Be democratic and respect human rights Remove U.S. Marine out of Okinawa
The root of friction in the US-Japan relationship
Seigen Miyazato Head of the Okinawa international issues
On president Obama’s visit to Japan, I am writing this letter to reaffirm that the Futenma relocation plan is against many Okinawan people’s will, and the U.S. and Japanese governments made the plan without consulting Okinawans. I would like to ask for the review of this undemocratic plan to remove the U.S. marines out of Okinawa .
According to the recent poll conducted by the Ryukyu Shimpo and Mainichi Shinbun, 70% of Okinawan demand the Japanese government to relocate Futenma outside Okinawa or the country. 83.5% support for the reduction of U.S. forces, 70% disapprove to move Futenma to Henoko or Kadena airbase. People’s will is represented by the rally held on 8th of this month. In the previous election for the Lower House, all candidates of Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito lost in Okinawa. Also, opposition parties hold a majority in the prefectural assembly.
Under the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, Okinawa was placed under the sole control of U.S. administration. Okinawa was reverted to Japan in 1972, but most of t hebases were left untouched. Okinawa was left out of scheme in both Peace Treaty and reversion. And today’s realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the U.S. and Japanese government, again, decided the plan without consulting Okinawans.
Both governments have stated that the understanding of Okinawan people is absolutely necessary, but in fact, they have used both “carrots and sticks” to force Okinawans to accept base construction.
I believe the president who respects human rights will understand Okinawa’s anger. It is aberration and injustice U.S. bases have been in Okinawa for 64 years after the end of WWII. Okinawa’s anger has reached the end of patience. The presence of the U.S. Marine bases will surely be a root of friction in the U.S.-Japan relationship. Now is the time for “change”, to have a stable relationship between the two countries. It is my sincere wish that the president will make a bold decision.