Monday, June 7, 2010

Yoshio Shimoji's letter to The New York Times: How dare Obama ask Hatoyama to act without regard to democratic process in Okinawa?

Human chain demanding the removal of U.S. Marine Base Futenma and no further base construction in Okinawa (Photos: Yoshio Shimoji)

Yoshio Shimoji's letter published on May 28 at theNew York Times.
To the Editor:

“Japan Relents on U.S. Base on Okinawa, Reneging on a Campaign Promise” (news article, May 24) characterizes Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s announcement that the United States Marine Air Station Futenma would be moved to northern Okinawa, as originally agreed to, as “a victory for the Obama administration and a humiliating setback for Mr. Hatoyama.”

Obviously, in this squabbling, the Hatoyama administration succumbed to the Obama administration’s all-out pressure to stick to a 2006 bilateral agreement. Mr. Hatoyama had raised Okinawans’ expectations during the last election campaign by saying that Futenma’s functions must be moved away from Okinawa.

The Obama administration should remember, however, that its victory is self-defeating as well because it contradicts the principle of democracy that Washington advocates in dealing with “undemocratic” and “unenlightened” nations.

The overwhelming majority of Okinawans are opposed to any plan to keep the base on Okinawa, as Washington is fully aware. How dare Mr. Obama ask Mr. Hatoyama to act without regard to the wishes of his compatriots?

Yoshio Shimoji
Naha, Okinawa, May 24, 2010
Yoshio Shimoji was born in Miyako Island, Okinawa. He received his M.S. from Georgetown University, and taught English and English linguistics at the University of the Ryukyus from April 1966 until his retirement in March 2003.

Mr. Shimoji's "The Futenma Base and the U.S.-Japan Controversy: An Okinawan Perspective" was published at The Asia-Pacific Journal earlier this year.

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