Okinawa governor objects to Japan's possession of 'counterstrike capabilities'
TOKYO -- Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki denounced Japan's moves to possess "counterstrike capabilities," or the ability to knock out missile launch sites and other bases in other countries, during a symposium held in Tokyo on Feb. 8.
The Japanese government has stipulated the nation's possession of counterstrike capabilities in three security-related documents, including its National Security Strategy, which received Cabinet approval in December 2022, and has sought to bolster defense systems in the southwest area. But during the symposium to celebrate 50 years since Okinawa's reversion to Japanese sovereignty, Tamaki expressed concern, saying, "Strengthening deterrence will instead heighten tensions in the region, and an unforeseen situation might arise."
"If equipment with the capability to attack enemy bases were placed in Japan's southwest area, I would definitely object and point out, 'This strays from the purpose of the Constitution,'" he said.
While showing understanding of the necessity of the Japan-U.S. security framework, he said, "The burden of U.S. military bases concentrated in Okinawa is abnormal and absolutely intolerable. It's necessary for each person living in Japan to view the problem of U.S. bases as their own issue."
Furthermore, Tamaki emphasized the importance of easing tensions and fostering trust through diplomacy and dialogue. He introduced the Okinawa Prefectural Government's plan to newly establish a "regional diplomacy office" in fiscal 2023 that will enhance interaction with countries overseas.
He said, "I'd like to improve the environment of security in the region, form a relationship that makes it possible to organize and scale down U.S. military bases in Okinawa, and create a positive cycle for Okinawa's development."
(Japanese original by Kenji Kimura, Tokyo Regional News Department)