Okinawans don’t fall for U.S.’s China-bashing
Published Jul 13, 2011 3:29 PM
U.S. troops have occupied the island of Okinawa ever since World War II. In
April 1945 the U.S. launched an 82-day battle to take Okinawa from Japan. The
largest amphibious assault in the entire Pacific war, the battle killed half
the civilian population of Okinawa. Japanese forces sustained 100,000
casualties there; 50,000 U.S. troops were either killed or wounded before Japan
surrendered the island.
Millions died in Asia because of this horrendous war between the two competing
imperialist powers. Yet today the U.S. and Japan are strategic partners. So why
are tens of thousands of U.S. troops still in Okinawa?
The U.S. is trying to convince the people of the island that its troops are
there to protect them from the “threat” of China. But the Okinawans
are not buying it.
That’s the gist of an April 2006 cable from the U.S. consul general in
Naha, Okinawa, that was recently released by WikiLeaks. The U.S. official,
Thomas Reich, wrote to Washington about a conversation he had had with Mitsuko
Tomon, a lawmaker from the Socialist Party who had been a candidate for mayor
of Okinawa City.
Reich had tried to put Tomon on the defensive by showing her a map that
purported to give the locations of Chinese “incursions” in the area
around Okinawa. But, cabled Reich, she replied, “Japan and the United
States had been more harmful to Okinawa than China had ever been.” She
added that China’s behavior “did not justify the concentration of
U.S. forces and facilities in Okinawa.” (Wall Street Journal, July 4)
That is the sentiment of most Okinawans, as expressed in countless
demonstrations, marches, vigils and protests against the bases.
Today 75 percent of all U.S. bases in Japan are on Okinawa, an island that
makes up less than 1 percent of Japan’s territory. In fact 20 percent of
the land on the island is taken by U.S. bases. (CNN World, March 12) Moreover,
the Pentagon wants to expand its existing bases.
It is important that progressives in the U.S., who may think that Washington
and Wall Street are friendly toward China because of extensive U.S. investment
and trade with that country, are aware that U.S. imperialists, whatever the
diplomatic maneuvers of their politicians, are deeply hostile to China. They
see China not only as a growing economic rival but one that comes out of a
profound social revolution that liberated the Chinese people from foreign
Which is one of the reasons why the people of Okinawa, who were occupied first
by Japan and then by the U.S., regard China as their friend.
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