Mr. Jon Olsen, a supporter of both Hawaiians and Okinawans, contacted me today to let me know about a response he received from one of his U.S. Senators, Senator Angus King, of Maine. The response was regarding a letter that Mr. Olsen had sent asking the Senator to create a Government Accountability Office to investigate any construction work that may occur on U.S. bases in Okinawa.
The letter is part of a letter-writing community campaign started by Veterans For Peace – ROCK. You may send the letter if you like at the link below:
Mr. Olsen gave me permission to post the reply he received from Senator King publicly.
Here is Senator Angus King’s response:
The U.S.-Japanese alliance represents one of our most important
relationships in the Pacific, and as a member of both the Senate Armed
Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, I receive
regular updates on our bilateral relationship and related military
operations. U.S. service members have been stationed on the island of
Okinawa since World War II, and the island provides a key strategic
location for U.S. military capabilities that act to ensure the
security of our regional Allies and partners, including Japan, Taiwan,
and South Korea, while deterring aggressive behavior from potential
I am aware that the U.S. military presence and relocation of Marine
Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma in Okinawa has been a source of
disagreement in Japan, and I recognize the perspective of
representatives of Okinawan communities. You may be interested to know
that, in 2017, my staff met with members of the Okinawan Assembly to
hear their perspectives on this issue, firsthand. Central to my
understanding of this issue is that the planned relocation of MCAS
Futenma to Camp Schwab in the more remote area of Henoko, is the
result of a bilaterally formed Special Action Committee on Okinawa
(SACO). In fact, the relocation represents a broader U.S.-Japanese
joint effort to reduce the base-related burdens on local residents,
and the Supreme Court of Japan has ruled against Okinawa Governor
Takeshi Onaga’s efforts to block the relocation.
Since the relocation plans of MCAS Futenma are the result of bilateral
collaboration between the U.S. and Japan, and I believe that the U.S.
military presence in Okinawa is strategically important, I do not plan
to call for an investigation of the Henoko Base construction plans at
this time. While I know this is not the course of action you desire, I
am thankful for this opportunity to explain my assessment of the
situation. Should issues related to Okinawa come before the Senate
Armed Services Committee or Select Committee on Intelligence for
consideration, I will keep your perspective on the issue in mind.
ANGUS S. KING, JR.
United States Senator
Don’t like Senator King’s response? Let him know: https://www.king.senate.gov/contact