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Disaster aid puts new face on U.S. military in Japan

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"Futenma, an airfield in the middle of a heavily-populated area"

It wasn't a heavily-populated area when it began operations.

"But after more than a decade the base remains open"

That's because the Japanese side reneged on the agreement to move Futenma to Nago.

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Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Tokyo’s Sophia University, said he believes the disaster relief mission will help build goodwill, but does not expect it to have much impact in Okinawa.

Japan knows how to deal with Okinawa

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I think Ms. Hiraoka should refuse any assistance from the US military members if she still fundamentally doesn't agree with their presence in Japan. But as she admits, she is happy for their help. That's the problem with a majority of anti-US Japanese. They chant "Yankee Go Home!!" all day long until there is a situation. Then it becomes "Domo arigato gozaimasu Yankee san!".

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Woman hasnt had a shower in two weeks and the US military brings her one and she STILL has nothing other than temporary appreciation that ends as soon as she is clean? man.....talk about ungrateful

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hurray for the US military. they would rather do this kind of work than any other even if the recipients are a tad ungrateful.

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It's sad that in an article discussing the hard work being put into helping out those in need, something that the US has a long history of doing btw, short-memories indeed, that an issue from nearly 17 years ago has to be brought into the discussion as well.

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Has anybody also heard that the U.S. military is trying to donate items like clothes and bicycles but the Japanese government is refusing delivery? Saving face or just losing out on friendship?

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@sdfinkyshu, the US military is collecting materials and accepting donations as well, and SOME things have been refused because RIGHT now clothes and toys are not a part of what the people in the affected areas need.

I know of Japanese people as well that have had items that they wanted to donate refused as well. If people would wait I am pretty sure that kind of stuff would be appreciated but right now it just gets in the way.

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I'm American and I want the bases gone. This aid hasn't changed my mind in the least. Blankets don't change my world views. I'm actually pretty disappointed in the US forces here. I thought we would see more from them.

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RobertCB

I don't see how you can be disappointed in the U.S. military response. They have provided a tremendous amount of logistical and material support to the Tohoku area. I commend them highly for that. The base issue has nothing to do with humanitarian help in a time of crisis.

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RobertCB said -- I'm actually pretty disappointed in the US forces here. I thought we would see more from them.

Not everything the U.S. military does is reported, and what's reported is not everything they do.. They've been doing LOTS and you don't see it because you are sitting in front of computer/TV.

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As someone who served in the US military in Japan, it feels great to know that the US military is contributing to the recovery efforts. Although the US military is not specifically in Japan for disaster relief, it is something that they do well (for example, after the Indonesian tsunami). The fact that our current relationship is the result of Japans defeat in WWII makes it a complicated relationship from the standpoint of the Japanese.

Yoko Hiraoka's mixed feelings are understandable. I don't think the views of people will change instantaneously. The assistance of the US in this crisis has not fully played out and is not fully understood by the general population in Japan. I think that most Japanese will be more welcoming to the US as they see the tangible benefits of our relationship - which will be substantial in the coming weeks and months. When someone is in need real friends are there for them. The US is in the trenches with the Japanese to help them dig out of the wreckage caused by the earthquake and tsunami. In the long run though, the Okinawa issue will need to be dealt with.

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I am proud of American contributions and support for the earthquake and tsunami victims, and proud as well of grave US concern for the nuclear reactor crises. And I support the ongoing presence of American bases inside Japan, although surely after so many years, a replacement for over-burdened Okinawa can be agreed upon in other areas of the country.

I have mixed feelings about Ms. Hiraoka - I think her typical and characteristic sense of national pride gets in the way of her grasping the practicality and immense advantages for Japan in the US-Japan Security Treaty, but I find it hard not to suggest she try to find a shower elsewhere.

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"Not everything the U.S. military does is reported, and what's reported is not everything they do.. They've been doing LOTS and you don't see it because you are sitting in front of computer/TV."

So if you can't see it from the news where am I supposed to see it?

What I did see is them pulling back when the first hint of radiation was detected and left wondering if they would pull back if it was America. They don't seem willing to stick their necks out to help and I kind of thought that was what the promise was. Yeah I'm disappointed. Maybe my views will change by the time this is all over and more news is aviable to the logistics, but I wouldn't be surprised. Still don't want the bases here. Like many in this country I'm a pacifist and relief aid is not the US's job here.

