USFJ has also called for Friday, 22 February, to be a day of reflection for the approximately 37,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan.
What, I wonder, will these measures accomplish? Tempers may cool if US personnel are cooped up for a few days, but the underlying problem still exists. Is it worth keeping US forces in Okinawa if their actions are going to undermine the US-Japan relationship and jeopardize the maintenance of more essential US military assets elsewhere in Japan?
As an American, I am ashamed that members of the US Armed Forces have so abused the hospitality of the nation hosting them as to undermine US national interests. Their actions have ranged from the heinous to the absurd — but they all indicate that the current US presence on Okinawa is unsustainable.
Washington has already accepted in principle that the US presence has to change dramatically. It is now incumbent upon the Bush administration — and its successor — to expedite the process of relocating the III MEF from Okinawa by any means necessary.