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U.S. government agency says U.S. military presence in Okinawa “might not be sustainable”

Ryukyu Shimpo took up a report released recently by the U.S. Government Accountability Office concerning the host nation support provided by Japan and South Korea. The document was compiled based on input from the Defense and State Departments, private-sector experts, and published data. The Pentagon reportedly obligated $20.9 billion for its 55,000-member presence in Japan from 2016 through 2019. The daily focused on the following sentence: “Given the extent of opposition in localities such as Okinawa, the U.S. military presence in those places might not be politically sustainable.” While most specialists agreed that U.S. military presence is conducive to the peace and stability in the region, some of them pointed out the need to address strong opposition to the U.S. military among local residents. Others raised concern that forward-deployed troops are at increased vulnerability to a potential first strike from an adversary, such as China or North Korea. The report also mentioned significant delays in the FRF construction off Camp Schwab on account of local opposition and “environmental analyses,” which the daily interpreted as a euphemism for the detection of soft seabed in the vicinity.

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