Yoshio Shimoji makes a patently false claim in his Oct. 6 letter “Close the air station … tomorrow” that “Futenma was constructed while area residents were herded into concentration camps during and after the Battle of Okinawa.”
There is no record of any kind of systematic brutalization of the Okinawan people by U.S. forces in World War II. On the contrary, it was the Imperial Japanese Army that forced Okinawans to fight U.S. forces, and encouraged them to commit suicide when defeat was imminent. This fact is even acknowledged by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology after a legal battle regarding what should be presented in history text books. During the proceedings, Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel Prize winner and survivor of the Battle of Okinawa, testified that the Imperial Japanese army handed out grenades to Okinawans and forced them to congregate near a Japanese military post to await orders to kill themselves.
I share Shimoji’s opinion that the Futenma Air Station (and all other U.S. bases in Japan) should be closed immediately, although for different reasons. Japan is a modern, wealthy nation with no need to be defended by a foreign power. It is the Japanese who should take full responsibility for defending Japan according its national interests, not the interest of a foreign power. This same line of reasoning goes for South Korea and Europe as well.
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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