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Japan balks at $2 billion bill to host U.S. troops

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"food courts offer everything from Taco Bell to Subway and Starbucks."- there s taco bell in the bases?!!!! i didnt know that. I might have to seek in to get a bite of taco bell...

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mansen: exactly! That's the most important piece of info I got from this article, too! lol

If the US bases were smaller, the servicemen would be off-base more and amongst the Japanese more. More servicemen golfing at Japanese golf clubs, more servicemen hanging out at Japanese malls. Sounds like more problems to me.

And the mayor who is "balking" at having the base moved to his area should remember that it is a national-level decision and not his to make.

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The bases are there to protect the golf courses. And besides, more Japanese nationals use the golf courses than the Americans. Also, most bases share with the JSD from my experience. Zama and Atsugi definitely do.

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2 Billion a year is cheap for a good golf course.

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“When people who live in crowded areas in small houses drive by and see the situation on the bases, some feel angry,” said Hideki Toma, an official dealing with the bases on Okinawa.

Of course, were the bases to be reverted back to the Okinawan government, in a very short time they would be converted to more crowded areas with small houses.

Japan doesn't pay for the golf courses, or any of the MWR facilities on the bases. These facilities return the income generated for use by the bases and are self-sustaining. The sports facilities and fields are important in maintaining a fit military force. The utility companies are Japanese and are being paid by the Japanese government; the construction work done on the bases is performed by Japanese contractors; the workers on the bases are Japanese and provide a continuity in a system that sees the military (2 - 3 year tours) and civilian workers (3-5 year tours) rotate in and out of the country on a regular basis. The Japanese government doesn't pay any of the salaries for the military or US civilian workers, nor for the maintenance/upkeep and operating costs of the ships/planes/equipment, or the fuel needed for training and regular ops. The money that the Japanese government pays for having US bases is being turned back into their own economy not to US companies.

I can empathize with the Japanese government wanting to look at expenses, especially in light of the fact that they pay more than other countries, but I think they lose sight of the fact that those other countries are obligated by treaty to provide military support for themselves and others in the alliance that Japan's constitution doesn't allow. I can't empathize however when people have complaints about having restaurants and recreation facilities on base - can you believe how petty it is to complain that there's a Taco Bell on the base? Think about the mindset of someone like that, begrudging something as small as having a fast food restaurant - and these very same people are probably the ones that complain when the Americans patronize local establishments. Of course, you never see stories in the paper about the living conditions for sailors aboard the ships even while in port, or any understanding of what it must be like to live in a foreign land, or any of the good things that Americans do in the community.

I think a good counterpoint to articles like this would be to publicize the financial and human costs to Japan if they were to assume 100% responsibility for their own defense.

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Good points, but you must pay for National Defense. And as for the space... the Navy gives their members racks (coffins) and Officers state rooms (3 per tiny room) and the rest live in barracks for the other branches. 40% of Japan lives in Kanagawa and Tokyo and I ride the shinkansen weekly and all I see is open rice fields, land and mountains. We didnt build the damn infrastructure but I can see the typical japanese envy near the bases... Get your own Armed Forces and kick us out pls but we still are stuck to war history and treaties(SOFA)... Dont get me started on the golf courses, driving ranges and baseball fields. Fly over Japan and you see hundreds. Taco Bell is the size of my apt...get over it.

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childish comment. “Japan had kept paying the kindness budget simply because it is the one that wanted the U.S. forces to stay,” he said. “If the United States wants to stay here at any cost, it should be the one who is paying.”

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realistic comment. “But we cannot view forces that are out here simply as Japan. They are in Asia; they are available for responsive deployment.”

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perspective, nicely put.

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"When people who live in crowded areas and small houses drive by and see the situation on the bases, some feel angry"

They shouldn't feel angry, they should feel "Hey, this is great, this is how I want to live," and then take the steps to move to an area where they can live like that.

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Giant shopping malls? This is BS. The buildings are sometimes large and they have food courts but they aren't giant, even by Japanese standards. They don't even compare in offerings to what I see at Grandberry Mall and other Japanese Malls. What an irresponsible and factually incorrect statement.

