Completely ignoring Okinawa’s consensus of opposition, as shown in the recent referendum, the Abe government is shamelessly forging ahead with the landfill work in the Henoko waters. During a Diet session, Abe repeated his government’s worn-out mantra that Futenma must be relocated to Henoko to eliminate the danger it poses to Ginowan residents while at the same time maintaining deterrence.

But that’s an ostensible, makeshift justification.

Lawrence Wilkerson of the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, gave an interview to The Ryukyu Shinpo on Dec. 23 in which he said there’s no strategic reason except a financial one why U.S. Marine bases must be maintained in Japan or, more specifically, Okinawa.

He said the cost of maintaining bases and personnel were 50 to 60 percent cheaper in Okinawa than in California thanks to the Japanese government’s generous financial support, so that while bases in California have been closed down, those in Okinawa have been kept open and even strengthened.

I’ve been arguing that the new base to be built in Nago is a white elephant for the defense and security of Japan, which is thus firmly substantiated by an authoritative figure who was once directly involved in the U.S. military’s overseas realignment.


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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