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The facts speak for themselves. US forces involved in this directly number about 18,000, 22 ships including the USS Reagan, aircraft carrier. We are extremely committed to this relief effort. Please US Pacific Command website and click on the kanji for tomodachi at the top. Detailed updates with video, pictures, etc.

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RobertCB

I respect your opinion but don't quite understand it. Since Operation Tomodachi began, the vast majority of the 50,000 US military affiliated members in Japan have been working 14-16 hour days straight (no days off). If you "haven't seen them", don't infer that they therefore are not doing anything. This data is several days old but the US military has provided the following:

163 tons of food 2,609,614 gallons of water 17,836 gallons of gas and kerosene 10 tons of medical supplies 46 tons of other requested materiel

You may have seen the videos of the water engulfing Sendai Airport. What you probably don't know is that the US Marines, working with the Self Defense Forces, have cleared the airport to the extent that it's now fully operational and US C-17 and C-130 airfraft, along with JSDF aircraft, are flying in dropping off supplies every day. Currently, the US Navy is bringing fresh water up in barges to assist in the cooling of the reactors at the Fukushima Power plant.

Irrespective of whether the GOJ or the Japanese people recognize and appreciate these efforts (I believe they do), it's clear to me that this was the "right thing to do".

Your opinion as a fellow American disappoints me.

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RobertCB- relief aid is part of the security alliance. I think you choose to view only what you want to view. You only see US military pulling back when this article clearly reports on them moving in and making a difference. Non essential personnel/families were voluntarily vacated. Non essential material was relocated from potentially affected areas. Only 20,000 US service members have taken part as a result of Japan having the lead and mobilizing the majority of their SDF. The military communities have taken it on their own to raise funds and assist in any way possible. You really need to open up and learn more. The fact that you cannot see it from the inside of your living space doesn't entitle you to make claims and degrade Japan's closest ally on their actions during this crisis.

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Let me explain something that might not be apparent.

After the Second World War, a number of allies (if not all) were very happy to see the US forces leave their country and hopefully never come back - Britain, France, Australia to name a few. And a lot of countries today that have been "liberated" by US forces would also like to see them leave their country.

I'm not saying that the US forces in Japan have not done a great job and I'm sure most Japanese appreciate their help. But you guys have been in Japan for the last 66 years. That's a long time. Blame it on the press here if you like but the average citizen does not have a high opinion of you. I know the base personel here have done all kinds of things to "fit in" more but the fact is that you are not welcome with a large percent of the population.

And no, I don't have any good ideas about how to make things better. I'm just saying something that some of you might have forgetten.

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If possible, I think it would be nice to get even more marines from Okinawa, get them to more clean up work in Sendai, Iwate etc..most of the taxes paying for the US army, marines, airforce, navy etc..is paid by the JAPANESE, so we need to help each other out. The USA does not want the Chinese nor Russians to move in on Japan, and Japan needs the USA to keep them out and this is a great opportunity for the USA to really show Japan what a real TOMODACHI does, and a real TOMODACHI does not RUN AWAY in times of need, we need to help our our Japanese friends and neighbors. If you guys also have time look up Jordan International Aid, we are accepting donations, volunteers, translators etc...

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RobertCB-

While a small portion of them pulled back, the majority of the members taking parts of the humanitarian operation continued and they are still working round the clock to help out. Someone on this thread said they are working like 16 hours straight.. Let me add something else. Each of the member working long hours and working shift schedule, so the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force) is working 24 hours every single day from the very next day of the disaster.

Not only the U.S. military personnel but also many of the local employees working on the U.S. military bases are working round the clock to help out the operation. The U.S. and the Japanese are working together to help out, and I do not know how anyone could say negative thing about this operation tomodachi.

It is understandable that there are people who have issues with the military existence but this is a whole different story.

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Rudyard Kipling composed a very poignant poem about how the public generally behaves toward their military that has held true for centuries before and after him when he composed "Tommy" about a common soldier by the name of Thomas Atkins typifying the British soldier during WWI(Excerpt):

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away"; But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play, The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play.
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RobertCB-

Relief aid is not the U.S's job here? Well, I am very disappointed to hear that from an American person, because the Americans I work with are very proud that his mates are doing what they can to help out.

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Its quite a logical disconnect to think the people of Okinawa should be glad to have the U.S. military permantly foisted on them by the government in Tokyo because people in Fukushima need their help temporarily today.

