Regarding Kiroku Hanai’s Feb. 25 article, “Fuel to fire in Okinawa“: Has Hanai ever visited a U.S. military base in mainland Japan or Okinawa? Rather than repeat stories on alleged crimes, why doesn’t someone in the Japanese press bother to interview Japanese people who live in the communities around the bases, such as civilian employees who work for a military base and business owners? These people number in the tens to hundreds of thousands and have a firsthand view.

Moreover, would Japan be as interested in a story about a foreigner that had been raped or suffered an attempted rape by a Japanese national? Show me a single protest for the murdered Lindsey Hawker that a Japanese national has participated in. Show me a country where, when one is stalked (as I have been), the police will step in and assist. (They haven’t and will not.)

I’ve been in Japan three years. As a teacher (not for the U.S. military), I spent the first 2 years in Tokyo, and have had the opportunity to visit two bases in Okinawa. Both are in better condition than Tokyo’s Hibiya Park! And public security is BETTER. If anyone bothered to publish the actual statistics on violent crime and sexual assault on areas near military bases, you would see that the rates are much lower than in other areas.

That said, as a U.S. citizen I would have no problem voting to remove U.S. bases from Japan and forcing Japan to defend itself, since it has an arrogant and naive attitude toward the rest of the world, particularly China and Korea. This in turn has led to perhaps Japan’s most difficult political and financial position in 50 years. Japan can rid itself of all the “problems” that U.S. bases pose, but it shouldn’t come calling in 10 years, when it is just another “Taiwan” within China’s sphere.

name withheld