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Stop negotiating this nonsense on Futenma

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By Yoshio Shimoji

Japan and the U.S. released a joint report on construction methods of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma if it is moved to Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa, leaving two options unsettled for the relevant runway construction method. One option, which is favored by the U.S. government, is building V-shaped runways, and the other, which is advocated by the Japanese government, is building a single runway, both on reclaimed land in the coastal area off Henoko partially striding over Camp Schwab.

But V-shaped or not, there should be no reclamation of Henoko's pristine coastal waters. The air base should be moved out of Okinawa outright, now and forever. Period. That's Okinawa's consensus.

The Marines are here merely to hone their combat skills in invasion and engagement in faraway countries like Iraq and Afghanistan at present, and Vietnam in the past. They are functionally powerless to protect Japan from missile attacks and bombardment from the sea and the air. As an expeditionary or invading force, their number of 15,000 would be no match for North Korea's regular army of 1.2 million troops or China's 1.6 million troops in case of emergencies in Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Straits.

Such doubt about the Marine Corps' stationing in Japan is gaining a strong foothold in the U.S. Congress as well. Massachusetts Democratic Rep Barney Frank, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee chairman, told National Public Radio, "We don't need 15,000 Marines in Okinawa," adding "they are hang-over from a war that ended 65 years ago."

If the U.S. Marines are stationed in Okinawa only to train, then they should move out of Okinawa to the U.S. mainland where C-130 transport aircraft and helicopter pilots can improve their flight skills and ground troops hone their combat skills in terrain as vast as one prefecture of Japan without worrying too much about noise pollution and bullet ricochets over and into adjacent villages.

Note that the idea of V-shaped runways was conceived to reduce noise pollution in nearby villages, one runway used only for take-offs and the other only for landings depending on wind directions. But the idea is a sheer nonsense because C-130 Hercules pilots cannot change the runways by sleight of hand when engaging in a touch-and-go flight practice, their routine at Futenma day and night.

Washington's explanation of necessity for the Marine base to be moved to Henoko is a sham. They should know the Marines' decades-old design since the 1960s to functionally integrate it with Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen, central and northern training areas, complete with new port facilities, thus solidifying and strengthening the function of those bases and also snugly expediting Washington's policy to perpetuate the U.S. military presence here, has completely failed.

© Japan Today

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66 Comments
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the opposing group is louder and more obnoxious [djuice].

You are confused about who is obnoxious.

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alpha, the geographical positioning of Okinawa means that it is an isolated Japanese island of substantial area for attacking forces to build a bridgehead for a later attack on the mainland. An initial attack anywhere on the Japanese mainland would result in heavy losses for anyone attacking Japan until they firmed-up a base. Hokkaido could also be targeted as a bridgehead, but it is would be way too close to Japan's mainland forces and therefore Okinawa is perfect strategically. And please read my full sentence regarding the reason why China, North Korea and Russia have left Japan alone for 65 years. I said it was because of the presence of the US military all over Japan (including the 15,000 in Okinawa) and the political and military fallout it would cause with the US if anyone attacked Japan. If the Chinese or the North Koreans attacked Okinawa, they would be attacking the US as well.

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northlondon,

Okinawa's geographical position makes is strategically crucial to the military defence of Japan.

That sounds good, and it is the company line, but is it true?

The same company line was used in the Phillipines "the Chinese will invade" but when Clark Field and Subic NAS closed it's doors in the 1990's, the Chinese never came. In fact in Makati the financial district of Manila it's the Chinese who are running the show. Without the Chinese the economy would be even worse than now.

In Taiwan "the Chinese will invade" was also the company line, but in the late 70's our bases in Keelung and Taipei and down south closed. The Chinese haven't invaded and that was 35 yrs ago.

And those 15,000 US servicemen have been the reason why China, North Korea and Russia have avoided military conflict with Japan since 1945.

I doubt even the most brainwashed officer would agree with that. If anything it is the Navy, Air Force and Nuclear Umbrella. More than that it is the trade between nations, aid and other diplomatic measures.

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Whilst I am personally unhappy with the continued plight of people in Okinawa (the way they were left by the Japanese government to suffer at the end of WWII and the continuing US military presence), Okinawa's geographical position makes is strategically crucial to the military defence of Japan. And those 15,000 US servicemen have been the reason why China, North Korea and Russia have avoided military conflict with Japan since 1945. We all know that 15,000 US servicemen cannot fight a war with any of the three countries mentioned, but the very fact that the US has a substantial presence in Japan has scared-off the likes of China, North Korea and Russia. At present an attack on Japan would also mean an attack on the US. If the US military were made to leave then Japan would be left to fend on it's own. Also, 15,000 troops are certainly enough to put up a fight for long enough before the cavalry arrive.

