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Newest Military Colonizer In Asia? Canada Now Joins US Military Base

ASIDE from the rape and other abuses of US soldiers in Okinawa that have been featured in news stories, the island is again on the headlines due to the arrival of the latest batch of people who are now engaging in flagrant imperialism in Okinawa — the Canadian military.

Unknown to many, Canadian personnel are using a US-controlled air base and naval port on Okinawa for their operations in the Asia-Pacific. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are regularly using the US-controlled Kadena Air Base and White Beach naval port on Okinawa for their operations in the Asia-Pacific.

The Okinawans were victimized twice. First, by the Japanese who invaded and occupied their once-independent Kingdom of Ryukyu Islands and then, second, by the Americans who — because of the fear of the Okinawans of them — led to the suicide of thousands of panicked natives. Japan and the United States also took turns bombing Manila, making it one of the most destroyed cities in World War 2.

The US military, starting in 1945, proceeded to deprive many Okinawan farmers and Indigenous peoples of their lands in order to build military bases throughout Okinawa and neighboring islands, a process dubbed by Okinawans as “Bayonets and Bulldozers,” in cahoots with the Japanese government. Until today, Tokyo refuses to recognize the Indigenous peoples of Okinawa.

Not only have such operations increased the already very high tensions in the region, BUT the CAF is ALSO now in connivance in the ongoing dispossession of Uchinanchu (Indigenous Okinawans) who, for the past 75 years, have fought to regain their lands from the US armed forces.

It must be remembered that Canada also has a deplorable history against its own native people, with thousands of mass graves found recently in “residential schools” of mostly Indigenous children, even perpetrated by Catholic priests and nuns who are white Canadians. In fact, just this July 25, 2022, Pope Francis apologized for the role of the Catholic Church in the abuse and forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples at the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, Alberta.

Current threats to Okinawa, Asia and the environment

The Pentagon established dozens of bases on the island, 32 of which are still operating. At just 877 square miles, Okinawa Prefecture accounts for just 0.6 percent of Japan’s land mass but contains more than 70 percent of the country’s US-occupied territory!

Still, a new US military base is going up in Henoko-Oura Bay near Nago. The construction won’t add to the already high number of bases but rather replace one: the bay is the relocation site for the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, currently in populous Ginowan and a cause of distress to residents, who have lived with the roar of Futenma’s planes since the end of the war. Because Okinawa is already so full of bases — they cover about 15 percent of the island — the Japanese government, in compliance with the US Defense Department, is extending the island’s eastern edge. In order to do it, landfill is being dumped into Henoko-Oura Bay, where two coral reefs and thousands of aquatic species — nearly 300 of them endangered — currently live.

Polls conducted by newspapers have consistently shown that over 70 percent of people oppose the plan. A referendum in February with an unusually high turnout confirmed those numbers: 72 percent of Okinawan voters were against the Henoko-Oura Bay construction. “The central government,” The Japan Times reported after the vote, “has said it will ignore the result and go ahead with construction.” Where is democracy?

Okinawans have been eager to get US forces off their island. Two notorious rapes committed by US personnel, one a gang-rape of a 12-year-old girl in 1995, have caused antipathy toward Americans on the part of Okinawans.

The 25,000 members of the US military stationed on Okinawa, constitutes more than half the total number of US forces in Japan.

Brief history of Okinawa

Closer to Taiwan than to Japan, Okinawa today has also become a tourist destination. But few tourists are prepared for the unending fences ringing US military installations, including the Kadena Air Base currently being used by Canadian forces.

Japan annexed the entire Ryukyu archipelago, including Okinawa Island, in the 1870s. The Tokyo government refuses to recognize the Indigenous peoples of Okinawa, asserting that they have been part of Japanese territory since time immemorial. The process of annexing Ryukyu is a violation of Article 51 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, according to International Law experts.

During World War 2, Okinawa Island had the bloodiest battle from April 1 to June 22, 1945; over 95,000 Japanese Army troops and 20,000 Americans were killed. The Cornerstone of Peace at the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman lists 149,193 persons from Okinawa — a quarter of the civilian population — were either killed or committed suicide during the Battle of Okinawa. Very few Japanese ended up in POW camps due to their reluctance to surrender.

Locals vs US militarization

Governor of Okinawa Prefecture Denny Tamakihas long been opposed to the US military presence on Okinawa. In 2009, he said, “It’s about time the Japanese government let Okinawa go back to its original self” and “We need to wean our economy from its dependence on the bases,” and argued against the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to another location on Okinawa. The base relocation was the most critical issue for voters in the 2018 election, according to an Asahi Shimbun exit poll.

Following a Covid-19 outbreak in the prefecture’s US bases, Tamaki criticized the American military, expressing doubt concerning the bases’ ability to stop the spread of the virus, which at the time had already infected over 61 personnel. He cited possible sources of the outbreak, including off-base military parties which had high risks of community spread.

The US is also maneuvering to increase its military presence in the Philippines. There are also reports that Australia has installed military units in the Southern Philippines. The record of abuses of US military personnel in the local communities of Okinawa, and in the Philippines, should serve as ample warning to the new Marcos presidency that the West appears intent on keeping on expanding militarization and tensions to any extent to maintain its hegemony, and is now ALREADY IN OUR BACKYARD. Let’s not be the frontline of US positions and missiles. Ukraine has already lost a quarter of its territory and some 25,000 of its young men on encouragement by the US and the UK, simply because they insist on stationing their military on the border of Russia.

We should not fall for the false fable of freedom spun by some western nations thru constant invasions, double standards, under the cover of their control of world media. Lets just keep working for the advancement of the Filipino family, economy, technology, position, abilities and strengths — FOR the Filipino!

Dr. Mario Ferdinand Pasion is director of Phil-BRICS Strategic Studies and the chairman of Nationalist Filipinos Against Foreign Intervention.

A similar version was published in Manila Times on July 31 2022. We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks. (

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