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Base Restriction Ideas Not Practical

Date Posted: 2001-01-12

I would like to respond to the letter in Japan Update concerning allowing Okinawans free access to military bases on the island. First, let me point out that even in the United States, access to military bases are restricted to military personnel and family members. A U.S. military base is not an amusement park or shopping mall. Its function is the security of U.S. interests. It also needs to maintain a certain quality of life for active duty members and families. It is no different here on Okinawa.

The other point the writer made was that if Okinawans cannot have access to the bases, then U.S. personnel should not have access to off base facilities. That wouldn’t be practical since we must occasionally travel from one base to another, or to the airport in Naha. I believe that should be fairly easy to see.

As far as Okinawa being “Club Med.” I assure you it isn’t. Yes, there are benefits not afforded us in the U.S. There are many more downsides to living here. Many of our “staples” of life are not available here. The Exchanges and Commissaries do an outstanding job but they are limited in selection and quantities. Okinawan stores cater to Okinawans, as they should; and not to U.S. citizens. Why do you think we love taking trips back to the U.S.? Shopping!!!

I hope the writer can see that the suggestions he made are not practical. We already have trouble with quantities/sizes in the Exchanges. Can you imagine what would happen if Okinawans were allowed free access? Why should Okinawans have access to what most U.S. citizens do not? If we were not allowed off base, how would we get medical care from our hospital or have access to the commercial airport? I respect his opinions, but I believe they are impossible to implement.

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