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Does the U.S. need to have military bases anywhere in Japan?

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Yes, for the safety of Japan and safety of Japan's neighboring countries.

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The question is phrased wrong it should read does japan need to have US military bases in itself? anyways I personally think that it serves the US interest to maintain a reasonable presence in the region but could also benifit from lowering its own profile.

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Im sure Japan can handle itself. America cant be the world police forever. Let the UN do the peacekeeping. We should worry about America and not everyone else. Wasteful spending is what that is. Then again, that extra money would probably go to Iraq.

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"Yes, for the safety of Japan and safety of Japan's neighboring countries."

No this isn't 1945. Today it's for the safety of Japan, US Interests in EAst ASia and all allied democratic countries. This doesn't include China or NKorea.

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No

Its not required for any country to be protecting, or staying in another country.

But its not going to change anytime soon.

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Nippon5- Heck!! You are totally wrong.he US is the worlds policeman. Protecting countries like Japan from the bad guys. The US is the good guy, don`t forget, unselfishly making the world safer for all.

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The short answer appears to be 'no'. What is the US protecting Japan from? It appears more likely that the military bases are just another way of asserting and maintaining US dominance, a modern form of imperialism.

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blaze524; Heck!! This is the USA your talking about, the good guys, ok!! The US is in Japan to protect Asia and to spreed freedom and peace. The do a gret job, Japan should show some gratitude.

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What is the US protecting Japan from?

You obviously don't reside in Japan or anywhere in Asia.

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Yes, the US needs to have military bases in Japan to watch out for its own interests. Same reason it needs to have military bases in Europe.

Whether Japan needs to have US military bases is a different question, of course.

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Precisely. It's like saying I lent you my microwave and so I have an interest in making sure that you don't misuse it. So now you have to give me access to your house by arranging for me a room to live in. It isn't really in your best interest to have me there.

Undecidedabout08: can you be more specific? Your comment doesn't address my question.

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blaze524; The Japanese government wasnt the US military in Japan, for security, keeping the peace, and for spreading US, Japan goodwill.

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"Whether Japan needs to have US military bases is a different question, of course."

Not at all. Unless Japan is prepared to become a nuclear power. Which it can very easily physically but just doesn't want to mentally. As long as Japan wants to stay under the US nuclear umbrella they get our bases with the package. So far for the last 60 years Japan has found it to be to their benefit, and even moreso during the last 10-15 years with even greater integration between the JDSF and US forces.

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Nippon5 at 08:57 AM JST - 4th August

No

Its not required for any country to be protecting, or staying in another >country.

But its not going to change anytime soon.

We'll see if you feel the same way the next time the North Koreans start firing missiles or snatch a few Japanese. Disputes arise easily and when national pride is involved, escalate easily. Having a deterrent helps both sides from going too far.

Japan is still very much a controlled country. The media runs the government line. Just look at the heavy handedness of police recently during the summit. Disagreement is not liked. So maybe the bases in Japan are for others safety as well.....................

Jav

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I have spoken to some Japanese and they think that its great that the US military is in Japan. They said it keeps Japan peaceful.

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JeromeInJapan; You must be mixing with the rigt circle of friends. Generally the people against the US presence are, right wing nut jobs, communists, and Japanophiles.

Japanese as a majority are gratfull to be protected by such kind and law abiding troops. Imagine if we wern`t in Japan, Asia would be communist, Fact.

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colonialism seldom works and actually destabilizes the region. Japan/China/Korea and other Asian nations should be working together more in order to get over the past.

Reality: Look at the China Olympic Games. -Few Japanese are willing to travel to it. These are sad facts, and opportunities wasted.

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We'll see if you feel the same way the next time the North Koreans start firing missiles or snatch a few Japanese. Disputes arise easily and when national pride is involved, escalate easily. Having a deterrent helps both sides from going too far.

Japan is still very much a controlled country. The media runs the government line. Just look at the heavy handedness of police recently during the summit. Disagreement is not liked. So maybe the bases in Japan are for others safety as well.....................

