at a 16 November gathering of the Hokkaido Alliance on the Nuclear Waste Problem,[23] in advance of an anticipated 18 November approval by the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) to commence documentary research to determine the suitability of two Hokkaido municipalities, Suttsu Town and Kamoenai Mura, for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste.[24] Additionally, faced with the continuing denial of Ainu legal rights by the Japanese State and the Hokkaido government in four 2021 court hearings[25] held to recognise their collective salmon harvesting rights,[26] the Raporo Ainu Nation collaborated with a citizens’ support group to publish a book[27] and launch a public lecture series to raise awareness and disseminate information on Indigenous Peoples’ rights.[28]

Women in Okinawa

Women in Okinawa were historically excluded from the public realm due to the male-centric view of Confucianism, which has long influenced cultural and social aspects in Okinawa, and patriarchal thinking still persists today.[29] While there has been gradual improvement, there is still much room for more. On the one hand, for example, in the political field during 2021, the first female member in 32 years was elected to Kadena Town Council in January[30] and, in April, two female candidates simultaneously became councillors for the first time in Yonabaru town.[31] After the election in July, female members came to constitute 32.5% of Naha City (the capital of Okinawa prefecture) Assembly, thus achieving the highest female representation of all municipalities in Okinawa.[32]

However, the draft sixth prefectural plan for gender equality prepared by Okinawa Prefectural Gender Equality Council in October described the current situation as being quite below the international standard.[33] According to an investigation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2019, the percentage of female members of Okinawa Prefectural Assembly was 10.9%, and that of city assemblies and that of town and village assemblies in Okinawa were 11.5% and 8.2% respectively.[34] As local news also reported in February 2021, 12 out of 41 municipal governments in Okinawa have no female members, and five of them never have.[35] Female candidates in Okinawa at the elections for the lower house of the National Diet (parliament) so far have also constituted only 5%.[36]

To struggle against such remaining gender inequality, women in Okinawa, their perspectives and work remained important in 202,1 as seen in various efforts relating to the topics discussed below, as well as multiple moves, including an appeal for female empowerment, for example by introducing a quota system for women in assemblies, made at a gathering for International Women's Day in March by the Federation of Okinawa Prefectural Women's Organisation.[37]

US military bases

One of the ongoing issues in Okinawa relates to the huge burden of US military bases, which can be seen as an extension of Japan's historical colonialism. Notably, sexual violence against women is a serious issue, as seen in incidents in 2021, such as a guilty verdict against a US soldier for his indecent assault in January[38] and the arrest of a military employee for his attempted sexual assault in July.[39] These cases are only the tip of the iceberg, however, and although such incidents may be happening almost daily, many of them are not reported to the police, according to Suzuyo Takasato, co-chair of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, who reported more than 350 sexual violence cases committed by US military personnel in the 12th edition of the report on “Sexual Assault by US Soldiers in Okinawa”.[40]

Another urgent issue is water pollution. As reported by the All Okinawa Council for Human Rights in its written submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in June, the rivers and wells around US bases that local residents use for their everyday lives “have been found to be contaminated by toxic substances” but “sufficient investigation, verification, and information disclosure on the causes of the contamination are left to the discretion of the US military”.[41]

Additionally, a continuing controversial issue is a new base to be constructed in Henoko, a non-commercial area with a small population in the northern part of Okinawa Island. Following previous cabinets, newly-elected Prime Minister Kishida held onto this construction plan in his general policy speech in December[42] despite multiple objections to it, including criticism from the Governor of Okinawa[43] and statements requesting the reconsideration or suspension of the plan by bar associations in Japan.[44] Legal battles have been ongoing in relation to issues such as the landfill work for the base.[45] Problems on the landfill work also include a government plan to use sand from the southern part of Okinawa Island, where human remains from the Second World War are buried and this has received particular objections, as seen in statements from more than 130 municipalities across Japan,[46] an online petition from abroad,[47] and email submissions to the UN Secretary-General and others on the part of 37 university students in Okinawa.[48]

Related to the struggles over US military bases, an article by Mark Ramseyer, published in 2020, was flagged up as problematic in 2021. He wrote, particularly that: “Okinawan elites protest the bases in part to raise the price they receive for taking” the bases.[49] His article was strongly criticised as including discriminatory, false, and baseless descriptions.[50]

In addition, concern regarding secondary COVID infection through military personnel remained, as seen in an outbreak in the military facilities in December followed by a rapid increase in positive cases in Okinawa.[51] The concentration of military facilities has thus resulted in a heightened risk of COVID infection among people in Okinawa.

