US Military Bases on Okinawa: Is Anybody Listening?

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Fellow Okinawans near and far,

The question is often asked, “When will all this end?” But nobody listens. Look at the Japanese gov’t, the American gov’t, our Honolulu City Council. No one seems to take to heart the plight of the Okinawan people.

When will it end? Is anybody listening? Does anybody care?

Here’s a summary of the latest based on excerpts from an artlcle that appeared in the Yomiuri Shimbun (“U.S. forces must take stern steps to prevent criminal acts,” Japan News, May 21, 2016):

A cruel and unpardonable act was committed in Okinawa Prefecture. We urge the U.S. forces in Japan to take effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such a crime.

A 32-year-old civilian employee of the U.S. military has been arrested by the Okinawa prefectural police in connection with the incident in which a 20-year-old woman from the city of Uruma in the prefecture had been listed as missing since late April. He is suspected of abandoning her body in the woods of Onna village.

The man has admitted dumping her body and is said to have made statements to the effect that he had throttled and stabbed her. A former marine, the suspect was involved in Internet-related operations at the U.S. Kadena Air Base.

We want the Okinawa prefectural police to make all-out efforts to uncover all the details of the crime, including the circumstances that led to the act and the motive.

It was natural for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to say: “I feel strong resentment. I’ll urge the U.S. side to make a rigorous response, such as the implementation of thorough preventive measures.”

One thing that cannot be overlooked in connection with the case is its possible impact on U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima set for next Friday. It is feared the event will cast a serious shadow over a historic visit that could usher the Japan-U.S. alliance into a new phase.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida lodged a protest with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on Thursday after the man was arrested earlier in the day, saying, “It was a despicable and brutal act and is extremely regrettable.” Defense Minister Gen Nakatani also made a protest to Lt. Gen. John Dolan, the commander of the U.S. forces in Japan, on the same day. Their quick successive responses likely represent a strong sense of crisis on the part of the Japanese government.

The Japanese gov’t wants to keep the US Marines in Okinawa, away from the other Japanese prefectures to preclude the problems created by the Marines (and other US military forces) from occurring in mainland Japan.

You will understand this when you watch the video below. The latter part of the video shows an interview of two Japanese scholars — Tomohiko Taniguchi of Keio University and Seneo Watanabe of the Tokyo Foundation who try to justify why the US Marines are needed on Okinawa island. Mr. Taniguchi says, “Okinawa island sits on the FRONT LINE of the changing equation of security of East Asia and the presence of the USMC in Okinawa bears even more importance than in the past.”

My question is, Front line to what? China’s invading armies? We are living in the 21st century, gentlemen, not the middle of the last century. And there is another problem: North Korea’s ballistic missiles. What can 10,000 Marines do against any nuclear armed missiles coming from North Korea?

What these Japanese scholars are saying is no different than what the Japanese military said when they used Okinawa island as their big stand against the American military during WWII: “Fight the American military on Okinawa, and the Japanese mainland will be spared.” According to the video, 200,000 Okinawan people were killed during this battle. How many Okinawans will be sacrificed in the next Battle of Okinawa?

How much more do the Okinawan people have to suffer? On an everyday basis, how many more Okinawan women and children have to be raped, killed or murdered by the occupying American military before something is done?

When will this all end?

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This entry was posted in Battle of Okinawa, Government, Hawaii, History, International, Japan, Op-ed, Politics, Protest. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to US Military Bases on Okinawa: Is Anybody Listening?

  1. Andy Ajimine says:

    Let’s make our vote count and any politician not making a difference is “OUT”.

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