Plan to Move Base Exposes US Problem on Okinawa

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News,World,The Pentagon,Japan

Plans to move a controversial Marine base to a less crowded part of the southern Japanese island are reopening long-standing tensions between the U.S. Military and the local population. (Feb. 20)

SHOTLIST:

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Henoko Beach, Nago City, Japan - 6 February 2014

1. Wide of beach

2. Mid of boat docked at beach

3. Close of Hiroshi Ashitomi, local protester who is against the construction of the base

4. Mid of banners on the fence that separates Henoko beach from existing US Marines Corps Camp Schwab

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US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Ginowan City, Japan - 5 February 2014

5. Various of MV-22 Osprey aircraft flying over Futenma base

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Henoko Beach, Nago City, Japan - 6 February 2014

6. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Hiroshi Ashitomi, local protester (Transcript Below)

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US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Ginowan City, Japan - 5 February 2014

7. Mid of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma sign

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Ginowan City, Japan - 26 September 1995

8. STILL of protesters in front of the gate of a US marine base protesting the rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl

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Ginowan City, Japan - 5 October 1995

9. STILL of protesters

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US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Ginowan City, Japan - 5 February 2014

10. Wide tilt up from houses to aircraft at base

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Camp Courtney, Uruma City, Japan - 6 February 2014

11. SOUNDBITE (English) Colonel Eric Mellinger, Chief of staff for the Okinawa-based III Marine Expeditionary Forces (Transcript Below)

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US Marine Corps Camp Schwab, Nago City, Japan - 6 February 2014

12. Wide of Japanese and US flags

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US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Ginowan City, Japan - 5 February 2014

13. Various of MV-22 Osprey aircraft hovering over airbase

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US Marine Corps Camp Schwab, Nago City, Japan - 6 February 2014

14. Wide of marines

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Henoko Beach, Nago City, Japan - 6 February 2014

15. Wide of sea from beach where base is expected to be constructed

VOICE OVER SCRIPT:

FOR TEN YEARS...HIROSHI ASHITOMI HAS BEEN COMING TO THIS BEACH NEAR HIS OKINAWA HOME TO SIT AND RELAX...NOW HE SITS IN PROTEST.

LIKE MANY OKINAWANS...HE OPPOSES PLANS TO MOVE A CONTROVERSIAL MARINE BASE TO THE SITE OF HIS FAVORITE BEACH.

SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Hiroshi Ashitomi, local protester:

"We Okinawans are not particularly anti-American. But we can't allow the politicians to betray us like they have."

THE DECISION TO CLOSE THE FUTENMA MARINE BASE WAS SPARKED BY OUTRAGE OVER THE 1995 RAPE OF A LOCAL SCHOOLGIRL BY THREE U-S SERVICEMEN.

BUT MANY OKINAWANS ARE ANGRY OVER TOKYO'S REFUSAL TO MOVE THE BASE TO ANOTHER PART OF THE COUNTRY.

SOUNDBITE (English) Colonel Eric Mellinger, chief of staff for the Okinawa-based III Marine Expeditionary Forces:

"I hate to say we're the ball between the two rackets, but often I think the US military is used that way because it highlights other tensions that have absolutely nothing to do with the US military involvement here."

THE U.S. AND JAPAN AGREED ON THE SITE AFTER NEARLY TWO DECADES OF TALKS AND PROTESTS...BOTH SIDES SAYING THE MOVE WILL STRENGTHEN TIES.

BUT MANY FEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA'S "ASIA PIVOT" IN HIS MILITARY STRATEGY WILL MEAN MORE U-S TROOPS ON THE ISLAND...SOMETHING MOST OKINAWANS STRONGLY OPPOSE.

MAGGIE MAZZETTI, ASSOCIATED PRESS.

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