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tkoind2 and kurumazaka, how does crime rate statistics affect base existence. The article is about the need for the marines in Okinawa. They aren't needed. Even if there was a threat, the USAF and Navy is all that is really needed. Crime is the added burden of hosting the bases (unwillingly I may add). All crime from SOFA personel is additional crime committed against the locals that otherwise wouldn't exist. There are other factors besides crime, such as four drunk foreigners walking down the sidewalk forcing the 70 yr old local woman off to the side or the loud party from the nearby military men who live downtown. These aren't crimes, but these "non crime" burdens exist 24/7...

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I do believe the fixed wing aircraft, the c-130's are headed to Iwakuni. The new area proposed next to Schwab is for the rotary aircraft, the helicopters, which obviously must be near the troops they train with and transport. Interesting that everyone says how pristine the waters around Schwab are...the Marines have been using that are for training for an awfully long time, with Amtracs going out in the water quite often. Helos also refuel and do training with recon troops there. I dove there myself when I was stationed there.

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fds, in most cases the punishment meted out by the US military is much harsher than what the Japanese law can dish out. In most cases a suspended sentence in Japan. Look at the idiot Ady Gil captain, Greenpeace activists, J teachers, J police officers and nearly every SDF member who gets popped. The only exception seems to be when the violator wears a US uniform, that's why there is SOFA.

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Japan, hey come here, I have to tell you something. Ummm, I dont know how to tell you this baboo. YOU LOST THE WAR!!!!!!!! Get over it. We would be singing a differnet tune if Japan won. This is the end all for any base going anywhere. Your lucky this didn't become a Puerto Rico or Guam or perhaps another state.

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the problem is that the u.s. military personnel off base are not subject to japanese law and punishment. instead of shielding them from should be educated on japanese law and if they violate it, they are should be punished in accordance with japanese law.

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kurumazaka. Good point. Let's be realistic. I lived near a base growing up in the US and there are some bad elements. But same can be said for living near a port. Or for that matter living near a school.

Problems happen. Anyone who expects the world to be some kind of perfect place is in for disappointment. Even our pristine Tokyo has the bad elements of gangsters, drunk salarymen puking on the platform, or on the train and more.

I think most people in Okinawa understand these things. I think the media and a small vocal group do not. And they get all the attention. We should be listening more to the ordinary people who clearly see and accept the balance of benefits and problems that any large presense brings to a community.

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And before you start with the "you don't live in Okinawa" crap, I acknowledge that the Marines have caused their share of problems. I also realize that they are trying pretty hard to alleviate those problems without destroying their operational capabilities.

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People are so silly about this because a handfull of malcontents hate the bases and are louder than the majority who don't care or benefit from them.

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If the thousands of soldiers --who have no choice but to live in the base they are assigned-- left Okinawa, would there be enough new jobs to attract thousands of new residents to replace them? Everywhere is hurting with recession, and by dwindling a population, there would be a lot less business going on - unless the outgoing residents are replaced just as quickly by new incoming residents (but that replacement usually takes some time, while in the meantime, business is slower and thus less jobs until the new area is developed and more new residents come in).

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Yeah, let's stop this nonsense on Futenma and implement the agreement reached 4 years ago already, sheesh.

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"( The Marines) are functionally powerless to protect Japan from missile attacks..."

Yeah, so is the SDF.

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If the Japanese Government really thinks they need the US for protection, well there is some land nearby that doesn't fulfill the hopes of prosperity and could be used for the military instead: Minato Mirai 21.

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It's true !!!! marines need to go !!!!! But airforce and navy need to stay.

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When all other justification to feel important and needed, for security alliance reasons fail, hijack the "bases exist to feel the poor Okinawans" theme.

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sounds like a bunch of marines on holiday and upsetting the locals.

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Ironic that all marine bases in Okinawa fall under the heading of Camp Smedly D Butler. I wonder how many have read his book, "War is a Racket". The situation in Okinawa is exactly what he and Gen/President Dwight D Eisenhour warned against.

