Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held the Okinawa International Cooperation and Exchange Festival 2015 at the Okinawa International Center in Maeda, Urasoe. JICA’s interns, learning about technology from all over the world, and about 30 international cooperation and exchange associations in Okinawa ran booths.

In an interview with The Washington Post in November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the U.S.-Japan alliance “the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy,” a stance supported by the U.S. State Department, whose website asserts, “Japan contributes irreplaceable political, financial and moral support to U.S.-Japan diplomatic efforts.” However, such official comments on Tokyo-Washington ties are misleading, believes Sayo Saruta, the director of Japanese think tank New Diplomacy Initiative.

On Sunday, January 19, the small city of Nago in northern Okinawa re-elected their mayor. Americans especially will wonder why a local election in a far-off place should matter. Because by voting for Mayor Susumu Inamine people voted against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the United States military. Local fishermen and farmers voted yes to their traditional way of life, no to American helicopters polluting the pristine waters of Oura Bay.