As others have said, the golf courses, etc pay for themselves. In fact, most (>70%) of the patrons I see at the golf courses aren't Americans - they are JAPANESE. And this also belies the fact that many of the business provide income to Japanese people living in the communities.

And if Japan wants to provide their own security - fine! But don't complain about the Chinese protests over increased Japanese militarization. And don't complain about how expensive it is.

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What a waste of money. Glad the new government has the guts to rethink this whole issue. Change is uncomfortable for some but necessary.

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If Japan wants to pay less, then they need to change article 9 and let the SDF put in some real effort and gain some real combat experience in the process. Then we can be equal partners with a collective defense agreement.

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Oh, yeah! Lets talk about more jobs for japanase. Maybe if we ad 47k "japanese" soldiers to the SDF and send americans to Afganistan or the USA, we can get more jobs and recover our sovereignty. A better investment than pour more concrete on our rivers and coast.

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But we cannot view forces that are out here simply as Japan. They are in Asia; they are available for responsive deployment

Naruhodo. How much does the rest of Asia pay toward the upkeep of this responsive deployment force?

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“If the United States wants to stay here at any cost, it should be the one who is paying.” i agree we are on there land and japan paying 2 billion a year is ridiculous

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The Americans are just living in their own bubble, they should have to interact with everyone else, it is a foreign country after all.

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Wait until they really need us. I say pull out if they keep whining, same for Korea. Most people I talk to are sick of it. Totally ungrateful. 2 billion USD is a pittance compared to Japan's yearly budget!

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Japan is a sovereign nation. If it does not want American bases, send the US military packing immediately.

Japan will then be responsible for defending or not itself.

Of course Japan will not send the US military packing because it needs the sense of real security the US provides.

Much of the above is just so much political posing.

Get real and get rid of U.S. or shut up, Japan.

Your call.

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Let the U.S. pull out of Japan completely and let Japan face China and N. Korea by itself (and see how long it takes before government officials in Japan start crying for the good old days).

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the US bases, if they even have one, mainly have 9-hole par-3 courses, which take up a fraction of the land as a regulation course. Japan itself has over 2500 full-sized golf courses, so this childish whining over available land is pretty hypocritical...but so typical of the locals

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Just reading the article, then reading the comments just brings out more anger and hostility in me toward the ignorance in several of the comments. I get tired of reading in between the lines, which is basically, to hell with the whinning Okinawans, or if they do not like living in a crowded city next to the big Futenma Air Station then move to where they have the room. What ridiculous comments, Okinawa can fit inside Los Angeles between the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and Long Beach, and I bet in Los Angeles they do not have any military bases in that area. Okinawa is basically the same size as New York City, but I know there are no military bases anywhere in NY City & if there were, they would be closed & moved to accomodate the people who would demand they be moved. But only on Okinawa are the people looked down upon to so great an extent, that these arguments, never take into considerations these issues; you people always end up bashing Japan, and the whinining Okinawans who have to live with the problems that many of these bases bring. I will not even discuss the golf courses as they are a non issue to us (Okinawan People) the issues, <to put it in simple enough terms so that even those that write their ridiculous comments will understand> is that Okinawa should not be bearing the burden of the US Military on our island and yet I challange anyone here to point out why, WHY??? should Okinawan have to bear the burden of the US Military Deployment in Asia, Why NOT? the mainland of Japan, the main 4 Islands are giants in comparison to Okinawa. Why? I will tell you why. The secret argeement prior to Reversion of Okinawa to Japan, gave the US Military, unlimited access to do what they wanted where they wanted and when they wanted as long as they kept the bases off of the main islands of Japan. Guam is a territory of the US so Why Not put the bases on Guam? the people there can use the work, we do not want it, we do not want so many US Military Bases on Okinawa, so quit pointing out that you are there for our protection from enemies lurking in the shadows, that is baloney and you are purveyors of selling baloney. We could care less about the golf courses, we just want the entire bases, about 10 right now would be perfect, move them to American Samoa,as well as Guam, it is another US Territory and talk about a poor economy, they could use the benevelont US Military there as well but please get many of the bases and everything else on them to somewhere, anywhere, but not on Okinawa!! and quit showing your ignorance in these comments.