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Such doubt about the Marine Corps’ stationing in Japan is gaining a strong foothold in the U.S. Congress as well. Massachusetts Democratic Rep Barney Frank, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee chairman, told National Public Radio, “We don’t need 15,000 Marines in Okinawa,” adding “they are hang-over from a war that ended 65 years ago.”

Not only does Barney Frank (D) hold this opinion, openly gay congressman, one of the most liberal in Congress, but so does Ron Paul (R) staunch constitutionalist, one of the most conservative members in Congress. It's rare for these extremes to agree on such a matter. Simply because the truth is obvious. The guys in the middle try to play it safe with the status quo. It's giving Sec Def Gates problems on the cuts he is proposing, especially in closing down facilities and axeing about 50+ flag officers.

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Gurukun. Please relax. You are the one who said you had tangible alternatives. We called you out on it and you clearly have nothing to back your assertions up.

Why money? Because in the greater scheme of things this is what truly matters to the happiness and prosperity of all Okinawans. No money no jobs and you get a domino effect across the entire economy. And for what? To pacify a noisey minority who are likely to be equally up in arms over any other kind of development you launch. And all at the expense of the majority who depend upon the income.

You say why is everything about money. But read my posts. I also asked you about the security future of Japan. No reply from you on this. And I also asked you about Japan's political honor with regard to her keeping treaties. No response here either.

Back up your claims and don't hide behind emotional outbursts that fail to validate your points. Give us reason to believe your position or abandon it for lack of defensibility.

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The issue is not the base closure or movements or reclamation of natural fauna. The issue is if the base(s) move - who will close the lost employment gap without leaning on the government to subsidize jobs. Okinawa has an employment problem. Building a new Jusco is great - but if the people don't have jobs...

So the real issue is how to increase domestic employment, small and medium businesses, etc without depending on government handouts or foreign bases. This is and always will be the central issue plaguing Okinawa - everything else is just rhetoric.

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lets just dream for one minute.An independant Okinawa,free of interferance from Japan and the US. No military bases. Now with some serious overseas investment and some entrepeneurs it becomes the tourist haven of the South China seas. The Okinawans don't believe they're Japanese,oh, they speak the same language but in their hearts and minds they're Okinawan. The bases are there to please both the US and the Japanese governments,but certainly not the Okinawans. Anyway isn't there enough deterent for this region,sitting in that aircraft carrier based in Yokohama.would scare the shit out of me. So the base arguments falls flat on their arse. And for a more light hearted bit of entertainment,go to You Tube,and take time out watching "George Carlin" and maybe there are some truths floating around in what he says.

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As an expeditionary or invading force, their number of 15,000 would be no match for North Korea’s regular army of 12 million troops or China’s 16 million troops in case of emergencies in Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Straits.

Yes, North Korea will invade Okinawa with 12 million troops and the US will be powerless to stop them.

They should know the Marines’ decades-old design since the 1960s to functionally integrate it with Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen, central and northern training areas, complete with new port facilities, thus solidifying and strengthening the function of those bases

Sounds like a great idea!

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Gurukun- again, back up your statements on the economic results of closing US bases in Okinawa or withdraw them as simple conjecture.

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herfornow it probably is Smugly, but then we know our English is not as good as yours, but I wonder with two Ivy League degrees if your Japanese is as good as ours. Lincolnman is correct in many of his assessments however not all of us who dislike this pretentious attitude of US Politicians, who are in League with the Politicians of the GOJ, who operate out of self serving agendas, agree with the hatred of US Military or believe that the military should all be gone. We agree that there is a need for US Military in Asia, however where we disagree is that it should not be concentrated on Okinawa. Move it to the main islands of Japan. As for 2005 ATRA, I will be surprised to see it ever implemented. Futenma was supposed to be closed in 1996, well before the agreement to move 8000 Marines and their dependents to Guam, and to close Futenma? that was alread decided long ago. When Mr Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited in 2003, he noted that Futenma Air Station was a dangerous facility and that he was going to recommend its immediate closure; but we noted that less than a year later a marine helicopter crashed into the Okinawa Kokusai Daigaku (Okinawa International University) but was the base closed then? hmmmm NO it was not, and here we are 6 years later with no end in sight to this issue. To me the solution is simple but as we see, nothing is simple when Government agendas become involved. Close Futenma, move it to Miramar in San Diego, close the other bases, move the 8000 marines to Guram or Hokkaido, I know its cold there but there is a military base at a place called Shimia I think, in Alaska and I am sure that is pretty cold as well. There is a need for US Military Presence in Asia, but we do not agree for the same reasons. I do not believe that Okinawa need fear China, because before China comes courting, they will want Taiwan but as China becomes more Capitalistic, I think I see the USA becoming more Socialistic. What a shameful change of events, but yet this baloney keeps getting distorted and Okinawans contine to bear the burden; not only of the bases but of the continuous slights by Americans who spout views that seem to be regurgitation of what they hear from others.

