Reader Mail

U.S. military in Okinawa illegally

The pomp and circumstance that characterized the state dinner given by U.S. President Barack Obama for visiting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (“State dinner for Abe at White House surprises with haiku, sake and R&B” in the April 30 edition) may camouflage the reality that Japan (Okinawa in particular) is still being occupied by the U.S. military.

People may say “the Occupation” has been sanctioned by bilateral agreements, so that it is in consonant with international law.

The literal occupation of Okinawa lasted from 1945 through 1952 to 1972. But the virtual occupation has continued since 1972 to this day.

Article 3 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty (signed in 1951) stipulates that Japan will concur to give the U.S. “the right to exercise all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction” over Okinawa and its territorial waters. So the occupation of Okinawa may seem legitimate as far as this period was concerned.

The occupation of Okinawa was supposed to officially end in 1972 when Okinawa’s administrative right was returned to Japan. The catch is that Okinawa is still being occupied by the U.S. because the military presence, guaranteed by the Japan-U.S. security treaty, continued just as before on the pretext of defending Japan and maintaining peace and security in its vicinity.

The security treaty has been gutted and therefore nullified already, though, because the U.S. is using bases in Okinawa for whatever purpose that may suit it. They use the Okinawa bases as staging posts to engage in wars overseas in blatant violation of the security treaty.

The new guidelines struck at the “two-plus-two” meeting in New York on April 27 ignore the most important provision in the Japan-U.S. security treaty as to why the U.S. military is stationed in Japan. The security treaty has thus crumbled from the ground up whereby the United States cannot use it as justification for maintaining its military in Okinawa.

It therefore boils down to the conclusion that the U.S. military presence in Japan, in Okinawa in particular, is illegal across the board. Naturally, the confirmation by both Tokyo and Washington to forge ahead with the Henoko relocation plan is null and void.

yoshio shimoji
naha, okinawa prefecture

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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