Marines on Okinawa and the Threat of China

March 8, 2015

Starting off Sunday morning with a depressing topic…

Last weekend, I got a phone call from a prefectural assembly member who supports Governor Onaga at prefectural assembly meetings. He wanted me to tell him about the use of the U.S. marines stationed on Okinawa. He said, “At a prefectural assembly meeting, some LDP assembly members questioned Governor Onaga’s opposition to the relocation of the Futenma base to Henoko, arguing that the base would be necessary in the case of an invasion by China.” He said he needed a counterargument. A counterargument, indeed.

Of course the LDP assembly members are going to use the threat of China as an excuse to justify relocating MCAS Futenma to Henoko. If there’s a face-off with China, Okinawa will be sacrificed once again.

The strategic plan that the U.S. military is investigating for use in the event of a conflict with China is said to be an air-sea battle. According to the plan, at the beginning of the war, the U.S. will initially retreat in order to avoid being attacked. Since it is so close, after the U.S. military retreats, Okinawa will be left right smack in the middle of the front line of battle.

Then the U.S. will then cut off China’s energy supply, destroy their radar network, hit them with a cyberattack, and blindfold them. After that, defeating them will be a piece of cake.

Furthermore, the U.S. deployed 540 thousand troops in the Battle of Okinawa, 500 thousand at the peak of the Vietnam War, and 500 thousand in the Gulf War just to fend off the Iraqi troops that had invaded Kuwait. There are 25 thousand troops in Okinawa now. Their main force consists of 18 thousand marines, a number which will be cut in half after the U.S. military realignment, in which the central units will be relocated to Guam.

Considering this reality, tying the threat of China to the base problem in Okinawa is a kind of malevolent political terrorism. Politicians are inciting fear in the people and distorting the policy debate. It’s almost like the post-war has ended and we are back in the prewar period. If the LDP Diet members and prefectural assembly members consider themselves to be conservatives, they should put forward a fair argument based on reality. When they were campaigning to be elected they claimed to want the base relocated outside Okinawa, but now they have gone back on their campaign promises by accepting Henoko as a potential site for relocation. This type of political fraud is irredeemable by any means.

(Translation of a Facebook post by Tomo Yara)