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Show me the numbers, real numbers that a significant majority of Okinawans want the bases gone. I have never seen proof of this claim.

Also, this information is wrong. Nobody is claiming that the majority of the Okinawans want the bases gone. However, a majority of the Okinawans feel that there are too many bases on the island.

And to get my stance right, I have my own opinions on this base issue. The the that constantly irks me is when people start talking about money this and money that. Yes, the bases generate income for local companies on the local economy. Yes, these companies would hurt if all the bases left. However, the good that can come about definately outweighs the bad the would have occurred if the bases left.

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Gurukun, I look forward to when you produce evidence to back up your claims.

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KinuyeOshiro:

In Germany, we had military bases from both the west and the east.

Yes, the eastern bases did not contribute much to the economy, actually they had to be supported almost free of charge. (Socialist brothers in arms).

However, the western bases did contribute to the economy. There was some noise from airplanes (I lived in approx. 15 km distance from a base), but this was only once or twice a day.

Once you know the difference, believe me, Okinawans will prefer to have US bases on the territory, and not Chinese bases.

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Even newly hired JPN Nationals on base. Just because there are a lot of people working for minimal wages doesn't mean they are making more money than those working on base.

And who said that they are making more money than those working on base? I could care less who, on an individual basis, is making more money than who. I could have swore we were talking about the amount of jobs that can be created rather then who makes more than who. If you fail to see that this area hasn't created more jobs than a military base can/did, then the argument stops here. I can't teach the blind.

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This is the best article I have read. Right on target, and of course all of the Americans who read this will slam it, slam Mr Shimoji and on and on and he is absolutely correct. Any comments to the contray will be meaningless. I just wish you Americans who write on these forums could find this same problem in your own city in the USA and if you did you would scream to high heaven but as long as it is on Okinawa you all seem to be OK with this issue. Okinawa does not need you here. go to the Mainland of Japan but please leave Okinawa we did very well prior to Japanese intervention a few hundred years ago and we have suffered ever since. I can look at any city in the USA and see it is riddled with crime, prostitution, corruption, killings every day yet you want to bring your garbage with you when you come to Okinawa. Clean up the USA, Clean up the horrendous history in your own country and quit complaining about Okinawa our business or lack of business, try reading our History and you might learn something. The income brought in to Okinawa by US Military we can do without. We have more tourists from around the world putting good money into our economy. Your USD has been worthless for a long time and yet you still do not get it.

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Shimoji's arguments lack deeper insight. When he argues that North Korea might have 12 Millions troops - how does he expect them to come to Japan's shores?

By ship? Does North Korea have enough ships? No.

So maybe North Korean Soldiers might arrive swimming? Don't forget your backpack when diving into the ocean.

Taking this into account, the Marines can deter North Korea from attacking Japan.

Same for China. China might have 16 Million troops. But can they be deployed across the sea?

This is the point - to be able to use such a large number of troops, one needs logistics to transport them.

One the other hand, the Marines stationed in Okinawa have the means to disrupt this transport.

Shimoji's last sentence basically claims that "... the Marine ... design ... has completely failed."

What kind of nonsense is this?

Japan was protected from war for this approximately 65 year period. I would call this "mission accomplished".

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Please enlighten me as to the businesses that are currently located there. They wouldn't by chance be headquartered in Tokyo or another Japanese city would they? Would those revenues find their way back to Okinawa after being sent to the big wigs sitting in plush offices at the top of a skyscraper? Is Jusco an Okinawa based company?

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Gurukun - It appears the only one hiding behind a "curtain" is you. Your claim that the area that has replaced Makimoto provides more jobs and generates more money than Kadena AB is something you are shying away from. Put up the facts to back up your statement or withdraw it. You focus on US housing (Makimoto) and recreational (Ayase GC) areas to compare jobs and revenue created by a retail(?) outlet for residents of Okinawan. I would like to see you compare their wages to those of tenured JPN National employees on base. Even newly hired JPN Nationals on base. Just because there are a lot of people working for minimal wages doesn't mean they are making more money than those working on base.

