Thinking about the US Military Bases problem in Okinawa

Miyake Shiori

As we know, there are US Armed Forces stationed in Okinawa, which refers to 75% of US military in Japan. Five years ago, in summer, I went to Okinawa with my friends for the school’s field trip, and had a chance to participate in a backstage tour of the Kadena Air Base, which was held about twice a month. This summer, I again went to Okinawa but the tour was not done anymore. So, I would like to show how it was, and hope this blog post can be a helpful piece of information to think about the base problem!

Kadena Air Base has two runways and said to possess more than two-hundred battle planes. Inside the military area was like a small town and people can live staying inside the base. The spaces are separated into military area and residence area, and I heard that there are approximately 20,000 people living. In the residence area, there are fast food chain stores, shopping malls, clubs and also universities.

In some parts of the area, the currency was in dollars and we were to communicate in English, so it was just like a town in America. As we entered a restaurant and there were many navy crews eating lunch. Just for sure, the food was “American size” and was definitely impossible to eat all. In the tour, we moved by car and the guide explained us about the facilities. The tour ended by going out the base, entering the museum of Okinawa postwar.

Seeing the news broadcasts, citizens of Okinawa are against the US military bases. This is because of the problems or negative effects caused by the existence of military bases; such as environmental concerns including water and air pollution, accidents and crimes caused by the soldiers, noise problem and so on. In the past,US military helicopter crashed at Okinawa International University, and many incidents such as rape and robbery, car accidents has occurred. However, because of the treaty between Japan and the United States, these incidents have not brought to any conclusion, or the criminal escaped from Japan and haven’t been punished. To say with the noise problem, I actually heard the noises made by the aircrafts during the tour and it was extreme; if I were to live close to the base, I can’t bear to stay.

It is unfair for only the people in Okinawa to bear a heavy burden and be the hosts to the US military forces. However, there is the fact that the US military base is creating economic effects, and I saw a community developed inside the base, having many people living their ordinary lives. There isn’t a effective or practical solution but the only thing that is clear, is that there needs to be a movement in this problem.

For additional information about the base,
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/kadena.htm

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One thought on “Thinking about the US Military Bases problem in Okinawa

  1. Military of Defence. “Institution and Areas of US military in Okinawa.”
    Military of Defence; Information Search System. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov.
    2011. .

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