If the U.S. military were gone, the SDF would be expanded and Japan could better take care of itself. And that will really count if the day comes that the Americans are too busy fighting some war elsewhere.

Sure, everyone should be grateful for their help, but that does not mean they need to be a permanent house guest. If anything, the U.S. military is paying back rent for all those years it did nothing for Japan but hog land and take money.

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ReformedBasher, at least get you facts straight, there are around 10,000 US Air Force personnel based in Britain. There is very little evidence that most British citizens want them to leave. Also, it may be your opinion that the that US forces are not welcome by a large percentage of the population in Japan but that does not make it true. It seems to me that the disaster relief efforts of the US forces in Japan are a massive help right now and this non-American for one is very appreciative of their efforts. This is not the time for political point scoring.

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Bogart, it is not an opinion that most Japanese don't U.S. forces in their town. That is proven and that is what counts. I am sure the people of Fukushima love having U.S. military scattered around Japan right now. Right now, they might even love having the U.S. military in Fukushima for ten years. But just how long do you expect gratitude to last?

As for your point about political point scoring, you should direct that at the writers of the article that opened this can of worms.

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That is proven and that is what counts.

OK, prove it.

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Unfortunately there is quite a bit of disinformation in these last couple of posts - let's clear things up:

ReformedBasher: Blame it on the press here if you like but the average citizen does not have a high opinion of you. I know the base personnel here have done all kinds of things to "fit in" more but the fact is that you are not welcome with a large percent of the population.

Incorrect - A Dec 2010 Yomiuri Shinbun and Gallup indicated that Japanese support for the U.S.-Japan alliance is at an all-time high. Of all respondents, 78 believed that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty is useful to Japan. I would suggest that polls taken after the earthquake will show even higher rates of support.

Elbudamexicano: Most of the taxes paying for the US army, marines, air force, navy etc..is paid by the JAPANESE

Incorrect - The GOJ "Omoiyari Yosan" budget provides funding to support US forces stationed in Japan under the bilateral security treaty. Typical expenditures include facility construction on US bases (some, not all), salaries for Japanese employees (hired under the Master Labor Contract) and some utilities costs. It does not fund any of the equipment (ships, aricraft, etc.) manpower, or operating and maintenance costs.

Mangaman: If anything, the U.S. military is paying back rent for all those years it did nothing for Japan but hog land and take money.

Ill Informed - Your personal opinion regarding how "useful" the security alliance has been over the past 60 years, from defending Japan from the old Soviet Union, to helping Japan counter a resurgent and aggressive China, is not shared by the Government of Japan nor its people.

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I am not a fan of USA in general or the army's heavy presence in Okinawa. But they are doing a great job right now! Besides the stuff mentioned above they also helped clearing debris, containers and ship wrecks inside the harbors to make them shippable again and receive badly needed Gas and other goods. Oh and by the way, while most embassies in Tokyo ran towards Kyoto so they could enjoy Hanami or take a paid holiday US ambassador Roose actually went up North to the affected areas, visiting a shelter and talking with Japanese and US Army staff about the operations being done! That is how an ambassador should behave!

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elbudamexicano - "most of the taxes paying for the US army, marines, airforce, navy etc..is paid by the JAPANESE"

Wrong! Japan is only providing the bases and 70% of utilities used. The U.S. is paying the pay of the Army, Air Force and Navy (Marines are under them).

So all 50,000 troops stationed in Japan should do relief work? What about maintaing some of the deterence that they are there for in the first place.

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Wrong! Japan is only providing the bases and 70% of utilities used. The U.S. is paying the pay of the Army, Air Force and Navy (Marines are under them).

Wrong....the Marines are their own Department,next the Japanese Government not only provides the bases, but also with tax yen pay for all the buildings and their upkeep on the bases as well, along with supplying 10's of thousands of worker's to the bases as well.

The only thing the US really pays for is the upkeep of their own material and of course paying the Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen their paychecks, along with the Dodd's teachers too.

The Japanese pay for and provide 100% of the utilities to the bases as well. The way you make it sound is if the US is importing the other 30%.

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lincolnman - Again, another solid post. You touched upon the points I was just about to rebuff.

