According to the Aug. 17 Kyodo article “Osprey crash in April due to pilot error: U.S.“: Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is reported to have urged Tokyo to deal with the issues of U.S. Osprey aircraft deployment and Futenma air base relocation from the wider security perspective of the Asia-Pacific region, and pay more attention to the importance of Japan-U.S. ties.
Armitage suggested that Tokyo’s handling of both issues up to now is like letting the tail wag the dog. He seems to be saying that if Tokyo would only realize the region’s changing security environment, the Osprey’s safety concerns would dissipate and the Futenma relocation issue would be resolved straightaway — to Washington’s wishes, of course. This very argument is a case of the tail wagging the dog or, as the Japanese say, the guest taking the place of the host. The July 26, 1945, Potsdam Declaration demanded total, unconditional surrender from Japan and promised that the occupying forces “shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established … a peacefully inclined and responsible government.”
Why did the U.S. renege on this promise and coerce Japan to sign a bilateral security treaty that guaranteed the U.S. military presence even after the occupation was over? Shigeru Yoshida, a staunchly pro-American prime minister during the Occupation, is said to have been very hesitant himself about sealing the treaty.
The Osprey and Futenma relocation issues are not of secondary importance as Armitage asserts. They are the byproducts of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the defective nature of Japan-U.S. relations. As many critics point out, Japan is a vassal to the suzerain U.S., with Okinawa no more than the latter’s military colony. So, Okinawa will keep voicing its vociferous opposition to Osprey deployment and its concerns about the Futenma relocation.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.