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So KinuyeOshiro, if all of the land for US bases were given back to Okinawa, would the Okinawans just tear everything on the island down, redistribute the land, and rebuild everything to give people bigger houses?

BTW, the article was not specifically about Okinawa.

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KinuyeOshiro ... Nice comment.

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Wait til you see how much Japan is going to have to pay once it boots the US out and has to deal with a massive Chinese navy/army/AF on its own, not to mention Russia to the north. Keep in mind ongoing disputes over rights to gas fields with China and islands with Russia and Korea. Many (all?) of Japan's neighbors can't wait for Japan to be weakened by a withdrawal of the US forces. $2billion will seem like pocket change.

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America should be charging Japan more like 50 billion you get what you pay for, American Boys, with Shock and Awe, Raptors, Predators, AEGIS, B50-3s, lasers, satellite imagery, and a football. Its the total package.

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Ok, lets try to talk honest, just for a change. We get the feeling that the USA just demand more money for "protection", because the neocons jumped in a few wars and managed that so bad, that now the democrats want that we pay for the mistakes of the republican administration in place of raise even more the budget deficit in a democrat administration. You need more money? No problem. Why you dont sell a bunch of that nice weapons like the F-22 to your allies Australia, South Korea and Japan? Your allies in the pacific can help you to keep China friendly to the USA if you sell to us the weapons.

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It would be far more expensive for Japan to support their own full fledged military than it is to host the US. Do the math! Secondly, Okinawa is an isolated economy, and no amount of building is going to spur economic growth. They have built all these nice resort hotels that are mostly empty. Some big name companies have even pulled the plug after they started construction because of the economic outlook for Okinawa. I say let's pack up and go home, and then watch them blame us for leaving them in shambles...

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perspective... why would you care what the Japanese or Okinawan's do with THEIR land? Are you their colonial overseer?

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I agree with the readers who say Japan should put up (with the bases)and shut up or just kick the US out--there is no good middle ground. The latter is what the Philippines did, and I don't think they regret it. The bases are more of a relic from WWII than a defense for Japan. What country would be foolish enough to attack Japan, anyway? We don't need bases and 40,000 troops in the second richest country in the world.

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Hong Kong provides a good example of post colonial change... life goes on, a lot less scary than the former colonials think.

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There are US military installations throught the LA basin that you referred to. You lose your bet KO. By the way, if the US were to give up some of the bases on Okinawyep you 't think the JSDF would just tear them down? They'll just take over so the Okinawans can be pissed with the Japanese. Face it Okinawa, Japan screwed you a long long time ago and will continue to do so. At least if there is agression directed towards Japan on your island, the US will respond. What would the J gov do? Have high level meetings that take months before deciding on a response. Then they will back out to discuss a different approach.

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ElJeffe...Actually the JSDF would not have a say. As per the SOFA agreement, when the US leaves a base, the land has to be razed. Actually, there are no bases in Okinawa that I can think of in the last 30 years that has been turned into a JSDF base if it was not already JSDF. Makiminato turned into a second Naha, the helobase across from Camp Lester turned into Mihama, most of Camp Lester has turned into Chataan city office, Ginowan City office has a static display of what Futenma will look like after the turn over, the bear-cage in Yomitan has turned into housing plots, Awase golf course will turn into the largest Jusco in Okinawa ... I could go on.

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Let's put things into perspective. With the extra $2 billion Japan would be able to theoretically buy themselves one solitary B-2 stealth bomber or 14 F-22 fighters or less than half of an aircraft carrier (just the ship, no planes or crew), or 1.25 Aegis destroyers. Not all of these things, just one of them. That's all. $2 billion is peanuts for the defense capabilities they get with US military presence in Japan.

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perspective... why would you care what the Japanese or Okinawan's do with THEIR land? Are you their colonial overseer?

No, are you? I was asking KO for his thoughts. I am interested in his ideas of what might happen if the US bases were vacated en masse as it seems is his wont.

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take the money and BUILD an island in the sea somewhere near japan. i mean, the DoD has a $700 billion budget. building an island should be a piece of cake.

