Last week, at the end of a report on the TBS newsmagazine show "Hodo Tokushu" about protests against the proposed U.S. Marine Corps base at Henoko in Okinawa, the show's host mentioned that in response to charges from local press that it had violently repelled sea-borne demonstrators, the Japan Coast Guard provided one statement for local journalists and another for mainland reporters. Tokyo-based newspeople were told that their Okinawan counterparts had reported "wrong" information, but when responding to Okinawan media, the coast guard ignored these assertions.

An announcer on the show observed that this discrepancy reveals why "Okinawan opinions" are not properly understood by the central government, which might explain why the current administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has become so intractable about Henoko. Veteran TBS reporter Shigenori Kanehira admitted that "the Tokyo media hasn't adequately conveyed what is really going on."

The central government knows exactly how the people of Okinawa feel about the U.S. Marine base construction. In the last general election local voters roundly rejected any candidate backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, as well as the prefecture's governor, who had approved the Henoko project. What bothered Kanehira was that the mainland media has not made the rest of Japan understand what's at stake. The information delivered by the mainstream press has perpetuated a myth that works against the interests of Okinawans, and while most Japanese people may sympathize with what they believe is a vocal minority's displeasure at living side-by-side with the American military, it can't be helped because, the story goes, Japan relies on the U.S. for security and the prefecture's economy depends on the central government.