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As for the Dec. 2 article “Noda apologizes for axed official’s Okinawa gaffe“: Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa visited Okinawa Friday to personally apologize to Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima for an extremely inappropriate remark made by Okinawa Defense Bureau chief Satoshi Tanaka, who was fired.

When a reporter had asked when the central government would file an environment impact assessment report for the plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corp. Air Station Futenma to a more northern location of Okinawa Island, Tanaka is said to have replied, “Do you tell someone you’re going to rape her before you do it?”

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has also apologized in front of the media, offering his “heartfelt apologies for the hurt that (Tanaka’s remark) has caused the people of Okinawa.”

This gaffe, however, might have belied the fact that Tanaka, who was to bear the brunt of executing the government’s relocation plan, thinks that carrying out the plan is a criminal act.

Both Ichikawa and Noda seem to have apologized only for Tanaka’s blunder and not for what most of us here in Okinawa also think is a criminal act (committed against the people of Okinawa). So, their apologies are a sham at best.

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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