Monday, January 24, 2011

Yoshio Shimoji: "Criticizing Japan-US foreign-ministerial meeting"

Criticizing Japan-US foreign-ministerial meeting

Yoshio Shimoji
Naha, Okinawa

At the meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, both agreed to accelerate and strengthen the bilateral alliance to pave the way for Prime Minister Naoto Kan's visit to the United States later this spring. During the talks, Clinton never failed to remind Maehara that the strengthening of the alliance also meant the relocation of Futenma's function to Henoko ("Japan, U.S. to start mapping new goals," The Japan Times: January 8). Why, in the world, does the U.S. persist in demanding Futenma's relocation to Henoko, stomping our appeal for its all-out removal from Okinawa?  

The U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma sits on the private lands which were encroached upon with impunity by the U.S occupation army during and after World War II in blatant violation of the Hague Convention; Article 46 of which clearly states that "[f]amily honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated." The U.S. army thus requisitioned the land by violent means, completely disregarding the international convention. This cannot be allowed by any moral principles, either.

Secretary Clinton must be well aware of this and think that, if Futenma's function were to be moved to Henoko in northern Okinawa, the U.S. would be exonerated from not only the violation of the Hague Convention but also an offense against humanity. When dirty money is transacted from one bank to another to conceal its illegal source, we call it "money laundering." Futenma's relocation to Henoko is exactly like money laundering or, should I say, "base laundering."

Washington's aim is thus to conceal the shameful history of the base and maintain the status quo of military function of all the bases on Okinawa, Futenma included, indefinitely, making Okinawa's northern area a new military complex complete with airfields, helipads for Ospreys, combat training areas and port facilities.

Remember also that expenses for this "realignment" project of the Pentagon are entirely borne by the cash-strapped Tokyo government, namely, us Japanese taxpayers. What stupidity! What absurdity!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.

His letter letter, "How dare Obama ask Hatoyama to act without regard to democratic process in Okinawa?" was published at the The New York Times on May 28, 2010, and his article, "'Thanks' Doesn't Allay Okinawans," was published on July 11, 2010, at The Japan Times.

2010 human chain demanding the removal of U.S. Marine Base Futenma & no further base construction in Okinawa. (Photos: Yoshio Shimoji )

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