Reader Mail

Grasping at straws on Okinawa bases

Charles E. Morrison’s opinion piece “Younger Okinawans’ view of U.S. bases isn’t black and white” in the May 8 edition seems to be trying to put lipstick on a pig. A search for a silver lining in a dark cloud cannot hide the fact that the majority of Okinawans want the U.S. military out. The surveyed “millennial plus” segment of the population constitutes about 40 percent of Okinawan voters. One-third of this “post-reversion” generation opposes the U.S. military presence. When this opposition is added to the apparent overwhelming opposition by those voters over age 45, the picture is crystal clear. The majority of the Okinawan voting population does not want the American bases — period.

Morrison seems to be grasping at straws. It seems like he is saying “wait for the old generation to die off and then maybe the millennials who replace them will be more supportive of the American military presence.”

He also argues that “the bases should be no less disruptive to the civilian population in Okinawa than for U.S. bases at home.” Does he mean “no less” or “no more” disruptive?

I do not know if Morrison has ever lived in a community near a large military base. I have, and I can assure him that such a large military presence distorts the surrounding society culturally and politically, in addition to causing added noise, pollution, accidents and crime. The experience is bad enough for Americans to endure. It must be particularly demeaning and grating on a host culture overseas. It is past time for the troops to leave.

MARK J. VALENCIA
ADJUNCT SENIOR SCHOLAR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SOUTH CHINA SEA STUDIES HAIKOU CHINA

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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