The Japan-US relations have been a complex issue for a long period of time1. The problems based on the idea of the American military bases on the territory of Japan, Okinawa in particular, caused a number of discussions as it had a certain impact on the country’s economic and political relations.
The Okinawans do not want to observe any kind of presence of the USA military on their territory, and the USA does not want to lose one of its most powerful strategic objects. At the same time, the Americans, as a nation, should respect the demands of each Okinawan, realize how influential their presence can be2, and be able to consider their own expectations from the relations between these two huge nations.
Many politicians and researchers admit that the Marine Corps in Okinawa do not play any role within the currently existing military strategies of the USA3. Nowadays, it is not clear what these forces can deter. North Korea is not a dangerous neighbor due to the presence of the military in the country. And Chinese attacks can be hardly controlled by these particular bases in Okinawa. This is why the closure of military bases does not lead to some considerable changes from a defensive point of view.
However, the impact of military bases’ closure can be observed in the economies of these two countries. The point is that the Marines perform a serious role in providing the population with humanitarian support or specific rescue operations that can be beneficial for the Americans. The Okinawans are not ready to economize on their wealth and health, and the Americans can use this fact to promote their services and improve their own national economy.
For example, it is possible to use the fact of contamination that is regular for Okinawa: both, the US service members and a number of their dependents, who live on the island’s bases, suffer from the impact of toxic chemical on the environment4.
The promotion of special equipment and services can change the relation between Japan and the USA and improve the economy of the latter considerably. People need a serious basis for their actions and development of new ideas. Why not take the idea of environmental pollution as the main one to develop the necessary economic relations?
In my opinion, the closure of the American military bases in Okinawa is the question of time. The population of the island does not leave this idea and does try to use as many factors as possible to eradicate any military force from its land. This is why to demonstrate its power and the abilities to take significant solutions, the American government has to think about the most effective way to close all military marines on this land, gives clear and properly-based explanations, and offers some other type of relations that have to be continued with Japan as one of its main allies and provide the Americans with a chance to take leading economic positions in the whole world.
Hook, Glenn D. “Intersecting Risks and Governing Okinawa: American Bases and the Unfinished War.” Japan Forum 22, no. 1-2 (2010): 195-217.
Mitchell, Jon. “Poisons in the Pacific: Guam, Okinawa and Agent Organe.” The Japan Times. Last modified August 7, 2012.
Tanji, Miyume. “U.S. Court Rules in the ‘Okinawa Dugong’ Case: Implications for U.S. Military Bases Overseas.” Critical Asian Studies 40, no. 4 (2008): 475-487.
- Glenn D. Hook, “Interesting Risks and Governing Okinawa: American Bases and the Unfinished War,” Japan Forum 22, no. 1-2 (2010): 195.
- Miyume Tanji, “U.S. Court Rules in the ‘Okinawa Dugong’ Case: Implications for U.S. Military Bases Overseas,” Critical Asian Studies 40, no. 4 (2008): 475
- Miyume Tanji, “U.S. Court Rules in the ‘Okinawa Dugong’ Case: Implications for U.S. Military Bases Overseas,” Critical Asian Studies 40, no. 4 (2008): 480
- Mitchell, Jon, “Poisons in the Pacific: Guam, Okinawa and Agent Organe,” The Japan Times.