An official in Okinawa has backed off demands for the removal of American troops, who long have been based on the island and also who long have been subject of dispute, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s decision, reported by Russia Today, follows a rejection by court officials of a lawsuit also involving Japan’s central government over a plan to move the U.S. Marine base Futenma Air Station.
Only a few months ago, tens of thousands of protesters staged a rally to oppose the presence of the U.S. military.
They are there under a security agreement between U.S. and Japan that puts most American troops and bases on the island.
“Marines, get out” was a popular message for the protesters.
A report from the Congressional Research Service reveals there are some 53,000 military personnel and another 43,000 dependents as well as 5,000 Department of Defense civilian employees linked to the U.S. military presence in the region.
“Many Okinawans oppose the U.S. military presence, although some observers assert that Tokyo has failed to communicate effectively to Okinawans the benefits of the alliance. …Okinawa has received billions of dollars in subsidies from the central government to offset the ‘burden’ of hosting U.S. troops,” the report said.
A “broad realignment” plan included a proposal to relocate Futenma to a less-congested area on the island, triggering many protests. The governor at the time, Hirokazu Nakaima, had approved a plan for an offshore landfill needed to build the replacement, but he lost reelection and his successor refused to go along with the plan.
The new governor, Takeshi Onaga, immediately started a multi-prong effort to oppose the work.
The current report reveals Onaga rescinded approval for a relocation plan, and a report from Kyodo News noted Japan’s Supreme Court found the revocation was illegal.