U.S. Military Should Not Be in My Backyard: A Case of Okinawa
55 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 2, 2020
In an article recently published in the American Political Science Review, Allen et al. (2020) argue that citizens in U.S. allies are more likely to nurture favorable attitudes toward the U.S. government, American people, and American troops because they have inter-personal contact with Americans and receive economic benefits associated with the U.S. military presence. However, their analysis of surveys fielded in fourteen U.S. allies disregards the geographical concentration of U.S. military facilities within the host countries. To examine this relevance of geography, we focus on Okinawa, a small Japanese prefecture constituting only 0.6% of Japan's surface land but hosting 70% of U.S. military facilities within Japan. Based on a national sample and a targeted sample from Okinawa, we replicate their survey. We also administer an original conjoint experiment on Japanese citizens' attitudes toward the Osprey deployment in Japan. The results show strong Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) sentiment among Japanese people, particularly among Okinawans, toward the military presence, regardless of their contact with Americans and economic benefits. Our study sheds light on the importance of local foreign public opinion for foreign policy analysis and contributes to the debate on the U.S. military presence in the world.
Keywords: alliance, military bases, contact theory, economic compensation, NIMBY, Japan, conjoint analysis
JEL Classification: D72, D74, F51, F52, F53, H56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation