Tokyo has agreed with Washington over our heads to set up an always-off-limits water area in Oura Bay adjacent to the projected new base at Henoko. The off-limits water area will extend over almost half of Oura Bay.

The purpose of providing this water area to the U.S. Marines for their exclusive use is to enable them to build military port facilities, as planned, on the north side of the new base facing Oura Bay so that warships like the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard can come alongside the quay.

There are coral reefs at the entrance of the newly designated restricted area approached from the ocean side. Expected construction includes crushing these reefs, dredging, then building the wharf on reclaimed land. (Funny how they call it “bank protection works”). Also attached on the north side of the base will be landing craft air-cushion facilities.

As these additional military port facilities are functionally integrated with the sprawling bases of Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen and the Northern Training Area, the new base at Henoko will certainly become the centerpiece of formidable fortifications for the U.S. Marines in Okinawa.

Remember that all the costs for constructing the new Henoko base will be borne by Japanese taxpayers — the fruit, indeed, of the constant litany by Washington that the U.S. military presence is for the defense of Japan.

Is this the reduction of the U.S. military footprint on Okinawa and the reduction of Okinawa’s burdens that both Washington and Tokyo so frantically ballyhoo? Nonsense.

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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