Disputes over Indigeneity

Disputes over the Indigeneity of Okinawans continued, as this year also saw various positions either in support of or against the recommendations being made by UN human rights bodies since 2008 to recognise Okinawans as Indigenous Peoples. In particular, eight municipal politicians in Okinawa organised a group in November, arguing that Okinawans were not Indigenous Peoples and seeking reconsideration of the UN recommendation.[52] In contrast, there were various protests, notably seen in the establishment of and statement by Ryūkyū Indigenous Peoples Mabui Gumi nu Kai in December, which consisted of Okinawan women asserting that they were “Ryūkyūans” and Indigenous Peoples.[53] Additionally, in order to discuss and clarify a generic or geographical scope of the term Indigenous Peoples in the context of Okinawa and other relevant matters, Ryūkyū Indigenous Peoples Network Council was established in May by Okinawans who have been engaged in or associated with the struggle for rights as Indigenous Peoples.

Repatriation of human remains

The repatriation of Okinawan human remains is another ongoing issue. Notably, the 8th to 11th hearings at the district court were held this year in the case against Kyoto University, which has held human remains taken from Okinawa Island since the 1920s. In May, an Okinawan female scholar Shoko Oshiro also contributed her report to Fabián Salvioli, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, in which she touched upon multiple topics, including the repatriation of human remains.[54] In his report to the UN General Assembly, Salvioli mentioned Okinawans' repatriation work and highlighted the state’s obligation to repatriate.[55] The last date for the hearing at the district court is in January 2022, and a decision is expected in April.

Alongside this court battle, the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education has kept 63 bodies of Okinawan human remains transferred from National Taiwan University in 2019. The bereaved families and members of Nirai Kanai nu Kai[56] filed two inspection requests to the prefectural audit committee in January and July concerning the repatriation, aerial reburial and compensation for these remains[57] but both requests were dismissed.[58]

These ongoing struggles for the human rights of people in Okinawa will continue into 2022. As 2022 is symbolic, being the 50th year of the reincorporation of Okinawa into Japan in 1972, the issue of how to develop the work of protecting their human rights will remain significant.

Dr. Kanako Uzawa is an Ainu researcher, Ainu rights advocate and member of the Association of Rera in Tokyo. She recently completed her PhD at the The University of Tromsø – Arctic University of Norway on urban Ainu experiences within a framework of diasporic Indigeneity, raising the question of what it means to be Indigenous in a city. Kanako is also an editorial board member of AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Jeff Gayman is a full Professor in the School of Education and Research Faculty of Media and Communication at Hokkaido University where his research focuses on issues of empowerment of the Ainu in educational arenas. He has been engaged in support of Ainu rights advocacy for over a decade.

Fumiya Nagai is Vice-President of Shimin Gaikou Centre, an international human rights NGO that works with Indigenous representatives in Japan and supports their human rights advocacy.


This article is part of the 36th edition of The Indigenous World, a yearly overview produced by IWGIA that serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced. Find The Indigenous World 2022 in full here


Notes and references

[1] Population figures for Hokkaido taken from the 2017 Survey of Ainu Livelihoods conducted by the Hokkaido prefectural government in cooperation with the Ainu Association. Hokkaido Government, Environment and Lifestyle Section. “Hokkaido Ainu Survey on Livelihood Report.” 2017.


Population figures for the rest of Japan taken from the 2011 Survey of Non-Hokkaido Ainu Livelihoods conducted by the Council for Ainu Policy Promotion. “Non-Hokkaido Ainu Survey on Livelihood Report.” 2011. https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/ainusuishin/dai3/haifu_siryou.pdf; many with Ainu ancestry do not publicly identify as Ainu due to discrimination and stigma in Japanese society. Ainu observers estimate the actual population of those with Ainu ancestry to be between 100,000 and 300,000, with 5,000 in the greater Kanto region alone. See body of the report for further discussion on the 2017 survey.