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To add to your last one though lincolnman, would Japan have had as many resources and funds to stage their cosmic rise post WWII if it were not for the US and their military presence? A couple of points to consider: 1. The US became the #1 market for Japanese made products. Sony, Honda, Toyota, Panasonic, etc. would be be much smaller organizations today. Not saying they would never have grown to become powerhouses, just that it would have taken a much longer time to enter new markets and convince customers to move past their wartime aggressions. 2. If Japan was forced to provide for its total defense upon the end of the Allied occupation (most people tend to forget that British, Aussie and Dutch forces were also stationed here after the war) would there have been enough tax revenue to create some of the greatest public transportation systems, a enviable capitol city and the general prosperity Japan enjoyed and continues to enjoy? Thank you.

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My friend in Italy is just over 40 years of age, so she would have no recollection of WWII and the damage to Europe during the war, other than that which her parents, and the elders might share.

HOWEVER, in spite of that, she, and every other Italian she knows is SO GRATEFUL for the US Forces AFTER THE WAR because they basically came into the devastated areas and rebuilt the country.

They didn't have to, but they chose to do so. This is one of the amazing things of the US Military forces; they don't just walk away.

The amount of support, reconstruction, rebuilding, etc. that they are providing to the damaged areas and the people is stunning. Although I am not American, I am very proud to see the humanitarian work that they are providing for their Allies, regardless of how Okinawa feels about them being in this country.

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The Americans know how to pull together when things get tough. Go USA

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Here on my base these men are working 12 hour days....6 days a week....damn straight Americans police the world but they also take care of the world!

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Livinginokinawa - "The Japanese pay for and provide 100% of the utilities to the bases as well."

You'd better check your facts on this. In fact the pact was recently reapproved. I don't know where you get your facts from, but obviously from someone who doesn't know. I deal with it at work. And I said Japan provides the bases, and it implies the Japanese workers are included - a boon to Japanese workers by the way. And is Japan paying for all the aircraft, helicopters, ships (like the carriers helping)and equipment that is there? No way Jose! Japan is fortunate they are there and immediately available.

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Agree completely with Seawolf. Their behaviour is exemplarory and Ambassador Roose has gained a lot of respect from me too. I only heard about my ambassador fleeing shortly after the earthquake on TV and then he seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

In a way it is very sad that the staff of the US army has gained such a bad name due to all these wars recently. They are not their mistakes. Thank you for working 12 hours a day to help and all the best to them who are involved in this mission.

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Very pleased to see people help in this situation. They should be applauded.

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Maybe the way that one woman feels will change over time. I really hope so. It is ungrateful and rather ignorant to sit and believe the media's bashing (here say) of US armed forces and make judgment over seeing with your own eyes of rescue and aid.

I've seen a few posters on here that are not even located near this disaster, change their views on the US forces. To say they are happy and at least said thank you, and wished well beings.

If people still want us out and continue believing the BS on biased Tvs and newspapers. They can get out of their house and do something for their own country. It makes me laugh to know there are ignorant folks who sit nice and cozy behind whatever, bashing good folks, while the very good folks they are bashing are doing a very needy thing. Time to look in the mirror. If they are not a part of the solution, they are a part of the problem.

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If it wasn't for the Korean war Japanese companies would never had the huge contracts to supply the US military that made them so much money.

Thanks America for making Japan rich!!

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If the Japanese are paying 100% of the utilities can I get the $300,000.00 that I've spent, over the last three years, on behalf of my agency back? Hell, I'll even settle for just this year's funding back. I'd be happy to do an amendment to any of the 15+ utility funding documents I've got out for FY11.

Straight poop:

Quite a lot of the US military's relief effort will go unreported. We do it to help, not market ourselves. "Falling back" by the RR when detection systems went off was the prudent thing to do. Staying in an area were the UNKNOWNS are sending off signals is a good way to squash the mission entirely.

If you don't like the US military, just say so. You don't have to fabricate various different reasons, all of which just make you look... idiotic. It's ok - You're allowed.

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RobertCB at 09:52 AM JST - 29th March I'm American and I want the bases gone. This aid hasn't changed my mind in the least. Blankets don't change my world views. I'm actually pretty disappointed in the US forces here. I thought we would see more from them.

I am disappointed how you feel about your own country men. I am not even American or Japanese but have great respect for what these men in uniform are doing up in the disaster zone.

The help and support given by the American military in this terrible times is very welcoming and people should be happy and grateful that they are lending a helping hand. A very BIG one!