Jav

I served in Yokosuka in the US Navy and I live in Japan and no we dont need to be here.. Dont get need and want confused.. You need water and air, but you dont need fancy clothes and a sports car... Japan doesnt need Nuclear weapons nor the protection of the US nuclear weapons. If someone was to attack Japan with a nuclear weapon we can launch from anywhere and respond so the nuclear umbrella is just jargon. I have no fear of North Korea why would I? Do you fear North Korea in the States? I didnt fear them there either.. Having military people stationed in other countries doesnt make them safer from missle attack or nuclear attack..

As far as Japanese people liking or disliking US military here it depends who you talk to ... Most of the Japanese I know dont have a problem with the military here... But I have also had to walk out of the base with 10000 Japanese yelling go home Yankee...

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its simply a cost benefit scenario

at what cost and at what benefit

IMHO the cost is not worth the benefit

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I served three of my years in the Navy here and have long thought the permanent U.S. military unnecessary. That being said, until Japan is willing to make the necessary changes to its constitution, as well as getting the public out of its dreamy peace condition for the past 60 years and accept that the Japanese people themselves should be responsible for the great bulk of this nation`s security, nothing will really change.

It is easier and cheaper to continue paying the "sympathy budget" each year, with the majority of the money supporting thousands of Japanese workers on the bases, and construction jobs that the Japanese benefit from as well.

It is easier to buy weapons from the U.S., and, in many cases, do licensing agreements with the U.S. to eventually provide big money/jobs for Japanese at companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

When it is all said and done, I think most of the Japanese like the status quo.

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This is too difficult a question to answer in short. If there are no US military bases in Japan, Japan will have to rearm. I think Japan should.

In order for Japan to repent completely for past deeds and war crimes while returning to the fold as an equal partner in peace with her Asian neighbors, a seemingly monstrous contradiction must occur. Japan will be obliged to renounce her pacifist constitution – specifically Article 9 of the constitution – and create her own standing army so that she can become a normal independent nation, pursuing her own independent foreign policy and interests.

Until Japan does renounce Article 9, she will never be able to come out from under the US security umbrella and, in turn, be able to create and maintain relations with her neighbors on an equal footing. Japan must create her own military again in order to rid herself of US occupation and control.

Nevertheless, the notion of renouncing her pacifist constitution understandably causes Japan’s neighbors to become very nervous due to Japan’s past Asian aggression. This is the paradox of Japanese remilitarization.

Today’s Japan is at a crossroads. The US security umbrella that Japan has lived under these past 60 years often hampers relations between Japan and her neighbors. Japan’s economic relations with those neighbors hum along at a fantastic rate, while her political relations are constantly hindered by political stumbling at home and Japan’s security agreement with America. Even though many Japanese are beginning to think that staunchly supporting the United States is not a good idea with over 75 percent "quite dissatisfied" with Japan’s support of the illegal invasion of Iraq, Japan today is at the beck and call of the American empire.

But what can Japan do about the current situation? Many people in Japan feel that the US-Japan security agreement is an outdated and ill-fitting rented suit that must be changed. But how?

One solution was presented by the former Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi. Koizumi wwanted to revise Article 9 of the constitution that renounces Japan maintaining a standing military. As former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said, "(Revising Article 9) would make Japan a ‘normal country’ that can share responsibilities and cooperate with the world …" Even though some politicians like Nakasone are also against prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, this policy of revising the Japanese constitution has drawn much criticism from China, Korea, and the Japanese Left.

Also, though many countries and groups object to any proposed changes to Japan’s pacifist constitution, would these changes signal a hard-right shift in Japanese politics? Would these revisions put still more strain on a China already under enormous pressure from a very belligerent United States? Would a remilitarized Japan be what the US empire really wants?

Not necessarily. Incredibly, in the long run, a Japan with a foreign policy independent of the United States just might be much better at reducing Asian-Pacific tensions than a Japan that is a lap-dog of the USA.

In many ways, this entire matter is merely a problem of semantics. Japan’s Self-Defense Force is currently called Jieitai; the name of this force is to be changed to Jieigun, which translates into Self-Defense Army. To westerners, this may seem like a minor detail. But in a country that is filled with contradictions and has a language that holds hundreds of words meaning the same thing, albeit with slightly different nuances, this minor change can lead to major changes, depending on how it is interpreted. Would this change confirm that Japan is rearming and could pose a threat to her Asian neighbors once again? Or is this just another enigmatic problem of modern Japan that requires deeper consideration of the psyche and linguistics of today’s Japanese nation?

