40% in U.S. say bases unnecessary

Kyodo

A public opinion poll released Tuesday found that nearly 40 percent of Americans think U.S. military bases in Japan are unnecessary.

According to poll by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, 39 percent replied that the United States should not have long-term military bases in Japan, while 52 percent said the U.S. should maintain them.

The figures were similar to a separate poll of U.S. leaders, including senior government officials and lawmakers, as 38 percent of those respondents said long-term U.S. bases are unnecessary, while 56 percent felt otherwise.

The public opinion poll showed that the U.S. overseas bases that gained the biggest support were those in South Korea, with 62 percent responding they are necessary, followed by those in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with 58 percent, and those in Germany, with 57 percent.

The public opinion poll also found 51 percent opposed the use of U.S. forces even if North Korea were to invade South Korea. It also showed 61 percent opposed the use of U.S. forces if China were to invade Taiwan. The poll found that 68 percent think it is necessary for the U.S. to win the approval of the U.N. Security Council if it were to consider using military force to destroy North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The council conducted the two surveys between July 6 and 12 — one on 1,195 randomly selected American adults and the other on 450 U.S. leaders.