[2] Mamo, Dwayne, General Editor. The Indigenous World 2020. Copenhagen: The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), 2020. https://iwgia.org/images/yearbook/2020/IWGIA_The_Indigenous_World_2020.pdf

[3] Mamo, Dwayne, General Editor. The Indigenous World 2021. Copenhagen: The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), 2021. https://iwgia.org/doclink/iwgia-book-the-indigenous-world-2021-eng/eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJpd2dpYS1ib29rLXRoZS1pbmRpZ2Vub3VzLXdvcmxkLTIwMjEtZW5nIiwiaWF0IjoxNjI4ODM5NjM2LCJleHAiOjE2Mjg5MjYwMzZ9.z1CuM7PcT5CPkV0evx8ve88y6v0vmwDu_51JQ_lwAkM

[4] Justin McCurry, Justin. “Tokyo Olympics: dance by Japan’s indigenous people dropped from opening ceremony.” The Guardian, February 21, 2020.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/21/tokyo-olympics-dance-by-japans-indigenous-people-dropped-from-opening-ceremony

[5] Due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the events which had been scheduled for the summer of 2020 were postponed until summer 2021. Nonetheless, the official name remains the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

[6] Ministry of Justice. “Considering World Harmony Through Ainu Dance “Upopo Yan Rimse Yan” (Let’s Sing Together. Let’s Dance Together) and “Pararu” (The Large Road): The Way to Oneness.” Ministry of Justice,  https://www.moj.go.jp/JINKEN/jinken05_00050.html

[7] Bruce Toni and Emma Wensing. The Olympics and Indigenous Peoples: Australia. In: Lenskyj H.J., Wagg S. (eds). The Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230367463_31.

Silver, Jennifer J., Zoë A. Meletis & Priya Vadi. ”Complex context: Aboriginal participation in hosting the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.” Leisure Studies, 31:3, 291-308. DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2011.645248

[8] Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. “Indigenous Rights and the “Harmony Olympics”. The Asia Pacific Journal, February 15, 2020. Volume 18 | Issue 4 | Number 6. Article ID 5346. This article is a part of the Special Issue: Japan’s Olympic Summer Games – Past and Present, Part I. https://apjjf.org/2020/4/Morris-Suzuki.html Japan Times. “Olympic snub: Dance of Japan's indigenous Ainu dropped from opening ceremony.” Japan Times, February 22, 2020. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/22/national/ainu-dance-olympics/

[9] Oba, Yumi. “Japan’s indigenous people to perform at Olympics after being dropped from the opening ceremony.” SBS Nihongo, August 21, 2021.


[10] Alt, Matt. “Tokyo’s Olympics Have Become the Anger Games.” The New Yorker, July 22, 2021.


[11] SBS Nihongo. Ibid. Hokkaido Television Broadcasting (HTB),November 3, 2021. “Pararu The large road Spirit of the Ainu broadcast to the world.”

[12] Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum. “Exhibition: November 5, 2021 to February 20, 2022. A Soul in Everything

Encounters with Ainu from the North of Japan.” YouTube: Eine Seele in Allem (Ainu Ausstellung). http://www.rautenstrauch-joest-museum.de/A-Soul-in-Everything

[13] Chunichi Shimbun. “Connecting to the Future Through Ethnic Solidarity Ainu Poet Ukaji Shizue Moves to Hokkaido.” Chunichi Shimbun, December 1, 2021.


[14] Osawa, Mizuki. “Japanese TV network apologizes for comedian's “hurtful remark” against Ainu.” The Mainichi Shimbun, March 13, 2021.


[15] Miyata, Yusuke and Takumi Ono. “TV network apologizes for slur toward Ainu people.” The Asahi Shimbun. March 13, 2021.


[16] Yoshigaki, Fumiko. “Nippon TV chief apologizes to Ainu people over comedian’s slur.”  The Asahi Shimbun, June 7, 2021. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14367406

[17] Yoshigaki, Fumiko. Ibid.

[18] The Indigenous World 2021. Ibid.

[19] The Indigenous World 2020. Ibid.

[20] Hokkaido Shimbun. “Discrimination and inertia slow use of Ainu grants, two years after launch.” Japan Times, June 28, 2021.


