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Congressional Briefing: Okinawa Marine Bases and U.S. Military Spending
February 7, 2012
Can we close the Futenma U.S. Marine Base in Japan Without Constructing Additional Marine Bases in Okinawa?
Hosted by Nago City & Network for Okinawa
When: Wednesday, February 8th 2012 11am-Noon
Where: 2456 Rayburn House Office
Who: Susumu Inamine, Mayor of Nago City, Okinawa, Japan
John Feffer, Network for Okinawa, Institute for Policy Studies
What: A briefing with the Mayor of Nago-City, Okinawa, Japan to talk about U.S. military spending and closing the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station
To RSVP, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Futenma Marine Corps Air Station
Okinawa, or the “Island of Military Bases,” stations 33 U.S. military bases. Futenma is the most controversial base located in the center of Ginowan City. In 1995, an elementary student was raped by three service members from the U.S. Marines, and in 2004, a helicopter crashed into a local university. These high profile incidents fueled much public unrest and anger as well as media coverage within Okinawa.
On January 25, 2012, Representatives Barney Frank, Rush D. Holt, Barbara Lee, and Lynn C. Woolsey sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the U.S. Marines withdraw from Okinawa.
2006 Realignment Plan To Nago City
Under the 2006 Realignment Plan, the American and Japanese governments have developed plans to build new military facilities in Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa, as a precondition for closing the Futenma military base. The relocation would destroy a valuable ecosystem including 400 species of corals, endangered turtles and dugongs (marine manatees). Local residents have staged a permanent protest that has lasted over 2,000 days. In fact, U.S. District Court judge ruled that developing these plans without proper assessment in Henoko violates U.S. law.
More than 90% of Okinawans want the Futenma military base closed without opening any new bases in Okinawa. It is unlikely that any new facility would be operationally feasible or politically sustainable. A strong U.S.-Japan alliance requires a strong relationship between Tokyo and Okinawa, but the controversy of U.S. military realignment has only caused “turmoil and instability.”
Reduction in Military Spending
It is vital for the U.S. to make fundamental adjustments with regards to our security strategy so that our military can continue to protect us as effectively as possible while spending less federal money. Reducing our troops in Asia without compromising our security is a necessary condition.