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Political Maneuvering To Reduce Bases

Date Posted: 2000-08-04

I write this letter in hopes that things will get straight. First let me tell you how happy I was to see the President took time in his schedule to go to the Okinawa Peace Park in Itoman to give respect to the lost victims of the Okinawan War, But it hurts me very much to have heard him talk about the Bases at the Peace Park. Then I found out by talking to some people at the Peace Park that this was not suppose to turn out this way. First talking to a friend there I found out that the true request was to lay a wreath at the Peace Park in Memory of all that died in the Okinawan war by the president. This I was told was a request made by a Mr. David McCracken at a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Okinawa, that a letter be send to the President asking him to lay a wreath at the Peace Park in Itoman. The letter was sent and had to go through the American Consulate in Okinawa and the Okinawan Goverment. I asked if Mr. McCracken was at the Peace Park, because I wished to talk to him, but he couldn't be found, I figured that he would probaly be reconized at the park for his efforts, then I could speak with him, I never got to speak with him and would like to meet him.

On the day of the Presidents arrival to the Peace Park the whole event turned to be a political move by the Okinawan Government and the American Consulate in Okinawa to get the American Bases issue brought forward. All I heard was military reduction, base reduction, and the problems of the military here in Okinawa in all the speeches. I hurt to hear a little girl make a speech about the bases that lives on Miyako Island where there are no military, (please don't misunderstand me, her speech was really good and good in meaning) Then to hear the Governor of Okinawa make his speach which was again about the bases, and then finally the President to say something about the bases. This was a Memorial for the victims of the Okinawan War and not a Memorial for the bases even though the Okinawan Government wishes that is was and the American Consulate that was used as a pawn in this effort. No wreath was laid and not much was said about the park and the ones that died in the Okinawan War may still be forgotten.

I believe the Itoman Peace Park was a very warm thought by the veterans for the president to lay a wreath, who were not even recognized for their efforts by the Japanese Government, Okinawan Government, American Consulate, or the President. And then for it to be turned into a political move. WHAT A SHAME.

The media here has shown nothing but bases since the summit has started, which all here know that the media here in Japan is governed by the Japanese goverment. In a way I wish President Clinton would remove all the military here all at once. Then all the ones that protest can see what the Japanese Goverment gives them when their businesses go under and the thousands of Okinawan workers on base are laid off work. The Japanese Goverment didn't feed them after the war and they won't if the military leave. What you will see is the American Goverment providing AID to the Okinawans, and if they don't then it will be said that the removal of the military caused this econimonical crunch and the should repair the econmy. Many Okinawan complain about the bases and the noise that they make. Now they want to sue the American Goverment for the noise, I believe that if they lived there before the bases were made then yes they deserve some type payment, but if they moved there after the bases were made then that is on them. Then you have the ones that have land on the bases, and want it returned. This is because someone has offered them a good deal on their land on the base, this is usally done by large businesses or protest groups and it is known that these groups pay people to go to the protests, otherwise not many would go. I believe that Okinawa has problems that are invented and needs to be checked with a fine tooth comb.

In all I am an American living in Okinawa, and I love this island, thats why I think we should look at the problems in a truthful nature and not point fingers at each other.

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