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Your Opinion Counts: Letters to the Editor are Back!

Date Posted: 1999-10-19

I am writing to express my concern over the way most of the media outlets on Okinawa cover natural disasters caused by typhoons or major landslides. I have lived in Okinawa for almost 6 straight years now, without a single day out, ever since I retired from the US Navy and married my sweetheart Keiko from the beautiful Yomitan village.

During my stay here, I have witnessed several typhoons blow off roof-tops and uproot trees, leaving the cities around here in quasi-distress. I have also seen landslides bury homes and jeopardize people’s lives in whole areas of Okinawa. During these moments, we have always relied on the AFN networks – radio and TV – to give us the best weather information and advise us on how to best protect ourselves from the early warning period, through condition 1 to emergency. That is a good thing.

However, my problem is that, oftentimes, these US military media have often neglected the coverage of off-base homes and families or areas of the island where there are less Americans. My wife Keiko brought to my attention the fact that, many a time, the only people and places that get all the attention of AFN or even “Stars and Stripes” are those who live on the big US bases like Kadena and Foster. Any other Americans living off-base may suffer great injury or loss of property during a typhoon and that would never get reported on the airwaves.

I think it is not right for the military news organizations based in Okinawa to concentrate only on “their own people” and behave as if they don’t care about the others, be they Americans or other foreigners who do not live on-base, or Japanese living in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In the same light, I think that the Japanese local media should be more interested in the lives – happy times or sad times – of their American and other foreign guests, including military base folks. Your newspaper has been making a lot of effort to cover events going on around Okinawa, and I think it is a good thing that you helped us get better knowledge and close touch of how people’s lives were affected by the last typhoon, the “notorious Mr. Bart.”

Please, keep up the good work, and tell us more about all of Okinawa and everyone living here, without discrimination.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Antonio Salvador.


Dear readers, we are pleased to reintroduce this column. We have made the decision on popular demand. We have been flooded within the last months by letters, faxes, emails and verbal pleas, asking us to open up our pages to faithful readers like you. We have responded favorably to your demands because we believe that our readers must participate actively in the making of this newspaper. We are opening up this page for you. Express yourself. Tell us what you feel about anything you may have read in our newspaper or anywhere else. Give us your opinion on anything you may have heard on the radio or seen on TV. This is your forum. Let’s make the best of it. Your opinion counts.

Send in your comments by mail, fax or email to the addresses and numbers indicated.

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