[Update: For those of you who have not been reading me along the years, you might want to take at the famous Harper’s magazine article (original here) about the lengths the Japanese government will go to to get their way with Congress.]
Word has it that Senator Levin, the head of the armed services committee, has decided that the Futenma relocation is on hold. He wants the Department of Defense to look again at moving operations to Kadena. This means no redeployment to Guam.
The senator has the full backing of the committee, including such prominent Republicans as John McCain of Arizona.
Senator Levin doesn’t want the United States wasting our money while the situation in Okinawa has developed into what it has because of Hatoyama and Ozawa’s politicking.
I have been following this story along the way, and am heartened by the fact that someone in Washington is showing a little backbone. We need to constantly emphasize why the troops are there, and that it’s our money and our skin in it. Really, the only way to do that with the Japanese, is to show our willingness not to be there.
The Japanese constantly twist the U.S.-Japan alliance into us demanding that the Japanese hop for us whenever we like. But the reality is that we are there so that the Japanese don’t have to hop for the Chinese whenever the Chinese like.
That Levin is committing the United States’ prestige to paper, and into the budget resolution, should make it harder for the well-paid Japan lobbyists on Capitol Hill to twist things against American interests once again. It’s important that the Senate is emphasizing that in these times of budgetary crisis, we don’t really have the money to be digging construction holes for things that aren’t realistically going to happen.
Here is a screen shot of the relevant part of the press release. Here is a link to the whole thing.