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Defense Minister Tomomi Inada confirmed in a rubber-stamping fashion that Ospreys’ midair refueling drills in Okinawa would be resumed, even though the cause of the Dec. 13 crash had not yet been fully investigated and detailed to the public.

According to the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, the Osprey was engaged in nighttime refueling drills when a gust caused the C-130 tanker plane’s refueling hose to hit one of the Osprey’s propellers, seriously damaging it.

Why is it necessary for the U.S. military in Okinawa to practice refueling Ospreys in midair to further extend their range?

One of the reasons must be that such training is necessary for potential jungle wars in Southeast Asia. The USMC Northern Training Area, aka “Jungle Warfare Training Center,” in northern Okinawa is the facilities where the most active, combat-ready marines regularly hone their jungle warfare skills. It was recently revealed also that they are training for drug wars in Central America.

Note, however, that the use of bases for such purposes is in sheer violation of the Japan-U.S. security treaty, Article 6 of which stipulates: “For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan.”

In other words, Japan provides bases and areas to U.S. forces, on top of which Japanese taxpayers shoulder $3.2 billion for base maintenance annually and $1.5 billion for other costs in the 2017 budget alone, in exchange for the putative protection the U.S. forces provide.

Training for jungle warfare in Southeast Asia and for drug wars in Central America is therefore out of the question. The Ospreys’ aerial refueling drills with jungle wars in Southeast Asia in mind are also out of the question and preposterous.

Asked during a Diet session about how U.S. bases are used and what kind of training U.S. troops are engaged in there, a top defense official replied it’s no concern of the Japanese government how the bases are used or for what purposes. This is a serious problem indeed because his statement is tantamount to declaring Japan is no sovereign state but rather a vassal of the U.S. What a pity!

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