Regarding Yoshio Shimoji’s May 8 letter, “Better use of the U.S. Marines“: The short answer to Shimoji’s concern that U.S. Marines should be deployed to their own country to cope with the aftermath of natural disasters is that there are enough marines and other military service members, as well as the National Guard, who can be used in natural disasters in the United States if called upon by government agencies.
Sending Okinawa-based marines back to the U.S. to deal with natural disasters is unnecessary, is not their primary mission and would jeopardize security under the U.S. Status of Forces Agreement with Japan.
The recent Operation Tomodachi (carried out after the March 11 earthquake disaster in the Tohoku Pacific region) involved more than just marines; it was a coordinated effort by U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan in the true spirit of international friendship. The scale of the disaster in eastern Japan cannot be compared to the outbreak of tornadoes (cited by Shimoji) that recently killed 337 people in the U.S. South.
Shimoji should not let his emotions overrule his intellect in making such a foolish recommendation. The U.S. Marines on Okinawa are there with the consent of the central government of Japan. He should address this issue with the central government rather than demean the efforts of Operation Tomodachi.
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.
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