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Japan not US, so war broadcasts inappropriate

Date Posted: 2000-08-18

To Guillermo & Danielle Guillen, To make a few points for you. The Japanese war heroes, as you call them, were shunned because they were defeated while fighting for what people at the time believed - the emperor was a god. For the Japanese being defeated and not dying was the greatest dishonor, but I don't expect you to understand this type of honor. I don't care what you teach your children or how, but Okinawa is not a state in the US and your TV station is operating on Japanese airways and should show more respect for the local population. I don't especially watch your TV channel, but look at it sometimes to see what comes out. Your own public affairs offices have subscriptions to all the local newspapers for the same reasons. These daily broadcast reminders of war in a place that so much despised it and suffered, as Okinawa did, are inappropriate.

To Mr. Kaneshima, people who think, as you do never stop amazing me. Of the population of 1.3 million you failed to mention what percentage are children, housewives and retired persons but that makes little difference. Your view is a small narrow look at a big picture but you're still heartless in this view. We have maybe 15,000 people employed on bases, hundreds of individual contractors and businesses employed by bases for various work, a large group who rent apartments & houses not on the base and maybe 100,000 landowners who collect rent from the base land. As I understand your letter you think nothing of taking away either their entire income or a part of it with a DREAM that someday it will turn out more prosperous for everyone as a whole. From my own studies I've learned that the loudest landowners of "give me my land back" for the most part own 1 tsubo of land, obviously bought just to make noise. If landowners don't rely on the rent from base land you can believe without doubt that they have grown used to receiving that money. Your dream won't feed the families of those 15,000 people without a job and other companies will suffer and have to release employees just to survive without the income from the base work, and that goes all the way back to the companies that support those companies such as garages that do maintenance on their cars and trucks. Look at Ryukyu Bus Company after they lost the base contract, now multiply that by 200. I also suppose agencies such as Okinawa Denki & NTT won't miss the income from service provided to the bases. Okinawa also receives various monies from the national government because of the bases; In the long run it would take 15 to 20 years to settle the local economy to something normal.

As far as we'll make Okinawa a grand tourist spot, a lot of people seem to think that the whole world will want to flock to Okinawa. Do you really think there are enough tourists all year long to support 1.3 million people? While I personally think Okinawa is a great place and think the entire world should enjoy our natural beauty, if you talk to tourists you'll get some different views. The tourist hotels, mostly owned by companies that are not Okinawan have 10% surcharges that tourists find costly, then there is a large language barrier as soon as they leave the hotel unless they are Japanese, and possibly the biggest drawback for international tourists is the large number of stores that still only accept cash and not credit cards. This is also a very small island by tourist standards with sometimes-incredible traffic problems. I don't think Okinawa will ever be the tourist attraction people dream of it being.

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