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JFSDF officers on American sub riles Uruma City

Date Posted: 2008-11-21

An American submarine visiting Okinawa waters without telling local officials is enough to get Uruma City’s mayor upset, but finding out the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force was a reason for the visit has him sputtering.

“We are already protesting nuclear powered submarines calling on White Beach, but now we find Japan’s own Self Defense Force officers were on board and didn’t tell us,” complains Tsuneo Chinen. “This is quite an important mistake,” the mayor says. “Both countries should tell the local people.”

The USS Ohio, an American nuclear powered sub, did enter White Beach November 14th on what officials called a routine stop. The USS Ohio, along with the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and 45 other U.S. and JMSDF ships, have been participating in a week-long exercise that ended yesterday.

With Okinawa being a stop 36 times by nuclear powered U.S. Navy ships, local officials have been protesting, but the Japanese Self Defense Public Affairs Office says it’s much ado about nothing. “The purpose was to let two Self Defense Force offices get off the submarine,” the public affairs office said. “It’s just the usual study about going on board each others’ ships as training exchanges. Nothing unusual.”

Mayor Chinen disagrees. “Is there a need for it to be a secret to boarding Japanese officers? We want to know what’s going on with nuclear powered submarines.” The director of the Okinawa Peace Campaign Center agrees. Hironao Yamashiro says “This fact is telling about America and Japan trying to do a unified military reorganization. Japanese Self Defense Force officers going on board means it is a symbol of unity.”

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