News From Japan - John Manning

US constructs “military stronghold” in Okinawa

John Manning puts the latest disturbing news from Japan into context.

The Japan Press web page, recently carried the Japanese Communist Party's flat statement, in its newspaper Akahata, about the new U.S. war base the Bush junta and its puppet government in Japan are in process of forcing on the people of Okinawa and the Japanese people as a whole, with the apparent full consent of the people of the United States.

As a communist party of absolutely democratic principles, relying on the people, the JCP must tell the people just what the situation is, so they can join in deciding what to do about it. It is they who will face the consequences if the war plan goes into full effect and it is they who will have to face what the monopolies and military can do if  they are opposed. They also can tell Americans, if we will listen, just what our government is proposing to do in our name, and with the lives and resources of our people.

Japan is being set up as an attack base from which to bomb, attack and, or so they plan - control - Asia. From India to Siberia. That is the home of the majority of the human race, over 3,000,000.000 people: to keep its countries from progressing independently to any kind of equality with ours.

Our arrogant profiteers have the illusion that, by threatening destruction, they can keep the whole of humanity from progressing while they drain the resources of the world for the few who "own" everything. They think that the people of Japan will go in after the bombers, just as the British are doing in Afghanistan, to control and suppress the survivors after the bombers have finished,

since our military heroes, who threaten to bomb peoples "back to the stone age", are mortally afraid of the American people if body bags start coming home. The "allies" from the satellites must do the dying.

But China and Vietnam and Korea and Malaysia and Indonesia and Thailand have had Japanese troops before, and may well remember them. And the Japanese remember, too. And the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki don't let them forget what war is about. Even the American people may not be as stupid, or as callous, or as "bought" as our magnates think they are. And I’m not speaking only of the radicals on the Web. Ask any American workers if they want to rule the world. They have other problems. We all have other problems. If we want to live in peace on this world, then we have to take care of it and each other. These greedy power maniacs have lost their humanity entirely.

Take a look at the plans for Okinawa and think about what they have in mind. And remember that in Hokkaido, over 1500 miles to the north, other U.S troops are having live-fire exercises with 255 mm. atomic-capable howitzers, and low-level fighter attack practice in all the miles in between, with atomic subs in the harbors.

Here is the Japan Press report on the Nago City base:

New U.S. base in Nago will have fortified attack functions

Akahata of December 29 ran a detailed story about a new state-of-the-art U.S. air base to be constructed on the coral reef off the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture as a replacement for the U.S. Marines Futenma Air Station.

On December 27 the government and Okinawa Prefecture reached an agreement that the giant U.S. military base will be constructed in disregard of the beautiful coast of Henoko, one of the most scenic spots on the east coast of the Okinawa main island. With strengthened military functions it will destroy the natural environment, while negatively affecting the living conditions of the residents.

2,000-meter runway

The December 27 meeting between the central government and Okinawa's local governments reconfirmed that the new base will serve as an airfield for common use by the military and civilians.

The runway will be 2,000 meters long to allow its use by middle-sized commercial jet planes.

A military expert on aviation said that the length is just right for FA18 fighter attackers, F15 fighters, C130 middle-sized cargo aircraft, and the latest model C17 large jet cargo aircraft.

The 1996 agreement of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO), deciding on constructing a new base to replace the Futenma Air Station, stated that the runway will be 1,300 meters to accommodate only transport helicopters and aircraft with a short run for landing and take-off.

Under the pretext of making the airfield for common use by the military and civilians, the U.S. forces have obtained a longer runway which can accommodate jet fighters and large jet cargo aircraft.

In the December 27 meeting on 'alternative facilities committee,' Mayor Kishimoto Tateo of Nago City stressed the need to "reserve SACO's agreement," expressing concern that U.S. jet fighters will use the new base.

The SACO agreement, however, put forward a plan to "study the emergency and contingency use of alternate facilities which may be needed in the event of a crisis."

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., U.S. FA-18 fighter attackers have frequently used the U.S. Futenma Air Station, which were hardly seen before. The noise level from their take offs and landings was well over 100 decibels, according to the Ginowan City office.

Mayor Kishimoto also calls for the conclusion of an agreement on the use of the new base to "guarantee that it will not seriously affect the living conditions of residents near the new base site." An assembly member of Nago City who support Kishimoto said, "Once a new jumbo base is accomplished, we won't be able to ask the U.S. Forces to stop using it (Asahi Shimbun, December 28).

Danger of defective MV-22s to be deployed

The U.S. plans to deploy the MV-22 Osprey, a state-of-the-art aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability now under development, to the planned new base.

Last year, two MV-22 crashes during test flights killed a total of 23 crew members. Edward Aldridge, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense, had to admit that the crashes raises serious doubts over its safety and reliability.

The Department, however, announced that it will resume test flights in April. Test flights have been suspended since late last year because of the frequent crashes.

Okinawa Times on December 23 reported that Commander Wallace Greggson of the U.S. 3rd Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed in Okinawa showed an enthusiastic response to the plan of the Osprey's deployment, saying that it will mean "replacing their ageing fleet of conventional helicopters (CH-46) (in Futenma)."

If constructed, the new U.S. base will be a state-of-the-art air sortie base for the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa, the only expeditionary unit outside the United States. This means that the U.S. Forces in Okinawa will permanently use the island as its military stronghold.

John Manning is a veteran American communist and labour organiser. Now retired and living in the Czech Republic, he writes regularly on Japanese affairs for Spectre.  Internationalism indeed!