Japan is used as permanent stepping stone for U.S. war against Iraq

In the two years since the start of the U.S.-led war of aggression against Iraq, about 10,000 U.S. troops participated in the war from U.S. bases in Japan. Even after the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, the U.S. has been continuously sending troops from Japan to Iraq. This shows that Japan has become a permanent sortie base for U.S. wars.

Major U.S. forces sent from Japan to Iraq include 5 fighting ships based at the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base (Kanagawa), including the Kitty Hawk carrier battle group ships, a Kitty Hawk carrier air wing based at the U.S. Atsugi Air Station (Kanagawa), the F16 fighter squadron based in the U.S. Misawa Air Base (Aomori), and the F15 fighter squadron based in the U.S. Kadena Air Base (Okinawa).

A missile cruiser from the Yokosuka base took part in the first missile attack on the very first day of the Iraq war. The Atsugi-based air wing carried out intense strikes against Iraq, using cluster bombs.

In February 2004, a U.S. Marine Corps infantry unit of about 3,000 and a helicopter unit left Okinawa to join the occupation forces in Iraq. In August, about 2,200 personnel of the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were sent to Iraq on three battle ships, including the amphibious assault ship Essex stationed at the U.S. Sasebo base (Nagasaki).

Indiscriminate killing of Iraqi citizens

The first Okinawa-based Marine units were involved in the indiscriminate massacre in Fallujah in April, as was the second unit in November.

After the Iraq war, about 100 to 300 U.S. troops have been routinely sent to Iraq, Afghanistan, and their neighboring countries from U.S. air bases in Misawa, Kadena, and Yokota (Tokyo) in order to provide logistic support. They went to Iraq as part of the Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF).

They are normally working in the fields of construction, communication, medical care, logistic support, weather, and police. In January, Misawa and Yokota bases sent 280 personnel.

A U.S. Marine Corps special reconnaissance unit in Okinawa and a Yokosuka-stationed destroyer have taken part in the missions in Iraq. (end)

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