Comparative study of base community relations in Japan
Volkle, Jonathan M.
Weiner, Robert J.
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U.S. military bases in Japan have dealt with differing levels of controversy since the end of World War II. Since the mid-1990s, this has been especially true of Okinawa. After the 1995 rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl, protests aimed at closing the Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma have received an unprecedented amount of media attention. This thesis examines the relative level of controversy at four different U.S. installations MCAS Futenma, Kadena Air Base, Naval Station Yokosuka, and MCAS Iwakuni. It identifies five causal factors historical anti-militarism, major crimes, civil nuisance, aviation safety, and community profile. I assess the impact of these factors at the four installations and assign a relative level of controversy to each of the bases. I found that Futenma is the most controversial. It is followed closely by its neighbor, Kadena. Next, due to its nature as an aviation facility, is Iwakuni. Yokosuka is, by a fairly wide margin, the least controversial of the four cases. The historical anti-militarism endemic to Okinawa is the primary driver of controversy in Japanese base politics, while aviation safety concerns and community profile are also significant. Major crimes, despite the media focus generate little controversy by themselves.
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