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A Different Perspective on the article entitled: Time for U.S. and Japan to Get Out of Okinawa

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Message john borgeson

Please allow me to comment with a different perspective on the article entitled: Time for U.S. and Japan to Get Out of Okinawa.

To begin with, Mr. Ross, you are in error concerning the dates of annexation of what was then called Ryukyu (Okinawa). Okinawa was first annexed by the Chinese and then made a tributary state to the Chinese. In 1609, Okinawa was invaded by the Japanese when the Shimizu Clan subjugated Okinawa at that time to the Japanese Emperor. Okinawa then was a tributary state to both China and Japan until 1872 when it was formally declared part of Japan.

Mr. Ross, you then continue on in your article stating, and I quote: "It's a land of martinis-and-honey where our 25,000 military personnel and their 23,000 dependents live in high rise splendor with housing allowances approaching $1,000.00 or more a month (plus cost-of-living perks), enjoy PX shopping as good as it gets, and tan on exotic beaches as Kin Red and Kin Blue?"

Mr. Ross, Sake and Orion Beer (with a close second being Budweiser Beer) are what all Okinawans who consume alcohol drink. Yes, honey is sold locally as there are a number of Bee Farms that raise bees so that the honey can be sold for consumption.

Your comment on the housing allowance being $1,000.00 or more is partially correct. This is to offset the Yen/Dollar difference. As far as living in "high-rise splendor", yes there are a number of military families living in high rises as well as multiplexes on base and these units were built as part of an agreement between the U. S. and Japan to consolidate U.S. Service members and their families so that portions of land being used by the U.S. could be returned to Japan and the Okinawans. In case, Mr. Ross, you are not aware of it, the "enjoy PX shopping as good as it gets" and "cost-of-living perks" as you refer to, are entitlements that any U.S. Service Member and their families receive both in Okinawa and the United States for serving as a member of the U. S. Armed Forces.

"Exotic beaches such as Kin Red and Kin Blue, well as everyone in Okinawa knows, there are certainly many other, and certainly more "exotic" beach locations throughout Okinawa that both the Okinawans and the Americans prefer to visit in their time off. Don't you also have "exotic" beach locations in Florida where you reside?

Since you reside in Florida, do you not also pay taxes for the activities and use of lands in your home state and on Federal Lands in the U.S.? So I can assume sir, that you are then also a long-suffering individual comparable to the "long-suffering Okinawans?

I will concede that the bases on Okinawa area problem and that the Japanese refer to this as Kichi-no Mondai, however I would like to address that. If, the "island paradise" of Okinawa which "the Pentagon has studded their island paradise with airfields, barracks, artillery, and bombing ranges, ammunition depots, toxic chemical, depleted uranium (and nuclear bomb storage dumps)" is as you write, then why are so many Okinawans living comfortably off of the moneys being paid to them for the rental of their land by the U.S. Military? My father-in-law is one such "hapless owner" who has supposedly been "swindled by Uncle Sam". If you were to ask him today would he be in favor of his land being returned, he would say no. Why? He, like all the other land owners that you refer to as being "swindled by Uncle Sam" rely on that income. My father-in-law worked on one of the bases for 35 years (as does his second oldest son) and if asked, my father-in-law and my brother-in-law both speak quite highly of the U.S. Military in Okinawa. Mr. Ross, may I mail to you a picture of my father-in-law's house so that you can see just how much he is being swindled by "Uncle Sam"?

You mention that there are "hundreds of ensuing rapes and sexual violations of their daughters, some as young as twelve" in the text of your article. From where do you get your statistics? Have you interviewed that male portion of the 25,000 military personnel population and that male portion of the 23,000 dependent population who may harbor lust in their hearts? For your information Mr. Ross, the total crime committed by ALL foreigners (Don't U.S. Military personnel and their dependents fit into this category?) is less than 1% annually (You are free to look up these statistics on the Japanese Ministry of the Interior website). That is the total for ALL foreigners INCLUDING U.S. Military personnel and their Dependents. In addition, there is no reported case of an SOFA status family ever committing a crime against Okinawans.

When you write of "lawlessness", what "lawlessness are you referring to? If SOFA members do commit a crime, they are immediately placed on legal hold and the "perps" cannot flee to "Hahira, Georgia" because they are also restricted from leaving the base, and in the case of a felony, they may be immediately incarcerated in a detention facility on base.

Your article goes on to reference a Ben Takara who took a survey of Okinawan girls at Futenma Senior High and that "one-third to one-half of them said they had "scary experiences" with U.S. Soldiers on their way to school or back home. I wonder if Mr. Takara knows that the schools in Okinawa receive visits from U.S. Military personnel who come and teach English, coach sports, play sports with students at Japanese schools, do cleanup and construction projects and all of this done voluntarily on their own time. Yes, I suppose it might be "scary" to learn English from an American for the first time.

You quote people in your article concerning storage of nuclear weapons, "CIA funneled big bucks", the saddling of Okinawa with the "constant hullabaloo" of jet warplane noise (you neglected to mention Japanese jet warplane noise (they are stationed in Okinawa) and JAL and ANA jet Noise from Naha Airport here in Okinawa), as also wanting to "rid the island of all "war cooperation" and reallocate its land for agriculture, fisheries, and trade" and high tech, medicine, and tourism. The Okinawans have sufficient agriculture, for fishing they rely on the open ocean and as I write this, are in a constant state of turmoil over their fishing areas with the Chinese who are continually fishing in Okinawan waters. Have any of the people you quoted ever spent considerable time in Okinawa?

If, as you write, that the "far too small contribution" by the U.S. Military being stationed in Okinawa is such a economic "deadweight", then why when the 3 Star Commanding General of all SOFA personnel stationed in Okinawa, instituted an island wide lock-down (no one could go off base) that included dependents and civilians working for the U.S. here in Okinawa, was the lock-down so economically devastating for the Okinawan businesses? Because we are good for business, good for the security of this part of the world, and just plain good!

I would like to close my response with just a couple more comments. A Green Beret is a hat issued to U.S. Army Special Forces. I have lived in Okinawa now for 23 years and I would offer to you sir, that next time you posit to compose an article on any subject, that you seek more reputable resources. Wikipedia is often incorrect concerning the information that they post on their website.

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Civilian Contractor working overseas for U.S. Government
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A Different Perspective on the article entitled: Time for U.S. and Japan to Get Out of Okinawa

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