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Does Japan even NEED American military bases on its soil anymore ? What would it cost to upgrade the SDF enough to achieve the same degree of relative security provided by the Americans presence there ? A lot more than two billion ... maybe more like two HUNDRED billion ... although Japan would get to enjoy the pride of being in total control of its own land, and fate, once again.

Of course the implied support of American arms wouldn't be affected ... so the 'ultimate deterrent' against serious Chinese, Russian or N.Korean aggression would still be there - merely offshore on American ships and subs. Politely edging American soldiers off Japanese soil over the next decade or so would not turn America against Japan.

Indeed, closing foreign military bases are already important items in Americas new austerity plans ... so if Japan simply says they don't need GIs anymore, it would be a good excuse for the Americans to cut costs. Base closings would then seem like the Americans idea more than Japans. :-)

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America should be charging Japan more like 50 billion you get what you pay for, American Boys, with Shock and Awe, Raptors, Predators, AEGIS, B50-3s, lasers, satellite imagery, and a football. Its the total package.

the total package is doing diddly-squat in iraq/afghanistan. u.s. military is over-rated. ok against 3rd world armies only.

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maglev101

You'd have somewhat of a point if Japan's concern was defending itself against asymmetric warfare.

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1 - If the USA let us, maybe we buy betwen 36 to 90 F-22 for improve our defense.

2 - I wonder why some americans allways threaten with end the US-J alliance when we talk about re-negotiate the deal. Most likely is related to the civilian idea that the only one that lose is J.

3 - Anyone with some military knowledge understand that the USA have a strategic advantage with the forward bases in J, just under the noses of China, Russia and North Korea. The idea that USA can leave these bases without seriously hurt their military power projection capacity in East Asia, sounds a little dificult to believe.

4 - USA-J have a convenient deal for both sides. In my opinion please the okinawans and relocate the base to other place in J, is not so terrible. I think that Osaka have a nice artificial island available.

Now, for satisfy the curiosity of our friend "perspective", in the very unlikely case that USA leave the bases in J. Maybe we pass the next 10 years reforming the constitution and rearming. Also rushing to form an East Asian Community in 25 years in place of 50. I really doubt that we build any nuke, exept under a big threat like an inminent invasion. Well, like "M51T" said, life goes on. With the americans or with the chinese.

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just can't get enough of this debate huh? No need to kind the US troops out in one go, just do it gradually. 50% to start with should be a good move. If they do want to stay I can pick out a few uninhabited islands off the coast of Japan that should be just perfect. As for the 2 billion cost, well I guess that's the cost of borrowing the US force. What Japan should start investing in is "clones" , autonomous robots and what not. I can picture a field of ojizou or butsuzou (Ashura would be cool) all cloned and about 3 feet tall (Yoda size) ready for battle in the near future.

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"Japan covers much of the cost for supporting American troops, including utilities, maintenance and physical upgrades plus the wages of tens of thousands of Japanese civilians working on the bases."

At least half of the "omoiyari yosan" covers the costs of Japanese working on the bases and elsewhere helping the Americans. It is social welfare spending that wouldn't necessarily be money saved without the U.S. military in Japan. Somehow this simple fact eludes the understanding of most Japanese and U.S. bashers on this site.

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Ossan wrote:

If Japan wants to pay less, then they need to change article 9 and let the SDF put in some real effort and gain some real combat experience in the process. Then we can be equal partners with a collective defense agreement.

USNInJapan2 wrote:

Let's put things into perspective. With the extra $2 billion Japan would be able to theoretically buy themselves one solitary B-2 stealth bomber or 14 F-22 fighters or less than half of an aircraft carrier (just the ship, no planes or crew), or 1.25 Aegis destroyers. Not all of these things, just one of them. That's all. $2 billion is peanuts for the defense capabilities they get with US military presence in Japan.

Right again.

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Does Japan really need people stationed on the island? Are you trying to tell me that as soon as Japan loses 47 000 American troops that Russia, N.Korea, or China are going to attack them? and if they did the rest of the World is just going to sit back? Get real. Yes having the bases here has advantages for both sides. Japan gets extra technology "for rent" and America get a nice little access point into Asian waters. I'm sure that a couple of bases could be closed without this being overly compromised.

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Japan really needs to thank there forefathers for this situation. If it wasn't for them invading other asian countries, the US wouldn't be there. Anyways china is smart, they will wage a different war on Japan. The cheap goods war has just begun.

