At a recent meeting with U.S. Ambassador William Haggerty, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera asked him to heed Japanese people’s concerns over hosting U.S. bases. That’s a roundabout way of expressing his dissidence over low-altitude flight training by Ospreys on six designated routes on mainland Japan.

It was a strange, off-the-mark request though. For Haggerty, the government that Onodera is part of represents the Japanese people, so when that government agrees with a U.S. demand of any kind, it may be natural the U.S. side thinks the Japanese people agreed.

It’s Onodera and the government he belongs to that should pay more heed to their own people’s concerns before they say “yes” to any of the U.S. government’s preposterous proposals and the free-wheeling maneuvers of the U.S. Marines.

Take the Futenma-to-Henoko relocation issue, for example. Isn’t the Abe government forging ahead with the construction, paying no heed to the concerns and opposition of Okinawan people? Or is it because they consider Okinawa not a part of Japan?

Haggerty vowed to “optimize” the U.S. military presence as if a permanent U.S. military footprint were taken for granted. That assumption must always be rejected immediately. Policymakers in both countries must awake from that slumber and realize the occupation cannot go on forever.

Have they ever thought of ending that taken-for-granted U.S. military presence, i.e., a virtual occupation, by a certain date? One possibility is the year 2044. That’s 99 years after the U.S. military presence (aka occupation) started in 1945. Great Britain returned Hong Kong to China 99 years after it was ceded to Great Britain by the Qing Dynasty after the First Opium War.

There is local sentiment that Okinawa is under dual colonization by both Japan and the United States. But there’s no denying that Japan is a mere puppet. This chicanery must come to an end sooner or later.


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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