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Bases’ Economic Input Insignificant

Date Posted: 2001-02-16

“American military members do spend a considerable amount on the Okinawan economy” states Jason Parker in the Jan 11-17 letters column. Rob on the same page talks of the economic impact if the US military departed. This is one of the persistent myths about the U.S. presence here. After the second world war, when Okinawa was being reconstructed, the bases did provide a large economic input. They accounted for about half the GDP of the territory. Since those days the figure has steadily shrunk and today the bases contribute 4.9% to Okinawa’s earnings, including all the extra allowances from the Japanese government related to the bases. Not “a considerable amount” by any stretch of the imagination. The only argument for the bases being here is strategic, not economic.

Personally I find the logic of the anti-base Okinawans hard to fault. What is the best way to attract hostile military activity to your area? Have large concentrations of troops there.

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