“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
THE Futenma Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa, one of the largest United States military bases in East Asia, is in the center of a crowded city. The American and Japanese governments acknowledge the dangers of this situation, and they agreed nearly 15 years ago that the base should be moved; however, no move has yet been made.
In 2009 a new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, tantalized Okinawans with the prospect of moving the despised base off the island, but he was recently forced to resign, in part because of his failure to keep that promise. Mr. Hatoyama’s successor, Naoto Kan, has made it clear that he intends to respect the United States-Japan security treaty – a position that, while not directly related to the issue of dialing down the United States military presence in Japan, may indicate which way the wind is blowing.
It was recently reported here that a government panel is about to submit a policy paper to Prime Minister Kan, suggesting that regarding Japan’s “three nonnuclear principles” – prohibiting the production, possession and introduction of nuclear weapons – it was not wise to “limit the helping hand of the United States,” and recommending that we allow the transport of nuclear arms through our territory to improve the so-called nuclear umbrella.
Kenzaburo Oe, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994, is the author, most recently, of “The Changeling.” This article was translated by Deborah Boehm from the Japanese.