• Naha, Okinawa

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In April 27, 135 killer tornadoes struck America’s southern states, devastating towns and villages and killing 337 people. Alabama sustained the greatest damage, and reported 249 deaths. Nearly 1 million customers were forced to go without electricity, a scale comparable to that caused by Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in the New Orleans area in August 2005.

On April 3 and 4, 1974, a deadly barrage of 148 tornados ripped through the United States for 2,500 miles — from the Southwest into Canada, leaving enormous destruction behind.

Furthermore, we all know that hurricanes frequently strike the U.S. Southeast and that the Pacific Coast is prone to earthquakes and great forest fires.

Since the U.S. is not immune from natural disasters, either, it is absurd for the U.S. Marines to say that Operation Tomodachi, carried out in northeastern Japan (after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami), was a such great success that it proved the importance of the marines’ functions in Japan.

Were the marines a force capable of coping with the aftermath of natural disasters as effectively as their ballyhoo suggests, then they should be deployed in their own country, the U.S., where it seems they would be needed the most.

It follows, then, that the Okinawa-based Marines should pack up and go home, and U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, should be closed completely without a thought given to providing a replacement facility within Okinawa Prefecture.

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.

yoshio shimoji

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