The V-22 Osprey, a unique tilt-rotor aircraft that has been
design and testing began: As 90 percent of Okinawans
deployment, should the U.S. and Japan’s central government
give up on the idea of
deploying it on their island?
Against Deployment of ‘Defective’ Osprey (Ryukyu ShimpoShimbun, Japan)
“This surpasses simple ignorance, and is an act of foolishness akin to challenging Okinawan society. … Surveys show that 90 percent of the people
and 95 percent of local authorities oppose deployment of the Osprey. The
central government should think about how significant a statistic this is in a
This country appears to be saddled with a prime minister who
feels no shame about hurting the spirits of the war dead and their families -
and Okinawans who ask only for peace and hope.
In person, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda intends to ask Okinawa
for his understanding regarding to the planned deployment in July of the MV22 Osprey
tilt-rotor aircraft at U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air
Base. Noda has chosen June 23rd for the occasion, when a memorial
ceremony for casualties suffered at the Battle of Okinawa will
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Prime Minister Noda will seek approval of the stationing of the
defective aircraft, which a majority of Okinawans oppose, on the same day that Okinawa
is filled with prayer for the repose of the deceased and amid vows never go to
This surpasses simple ignorance, and is an act of foolishness akin to challenging Okinawan society.
Do the prime minister and the civil servants around him
believe that Okinawans are without feelings - are they trying to gauge the
reaction of what they consider to be a “politically uninhabited island?”
Surveys show that 90 percent of the people and 95 percent of
local authorities oppose deployment of the Osprey. The central government should
think about how significant a statistic this is in a democratic society.
Out of 41 municipal councils in the prefecture, 39 have
passed resolutions asserting opposition to the Osprey deployment, and demanding
a halt to the plan. The two remaining authorities are considering taking similar
Despite this, the U.S. military has pushed ahead with the
deployment at Futenma, the “world’s most dangerous”
air base. The Japanese government has been obediently following the U.S. side,
and their devil-may-care attitude has become increasingly evident.
We have come to a point in which we must include the
Japanese government among the entities seeking to offload this “flying
liability” onto Okinawa. The forces behind the deployment are now “the governments
of the United States and Japan.”
Newly-appointed Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto has stressed
the need for the deployment, saying that “no harm will come to our country.” He
has added to his lack of popularity among Okinawans by commenting that the
results of the inquiry into the Osprey crash in April will likely be released
after the aircraft is deployed.
The fact that Morimoto is prepared to unhesitatingly deploy
the Osprey despite a lack of explanation for the causes of its recent crash shows
a disregard for the lives of local residents.
Governor HirokazuNakaima should not only voice opposition, but take strong and
direct action against the U.S. and Japanese governments. Okinawan
members of the Diet should do the same.
At issue are the lives of Okinawans. Since their feelings
are clear, representatives in local authorities, the Diet, and the business community
should set partisan loyalties aside and unite to prevent this deployment.
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