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution states:

"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

As of 2004, Japan is already in the world’s top five in military spending. Will changing Japan’s military status make any real difference? Does Japan having her own military spell trouble for China or Korea? Leftists and some critics say that it does. But after researching this issue, I have to conclude that it does not. I have become convinced that the only way Japan will ever be able to free herself from US control and handle her own foreign affairs with all of her Pacific neighbors as an equal partner will be to renounce Article 9.

Many of Japan’s neighbors complain that Japan accedes to the USA’s every wish and whim. I’d have to agree with that; in fact I complain about it as much as anyone. But I would add that if Japan’s Asian neighbors want Japan to get away from the US security umbrella, then they have to expect that Japan will want to be treated as an equal partner in all discussions and problems.

Thus, Japan escaping from the US security agreement is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, an independent Japan can take a dissenting opinion to the USA on Asian disputes. On the other hand, Japan will have to have her own military to do so. To this very day, Japan is treated as a junior in all aspects of her relations with all of her Pacific neighbors. China, Korea, and the rest of Asia will have to realize that they cannot have their cake and eat it too.

The Japanese are a very pragmatic people. An independent Japan will require an independent Japanese military. To expect Japan to leave the US security agreement without having a standing military of her own is absurd. No politicians in any country would last in office for an hour if they allowed their country to fall into the precarious position whereby its national or economic interests could not be protected in an emergency. To think that any country's politicians could is completely ignorant.

In spite of what you may read in the mass media, Japan is still under US occupation. Undeniable evidence of this can be found in the fact that Japan doesn’t even fully control her own airspace or her own territorial waters.

For example, for over the last 22 years Japan has been begging the United States to give her back the airspace above and around areas of Tokyo. Here is an extract from an article entitled U.S. to return part of Yokota airspace that appeared in the Japan Times on March 12, 2006.

"The United States has basically agreed to return part of the airspace over Yokota Air Base in Tokyo as part of the realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan, informed sources said Saturday.

"The basic agreement is expected to alleviate the overcrowding caused by the 470 commercial flights that must take detours around the so-called ‘Yokota RAPCON (Radar Approach Control)’ area each day.

"The Yokota RAPCON covers the airspace above Tokyo and eight prefectures – Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Niigata, Nagano and Shizuoka. The military airspace is 7,000 meters high at its northern part and 3,700 to 5,500 meters in its southern part near Tokyo.

"Flights bound for western regions, such as Chugoku and Kyushu, have to ascend to avoid entering the banned airspace, while flights originating from those regions must make a detour south of Yokota, according to the transport ministry.

"The agreement, however, will effectively shelve Japan’s request for the complete return of the airspace, which it has been seeking since the 1980s."

You’ve heard of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq having an illegal "no-fly zone" imposed on it, but I bet you didn’t know until now that the USA still enforces one over Japan.

After reading the above, is there anyone who believes that US occupation of Japan ended in 1952? Today, there are over 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan. In a recent survey, 63 percent of the Japanese people wanted the US troops out. The US military is a huge financial strain on Japan.

Another article that appeared on Japan’s Kyodo newswires on March 12, 2006 reported that the US was returning three military bases on Okinawa to Japan. Kyodo also reported that Japan looks set to cover the broken down empire’s $8 billion estimated cost of removing 7,000 US marines from Okinawa and sending them to Guam. (I calculate that at $1.14 million per marine.) Many Japanese wonder why Japan must pay for the removal of US troops from Japanese territory to another US colony in the Pacific.

The choice is clear: the only way Japan can become a normal country, treated as an equal by her Pacific neighbors, is to walk along the very same road her neighbors do. It would be a wonderful thing if every nation in the world would have a constitution that renounced military force and prohibited a standing army; it would be fantastic if war were abolished forever, but that is not the way things are. Japanese pacifists will blast me for stating this opinion, but as I have written about many times, the Japanese are, in many ways, very romanticist. It is a lovely and artful, heartwarming way to be, but unfortunately it is not the way the world works.

