Onodera asks new U.S. envoy to pay heed to base concerns


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I hope you will lend an ear to the voices of local people, including on issues related to the U.S. forces in Japan,

For Okinawan people Onodera's plea sounds extremely cynical and dishonest as Abe and his government do not care a rotten nut for the "voices of local people" in Okinawa.

Onodera is fine with forcing the bulk of US military in Japan on this tiny prefecture, against the clearly expressed will of more than 80% of the prefectures citizens, but cautions the US to "lend an ear to the voices of local people". Pathetic!

the ambassador vowed to work to "make certain that we are optimizing our presence here in Japan."

Optimizing the US military presence in Japan? Again a statement that to Okinawan ears sounds extremely cynical as this "optimization" is done largely at the expense of the Okinawan people and nature.

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Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has asked new U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty to pay heed to Japanese people's concerns over the hosting of U.S. bases.

That's a strange, off-the-mark request. For Hagerty, the government which Onodera is part of represents the Japanese people. So that when that government agrees with the U.S.' demand of any kind, it may be natural the U.S. side thinks the Japanese people agree.

It's Onodera and the government he belongs to that should pay more heed to their own people's concerns before they say 'Yes' to any of the U.S. government's preposterous demands and free-wheeling activities of the US Marines. Take also the Futenma-to-Henoko relocation issue, for example. Isn’t the Abe government forging ahead with the relocation work paying no heed to Okinawa people’s concerns?  Or is it because they considers Okinawa isn’t a part of Japan?

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On issues related to U.S. forces in Japan, the ambassador vowed to work to "make certain that we are optimizing our presence here in Japan."

What does Hagerty mean when he says, "(W)e are optimizing our presence here in Japan"?

It's taken for granted that the U.S. military presence in Japan (and in Okinawa, in particular) naturally goes on forever. Has he, or anyone affiliated with the U.S. government, ever thought of ending that taken-for-granted military presence, a virtual  occupation, by a set date?

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Mr. Hagerty,

One possibility of the date set for U.S. forces to withdraw from Okinawa is 2044.  That's 99 years after the U.S. military presence (aka occupation) started.

Can you and your government promise that?  Please don’t obfuscate the issue by saying, “We’re optimizing our presence.”

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