OK, guess Our Man should write something about the US Marines in Okinawa and whether they should eat in or take out. This apparently is a major question of major significance to everyone in the world, so for your benefit, allow Our Man to get his teeth stuck into this kettle of fish and pull out a plum: Here's what you need to know:
1. Japan has been occupied since the war by US soldiers. There are about 36,000 still here (about the same number that will be going to Afghanistan to fight for peace).
2. Most of them are in Okinawa - a tropical island halfway between Japan proper and Taiwan that America only returned to Japan in the 70s.
3. When not raping or killing the locals, the US soldiers there are tolerated as they know pizza. Real good pizza. The kind of pizza that has you doing Robert De Niro impressions just thinking about all that cheese and pepperoni. Are you talking to me? Yeah, I'm talking to you.
4. Would you like to live next to a base full of foreigners armed to the teeth? Whose pizza joints are out-of-bounds?
5. The war (you know, the real significant one) is over. Has been for 65 years.
6. The Okinawans, despite having the highest unemployment rate in Japan, don't want the Yanks on their doorstep anymore - they kinda don't see the point (see no. 5).
7. So the Okis voted for the DPJ.
8. The DPJ is in power now.
9. The DPJ would like to keep the Yanks happy, but more than that, would like to keep the locals voting for them.
10. Folks in Japan are not particularly worried about imminent invasion, or even which puppet is in the hotseat in Kabul, Baghdad or Washington DC.
So, you know, take a chill pill America. Whether your 'copters are in Okinawa, Guam, Taiwan or Hawaii, what does it matter? But then, Our Man is a Brit and we went through all this base business 20 years ago (remember Cruise missiles and Greenham Common?) Somehow, Blighty is still there, mostly doing America's bidding even without staring down the barrel of a Smith and Wesson.
Japan would too, you know, given the chance.
Pic lifted from here.