US Makes use of Farmers Markets to Foster Ties at Navy Bases in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — As america and Japan additional strengthen their army alliance, they’ve turned to farmers markets to foster friendlier ties between American army bases and their Japanese neighbors.

On Sunday, about 20 Okinawan farmers and distributors got here to Camp Hansen, a Marine Corps base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, bringing regionally grown spinach, pineapples, huge lemons and different contemporary greens and fruits that the U.S. embassy stated attracted tons of of shoppers.

U.S. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, who proposed the occasion, stated the market introduced wholesome, native produce to shoppers at Camp Hansen, whereas offering Japanese farmers and companies with new prospects. He purchased Okinawan spinach, in response to the U.S. Embassy.

“A win-win for all,” Emanuel tweeted.

Fostering good relations with their host communities is essential for the U.S. army based mostly in Japan — particularly in Okinawa the place a heavy U.S. army presence has carried a fraught historical past.

Emanuel stated in a press release he expects to see farmers markets foster a profit between the Okinawan residents and American servicemembers who’re contributing to the protection of Japan. He stated he hopes to ascertain extra farmers markets at different U.S. bases throughout Japan and maintain them repeatedly.

Emanuel, a former congressman who served as former President Barack Obama’s first White Home chief of employees, tweeted that he later joined Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki at a pageant of Okinawans gathering from world wide, together with People of Okinawan descent, held each 5 years.

Okinawa was reverted to Japan from U.S. occupation in 1972. At the moment, a majority of the 50,000 U.S. troops based mostly in Japan beneath a bilateral safety pact, in addition to 70% of U.S. army services, are nonetheless in Okinawa, which accounts for less than 0.6% of Japanese land.

Many Okinawans who complain about noise, air pollution, accidents and crime associated to American troops at the moment are involved a few attainable emergency in Taiwan — simply west of Okinawa and its outer islands — as an more and more assertive China raises tensions amid its rivalry with Washington.

Tamaki, who was reelected for his second four-year time period in September, helps the bilateral safety alliance however has made the discount of U.S. army bases a key element of his platform.

Sunday’s launch of the farmers’ market on Okinawa got here every week after one on the Yokota Air Base within the western suburbs of Tokyo.

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