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- I wonder why some americans allways threaten with end the US-J alliance when we talk about re-negotiate the deal. Most likely is related to the civilian idea that the only one that lose is J.

Some of the Americans here indulge in this but I think far more J posters do.

3 - Anyone with some military knowledge understand that the USA have a strategic advantage with the forward bases in J, just under the noses of China, Russia and North Korea. The idea that USA can leave these bases without seriously hurt their military power projection capacity in East Asia, sounds a little dificult to believe.

Very true, but what is that strategic advantage used for? The same thing with Europe?

4 - USA-J have a convenient deal for both sides. In my opinion please the okinawans and relocate the base to other place in J, is not so terrible. I think that Osaka have a nice artificial island available.

I actually agree,although the deal is much more convenient for the Japanese. I think that the same function can be accomplished with bases on the mainland. My only arguments with people on this board that espouse this view is that they focus blame for everything on the US when their beef should be with their own government. Do you really think the Hatoyama government is going to relocate US bases elsewhere in Japan?

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Fine, let the Japanese defend their own shores. Once US troops leave, they'll soon realize that the invading Chinese, Korean, North Korean, Burmese, and Philippino armies won't be phased by the flashing of peace symbols or how friggin' delicious their noodles are.

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As far as I know, the high and mighty know-what's-best-for-all US troops seem to jump in and meddle with "other peoples' problems" at the bat of an eye-lid. Bases or no bases.

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These golf courses, football fields, and malls with food courts are provided to keep the foreign military and especially their dependents, away from the locals

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For Perspective, 1) I do not envision that all US Bases should or would be closed. 2) Land given back to Okinawans?, Yes but we all know that Japan puts a priority in taking from Okinawa more than they give (land) as much as they give. 3) As for the article being specifically "not" about Okinawa, we all know that any and all articles relating to US Military Bases in Japan/Asia refer directly or indirectly to Okinawa as we shoulder 75% of US Military Bases in Asia. Your latter comments are correct and Yes I do have a good knowledge about the military, and US Military/Politics. finally the writer "Slizzer" proves my point about the absurd comments posted here as he/she has no clue about world politics and or history.

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Lets put all the cards on the table. I have relatives in okinawa. The family of my mother is from okinawa. If the americans agree to relocate the base to other place in japan, I stop complaining about how the "simpathy budget" sems to be used in golf, subway's sandwichs and other luxury stuff. Even I am willing to pay for the cost of the relocation. You know why? Because we owe that to the okinawans, for very long time.

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Scotch - Are you trying to tell me that as soon as Japan loses 47 000 American troops that Russia, N.Korea, or China are going to attack them?

Sadly, it is more likely to be the other way around. To quote an Australian labor party moto from a few years ago. "Keep the bastards honest!"

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Japan should stop crying.. bunch of ingrates should be happy for the U.S protection against thier neighbors who a just itching to get thier chance at payback..The problem is that the majority of japanese dont know thier own history and believe that they were the victims. I think the U.S should leave and let them find out first hand. Additionally if they never bombed pearl the U.S wouldn`t be here now. Duh!

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I'm speachless!! Oh,what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." 65 years ago, we came to Okinawa to help the Ryukyuans to rebuild and we were appreciative of their hospitality, but Japanese greed changed whether we felt it was worthwhile to stay. Now, I feel that we should ALL return to the States, but lo the poor Ryukyuan!

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65 yrs ago, we killed 30% of the civilian population by bombarding the Island for 82 days.. more civilians that were killed in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. We spent the next 27 yrs blaming the Japanese for not surrendering sooner and giving starving women and children food to "win them over" while taking what land we wanted to take for use as military bases. We are as quilty as the Japanese.. for the Okinawan are the step child of Japan, who they prostituted out to the American.. each blame each other with the Okinawan inbetween. Now the LDP was kicked out of control and it is interesting to watch the DPJ stonewall this "schwab bases agreement".. it is looking like Tinan (90miles north of Guam) might be the solution for getting Futenma MCAS off Okinawa... that would be another 2000+ marines off the Island.

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Sadly, it is more likely to be the other way around. To quote an Australian labor party moto from a few years ago. "Keep the bastards honest!"

Maybe you just missed the news where Hatoyama said that want an East Asian Community inspired in the European Union, one that include "Australia", India and New Zealand.

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Japan doesn't need the U.S. army as a deterrent. Just imagine, if Japan were invaded and defeated nobody would recall all those Toyotas and Hondas. Japan is much needed by the rest of the world to keep fixing the goods made in Japan. Except they're all made in China, so China might invade and get the know-how in addition to the factories they already have.

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After Japan started WW2 in the pacific, which Japanese thinking America did, they lost. America won. Shut up. Your leaders screwed your country when they attacked Hawaii. America wrote your Constitution, forbid you to have a military, and for the most part setup a system to keep Japan politically weak, i.e. the Prime Minster changes every few months. The only reason American even deals with Japan is location and the bases are quite nice. Japanese make good workers. Some of the nicest service I get is on base. Okinawa gets a ton of money from this. Housing costs that equal Tokyo for 1. If they don't want American bases there, well tough. We are there because we want to be.

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The U.S. should have never given back Okinawa to Japan. Other than that, Dai Nippon Teikoku!

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mareo2 said -

1 - If the USA let us, maybe we buy betwen 36 to 90 F-22 for improve our defense.

And who is anywhere near trained or qualified to fly these "upgrades"?

And you want to buy that many, really? Have you not noticed the Unit cost is US $142.6 million? So you're going to buy 90 of these at $142.6 Million. That equates to roughly $1.3 TRILLION dollars. Then they will sit for a few years while you're going to have to train the pilots, mechanics, armament troops, crew chiefs, fuels technicians, etc. That in and of itself, will cost more than a couple dozen of these "upgrades". Then you will need to maintain the jets, ie spare parts, regular inspections etc. Then you will need to buy and keep a large supply of fuel. Then all the munitions, training or live. Then you need to make sure they continue to fly, and keep training new personnel every year.

So with that said, that will all be the cost of JUST THE JASDF, and only their new shiny upgrades, not the rest of the ASDF. Not to mention the GDF and the Navy who also want upgrades. So to keep the US military here (in Japan) with a measely $2 Billion and just put up and shut up, would be the wise decision here.

And to answer the question earlier if China, N. Korea would attack if the US left, YES!!!! They will.

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finally the writer "Slizzer" proves my point about the absurd comments posted here as he/she has no clue about world politics and or history.

Well, Kinuye, as this is a public board, people with different intelligence levels (to include emotional intelligence), literacy, motivation, and most importantly, sobriety levels post here. I agree with you that the post in question is pretty ignorant.

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And to answer the question earlier if China, N. Korea would attack if the US left, YES!!!! They will.

Why?!! What would either of those countries have to gain?

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Why?!! What would either of those countries have to gain?

Nothing, of course, but I've learned that those who believe that Japan would turn into Pyongyang East if the Americans leave aren't interested in listening to reason.

Aside from the fact that, as you point out, both countries would have little to gain and a lot to lose from an attack, it really baffles me when military people make this comment. America is not in Japan to protect it as much as it is in Japan to have a base from which to conduct expeditionary operations in Asia.

You'd think such people would know that China has barely enough amphibious capability to make the 20 km crossing to Taiwan let alone somehow make it over a thousand+ km of blue water all the way to Japan, i.e. something analogous to D-Day, with almost no air cover and no real offensive capability other than ballistic missiles to reach all that distance.

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The problem is that the majority of japanese dont know thier own history and believe that they were the victims.

Some even believe they might have won...

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I agree that this supposed "threat" from China or North Korea is very overrated. The U.S. propaganda machines would have us believe that Japan would be in serious danger of being attacked. I don't buy it. The U.S. military needs to justify its position so, of course, keeps pushing and selling this idea. I ask, when has China or Korea actually attacked another nation? The last time I can think of are the Mongol Invasions of the 13th century. It is very likely that the removal of the U.S. presence here would actually ease tensions between China, Japan and the Koreas. Those who keep on waffling about Japan and WWII need to realize that that argument is, like the validity and creditability of the U.S. bases here, becoming stale and irrelevant. Sixty-five years is a very long time and the time for change is here. I hope the U.S. military people stationed here can return to the U.S. and do more useful work in that neighbourhood.

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The U.S. propaganda machines would have us believe that Japan would be in serious danger of being attacked.

What "American propaganda machine"? What are you talking about? What US government agency has said that it believes Japan will be attacked?

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Once China gets Taiwan they will claim Japan is a renegade province....

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perspective

Point taken but there seems to be this common misconception that if the U.S. left, Japan would be very vulnerable and the possibilities of outside threats to Japan would increase but I think they would actually decrease. Do you deny the fact that there is a U.S. propaganda machine that manifests itself through the media? All countries have one but, of course, some are stronger than others.

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Once China gets Taiwan they will claim Japan is a renegade province....

Hell, if China had their way, Australia is a renegade province...

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common misconception that if the U.S. left, Japan would be very vulnerable

Unfortunately, it's not a misconception, Japan WOULD be vulnerable. But there would be no attack, who wants to risk WW3? It would be more on the order of some strong-arming. For example, the disputed gas fields in the China sea wouldn't be disputed anymore. Now if the US were to leave Korea things would get interesting.

I think the more immediate consequence to Japan would be economic - the US should finally negotiate trade with Japan that is fair and equitable.

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U.S. propaganda machine that manifests itself through the media

No, I don't think so. While there are television stations, magazines, websites, etc that have decidedly right or left leaning tendencies, I think the US media is much more critical of the government than the Japanese media. Here the politicans don't face as intense of a media scrutiny and get away with things that would be impossible in the west.

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noborito at 12:06 AM JST - 13th February : We are there because we want to be.

and you still wonder why the WORLD hates people like you?

I feel sorry the 99% of Americans NOT like you.

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I hear that the radio stations that the troops listen to (like VoA and AFN etc) are largely there to help make the soldiers believe they are doing a useful and important job in Japan. This is understandable of course, however, it is really just a from of propaganda. The problem is that when people are told they are unwanted and unnecessary, it is somewhat depressing for them. But the reality is that the new government sees them this way and with new goverments comes new policies. It's the same the world over.

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perspective at 07:54 AM JST - 13th February

And to answer the question earlier if China, N. Korea would attack if the US left, YES!!!! They will.

Why?!! What would either of those countries have to gain?

Revenge, for one thing, and lost treasures stolen from them by Imperial Japan.

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@quest:

Add to that territorial disputes....The Senkaku islands and Tsushima.

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America is not in Japan to

protect it as much as it is in Japan to have a base from which to conduct expeditionary operations in Asia.

Nonsense. America is in Japan to protect the world from Japan.

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Of course, it makes sense for the Japanese government to have the U.S. troops in Okinawa for security reasons. If the Japanese government want that then they should pay the $2 billion bill. This favor the U.S. because they have troops in the Pacific region to stay alert for North Korea and China. Therefore, the U.S. government don't want their troops to leave the Pacific region. Maybe both government should renegotiate the bill.

In a country where land is a precious commodity, many U.S. bases in Japan boast golf courses, football fields and giant shopping malls whose food courts offer everything from Taco Bell to Subway and Starbucks.

Dumb question, why is the tax payers of both countries paying for golf courses, football fields, and giant shopping malls when the majority of cities in America and Japan don't have that luxury? One would think this is a vacation spot instead of a military base.

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UnagiDon

You'd think such people would know that China has barely enough amphibious capability to make the 20 km crossing to Taiwan let alone somehow make it over a thousand+ km of blue water all the way to Japan, i.e. something analogous to D-Day, with almost no air cover and no real offensive capability other than ballistic missiles to reach all that distance.

Think again. China is building a blue water navy including an aircraft carrier due out in 2015. Moreover, China has the largest standing army. Put these two together and what do you get? A red flag in downtown Tokyo, lol.

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Think again. China is building a blue water navy including an aircraft carrier due out in 2015.

J want their own aircraftcarrier from as long as the '80. But the US told J "build destroyers only".

Moreover, China has the largest standing army.

China have a big standing army, but dont have enough troops transports for invade anything bigger and farter than Taiwan.

Put these two together and what do you get? A red flag in downtown Tokyo, lol.

