Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, September 14, 2022
Communist leaders in Beijing were reportedly celebrating the election victory on Sept. 11 of Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki, who has adamantly opposed the U.S. troop presence on the Japanese island.
The plan to move the strategic U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded neighborhood to a less populated area on Okinawa has been delayed for years. Tamaki supports Okinawans who want the Futenma base closed down and removed from the island.
The operative but understated word in U.S. policy requiring the Futenma base is, to quote former President Donald Trump, “China.”
According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, “The U.S. military presence in Japan, and particularly Okinawa, allows it to fulfill its obligations under the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security to not only defend Japan but to maintain security in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The Global Times, propaganda mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), said in an editorial that Tamaki’s re-election was a signal that Japan and the United States should no longer ignore calls from the people of Okinawa to move the U.S. base off the island.
“My commitment to resolve the U.S. military base problem for the future of Okinawa has never been shaken,” Tamaki said. He said he will continue his endeavor to convey Okinawans’ will to the central government.
Tamaki had said in May of this year that Japan should focus more on peaceful diplomacy with China instead of on military deterrence.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sept. 12 that China and Japan “should, in a strategic and long-term perspective, stay committed to the important consensus that they are partners and pose no threat to each other.”
Just two months ago, China had celebrated the shocking assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Political observers in Japan said that, without a doubt, both the Chinese Communist Party and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s LDP benefited from Abe’s tragic exit.
Related: China celebrated his assassination, but Abe’s legacy surged in Japan elections, July 10, 2022
Whereas the Abe administration had aligned on significant issues with the foreign policy of the Trump administration, Kishida’s LDP has been criticized as a “puppet” of globalist and pro-China policy of the Biden White House.
The current U.S. ambassador to Japan is Obama loyalist Rahm Emanuel.
A majority of the 50,000 U.S. troops based in Japan under a bilateral security pact and 70% of U.S. military facilities in Japan are in Okinawa.
Citing growing threats from China, North Korea, and Russia, Japan’s government has in recent years shifted its defense posture to southwestern Japan, Okinawa and its remote islands.
“Many in Okinawa are worried about the growing deployment of Japanese missile defenses and amphibious capabilities on outer islands that are close to geopolitical hot spots like Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China claims as its own and has threatened to use force to annex it if necessary. Okinawan people fear that they will be the first to be embroiled in a conflict over Taiwan,” The Associated Press noted in a Sept. 11 report.
Analysts believe the victory by Tamaki deals a blow to efforts by the government of Kishida to press ahead with the decades-old relocation plan for the U.S. base.
Tamaki has demanded that the base be moved outside of the prefecture or the country entirely.
The Kishida government and the Biden administration maintain the current plan, first agreed upon between the two countries in 1996, is the only solution that ensures both deterrence under the long-standing bilateral security alliance and removal of the dangers posed by the base.
LDP election chief Hiroshi Moriyama told reporters the plan to relocate the base to Henoko is set in stone, adding, “We will strive to gain the understanding of the Okinawa people.”
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