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Local Mayor Reflects on Iraq War and Okinawa

Date Posted: 2004-03-19

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the latest Iraq War, and an local mayor is reflecting on what’s happened, and what it means for Okinawa.

Okinawa City Mayor Masakazu Nakasone thinks the conflict and it’s aftermath are far from over. The war itself ended in only 40 days, and Iraq was pacified by American and British soldiers, “but everyone can see that war is not finished yet,” he says. “American soldiers are still dying at the hands of terrorists, and now Japan has had to send the Self Defense Forces to support the Iraq peoples’ lives.”

Nakasone says that despite President George Bush’s declarations the war had finished, American Marine Corps personnel continue to be sent to Iraq. “That makes me very anxious,” Nakasone says. “I have responsibility to protect citizens lives and property, and their happiness. It is anything bad happening that I am so worried about.”

He says he hopes for a quick resolution to the Iraq problem, and that everything will be peaceful, because “I feel very sorry about the families of Self Defense Forces.”

The mayor says it reminds him of World War II. “It’s really too much for families to worry about…I hope all of the Self Defense Forces will be back with cheerful faces very quickly.”

He cites similarities between the rapid capture of Iraq last year with America’s quick capture of Okinawa in 1945, adding “the USA took Okinawa as their territory, and that’s the model for Iraq’s capture too. It reminds me of the 27 years of Okinawa history under American rule, and it was too hard a time for Okinawans.”

Nakazone called for America to “never again let the same history and hardness happen”, calling upon the U.S. to give up its caretaker role and let the Iraqi people build their country by themselves.

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