I think that what we put togeter, is that J agreed to keep low militarty strength, because the US market is important for J. Today, economy is a main factor in keep peace. people is more afraid of lose their jobs than about being nuked.

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J want their own aircraftcarrier from as long as the '80. But the US told J "build destroyers only"

Check out the Hyuga class helicopter carrier. You could also put some F-35 JSFs and voila, an aircraft carrier.

China have a big standing army, but dont have enough troops transports for invade anything bigger and farter than Taiwan.

...Which is why I said they are building a blue water navy.

...What was the point you were trying to make?

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Check out the Hyuga class helicopter carrier. You could also put some F-35 JSFs and voila, an aircraft carrier.

Err... Did you noticed that we dont have any F-35? Or the fact that the F-35 is still a under tests? Two years behind schedule?

...Which is why I said they are building a blue water navy.

You say "blue navy", like aircrafts carriers. I say transports, because you say "invasion".

No one can "invade" with aircarfts alone. "Invasion" means be able to transport soldiers, tanks, amunitions and fuel.

Are we on the same page?

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"Time to go!" from a concerned Brit that pays Japanese taxes.

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The PM may have his work cut out for him. The US Govt. doens't like to renegotiate just becuase of the political winds of change. Case in point: The Roh Administration in South Korea wanted a ROK General in charge of the UNC/CFC (Joint US/ROK Command) the US Army out of Yongsan Garrision (prime real estate in downtown Seoul) and a timeline for these things to happen. The US agreed to all three. Once the more conservative, pro-US Lee Administration came into power, they wanted to backpedal, but the US wouldn't budge. The plans were in motion. I personally believe that if, in 1959, an assertive, yet democratic government would have come into power in Cuba, the US would have returned Gitmo years ago. The biggest reason they keep it is to piss off the Castro family business. The bypassing US law thing with detainees is just a bonus for them.

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And another thing, the US Govt. has been weary of letting the host nation excessively dictate the terms by which the US Military operates in country ever since the Khobar Towers bombings in Saudia Arabia (1996)

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This all fails to take into account that the US Bases in Japan -- and elsewherei nthe world -- pay RENT on the land they occupy....

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Actually, the chickens have come home to roost! 65 years ago our military went to Okinawa to help the Ryukyuan people rebuild what they had destroyed and to take care of the Ryikyuan survivors and the Okinawans were happy with us and many of us married Okinawan women. Yet a completely defeated Japan kept needling China and China wasn't too happy with Japan Year have passed and Japan still makes their visits to Yasakuni annd Japan still feels they should rebuild their military might. They want a big Navy and China yawns and ignores Japans yammering, because they know they would never have to go to Japan to defeat and destroy them. They have developed a missle that is three times as effective as the Hiroshima bomb and just one of them would completely detry Japan forever. Wake up Japan nobody likes you, but the American military and the Chinese do enjoy the friendship of the Ryukyuans and vice-versa

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Err... Did you noticed that we dont have any F-35? Or the fact that the F-35 is still a under tests? Two years behind schedule?

Yes, I know we don't have any JSFs yet. Since when have fighters or military hardware, for that matter, not been on schedule. Look at the F-22, OV-22, XM2001 Crusader, The XM-8 program, etc.

You say "blue navy", like aircrafts carriers. I say transports, because you say "invasion". No one can "invade" with aircarfts alone. "Invasion" means be able to transport soldiers, tanks, amunitions and fuel.

I'm talking about distant future events, not meaning near future. China has the potential of building more transports. It already has the soldiers for amphibious warfare. A blue water navy can include transport ships. Take a look at the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces(MEF). They have everything needed for amphibious warfare(air, land, and sea components). Of course aircraft alone cannot lead to a successful assault, however, close air support(CAS) is an integral part of it.

Regarding whether being on the same page or not, (sincerely speaking) what was the point you were trying to make?

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...meant to say "been on schedule". Sorry.

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@perspective

Why?!! What would either of those countries have to gain?

You must not remember what imperial Japan did to these countries. One almost forgotten event, (to most if not all Japanese) The Rape of Nanking. Read up, then tell me why they don't want to attack.

That's just one event. Read the History...

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