I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for 18 months back in 1982. The weather was great and, despite the fact it was a small island, there was plenty to see and do there. The people for the most part were warm and generous but there was an underlying sense of uneasiness at times from the battles that were fought there in WWII. The US military footprint is also very large on the island and it is understandable why many local Japanese citizens don’t like it, but it is also the driving force for the economy of the 1.4 million people that live there. Whenever an incident takes place between the locals and a military member, the protesters will quickly assemble near the gates and demand their government expel the Americans; it was that way in 1982 and it is still that way today.
I worked with the now-retired SR-71 aircraft in my time there and this jet was the subject of many protests because of the noise it produced when taking off. It sounded like a rocket blasting off and it lasted for several minutes as the aircraft ascended to altitude. Yes it was loud, but it was also an aircraft that was usually only flown once or twice a week. Yet the protests continued the entire time I was there.
What enrages the locals the most (and understandably so) is the occasional act of brutality by a US military member. There have been incidents of military members inflicting severe beatings, killing and raping Japanese citizens. Each time these horrible events happen it sparks powerful new cries of anger and calls for the Japanese government to oust the American presence on the island. The most recent rape and subsequent murder of a Japanese citizen by a US government contractor in April of this year has produced some of the tensest protests in recent memory.
Although I am in no way, shape or form condoning such brutal and selfish acts, I do point out that there are over 25,000 US military members alone stationed on Okinawa and the military cannot police them all. Japan is also a nation that has China fast-encroaching on its territory and our militaries need each other now more than ever before.
Japanese citizens need to look no further than the Philippines to the south of them for reasons why the US military presence in Okinawa is both vital and necessary. At the present time, the Philippines have no fighter aircraft or army tanks in their military inventory to speak of. They decided not to renew the lease in 1991 that would have let the Americans keep the use of their sprawling military facilities in Subic Bay and Clark Air Force base. It’s a good bet the Chinese would not be building airfields on and taking over territories claimed by the Philippines if the United States still had many fighter aircraft and powerful warships stationed in the country.
So, let’s punish any guilty parties accordingly for the horrendous crimes they have committed but also let cooler heads prevail so that a much bigger monster that threatens the peace and stability of the region does not become emboldened in the region even more.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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