You are assuming things that you are only guessing about as am I. That should not be confused with common sense.

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You are not looking at the whole picture. A base requires a lot of business to maintain itself. I grew up next to one in the US and know these facts well.

Local Okinawan business supply goods and services to people living and working on base. This generates jobs and business. How will you replace this?

Companies in Japan supply bases with materials and goods. Will your new ideas replace all the commerce between Japanese businesses and the base?

And what about people who work on base? Do the new solutions you offer replace their jobs? Will base workers be hired into these new jobs? Will their skill sets overlap? How many will not be hired? And what is to happen to them?

Still you have not addressed numbers. Show me the numbers.

As for handing things back to Okinawan's, there are a vocal few that hate these bases, but a lot of people in Okinawa recognize and understand that business with the bases keeps jobs and income for the island. Show me the numbers, real numbers that a significant majority of Okinawans want the bases gone. I have never seen proof of this claim.

Then please tell me how Japan will provide defense against China and other regional concerns. You want your islands protected but are unwilling to invest in that protection. How is that fair. My people pay a lot to protect Japan something we could easily stop doing. Leaving you to defend your island with all the big hair boys who care more about nail care than the strategic interests of Japan.

And you don't say anything about the committment Japan has already made to this deal. Should we equally ignore our treaties with Japan? Does Japan's promise mean nothing at all now? Or has it gone the way of your government changing leadership and position with the changing of the month?

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Can you provide data to reinforce your claim that it provides more jobs and generates more money than KAB?

No sir, but if you look at the businesses that are there, compared to, KAB, I'm sure that there are way more employed people in this area than KAB. Common sense, I guess?

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lincolnman - Once again, a clear and organized post. Thank you.

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The base housing and potential employment there hardly weighs in as anything significant when looking at the total existing investment, job income and local business generation coming from the base.

Good job hiding behind the 'housing' and 'base' curtaian there, mate. The area taken up by a base is area, no matter how you look at. Regardless if Maki had 5000 Okinawan employees or 1 Okinawan employee, Maki housing was given back to Okinawans, and the area is flourishing today. Is it not? I still haven't seen anything that says otherwise. Awase Golf course was also given back. At this time, construction is beginning to build a large Jusco, and other businesses in that area. Are you saying that this will not create a more jobs then the number of employees on any base?

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And then let's hear your solution to the political and security problems. Economics is just one aspect of this issue. Japan's capacity to protect her interests and maintain her non-militaristic nature are also at issue. Especially in light of China's extreme spending on military forces and R&D. How do you propose we counter that.

And there is the troubling issue of the legal committment your government has made to this treaty. Do we no see Japan as a nation incapable or unwilling to keep her promises?

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Gurukun. Let's see the data.

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Gurukun- I think you have an interesting argument for Shintoshin. Can you provide data to reinforce your claim that it provides more jobs and generates more money than KAB? I don't live in Okinawa so I appreciate any "confirmed" details you can provide. Cheers

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Gurukun. I am on the same page wtih EIjeffeEnJapon on this. The base housing and potential employment there hardly weighs in as anything significant when looking at the total existing investment, job income and local business generation coming from the base.

I you remove the jobs on base, what do you think will happen to local business? The nearby shops, restaurants, entertainment locations and more that now benefit from the spending of base workers and base residents? How do you propose to replace that revenue and income for small business?

And when those small companies can no longer hire local workers because of their lost revenue, what will happen to all those jobs?

See removing that much income and commerce from the economy will be an invitation to island economic depression, joblessness, migration of people away to find jobs in other areas and nothing to replace any of it.

You still have not offered up a model that has even a 5% chance of filling that void. Come back when you have some legs to stand on mate.

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Base Housing is one thing.

How is that not appropriate? Okay, lets take your point. Let's use Kadena Air Base for example, The area where Maki Housing was, is still generating more money and employing more people then KAB as a whole.

Does anybosy Remeber Camp Hauge? Although this area is not a modern as the current Maki Housing area (Shintoshin), this area also employs and generates more money now then when it was a military base.

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Gurukun - Base Housing is one thing. There aren't that many employment positions for a location like that. It's mainly housing for the base population. Consider the amount of positions on a functioning military installation that requires all aspects of operations and relies strongly on national staff. I think your reference to the amount of jobs/money generated now in comparison to when Makimoto was in use is not appropriate.