My hats off to the American military here.

Wolfpack at 10:10 AM JST - 29th March As someone who served in the US military in Japan, it feels great to know that the US military is contributing to the recovery efforts. Although the US military is not specifically in Japan for disaster relief, it is something that they do well (for example, after the Indonesian tsunami). The fact that our current relationship is the result of Japans defeat in WWII makes it a complicated relationship from the standpoint of the Japanese. Yoko Hiraoka's mixed feelings are understandable. I don't think the views of people will change instantaneously. The assistance of the US in this crisis has not fully played out and is not fully understood by the general population in Japan. I think that most Japanese will be more welcoming to the US as they see the tangible benefits of our relationship - which will be substantial in the coming weeks and months. When someone is in need real friends are there for them. The US is in the trenches with the Japanese to help them dig out of the wreckage caused by the earthquake and tsunami. In the long run though, the Okinawa issue will need to be dealt with.

This is very well said. I agree with this all the way. I also very much like how you noted Yoko Hiraoka's feelings. Well said

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But opposition to the bases is high on the southern island of Okinawa, a strategically important outpost that hosts more U.S. troops than any other part of Japan.

And unfortunately the media makes sure that the entire issue is focused on this one area while everything else is ignored.

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Y

ou'd better check your facts on this. In fact the pact was recently reapproved. I don't know where you get your facts from, but obviously from someone who doesn't know. I deal with it at work.

This coming from someone who wrote that the Marines are under the Navy? Better check YOUR facts, if the utilities payments changed recently that's news, nothing major really but news. If you "deal" with things at work you should at least be able to tell the difference between the Department of the Navy and the US Marine Corp.

The issue about utilities is a drop in the bucket in comparison to what the Japanese and MY yen taxes pay in keeping the bases here in Japan.

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The Marines are a part of the department of the Navy. Always have been. Marine officers train at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland. Curious as to where you are gaining this knowledge, Livinginokinawa.

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Livinginokinawa...

1) Sorry but there IS NO Department of the Marines. There is a Dept of the Air Force, a Dept of the Army and a Dept of the Navy. The Marine Corp receives all of it's funding through the Dept of the NAVY. Congress attempted to alter the Dept of the Navy to the Dept of the Navy and Marine Corp in 2008 but were unsuccessful. 2) The US Bases pay 30 percent of their utility bills. We are constantly told too keep our lights out every day on television to save not only our Host Nation (Japan) money but to save our own base money so we do not go over our allocated funding levels.

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Let's put it this way, if the shoe were on the other foot, do you think Yoko Hiraoka and her ilk would lift a finger to help Americans? But it really isn't her fault. The media in Japan has always had a double standard in terms of reporting on the U.S. military presence in Japan. Do something good, even save a life, who cares? Someone gets a parking ticket and it is front page news! And yet, I wonder where are the 239,000 plus SDF forces in this whole affair? Surely Yoko would prefer being taken care of by her own kind? Step up Japan and take care of your own!

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"I am disappointed how you feel about your own country men."

Don't be because you don't know how I feel about them, just a narrow view of the world and people.

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"Your opinion as a fellow American disappoints me."

My opinion is that thanks to America Asia is in a arms war, making the region more unsafe than if Japan really followed their pacifist doctrine and that no amount of relieve aid is going to change the reason the American preseance is here and it's a policy that as a pacafist I don't agree with. I don't want them here, many people don't want them here. Japan can't afford it to either, all that wasted money. Do you realize that some of the richest countries are ones without armies? But you know most people don't even get that we're in an arms race and antogonizing North Korea, they don't see how this story is nothing but propaganda, probably bought and paid for.

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Whilst I'm not always the biggest fan of American 'operations', I have nothing but respect for the effort they are putting in here when people need them. Any Americans here should be proud of your boys and girls!

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God bless the U.S.A.! No matter what, America is always ready to help, whenever and wherever. That's the American way. That woman can feel how she wants to feel but she's just one person they chose to quote. I think the vast majority feel differently. Once again, great work by our men and women in uniform.

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Any Americans here should be proud of your boys and girls!

When we as a nation act as we're doing in Japan, we can be justifiably proud.

There is a larger balance sheet, however, and it's not all "smileys." Would that they all could be, and those of use who truly love her strive to perfect her.