[21] Japan Times, June 28, 2021. Ibid.

[22] The Indigenous World 2021. Ibid.

[23] Chunichi Shimbun. Ibid. Also, Hokkaido Shimbun 22 November 2021. Ainu people join protest “Do not spoil the land which our ancestors have protected!” Ongoing literature survey, rising anxiety. Retrieved from:


[24] Hokkaido “Nuclear waste literature survey to commence. Suttsu, Kameonai to be domestic first Government gives approval to start process toward waste disposal site designation.” Hokkaido Shimbun, November 18, 2021. https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/article/482627

[25] The Hokkaido University Declassified Document Research Group Raporo Ainu Nation Litigation Support Site.  http://www.kaijiken.sakura.ne.jp/fishingrights/index.html

[26] The Indigenous World 2021. Ibid.

[27] Raporo Ainu Nation and The Hokkaido University Declassified Document Research Group, 2021. Journey to the Salmon People. Sapporo: Karinsha.

[28] Declassified Document Research Group. Ibid.

[29] For a broad history of Okinawa from the female perspective, see Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education Cultural Properties Division (ed.), Okinawa Prefectural History: Particular Topic Edition 8 Women's History. Naha: Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education, 2016.

[30] Ryukyu Shimpo. “First female councillor in 32 years Kadena Town Council: election of Taeko Takehara with the highest number of votes obtained.” Ryukyu Shimpo, January 19, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1258473.html

[31] Ryukyu Shimpo. “Election of Yonabaru Town Council, 14 members elected: two female members for the first time.” Ryukyu Shimpo, April 19, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1307377.html

[32] Ryukyu Shimpo. “32.5% of female councillors, Naha City Assembly becoming the highest in the prefecture: an expert is saying ‘a starting point for recognising the diversity’.” Ryukyu Shimpo, July 13, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1354263.html

[33] Ryukyu Shimpo. “Specification of the delay in gender equality in a plan draft of Okinawa Prefecture, also setting a target value for female appointments.” Ryukyu Shimpo,October 28, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1414462.html

[34] Ryukyu Shimpo. “The percentage of female councillors in Okinawa, lower than the national average: 10.9% among prefectural assembly members, 8.2% for members of the town and village assemblies.” Ryukyu Shimpo, January 28, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1263330.html

[35] Ryukyu Shimpo. “Female members are 'zero in history' in five villages in remote islands, i.e., Iheya, Zamami, Tonaki, Tarama.” Ryukyu Shimpo, February 11, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1270459.html.

[36] Ruykyu Shimpo. “Candidates for the House of Representatives within Okinawa Prefecture, only 5% for women: 18 times in the past, dying away from political gender equality.” Ryukyu Shimpo, November 10, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1421031.html

[37] Ruykyu Shimpo. “Female empowerment in the society: Federation of Okinawa Prefectural Women's Organization for improving female status adopted the request for the system of optional separate surnames for married couples and the quota system.” Ryukyu Shimpo, March 8, 2021.https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1282986.html

[38] Ruykyu Shimpo. “A guilty verdict to a US soldier for sexual assault to a woman: a four-year stay of execution, the decision by Naha District Court.” Ryukyu Shimpo, June 14, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1338109.html

[39] Okinawa Times. “Female organisation ‘feels strong anger,’ demanding a care for victims, concerning an attempt of US military employee to sexual assault.” Okinawa Times, July 31, 2021. https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/-/796058

[40] Abe, Ai. “Things that should be done by ‘the second attackers’ of incidents on assaults and murders of women in Okinawa: considering the approach of the Japanese Government from international human rights standards.” Ronza, April 27, 2021. https://webronza.asahi.com/politics/articles/2021042500001.html

[41] All Okinawa Council for Human Rights (AOCHR). “Inputs for the Day of General Discussion on the Rights of Indigenous Women and Girls. 18 June 2021.” P.8. United Nations. OHCHR.


