On a June 10 news talk show, Kevin Maher, the former U.S. Consul General Okinawa and chief of the Japan Desk at the U.S. State Department, said the suggestion by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army deputy chief of staff that the Senkaku Islands issue be shelved for now is like a thief proposing a condition.
Meanwhile, Maher’s current successor in Okinawa, Alfred R. Magleby, gave a lecture at the Okinawa Economists Club, in which he said that Okinawa shoulders too much of a burden in hosting U.S. military bases and that mutual efforts are needed to reduce this burden. That sounds great.
But consider: Almost all of the U.S. bases in Okinawa — Kadena Air Base and Futenma Air Station naturally included — sit on private lands that were requisitioned by U.S. forces in blatant violation of international law. Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land stipulates: “Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.”
So, under this convention, the lands in question (involving about 38,000 landholders) are stolen goods. Therefore, to suggest that mutual efforts are needed to resolve the Futenma relocation issue is tantamount to a robber’s offering conditions.
From our perspective, Magleby’s suggestion looks like our throwing good money after bad. How brazen-faced Washington is about its demand for a replacement for Futenma!
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.