Would a remilitarized Japan, free of US control, become more neighborly with China and Korea? Considering economic trends and business ties, one would hope and strongly suspect so. But, either way, in order to investigate those possibilities, Japan must escape from the grasp of the US.

Japan’s goal should be to rid herself of US occupation and control. After that, in order to maintain peace, Japan will have to negotiate with her Asian neighbors on an equal footing in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. Unfortunately, because of the way things are done, to do so will require Japan to change her pacifist constitution more in line with the way everyone else does things. In order for Japan to become friendlier with her Asian sisters, she will once again have to support a military, like a normal country. It is fact-of-life. It is unfortunate that Japan must support a military to do so. It is most fortunate if doing so allows her to return to her Asian family.

In this insane world, every normal country has a military. A normal country honors its military dead. That is the tightrope walk for Japan’s politicians today: Japan must fulfill the requirements of any normal country while reassuring her neighbors of peaceful intentions.

This is the huge paradox of Japanese remilitarization.

So the question "Does the U.S. need to have military bases anywhere in Japan?" and "Does Japan need to have US military bases" is, without a doubt, an entirely different question, of course.

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I'd prefer the US here over Japan having a huge military once again.

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No, we do not need US military bases in Japan or anywhere in the world. They boost the prostitute industry only.

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ExPrinceska; Has the US or someone from the US hurt youn in the past.

You seem to have strong hatred for the US, who are in Japan to keep it free, and protect the nation from unpredictable neighbours. The US troops often do unselfish acts of kindness for the Japanese community, which barely reports it.

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Japan has Gamera and Ultraman protecting it. Sometimes Godzilla and Rodan have teamed up to defend Japan. And let's not forget about Mothra (if the natives can wake up the sleepy giant moth). These are formidable forces that both act act as deterrents and provide a powerful defense against invaders, including those from other galaxies. In light of this - no, US military bases are not necessary in Japan.

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USA Patriot, I do not hate American people just their government's foreign policy and the injustified wars...sorry if I offended you, as a US pattriot. Az a person from US maybe you do not have the same view as me, but please put yourself in the shoes of the people who have suffered by American military interventions. Maybe you will understand then that not everybody is happy with American foreign policy...

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Ex, Princeska; Heck!! American foreign policy is all about promoin freedom, security to the world. The reason the US has bases in Japan, is so Asia remains peacefull and Japan has security.

The USA is a force for good. We are the good guys.

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Hairforest - Get a life!!!

What would happen to places like Roppongi without the US military here?

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People who worry about "communism" are lunatics. Since there is no such government in existence today (nor for the last few millenia), it's a non-issue.

It's far more relevant to worry about totalitarian powers that would invade Japan at the first chance (or, in the case of NK, try to destroy it).

The US forces act as a significant reminder that there will be consequences.

The other thing to consider is that Japan is officially not a free country. The terms of the surrender are the reason they do not keep a military force other than for domestic defense. This certainly has given them a leg up on spending money for other things.

Just think how powerful (and good) the US would be if BushCo hadn't blown several generations of national finances to line his own pockets.

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Naruki Oni; China and North Korea are communist states.

The Us is protecting Japan from evil regimes like that.

Bush has not blown any finances, the economy has grown every year under5 BUsh.

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What would happen to places like Roppongi without the US military here?

I guess you'll just have to pick up the slack for us Serindipity. ;)

BTW did I miss something; isn't the correct spelling "serendipity"?

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USANutter: they are not. They are allegedly Socialist states, just like Russia was, but in reality they are just totalitarian states.

That you confuse Communism with Socialism is not surprising, given that you confuse crushing debt with growing economy.

I want to give you points for something, but you can't even spell US without screwing up the capitalization.

The US is protecting its own interests, we are not protecting anyone from "evil". That's not our job, or else we'd be in Darfur right now.

As an aside, anyone who has to put "Patriot" in their name is most likely not. You are a fine example.

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I don't believe we need U.S. Military bases in Japan. A waste of U.S. taxpayer money, and if China attacks let Japan figure out what to do by themselves.

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China is about as likely to attack Japan as Iraq was about to attack the USA. Nowadays, China is more capitalistic than socialist and Japan is an important trading partner. North Korea is not a threat either. Don't let the media reports fool you.

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Naruki Oni; If you can`t see the danger from the countris you must not know about their ambitions.

