Is it existential denial or simple rejection of marines that is at issue in Okinawa?
While Okinawa demands that the U.S. Marine Corps be withdrawn from the prefecture completely, the central government argues against it by saying military matters should be considered integrally as a whole and therefore Okinawa’s case is off the mark.
However, the central government falls into an either intentional or unintentional fallacy in that it mixes up our demand of the marines’ outright withdrawal from Okinawa with the overall denial of the Marine Corps’ raison d’etre in the U.S. military.
Okinawa is not taking issue with the overall raison d’etre of the U.S. Marine Corps. It’s not our concern how they will function in possible future warfare involving an exchange of missiles. Rather, we are concerned about why they must be stationed in Okinawa, occupying so much land, sea and sky.
As pundits familiar with security matters, such as Satoshi Morimoto, a former defense minister and now the president of Takushoku University, say, there’s no strategic reason except a political one why U.S. Marine units must be deployed in Okinawa. This is quite understandable in light of the ongoing U.S. military realignment in which 8,000 of the most active, combat-ready marine elements now deployed in Okinawa are slated to relocate to Guam, leaving only support units behind.
We urge the central government to give a reasonable explanation as to why they must be stationed in Okinawa, occupying the same wide area even after their core elements move to Guam. Probably, Washington can help Tokyo out in explaining the reason why.
NAHA, OKINAWA PREFECTURE
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.