Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jay Gilliam of US for Okinawa: Media discourse on US-Japan base expansion plan for Okinawa overlooks Article 9

In a letter, "Peace link to base relocation," to the Japan Times, Jay Gilliam of US for Okinawa points out that media discourse on the US-Japan plan to expand a U.S. military base in Okinawa overlooks Japan's Peace Constitution:
News coverage of discussions between Washington and Tokyo over the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, has curiously been silent on the connections with Japan's "peace" Constitution. As an American citizen and graduate student in conflict resolution at International Christian University in Tokyo, I am saddened that both countries are not working hard enough to re-imagine and re-orient East Asian security toward beaches and not bases.

Today, we — in Japan and the United States — have the chance to take an even stronger stance for peace in East Asia by rejecting arguments for regional security based on U.S. military might and by embracing confidently the peace-loving spirit of Japan's Constitution and its people, especially Okinawans, who have democratically voted against bearing the burden of living so dangerously close to military bases.

This year, during the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, both countries should not miss the opportunity to show that Japan and the U.S. will again hold their honored places in international society, striving to secure East Asia by more peaceful, nonmilitary means — not by bullying. Despite calls to honor the 2006 relocation agreement, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and U.S. President Barack Obama should honor the calls — from Okinawa to Oslo — for peace. This would be a more fitting way to bring the alliance into the 21st century.

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