Two helicopter crashes in Okinawa, thirteen years apart, have led to changes in the protocol for responding to such incidents. But as with the first set of changes, this year’s revision may still allow the US military to essentially do as it pleases.
Whenever American and Japanese officials meet, they engage in a ritual. Their joint statements, invariably invoking a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and “rules-based maritime order,” always swear that their “ironclad alliance” is stronger than ever.
Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert Neller upset many Okinawans last year when he falsified the history of the contentious Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa.
In mid-2018, Okinawa’s anti-base movement faces a crisis. The struggle to resist construction of a US military base in Nago City’s Henoko district has never been easy. It confronts two governments, Japan and the United States, that deploy all instruments of state power–police, propaganda, intervening in local elections—to get their way.
Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa, must close—on that much everyone agrees. But the insistence by the United States and the Japanese central government on building a replacement facility in another part of Okinawa is bitterly opposed by Okinawa’s people and prefectural government.