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They should know the Marines’ decades-old design since the 1960s to functionally integrate it with Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen, central and northern training areas, complete with new port facilities, thus solidifying and strengthening the function of those bases and also snugly expediting Washington’s policy to perpetuate the U.S. military presence here, has completely failed.

Can someone please translate this run-on/long-winded sentence for me? I have two degrees from Ivy league schools and cannot for the life of me understand what he is saying -- "snugly"?

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I'm sure most of the readers here know who Mr Shimoji is and his background. He's an Okinawan academic and politician who has a long history of criticizing the US and the US-Japan Security Alliance. This article is typical of his work; lacking any element of balance, fact or logic. Couple of points:

The V shaped runway was never favored by the US – it was proposed by the GOJ and accepted by the US as a concession to keep the agreement moving forwards.

The argument used by him, and other anti-US groups, that the Marines have no military necessity in defending Japan is absolute nonsense and highlights both their naiveté and lack of any knowledge of military strategy. The Marines would be key in two potential scenarios; first, if China ever made an island grab in the Senkakus, only the Marines have the equipment, training and ability to conduct an amphibious operations to put troops ashore – the JSDF do not have that capability. Moreover, he fails to understand that military operations are conducted jointly, not unilaterally. This argument that the Marines, with only 15,000 troops, are going to engage directly with nKorea or China’s entire military is utterly ridiculous. They would be part of a joint force and would undertake any amphibious operation required to defeat nKorea if it attacked Japan (much as they did when they landed at Inchon in the Korean War and turned the conflict around).

Shimoji purposely leaves out any discussion of the 2005 ATARA agreement that would make significant reductions in the US Military footprint on Okinawa. By focusing entirely on the expansion of Camp Schwab, he fails to mention that Camps Kinser, Lester, Foster/Butler and Futenma would be returned to Japan and 8,000 Marines reassigned to Guam.

Unfortunately for the Okinawan people, this gentleman is typical of the academic and political elite that continue to set the tone for any discussion of the US military presence on the island. Their outright hate of the US blinds them to any sort of compromise – its all of nothing, a zero sum game – and as a result, Futenma remains where it is, safety concerns and all – and all other US military bases south of Kadena remain open and rational. Shimoji’s arguments for impeding any progress on this issue are what are truly a sham.

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Notice tkoind silence on the Maki Housing area....

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Notice Gurukun's silence in response to my challenge to present an example of how he will replace the money and jobs the bases provide.

Too many reactionaries out there wishing the bases gone with zero consideration of the economic, personal and community consequences for the many, Many people who depend upon them.

I guess it is ok to wish jobs away as long as they are not yours. In addition to ignoring the political and security issues.

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tkoind-How do you know there wont be any business, industriesm jobs and revenue. Where does it state that this will not happen. Do you know what happened to the old Makiminato Housing? In that area, how many people are working there? How much money does that area generate yearly? I have no numbers for you on this, but I can guarentee you that there are more jobs in that area, and more money generated in that area then when it was base housing. Beat that.

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Maybe some venture capitalist could buy Futenma, and convert it into a Disney Dream cruise port? Everyone seems to be wishing upon a star.

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gurukun. What new businesses? Where is that investment coming from? What industry? Who will pay for it? How will it generate jobs and revenue? And how can it match the existing job count and revenue streamed into Okinawa today?

Show me the details mate! So far all I hear from you is some abstract dream, I have solid money, jobs and benefits on the table. Can you beat these facts? I seriosly doubt it.

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A robust forward presence of U.S. military forces in Japan, including in Okinawa, provides the deterrence and capabilities necessary for the defense of Japan and for the maintenance of regional stability. Okinawa is of regional importance because of the southern island's proximity to China, Taiwan and the Korean peninsula and can be in any one of these locations in amtter of hours in an emergemcy. Chinas military strength and technology will challenge counties in the region. China claims the entire South China Sea and so far has shown little inclination to take into account the claims of others, especially Vietnam. China refuses to accept free movement in international waters close to its territory as well as recognize the role of other countries in territorial disputes. Chinas willingness to use force on the high seas is a warning to Vietnam and other asian countries who dispute China’s territorial claims...such as the Sea of Japan oil and gas deposits. Chinas aggressive behavior is causing countries such Vietnam, Singapore, Mayalasia, Indonesia and the Phillipines to modernize their military to counter Chinas regional power.