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“But I still have reservations about having U.S. troops in Japan,” Hiraoka said. “I’m happy today, and I appreciate their help, but it doesn’t fundamentally change the way I feel.”

I believe that any truly self-respecting citizen of any country would have reservations about foreign military people permanently stationed on their home soil. We Americans, feeling ourselves "exceptional" (read: special) apparently believe the rest of the world should always welcome the world's most superior people into their homes, and pay as much as possible for the visit to boot.

An individual with this attitude would rightly be classified as a megalomaniac.

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facevalue - Nicely said!

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Good for the troops to help Japan. Let's just hope that the relationship improves and things look brighter for JP and USA.

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Had this article been written by a Japanese news organization for release in Japan, I might have felt a bit better. Seeing as it came from the AP, though, I guess it's just another "rah rah" piece that the majority of Japanese nationals will never see. Too bad.

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I cannot find proof that no Japanese city wants a U.S. military base. I thought a poll was done,but I cannot find it. However, in light of how much trouble they are having find a place to move the bases when it comes up, if you know of a Japanese city that wants one, there might be a considerable cash reward for identifying that city. Good luck to you, but don't expect the relief work to change any minds.

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Yes veryProud of our Troops & Glad we are Helping Japan. (operation tomodachi) tomodachi = Friend, is going Good. I just wish i was there to Also Help. Many Americans do. We have a Strong Friendship & we Help each other out it makes me Glad to know we are friends, im an American & Love Japan & speaking Japanese.

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Bogart and lincolman

It is not my intention is not to criticize US forces. I hold nothing against them and am happy to see them out.

I’m saying they are not very popular, at least in some cases. Apparently this lady would agree.

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Reformedbasher: Thanks for your post and clarification.

In my years in Japan, I've found the broad majority of the Japanese population (on mainland Japan) support the US - Japan Bilateral Security Alliance. The recent Dec Gallup/Yomuri poll which cited the support rate at 78% is indicative of that trend. There are however elements of the population that do not support the Treaty and have a general dislike of the US military; these include left wing and radical leftist groups, Communists, and Socialists on one end of the spectrum, and a smaller number of right wing activists on the other. But these are minor players.

Okinawa, obviously, is unique and has an entirely different dynamic. There, support (or non-support) of the US military is expresed not in "real" terms, but through the lens of what is considered "politically correct" or "financially rewarding." So it's difficult to get an accurate assessment of how Okinawa's really view the Treaty.

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Hi lincolman,

I spent a few years there myself and must admit that I never any in-depth surveys on the subject. I do remember asking a few people though - I recall their reply was along the lines of they did not support having foreign troops in principle, but they were also said they were necessary to help defend Japan, at least for the time being.

My opinion is that the US forces in Japan probably deserve better, as far as overall reputation is concerned. They face some very potential threats in this part of the world. Unfortunately they also face a lot of flak from the very people they are protecting. Some may be warranted, I do remember the press having a field day anytime any incident occurred though.

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How about this? And I'm just throwing it out into the wind here. Since there is so much devastation up north, setting aside a large parcel of land to accommodate relocation of some US military in Okinawa. In turn, offer those that might be displaced with this move the option to re-locate to Okinawa. Again, just an idea out of left field from El Jeffe.

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If only they have done half the job they are doing now after Katrina....

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ElJeffe,

Everyone in Tohoku already had the option to move anywhere else in Japan, including Okinawa. Young people were already leaving the small coastal towns to work in Sendai, Tokyo, and Osaka cities. Very few were moving to Okinawa because the job opportunities are marginal compared to cities on Honshu.

The idea of forcing massive Tohoku relocation camps onto little Okinawan military bases is not going to solve anything. If you really want to throw ideas out there, why not offer to give up a base or national park in Hawaii and permanently cede that land to the displaced. No chance, right?

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Since there is so much devastation up north

There sure is. Maybe we can import/contract people to work on rebuilding Detroit. (As it is, Tohoku will be all fixed up a lot faster anyway.)

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Tora, simmer down son. Let's visit the idea of returning a base instead of taking a shot at me because I might be American. Re-locate Futenma and the problem is solved according to your logic. Hell, the US can also throw in a couple more for good measure. But moving Futenma to Henoko, no chance right? And btw, who mentioned a forced relocation and why must the US offer a national park in Hawaii? There will be a vacuum created by the eventual US departure. What are Okinawan options to fill it?