[42] Asato, Yosuke. “Prime Minister Kishida, seeing Henoko relocation as ‘a sole resolution’: clarification of its connection with Okinawa economic promotion in his general policy speech.” Ryukyu Shimpo., December 7, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1435215.html

[43] Okinawa Times. “Criticising the Henoko plan as ‘unilateral imposition’: Governor of Okinawa, calling for the discussion across Japan.” Okinawa Times, December 15, 2021.https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/-/879918

[44] Ryukyu Shimpo. “‘Reconsider, including an option of suspension’: the opinion document of Japan Federation of Bar Association concerning Henoko base construction.” Ryukyu Shimpo, September 2, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1385981.html. Ryukyu Shimpo. “Kyushu Federation of Bar Association saying ‘Suspend a new base in Henoko’: the opinion document to Okinawa Defence Bureau.” Ryukyu Shimpo, September 22, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1396014.html

[45] Ryukyu Shimpo. “Action for judicial review of administrative disposition concerning Henoko, lost by Okinawa Prefecture again: Higher Court Naha branch dismissed an appeal.” Ryukyu Shimpo, December 15, 2021 https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1439770.html

[46] Nomura, Hajime. “Please don't take sand where human remains from Okinawa War rest: more than 130 opinion documents from municipalities.” Nishinippon Shimbun, October 24, 2021. https://www.nishinippon.co.jp/item/n/820773/

[47] Ryukyu Shimpo. “Signature-collecting from abroad as well, opposing a plan for taking sand to Henoko new base from an area where human remains rest, appealed in four languages.” Ryukyu Shimpo, March 7, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1282562.html

[48] Kakazu, Yo. “Dear UN Secretary-General, ‘please discuss’ the extraction of sand from the southern area: Mr Nakamoto's call, emails by 37 students at Okinawa International University.” Ryukyu Shimpo, July 7, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1350653.html

[49] Ramseyer, J. Mark. “A Monitoring Theory of the Underclass: With Examples from Outcastes, Koreans, and Okinawans in Japan.” P.37. Harward Law School, January 24, 2020. https://extranet.sioe.org/uploads/sioe2020/ramseyer.pdf

[50] Ryukyu Shimpo. “For the elimination of discrimination, ‘bring international solidarity’: a webinar by scholars.” Ryukyu Shimpo, April 19, 2021. Print.

[51] Okinawa Times. “Status of Forces Agreement that does not apply the Japanese border control: ‘That's a fundamental problem,’ said by the Governor on the outbreak of the omicron variant through the US military.” Okinawa Times, January 3, 2022. https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/-/888756

[52] Okinawa Times. “Parliamentary association that refuses Indigenous peoples: towards the retreatment of UN recommendations, an appeal to the Prefectural Assembly.” Okinawa Times, November 24, 2021. https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/-/868026

[53] Nakamura, Mariko. “Towards the recovery of the dignity of Ryūkyūans: the establishment of Mabui Gumi nu Kai by women in Okinawa Prefecture.” Ryukyu Shimpo, December 10, 2021. https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-1437262.html

[54] Oshiro, Shoko.  “Human rights violations in colonial contexts- Okinawa (Ryukyu-Lew Chew) case.” Edited by Daniel Iwama. United Nations. OHCHR. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Truth/CallLegacyColonialism/CSO/Shoko-Oshiro.pdf.

[55] Official Documents System of the United Nations. “United Nations.  A/76/180. General Assembly. 19 July 2021. Seventy-sixth session. Item 75 (b) of the provisional agenda*. Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights issues, including other means of enhancing the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. Note by the Secretary-General.” Para.67. https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N21/197/81/PDF/N2119781.pdf?OpenElement

[56] Nirai Kanai nu Kai is an Okinawan organisation for the repatriation and aerial reburial of their ancestral human remains into original graves. Aerial burial broadly means a practice of burying a dead body by weathering and skeletonising it on the ground, possibly in burial chambers or other spaces depending on each culture and environment, rather than cremating or burying it in the ground.

[57] Okinawa Times. “Inspection request for aerial reburial of Ryūkyūan human remains by descendants against the prefecture.” Okinawa Times, July 27, 2021. https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/-/793227

[58] For a story surrounding the repatriation efforts concerning Okinawan human remains, see also Orie Maruyama. “Whose human remains that were taken from graves 100 years ago.” Edited by Mai Toda. Call4, October 7, 2021. https://www.call4.jp/story/?p=1850



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