I don’t belong to any political party. I am not a political scientist. I am not an Okinawan, but I’m from Kikaijima, one of the Amami Islands between Okinawa and Kyushu.
As the Sept. 30 gubernatorial election shows, a majority of Okinawan people are against the central government’s plans to build a U.S. air base at Henoko as a replacement for the Futenma base. They elected Denny Tamaki, who has been against the Henoko plan. And the conflict between the people of Okinawa and the central government has been harsh. If a new air base is built in Henoko, it will remain there indefinitely.
There are already too many military facilities and installations in Okinawa, but no one in the rest of Japan wants a new U.S. military base in their own prefecture. The best way for the people of Okinawa is to have Futenma’s functions moved to Guam. The U.S. already has a big air base at Kadena in Okinawa. So, moving the small air base in Futenma to Guam wouldn’t harm the military balance too much.
And I think that the wish of the people of Okinawa, especially the people around Henoko, to preserve the peace and ecological importance of the sea should be respected.
We should ask the people in the U.S. government to consider the situation. Yes, I know I am naive, but I believe that human beings all around the world should now be wise enough to see the foolishness of military competition. Instead of building a new base, we should build a new international facility for music and dancing. I believe Tamaki should go to Washington and talk directly with the top military people in the Pentagon about the situation.
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.