The Japanese media has long been obsessed with the issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa. And over the years simmering discontent in that prefecture was periodically heightened by a various unpleasant incidents- U.S. servicemen involved in a rape case with a local teenage girl; a helicopter crashing into a building. So when Yukio Hatoyama made an election pledge to 'look into' moving U.S. facilites out of their present locations, specifically the marine base in Futenma, many people expected...well they expected some the base at Futenma to be closed. Which is unfortunate because it is campaign pledge that Hatoyama looks unlikely to be able to keep.
Because regardless of the feelings of local protestors in Okinawa it seems unlikely that U.S. forces will be leaving the area anytime soon. Nor is it clear that they should, in the interests of both Japan and the United States. Bases in Japan provide a vital presence in North Asia for American interests. And the U.S. military umbrellas covers Japan for a fraction of the financial and social cost that would be incurred if Japan were forced to...actually provide their own defence. Not to mention the huge direct injection of money that into the Okinawan economy that that the bases represent. Unfortunately there is such a strong case of 'Not in My Backyard' fervour in Okinawa that the political and media pressure upon Hatoyama has been relentless.
The latest chapter in this sad saga is the proposal by the Hatoyama government to shift the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the island of Tokunoshima.
Tokunoshima, 200 kilometres to the NorthEast, is actually part of Kagoshima. I've been there. Lushly tropical, it's famous for bullfights, where the bullfights square off against each other and people make bets on the winner. Naturally the whole island has erupted into vociferous protest and immense rallies are protesting the destruction of the local culture, the crime, the dirty foreign invasion
I spent a week there in the company of other JETs, cruised around, drank local shochu and sat on beaches. It's beautiful, but it's also increasingly concreted and just as closeminded as the rest of the country. And like all of Japan, slowly depopulating and rusting.
And as for those two girls I met at the cafe on the beach, those two lithe but snaggle-toothed beauties, Izumi and Harumi, those little lying two-faced flirting vixens who wouldn't return my calls and broke their promise to call me when they visited the mainland, well...
Those little slappers will get what they want when a few thousand bored and horny U.S. servicemen descend upon their little faux paradise.