I think you have mistaken opportunity for option. People had a choice to compare their current situation to those in other cities and make their decisions on where to live. What is their option now? The obvious answer is to rebuild. Donations from across the globe will be essential in helping this to happen. But will everyone want to rebuild in the same place? Will they be able to? In my opinion, building military installations in Tohoku would require less urban planning and at the same time possibly allow for the easing of hosting burdens in Okinawa.

At least this might generate some ideas and conversation. Not trying to be the end all know all poster here.

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ElJeffe,

I thought the Okinawans didn't want a new base at Henoko because the construction would have degraded the coastline. Since I brought up Hawaii, how easy would it be politcally to relocate a base or a Japanese town to any Hawaiian beaches or parks? Think tourists would like it?

Suggesting that the U.S. military in Japan relocate to remote tsunami-prone, increasingly radioactive, no infrastructure ghost towns is your choice, but how will you deal with the holdouts who don't want to relocate? They'd have to be forcibly removed to create "the large parcel of land" your plan requires, otherwise it just sets up endless legal disputes over retaining the land. Don't see how that improves on the Okinawa situation.

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Tora- All right there tiger. Glad you can google the meaning of jeffe. I think you are trying to direct your particular issues with the US bases at me for things way out our both our control. Again, it was just an idea from left field. Instead of trying to be a toughguy poster and defend your position why not try and discuss rational ideas. If you don't feel my post was rational, that's fine. Generating discussion was the target, not attempting to solve Japan's problems. And when you list someone's name before you post, it typically means you are responding directly to them. Or all all the American posters on JT listed as ElJeffe?

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If only they have done half the job they are doing now after Katrina....

No Sh!7...

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"Had this article been written by a Japanese news organization for release in Japan, I might have felt a bit better. Seeing as it came from the AP, though, I guess it's just another "rah rah" piece that the majority of Japanese nationals will never see. Too bad."

Fabrication is closer to the truth. This site depends on a lot of AP crap.

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ElJeffe,

Google? Didn't have to.

Your idea was provocative--I'll give you that--I just don't see it becoming a reality due to opposition from the affected municipalities. Too many people will want to rebuild their homes (reportedly with money from the Japanese government, not overseas aid--that will more likely cover basic supplies or temporary shelters). Maybe deals will be made behind the scenes and a scenario that you describe will actually come about.

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Tora-

There you go. I think you have a valid point about opposition from affected municipalities up north. It was a wild thought as a possible way for Japan to help spread the locations of US installations that are concentrated in Okinawa.

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I have received e-mail from Japanese friends and acquaintances I haven't heard from in years,and they thank us Americans profusely for the Navy's efforts.

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The Americans are doing a wonderful job, true professionals - and all the media talk about some Japanese wanting them out of Okinawa etc is all but gone now.

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It is good they do help out with the situation and good PR at the same, Japan actually needs the US presence, considering China's military build up and over spending on their own military, they also pose a large threat to Japan and the influence in Asia.

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Of course, the US is morally obligated to help out in such a disaster, but it is debatable how much credit they should be given for that. It is, of course, partly because of the US occupation and subsequent military arrangements that Japan has less-developed armed forces that can respond to crises. For example, they only recently gave back control of Okinawan airspace.

As for the UK: USAF bases are officially RAF bases, and the US has at no time occupied the UK. Also, many of the bases are in out-of-the-way locations and the local economies are not reliant on them. So, there is less opposition to their presence than in Japan.

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Britling: The US does not occupy Japan. Japan is a soverign nation and only relies on the US for supplemental military protection. The US does not enforce the will and agenda of its foreign policy thru our military presence. I assure you Japan is a sovereign nation. Otherwise there would be no need to compromise with the Japanese on anything. We would not be moving troops out of Okinawa if we were not sensative and to some degree have to answer to the Japanese government on our military involvement in their country. By the way, the Japanese government saves a TON of money by not having to build a large military to fend off its neighbors (China, Korea, Russia). The deterent of US military protection alone allows them to have a small but well trained and equipped military. The Japanese people may not always like our presence here, but they understand why it is needed. I know as a US military member I do not ask for any credit at all for helping the Japanese. Any more than a neighbor would demand a favor if you had helped them in the time of need. It's not a favor, its something we do because we are humans, and we understand there are other humans that need our help.

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