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Reply--Why not allow Okinawans access to base?

Date Posted: 2001-01-12

In response to the Okinawans who wonder and dislike the security of the American bases, I would like to begin by saying military bases throughout the world have the SAME policy. In America, military bases are not OPEN to Americans unless they have a valid ID card. Why should Okinawans be treated any differently than any other base in the world? Terrorism is a major concern. If the military opened bases to just anyone, how can they protect us? The PX and other facilities on base are in business for minimal profit but the main reason is to provide quality products to Military and their dependents for a low price because our Active Duty do not make a great deal of money. Since Okinawa is so far from our home, it is the only connection to our real life. If you have not noticed, Americans have a different style than Asians. Will you supply us with clothes and shoes that we like if we give you the opportunity to buy our limited amount? The answer is no. Most Americans are not here by choice, like most places throughout the world. We are here to help - not hurt. Do you really believe that we like being here and would not like to be home with our families? We are trying not to be bitter because it does not help the situation, however, letters like this do not help. What security does Okinawa have to protect none; because we are doing that for you. So why should Americans not be allowed out in town?

Our military members give up their time, freedom and quality of life to protect our country. What have you given up? Many times Americans will go shopping out in town and see "Japanese Only" signs at many establishments. Do we complain? NO. We are not upset because you have a right to deny access to anyone, even though your reasons are because of prejudice and not security. So who should be upset? Understand this, if ONE American makes a mistake out in town, all Americans stationed on Okinawa suffer. When curfew or restrictions are set it affects all. So, never say that we are on vacation. Okinawa is NOT Club Med, nor is it a vacation. I would rather be in Hawaii, closer to home and where they speak English. What do Okinawans give to Americans? We volunteer our time, buy items on base and the funds are donated to your community, we buy gifts during the holidays and throughout the year to donate to your Orphanages. Is that part of the agreement? My point is that we are trying to live in harmony, but are constantly under your microscope. Your community makes the same mistakes as ours, only ours are publicized.

It's very obvious that the person who wrote this letter is very ignorant. Please ask an American or just pick up a newspaper and you will realize why OUR U.S. Military must defend our base. Also if you've read your History books you would know why the U.S. military must maintain a presence here. Often when active duty are stationed on Okinawa they still have financial responsibilities at home and when they arrive they realize that their spouses cannot gain employment because most jobs are available to Japanese only. Even on base. That is just the tip of the iceberg of sacrifices we make for our U.S. Military.

I hope I do not sound like I dislike Japanese because I don't. I have Okinawan friends that I would not trade for the world. For our new U.S. Military just arriving, please disregard letters like the one I am responding to because there are very few Okinawans that are this ignorant.

To end this response, I would like to know why, when the U.S. orders a curfew or a restriction does the Okinawan community complain that their businesses are failing within 30 days? Our leaders cannot control the situation because you cannot make up your mind!

When Okinawans are permitted in the Commissary they buy everything in site. If someone is doing you a favor of letting you buy a soda don't grab cases - leave some for someone else.

What would happen if no Japanese where allowed on base including employees? Would that make you happy? No because your unemployment rate would go up.

We don't want any tension between the Americans and Japanese - so please just lay off. Non-Military will never have the ability to roam ANY base without permission - so get over it.

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