The US military is being accused of cynically using Operation Tomodachi as justification for keeping its bases in Okinawa.
Okinawa had been promised agreements which would reduce the huge concentration of US bases there, but the combined incompetence of the DPJ government and the intransigence of the US military foiled these plans, stoking considerable anti-base sentiment.
An article in Okinawan rag Ryukyu Shimpo now presents a lengthy critique of the US military’s involvement in ongoing relief efforts in northern Japan, accusing them of using their humanitarian operations to generate positive PR for their presence in Japan, and more specifically their maintenance of the especially controversial Futenma air base in Okinawa:
Okinawa’s US Marine Corps said ‘the considerable importance of the 3rd Expeditionary Force’s Futenma base to relief efforts has been demonstrated,’ and ‘it is extremely important that there is a base like Futenma close to the mainland,’ explaining the importance of Futenma to humanitarian operations.
However, it is hardly logical to maintain that having a marine base in Okinawa is more helpful to relief operations on the mainland than having bases on the mainland itself.
They are plainly using aid activities to promote their plans to keep the bases in the prefecture [of Okinawa].
Professor Manabu Sato of the Okinawa International University criticises them for this, saying ‘even if they have a political motive, it is good that they are providing aid,’ but stressing the advantages of having a base situated in Okinawa ‘is highly inappropriate.’
The American armed forces have called their aid operation ‘Tomodati’ (‘friend’). They are running a large-scale public relations campaign based on their aid.
It is the polar opposite of the meagre amounts of information they have released in response to the various incidents and accidents caused by their soldiers.
This is too much even for 2ch:
“This is crazy!”
“What is inappropriate is the timing of this article…”
“Your article is just as politically motivated! For shame!”
“Go tell the refugees they are helping that stuff about it being inappropriate!”
“We might as well have the bases on the mainland. In return they can house 10 reactors.”
“What a disgraceful paper to be publishing something like this.”
“Having the US army do that is vastly more reassuring than PLA medical relief teams…”
“If you keep whining we’ll hand the lot of you over to China!”
“This is all just what China wants.”
“If the people of Okinawa don’t do something about this paper they really are in danger of being lumped in with them.”
“Okinawa is disgraceful… they are more interested in US base politics than they are the plight of Tohoku.”
“I was moved to tears by the kindness of US troops – why are they so kind to us? People who write these kinds of articles have no business calling themselves journalists.”
“It’s embarrassing to come from the same country as people like this.”
“Go to hell you leftist scum! If anyone’s using this disaster it’s our chon PM!”
“I could cry… they are risking radiation to help us.”
“The three biggest threats to Japan are chinks, chon and those islanders!”
“Tokyoites are just as crazy as the rest of them. They aren’t even affected by the disaster and they start buying up all the food like crazy hoarders.”
“All you people defending the US, did you forget they were the ones who dropped nukes on us!? It’s pitiable.”
“Over 5,000 of their countrymen are dead as of writing and they publish an article criticising the relief effort!”
“Stop swallowing this article. I’m from Okinawa, I could cry… it’s all lies!”
“I was amazed when this turned out to be a real article. Shameful.”