As the Pentagon hunts for sites to deploy missiles, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki warned the US to steer clear of the southern Japanese prefecture.
Tamaki said in an interview on Friday that any US attempt to base intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Okinawa would be firmly opposed by the local people.
Tamaki, who was elected last year on a campaign to get the US Marines’ Futenma air base out of the prefecture, said that the region already shoulders an unfair burden by hosting about half of the 50,000 US military personnel in Japan.
“Intermediate-range ballistic missiles can be used to attack other countries, so deploying them would conflict with the constitution and lead to a further build-up of the US bases,” Tamaki told reporters. “To have new military facilities would be absolutely unacceptable.”
Tamaki’s comments underscore the challenges facing the US as it seeks to deploy land-based cruise missiles and intermediate-range ballistic missiles after withdrawing from a treaty with Russia that banned them.
The administration of US President Donald Trump scrapped the agreement in part because China, which was not bound by the treaty, has a wide variety of similar missiles that can target the US bases and allies in the region.
Okinawa would be an ideal place for such weapons, as its bases could put all of China in range.
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