The US is the only country that can keep thm at bay, and keep the free states of Asia free. Us does this , to spread freedom and ensurepeace in Asia. Wow! What a generous country we are.

I am a total patriot buddy! Way to go USA!!!!

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USAPatriot

Good post. it is obvious we are in Japan to ensure peace and to allow the Japanese to have a good economy.

How people cannot see these facts is scary.The communist evil ones do not scare the USA. WE can Nuke them to oblivion in minutes.

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The answer is very simple. Continue to outsource the military to America so we can all get on with talking about food and saying "oishii" to each other.

...up until North Korea finally drops the big one on Tokyo...

I'm moving to Hakata.

I asked a couple of Japanese people at work about re-arming and the constitution and you know the answer. Basically in Typical Japanese fashion, no one had ever given it any serious thought. The topic quickly changed to what oishii food we would have for lunch...

<sigh>

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USA!Patriot: no, you don't see that. Or, rather, you didn't see that while the comment was visible.

What you saw was me being unable to decide if you were serious or trolling. What your brain may have changed that into is something else, but the facts were quite clear.

A troll would post comments like yours that ignore valid points in order to incite a flamewar. The problem is, so do rabid rightwingers.

Darfur will not be dealt with until the Administration finds a natural resource they want to exploit. History tells us this is so.

A true patriot would not worship the man who is raping his own country just because that man is of the same political party.

A true US patriot would be one who understands the strengths of the Constitution and works to defend that. Anyone who supports Bush, by that definition, is NOT a US patriot. Bush would happily wipe his butt with the Constitution if he could figure out how to get it out of the case.

Japan is a protectorate of US because it is in the US' best interests to have it so. We aren't doing it to fight evil. To make that claim, when there is so much worse evil in the world that the US is terrified of touching, is the sign of a very blind man indeed. Patriots are not blind men, and you are not a Patriot.

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seimei, when NK finally develops a big one, they most likely will drop it on themselves by accident.

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"If China attacks let Japan figure out what to do by themselves"

Heck, if we'd just let Europe figure out what to do when Hitler attacked...

"The USA is a force for good. We are the good guys."

That's obvious. But because we are so powerful and influential, we are despised by some, as you can see here.

doyoushinohi ( 1:09pm ) - Har!

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What a stupid question. If our bases were not in Japan then South Korea, and possibly even Japan, would not exist as they do today. Our continued military presence in these countries is vital to their security and independence. That was the case half a century ago and it is still the case today. The military and geographical significance of these bases has not changed either, which makes them a need for the US. Without these bases we would not be able to maintain military presence or leverage in East Asia and the Middle East. They are certainly not a waste of American tax dollars.

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What a stupid question! Of course the U.S. doesn't need to have any military bases in Japan or Korea. We can let the Chinese, the Russians and the North Koreans rule that region of the world.

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US go home, Iraq or Afghanistan is a better place for US soldiers...

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Absolutely. If someone in the region acts up, they need some comeuppance, and the USA will be here to deliver the Word of God.

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Yes, the US is looking for prospective new candidates for statehood.

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Following all the responses on this thread is very eye-opening, a lot of good points and interesting rebuttals. It is a bit of a loaded question though. It could read the does the Japanese military need to have bases anywhere in Japan? Either way, the combined training efforts between JMSDF and the US forces kinda answers YES to the question. If you ask the local businesses and the MLC's/IHA's that work on the bases , I am sure you will get a unanamious yes they need to stay. The US does stimulate the local economy. In the big picture, with the future reduction of forces here in Japan, we should definitely retain a foot print to help keep the security of Japan safe if a foriegn entity tries to take attack.

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Oh, yes--the USA is the "good guys" exporting their brand of fake democracy everywhere. It's called Imperialism and it stinks of world domination. The USA is not "Good"---just rich and powerful and likes to throw it's military weight around for the gain of the corporate profiteers--munitions, supplies for unnecessary troops abroad, all that equipment is VERY profitable. The USA should get its bases out of the worlds business, including Japan's. "protecting the world" is a BIG LIE!

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USAPatriot at 01:19 PM JST - 4th August

We are the good guys.

