LETTER FROM OKINAWA
Yesterday in the mail I received a letter from Susumu Inamine, the Mayor of Nago City on Okinawa. I was one of the signers of a January letter of US activists and intellectuals who declared our opposition to the relocation of a US Marine base at Futenma to another part of the island at Henoko in Nago City.
The letter was widely printed, along with our photos, in major Okinawan newspapers. Mayor Inamine wrote that on January 19 he was reelected in Nago City "holding fast to my previous campaign promise not to allow the construction of a new military base either on sea or land.... in Nago City. This reflects the collective will of the people of Nago City who have been at the mercy of the Futenma relocation issue for the past 18 years."
Mayor Inamine also wrote, “Soon after the city’s mayoral election, however, the Japanese government declared that they would go ahead with the relocation to Henoko as planned regardless of the result of the election… For these reasons, I think it is necessary for me to visit the US to issue a direct appeal to the US government and citizens over our opposition to the relocation of Marine base Futenma to Henoko.”
I've seen the US plans to build warplane runways out into the pristine ocean where endangered species are found. Local peace activists have been arrested and battered by the Japanese government in recent years as they expand their non-violent campaign against the base. During the recent election cycle on Okinawa the Japanese government, surely at the behest of the Pentagon, offered big money to Okinawa if they voted for candidates that supported the base relocation. But the bribe was turned down and Mayor Inamine was reelected.
Okinawa is a key US military outpost needed as a base for the Obama "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific to surround China. But the people on Okinawa have had enough of the US military presence and want them gone yesterday. Similar opposition to US bases is seen these days in South Korea, Guam, Philippines, Australia and other places in the region.