The United States military has had a presence in Japan since the aftermath of World War II. As part of the settlement of World War II, Japan has been prevented from having a large arsenal of defensive weapons and forces, which places the responsibility for Japanese security in the hands of the U.S. military.
In recent years, there has been a clamor to reduce or eliminate the American military presence in Japan. A recent deal between the two governments makes some progress, but ultimately leaves big questions unanswered.
In the deal, Washington can reorganize military forces as part of its’ Pacific pivot and Tokyo can sell the 8,000 Marine cut progress to Okinawans who demand a decreased presence. Okinawans want the base in the center of Ginowa City closed, which Japanese governments have promised.
Both governments have longstanding plans to move the base to a less populated village of Henoko, but the provisional governor there, has repeatedly blocked these efforts.
I think this move is a positive step forward. Although I’m sympathetic to the history that spawned such a security arrangement, the time has come to allow the Japanese to secure themselves. Japan has shown themselves to be a model citizen of the global community.
My only objection to a more traditional military arrangement for the U.S. in Japan is Japan’s continued unease about their role in World War II. They can’t expect us to change a World War II arrangement when they haven’t come to grips with the war themselves.
Ultimately, Japan should take greater responsibility for their own security.