After 2-plus-2 Conference, How long will Japan continue to be subservient?

 

August 20, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

 

It may be obvious, but the relationship between Japan and the U.S. is not equal; the imbalanced power relationship continues.

This once again became clear at the joint presentation and press conference for the “2-plus-2” ministerial security talks held in Washington between Japan’s Foreign and Defense Ministers and the U.S.’s Secretaries of State and Defense.

Japan brought up the issues of the continued use of the former aircraft parking apron at Kadena Air Base, and the parachute training problem.

On August 14, Governor Takeshi Onaga strongly implored Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to discuss the issue at the 2-plus-2 talks.

Both the continued use of the aircraft parking apron and parachute training issues are in violation of the agreement reached in the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO).

In order to reduce noise pollution, it was agreed that the parking apron be moved to the opposite side of the airstrip near Okinawa City, and the relocation happened in January of this year.

However, the U.S. military continues to use the decommissioned apron. This is a clear violation of the agreement.

It was also agreed that parachute training would take place between Yomitan Auxilliary Airfield and Ie Shima Airfield.

In 2007, Japan and the U.S. agreed that “Kadena Air Base could be used in exceptional cases,” however in May of this year, when night jump training was conducted at Kadena, then Defense Minister Tomomi Inada commented that, “This could not be considered an ‘exceptional case’,” and indicated that it was a violation of the agreement.

Both of these issues are matters which Japan needed to press the U.S. on with authority at 2-plus-2 so that they immediately cease these violations of the agreement, even without the urging of Governor Onaga.

How did Defense Minister Onodera and Foreign Minister Taro Kono make these requests to the U.S. at 2-plus-2? Based on the explanation given during interviews, there is no evidence to suggest they made a strong appeal.

Defense Minister Onodera said, “We explained the local community’s strong requests, and again requested consideration and security for the area around the base.

” Foreign Minister Kono added, “We indicated the need for understanding and cooperation with the local community.”

Neither of the two ministers gave any indication that they represented the Japanese government’s position with regards to the failure to uphold the international agreement.

The only thing requested of the U.S. was for “consideration” and “understanding and cooperation” for the “local community” of Okinawa’s “strong requests.

” In other words, they are speaking as if it were someone else’s problem.

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. gave no clear response to the use of the parking apron or the cessation of parachute training.

Why would they? The appeal was nothing more than an excuse claim they gave the Governor’s demand, with no expectation of an answer from the U.S. We have no choice but to be fed up with Japan’s continued lapdog attitude.

With regards to the MCAS Futenma relocation they confirmed that new base construction at Henoko in Nago City would continue, stating, “Henoko is the only solution to prevent Futenma becoming permanent.

” On August 12, 45,000 people gathered in Naha for a demonstration to demand the stoppage of new base construction.

The Japanese federal government did not lend a single ear to the fervent opposition voices in Okinawa, submitting to America’s will and forcing construction ahead.

How long will Japan’s subservient relationship with the U.S. continue? Okinawa cannot continue to tolerate being the victim of this twisted relationship.

 

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

 

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