Ninety percent of people in Okinawa oppose Henoko relocation plan
May 9, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
On May 5 and 6, ahead of May 15, the 40th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty, the Ryukyu Shimpo and Mainichi newspapers jointly conducted a telephone opinion poll to ascertain how people in Okinawa and the main islands of Japan view the reversion and issues related to the U.S. military bases in Okinawa. With regard to the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 90% of people in Okinawa and more than 60% of those in the main islands of Japan call for the relocation of the base outside Okinawa or Japan. They also demand that U.S. forces unconditionally return to Okinawa land currently occupied by bases. But at the same time, while 70% of people in Okinawa are aware of the unfairness of the situation in which 74% of the U.S. military bases in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa, no more than 30% of people on the main islands of Japan see things that way. Among the policies that people in Okinawa want the prefectural and central governments to implement, 43% of residents demanded the scaling-down of U.S. bases in Okinawa and the redevelopment of land currently used for bases, a figure that exceeds that for the desire to promote economic activity. The people of Okinawa have clearly indicated that for the sake of Okinawa they wish to see the return of U.S. bases and the redevelopment of land used by military bases.
With regard to Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, 80% of Okinawans surveyed said it was “Very good” or “Rather good.” That category of people accounted for 79% of people in 2002, the year marking the 30th anniversary of the reversion, and 82% in 2007, which marked the 35th anniversary. Among those people surveyed on the main islands of Japan, the response, “Good,” accounted for 79%, far exceeding those who said, “Bad,” who accounted for just 3% and “Not sure” for 14%.
With regard to the planned relocation of Futenma Air Station to the Henoko district of Nago, 39% of people in Okinawa demanded its relocation out of Japan, 29% want it relocated out of Okinawa and 21% demanded the return of land occupied by the base to Okinawa instead of relocation, making a total of 89%. Just 11% supported adherence to the current plan. While 28% of the people in the main islands of Japan called for adherence to the plan, 68% opposed relocation of the U.S. bases in Okinawa to their own regions.
With regard to the MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft scheduled to be deployed to the Futenma Air Station in July, 90% of people in Okinawa said, “The Osprey should not be deployed to the base,” clearly expressing strong opposition to the deployment.
As many as 85% of people in Okinawa and 82% of people in the main islands of Japan said that they, “Feel insecure” about China’s military advances to the East China Sea. With regard to how to resolve this, 65% of people in Okinawa and 66% of people in the main islands of Japan supported diplomatic solutions, far outnumbering those who support a buildup of Japan’s defense capability, who accounted for 20% in Okinawa and 26% nationwide.
◇The article rounds the statistical data off to the closest whole number. The total may not become 100%.
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