Tony Ward’s March 10 letter, “Relocate U.S. Marines to Iwo Jima,” is based on the mistaken belief that Iwo Jima is capable of accommodating several thousand military personnel and other essential workers as a permanent duty station. I spent a few weeks on the island for training missions while in the U.S. Navy during the 1990s and can comfortably state that Iwo Jima is not a plausible solution to the perceived problem of the marines on Okinawa and the debate over new facilities for them.
The simple fact of the matter is that Okinawa is of tremendous geopolitical importance to Japan. The Japanese government pretends to want the U.S. military elsewhere on occasion, but really craves its continued presence in a region fraught with potential dangers to Japan’s sovereignty and access to needed mineral resources.
Until Japan is willing and able to provide for its own defense, little will change and the nation will continue to rely on the United States for support and protection.
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