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2010年5月27日 (木)


(Mainichi Japan) May 27, 2010
Why is the U.S. sticking to relocating Futenma to Henoko?

Why do Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's words sound so light?

The weightlessness of his words obviously reminds numerous members of the public of an old buzzword, "burikko," which refers to someone who pretends to be good or cute. Kawaiko burikko means girls who try to act cute in the presence of boys in a bid to attract them, while iiko burikko refers to children who always try to be good boys or girls.

Hatoyama is a kind of iiko burikko. When he talked about the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, he insisted on "relocation out of the prefecture at least." When he met with U.S. President Barack Obama, he said, "Trust me," in English.

Referring to U.S. Marines in Okinawa, he remarked, "As I learned about the situation, I came to notice they play an important role as a deterrent." He also said the reclamation of the sea off Camp Schwab in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, to build a substitute facility for Futenma base is a "profanation of nature."

After the government's plan to relocate Futenma base out of Okinawa failed, he visited Okinawa and apologized to local residents saying, "We have no choice but to ask the community in an area around Henoko to host a substitute facility. It was a heartbreaking decision for me."

Any word uttered by a prime minister is heavy. However, Hatoyama's words that should be heavy sound so light because he utters them so easily.

The Okinawa governor as well as the mayors of the municipalities affected by the base relocation cannot help but wonder what to do with the fists they raised in anger in front of the iiko burikko, who bows his head so easily.

It is obviously the case with Sadakazu Tanigaki, leader of the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

"Since the prime minister said he would stake his job on the settlement of the issue, he should either resign or ask the public whether to support his administration," Tanigaki said. However, Tanigaki appears to lack the drive to force Hatoyama to dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap general election.

The previous LDP-led administration worked out the original plan to relocate Air Station Futenma to Henoko. Since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)-led administration says it will adopt and implement the plan, it would be irrational for the LDP to voice opposition to it and urge the prime minister to dissolve the chamber.

The LDP should reverse its way of thinking. The LDP now has a good opportunity to demonstrate to the public that it can support the Japan-U.S. security arrangement by persuading Okinawa to accept the relocation of Futenma base to Henoko. If it can do this, it will open the way for the LDP to regain control of the government.

In any case, one cannot help but wonder why Washington is sticking to the plan to move the base to Henoko.

A clue to the question can be found in a copy of a Japan-U.S. secret agreement on nuclear weapons in Okinawa, which was found in the drawer of the late former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato's desk earlier this spring.

The document states that the U.S. government requires that nuclear arsenals in Kadena, Naha and an area around Henoko, Okinawa Prefecture, be kept operational at all times so that they can be used in any serious emergency situation.

It also says the Japanese government will be prepared to meet these requirements in cases where prior consultations are held over the use of the arsenals.

Then Prime Minister Sato and then U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the document designated as "top secret."

The document shows that there was a nuclear arsenal in Henoko and that the two countries secretly agreed that U.S. forces would bring nuclear arms into the facility in case of a military conflict.

It raises suspicions that if a secret nuclear facility still exists in Henoko, what is called a "deterrent in Okinawa" refers to the facility. If so, no wonder the United States is sticking to relocating Futenma base to Henoko.

(By Hidetoshi Kaneko, Expert Senior Writer)
毎日新聞 2010年5月27日 東京朝刊


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