• Naha, Okinawa


I write in response to a Japanese newspaper’s editorial view that the outcome of last Sunday’s Ginowan mayoral election in Okinawa Prefecture should serve as a springboard to ensure that U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is relocated to the Henoko district of Nago in the same prefecture.

In the days before World War II, the Japanese media were the cat’s paw of the government. An elementary school first-grader at the time, I remember the Imperial Headquarters’ announcing victory after victory for the Imperial armed forces with little damage to the Japanese side. The nation believed until the last days of the war that Japan’s ultimate victory was at hand. The news media at the time worked as a cog in this propaganda machine.

Today, two major vernacular newspapers in Japan retain this abominable “you can’t fight city hall” mentality as ever-faithful mouthpieces for the government. The land that Futenma air station occupies was stolen. Ninety-three percent of it was private, seized by the U.S. Army immediately after the Battle of Okinawa, in clear violation of Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which the U.S. had ratified.

How, then, can the U.S. government demand a replacement for “stolen goods” when it is asked to return them? Can those newspaper editors who are the government’s mouthpiece explain the justification for such preposterous dealing by both the U.S. and Japanese governments to the people of Okinawa?

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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