The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Okinawa U.S. Air Base Exposed

Feb 14, 2022

More than 35,000 residents of the central part of Japan’s Okinawa island sued the Japanese government for almost 800 million dollars in late January. They are subjected to intolerable noise from U.S. Air Force planes and helicopters operating at the U.S. Kadena Air Base which occupies most of the city of Kadena. Day and night throughout the neighborhoods where these tens of thousands live, the noise is as deafening as operating a vacuum cleaner. An agreement regulating night flights is routinely ignored.

In 1982, a suit by 907 residents won 5.6 billion yen, equivalent to five million dollars at the time. In 2000 a second lawsuit won over 50 million dollars. In 2011 a third lawsuit by over 22,000 residents won nearly 400 million dollars. But the noise pollution persists.

The U.S. regards its largest base in East Asia as the “Keystone of the Pacific,” with over 20,000 U.S. servicemembers, family members, and Japanese employees, and over nine square miles of ammunition storage area. The base was critical for airpower during the U.S. wars against Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Japanese courts aren’t allowed to let the residents sue the U.S. military. The U.S. formally gave Okinawa island back to Japan half a century ago, but with no intention to give up dominating the island.

The deafening drums of imperialism continue, night and day.