When Kuni Miyake claims "Japan wholeheartedly welcomes the Marines back” in his May 19 opinion piece “A welcome move by the U.S. Marines," he must have been excluding Okinawa.

About 20,000, or 80 percent, of the 24,000 Marines in all of Japan remain in this small island prefecture with 0.2 percent of the nation’s area and less than 1 percent of its population. They bring aircraft noise that disturbs sleep and interrupts school classes, helicopter and motor vehicle accidents that endanger life and limb, and a seemingly endless series of sexual assaults. The Japanese government pushes ahead with building a Marine airbase, now 20 years behind schedule, in northern Okinawa despite daily public protests at the site, opposition from the prefectural government which has denied construction permits and filed lawsuits, and the recent discovery that the seabed planned for installation of the offshore runways is too unstable to support the pillars that are supposed to hold them in place.

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