• Naha


Regarding the April 28 front-page article, “U.S., Japan tweak marine exit plan“: In 1945, the southern half of the island of Okinawa was like those parts of the Tohoku region struck by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, with towns and villages devastated.

Nothing remained after the so-called “iron typhoon” in Okinawa. Taking advantage of this nothingness, the U.S. occupation forces in postwar Okinawa freely encroached upon private land — towns, villages, farmland, schoolyards and even cemeteries — to build a number of military bases.

Today, why do negotiators from both the Japanese and U.S. governments turn a blind eye to what the U.S. armed forces did in postwar Okinawa? [The U.S.] blatantly violated international law by building facilities such as Kadena Air Base and Futenma Air Station, among many others.

Article 46 of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) stipulates that private property must not be confiscated in a militarily occupied area.

Our demand for the immediate return of the Futenma site is rightful and nonnegotiable because the air station sits on illegally confiscated land. Futenma is an illegal development built on stolen property. So, what is it that the U.S. defense secretary is reported to have found so praiseworthy in announcing the conclusion of a new round of two-plus-two negotiations?

Apparently it’s the money that Tokyo has promised to pay for the construction of infrastructure on Guam to accommodate 4,000 military personnel and their families, as well as the hastily appended maintenance costs for military facilities on Tinian and Pagan islands in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Tokyo’s share could add up to $3.1 billion. Washington says the total costs for transferring 9,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa and for maintaining facilities on Tinian and Pagan will amount to $8.6 billion. So, Japan’s share is putatively only about one-third.

The catch is whether the U.S. side will be able to appropriate its two-thirds share ($5.5 billion) of the cost in the face of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee’s strong objections to unnecessary spending by the military?

I strongly doubt that the U.S. can do it.

This might wind down to Japanese taxpayers’ having to shoulder most of the costs of this U.S. military realignment or housecleaning, which by nature should be funded by the U.S.

No doubt Tokyo will end up regretting that it made such stupid agreements with regard to the relocation of Futenma and the transfer of U.S. Marines to Guam.

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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