As Chinas military power continues to grow, will it use force or the threat of force? Yes. China has used force to integrate Tibet and Xinjiang and lists them as "core" national sovereignty interests, along with Taiwan. Recently, China put the South China Sea in the same "core" interest category and would not accept any interference in internal affairs. Its a matter of time before the region is again in conflict and turmoil. Japan needs the U.S. and so does Japans neighbors. What keeps Japan safe is the fact that the U.S. would declare WWIII on any country that would invade or throw missles on Japan....and that threat alone keeps the peace. So, the argument of 15,000 US service members keep S. Korea is valid...N. Koreas million man army hasnt invade the south...has it?? Because it knows the U.S. military would wipe them off the map. This article is pure opinion piece garabage with no insight into the facts...an wannabe armchair general wrote this article.

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And what about all the jobs in Okinawa that would disappear if the bases do.

And how many jobs would be created by constructing new businesses in the land mass that the bases take up now?

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Who is this writer? Some rabid right winger who fails even to understand that it is his country that benefits from this?

He talks about consensus, yet there is none. And what about all the jobs in Okinawa that would disappear if the bases do. What is you plan to employ those people and keep that money flowing in Okinawa?

I am tired of these uniformed writers going on about things they neither understand or bother to research properly.

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Ichya - They are not planning to build a new base to replace Futenma. Expansion of Schwab has always been the target. So your point is?

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@minello7-not sure what is decent or factual about it. In fact, if you are not on Okinawa or Okinawan, why are you bothering? The only thing I can agree with you is that they should not build a new base. They could move onto Kadena, Iwakuni, Atsugi or Yokota, not sure if they have the space, but hey, no reason to build a new base when you can just expand another one.

I know the Futema open base was packed, almost beyond capacity. They almost had to start turning Okinawan people away, because it was full.

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warallthetime, these days the US are Japan's paid protectors. I would never disagree with you about the crowd about the mirrors in the men's loo.

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That the chairman of the House Financial Services committee (Barney Frank) is against having US troops in Japan says something powerful. And his sexuality has nothing to do with the issue.

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She quoted Barney Frank LOL The man is hardly a reliable source for anything unless you are looking for tips on how to run a gay brothel out of your house. The U.S. military are guests of Japan. If Japan wants them out they should formally ask them to leave completely. But then will Japanese men step up and serve? The sad state of the current Japanese male is far more concerned with hair care products than he is military service.

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@ minello7...you are right. Leave Futenma as is.

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At last a decent article regarding Okinawa,from a Japanese.The headline is factual."Nonsense",is a word not used much in the media today,but it sums up politicians rhetoric.Although most of the posters here might dissagree with him,he seems to have got his facts right,maybe not 100%,depending on whether your American or Japanese. More factual articles like this from a Japanese point of view,preferably Okinawan would be welcome reading. "there should be no reclamation of Henoko’s pristine coastal waters" now that is something I think we all agree on. Thankyou Shimoji san.

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But the idea is a sheer nonsense because C-130 Hercules pilots cannot change the runways by sleight of hand when engaging in a touch-and-go flight practice, their routine at Futenma day and night.

Hey Shimoji you frikkin' brainiac,

Do you have Google Earth or some other aerial view of Futenma? If so, then take a look and count the number of runways. If not, then I'll help you. ONE. Futenma has ONE choice for take-offs and landings. There's no reason NOT to allow touch and go's because they're STILL going to have to take-off in that direction whether they perform a full stop or not.

Now consider a two-runway configuration as is proposed for the Camp Schwab facility: The arrangement is specifically to allow noise reduction and here's the EXTENSIVE MODIFICATIONS they'll have to do to make your argument pointless...

Insert the following into the airport operations manual: "Touch and Go's prohibited from both runways."

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They should know the Marines’ decades-old design since the 1960s to functionally integrate it with Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen, central and northern training areas, complete with new port facilities, thus solidifying and strengthening the function of those bases and also snugly expediting Washington’s policy to perpetuate the U.S. military presence here, has completely failed.

Now that's a run-on sentence!

But c'mon, there is no consensus in Okinawa. Go ask a few people and you'll find a bunch of opinions.

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I agree with djuice a million percent.

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Hey Shimoji, there is no consensus on Okinawa to outright move the base out. It still goes about 50/50. Just because the opposing group is louder and more obnoxious, doesn't give you a consensus. Further, you seem to lack political awareness for the region, as well as a lack of tactical insight.

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