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At the Oct. 1 plenary session of the Diet’s Upper House, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained that U.S. Air Station Futenma on Okinawa must be relocated [further north] to Henoko because the air station must not remain fixed where it is forever.

On a separate occasion in Naha, Director General Kazunori Inoue of the Okinawa Defense Bureau said the major aim of relocation was to eliminate the potential dangers that Futenma poses now [at Ginowan].

Hearing these two give their reasons, one cannot help but think that a benevolent politician, on one hand, and a dependable bureaucrat, on the other, were putting Okinawa’s well-being ahead of anything else. But consider this: If Futenma is relocated to Henoko, it is inevitable that all U.S. bases in Okinawa will remain where they are forever.

Accordingly Okinawa would continue to suffer as a U.S. military colony, being obliged to host an overwhelming number of U.S. military bases indefinitely. Could Prime Minister Shinzo Abe call this a reduction in Okinawa’s burden?

I would like to ask Inoue: If the reduction of dangers is the main purpose of the relocation, what does he think about conditions around Kadena Air Base, which is potentially the most dangerous of all U.S. bases in Okinawa?

Compare the number and cases of aircraft accidents between Kadena and Futenma. It would follow, under his theory, that Kadena should be subject, first and foremost, to either immediate shutdown or relocation.

yoshio shimoji
naha, 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.

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