Both Washington and Tokyo threaten the Okinawan people when they make comments to the effect that if the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is not relocated to Henoko (northern part of Okinawa Island), it will remain at the present site (Ginowan) permanently and as dangerously as ever.

They seem to forget that the dangers posed by Futenma are man-made or U.S.-generated — quite unlike threats from potential natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons. We cannot eliminate the causes of such natural disasters, but we can avoid man-made ones by removing cause-and-effect completely. Close the base now and forever.

If Futenma’s function were to be relocated to Henoko, it would still be in Okinawa Prefecture, and Okinawa would have to continue putting up with the burden of being a U.S. military colony as it hosts the bulk of U.S. military bases in Japan.

Futenma is a mere 2 percent of the total area occupied by U.S. bases in Okinawa. Yet, how the land used for Futenma is eventually returned — that is, with or without strings — is set to determine Okinawa’s fate. That’s why Okinawans must continue to oppose the Henoko relocation plan vehemently.

yoshio shimoji

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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