In his May 8 letter, “Better use of the U.S. Marines,” Yoshio Shimoji mentioned the hundreds of deaths from tornadoes in the United States recently and suggested that the U.S. Marines based at Air Station Futenma in Okinawa might be put to better use if they were returned to the U.S. There was no suggestion of their being moved anywhere inside Okinawa.
This is really mixing apples and oranges. What does one have to do with the other? Is Shimoji disappointed with American military efforts to assist Japanese victims of the Tohoku-Pacific earthquake and tsunami?
On March 31, Kyodo News reported that some 18,000 U.S. military personnel were working to assist their allies and neighbors. Perhaps Shimoji did not see this on NHK-TV — U.S. Marines working side by side with Japanese Self-Defense Force personnel shoveling mud and muck off Sendai airport’s runway, to enable relief aircraft to land. The first aircraft to do so, by the way, was from the U.S. military. It was filled with precious medicines, water and food, delivered free to our Japanese friends.Then there were the helicopter flights from the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan to airlift injured survivors and bring in medical personnel and relief supplies.
Does Shimoji object to efforts only by U.S. Marines? Would he accept relief efforts by other U.S. military and civilians? The robots that entered the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to NHK, were from the U.S. What about relief efforts from other countries, including New Zealand and China?
I’ve visited Okinawa twice and like the land and the people. I like Japan so much that I applied for and finally received permanent-residence status. Many Japanese friends and colleagues, including government officials, thanked me for the efforts of U.S. military and civilians.
If Shimoji simply wants U.S. Marines out of Futenma, then he should pursue that goal. But why denigrate the U.S. response to the Tohoku-Pacific catastrophe? In a small way, I contributed to relief efforts; can Shimoji say as much? That’s what friendship is.
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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