Professor Gavan McCormack’s Nov. 11 article, “Yet Another ‘Battle of Okinawa,’ ” is a rare and welcome retort to the vacuous platitudes one often reads in The Japan Times about the need to avoid disrupting Japan-U.S. security cooperation by being too sensitive about U.S. nuclear weapons — as if Hiroshima counts for nothing — and being inflexible about U.S. bases in Okinawa. Recent articles by two Japan Times regular contributors plus the Oct. 23 editorial (“A base Okinawans can live with”) suggested that democracy should take a back seat to relations between the United States and Japan.
McCormack clearly illustrates how the Guam Treaty, which forms the basis of the relocation issue, is colonial in nature and a violation of Japanese sovereignty. To that I might add that the U.S. bases in Japan have over the last four decades served as the launching platform for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Iraqis and Afghans — inconvenient truths that are swept under the rug by manipulation of security concerns. In truth, U.S. militarism worldwide promotes instability and justifies huge expenditures.
A Nov. 8 Okinawan rally against the bases merited no more than a photo in the Nov. 12 edition, a story more widely covered abroad. While The Japan Times is free to promote the pro-U.S. views of Pacific Forum CSIS, for example, this does not free the paper from the obligation to provide “all the news without fear or favor” on this very important issue.