Defense Secretary Robert Gates made known his opposition to changes in the location of Marine Corps bases in Japan. The people of Okinawa want current plans on the coast of Nago to be halted and Marines be sent somewhere outside of the island. Gates apparently fears such action might be the prelude to a complete overhaul of America’s bilateral agreements with Japan. It appears the Japanese government is sympathetic to the desires of Okinawans for American troops to leave their island.
It is now the yea 2008. Why are there American troops stationed in Japan? Initially, they were occupation troops, and when the Korean War occurred, they were assumed to offer protection against possible Chinese military actions. That era died a few decades ago. There is no longer any threat from either China nor Russia. The North Koreans apparently are on the road to resolving most of their issues with the West. Why are American troops in Japan when real issues of security are happening in other parts of the world? Those forces would be of greater value stationed for ready alert to respond to possible terrorist threats.