This article explores the Cold War geopolitics of population and reproduction in Okinawa under US military occupation from 1945 to 1972. Okinawa has been hailed as a “reproductive paradise,” owing to having the highest birth rate in Japan. However, its high birth rate reflects the Cold War history of US military occupation or, more specifically, the history of reproduction and the marginalization of the population in Japan. In postwar Okinawa, where the Eugenic Protection Law (EPL) was not implemented, the use of legalized abortion and contraceptive methods was restricted until the reversion to Japanese administration. The US Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) put forward emigration as a solution to Okinawa's population pressures and refused to enact the EPL, although the Government of the Ryukyu Islands (GRI) sought to implement the legislation. This article reveals that Cold War geopolitics placed Okinawa between national and international trends of population policy and family planning programs by highlighting the following three points: the GRI's awareness of Okinawa's population problem and enactment of the EPL, USCAR's choice in promoting emigration and “rescission” of the EPL, and a family planning campaign without state initiative in Okinawa under US military occupation.
Cold War Geopolitics of Population and Reproduction in Okinawa Under US Military Occupation, 1945–1972
Kayo Sawada is a professor in the Department of Global and Regional Culture, Okinawa International University. She is the author of Sengo okinawa no seishoku wo meguru porithikusu 戦後沖縄の生殖をめぐるポリティクス (Politics of Reproduction in Postwar Okinawa: Fertility Transition and Women's Negotiations under US Military Control). She has worked on the gender politics of population and reproduction in Okinawa, Taiwan, and South Korea and is now working on a project entitled “Cross-Cultural Marriages and Gender Reconfiguration in Okinawa,” which is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Kayo Sawada; Cold War Geopolitics of Population and Reproduction in Okinawa Under US Military Occupation, 1945–1972. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 December 2016; 10 (4): 401–422. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-3524959
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