You might be a good guy, you might be even handsome, but you have to understand that wars without justification are bad. That is why most of the european countries do not want American bases. USA pays to corrupt governments to secure land for American bases abroad.

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if the focus is on japanese people safety then its better that the bases close, as with the Philippines. Crime would go down. Especially rape as we all have read about over the years.

The Army today announced a $40 million dollar rape education for its GIs. The odds of woman GI getting raped by a fellow GI are higher than her getting shot by the enemy. Same is probably true of the young woman, and old woman in some cases, who live around the seedy areas near US military bases in Japan.

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****Naruki Oni; If you can`t see the danger from the countris you must not know about their ambitions.

The US is the only country that can keep thm at bay, and keep the free states of Asia free. Us does this , to spread freedom and ensurepeace in Asia. Wow! What a generous country we are.

I am a total patriot buddy! Way to go USA!!!!

This is the most ridiculous and stupid commen i have read ever. Who gave americans the right to decide (help????!!!) wich country is in danger?, and who gave told them that they are the protector of the freedom of the world?. What freedom?. They are killing thousands of people in Irak, old people, children and women..., are they releasing them?.... II WW is over and Japan is not an american colony anymore, so why Japan should support american interests about China or the rest of Asia?, WITH OUR TAXES!!!. By the way everybody knows that the G.I's in american bases in Japan, most of them are ussually army's trash... all those that were trouble in other places, it means, anyway in case, they are no competent or responsable and its very easy to notice, always they do something stupid (being drunken, bothering women...). They should leave Japan... THEY MUST LEAVE JAPAN!!.

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So in one way they pretend to be a new version of the Roman Empire, so they pretend to be everywhere, looking everyone Non- maerican as barbarian..., good point about it is... as the Roma Empire fell down... they will too.

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Now, the US doesn't need to have bases in Japan, technically they weren't needed after the Occupation. The key issue is that the Japanese government wants them there, as they form one of the bases of Japan's defence policy. Given that Article 9 doesn't allow Japan to project military power outside its territory, I think it's good that the US military is there for that reason.

But the idea that the US bases are the only things keeping Japan free from invasion are laughable at best, offensive and condescending at worst.

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There are no daily mass protests against the bases by the Japanese. They want us here. They need us here. And by golly we will continue to be here to make it safe for you to be here.

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As long as there are actively hostile countries such as North Korea in the region the US Army will always be "welcomed" in Japan. The US strategically wants North Korea to stay hostile so they would always have justification for their existence.

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good point about it is... as the Roma Empire fell down... they will too.

Let us see, the US bases staged throughout the world are there for one reason. So we can hit any where in the world when we need to. Does the US need them? Yes...

Does the anti US crowd need us to be there? Yes

If we are not there to take care of their problems then who else would?

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"As long as there are actively hostile countries such as North Korea in the region the US Army will always be "welcomed" in Japan. The US strategically wants North Korea to stay hostile so they would always have justification for their existence."

I disagree with the above. England and Italy aren't exactly surrounded by hostile countries, but we are welcomed to maintain bases there.

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The answer is yes.

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If the US needs bases here, then they should pay for the land they're built on at market price. Soon find out how strongly they need to be here then.

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hairforest is right Japan should step up to the plate and join the nations of superpowers and renounce article 9. It is a joke that they are a pacifist nation anyway as they consistently rate in the top 3-5(depending on which year you look at) for Defense Expenditure for the last 10 years. The ability to make foreign policy decisions independent of the US with specific regards to North Korea would serve their interests best, since the abduction issue still has not been resolved. However, I don't believe that by renouncing article 9, that the bases would necessarily close. They would in all likelihood be re-aligned much in what is already planned for in 2016. Much like the US presence in Europe. The problem of your paradox is not whether the Japanese could or would do this; but rather whether their neighbors would tolerate their return to a normal military status. Especially with their immediate neighbors' (specifically Korea and China) recent violent nationalist tendencies that have sprung up over the last few years. The US presence assures its neighbors that Japan will itself not fall into that same trap of emotional nationalism and do something stupid.

As much as you US bashers like to spew invective of the "US empire and imperialism" your remembrance of history is short sighted. We are no angels and far from perfect in our past exploits and current support of authoritarian regimes; but we respect to any other empire in the history of the world: British, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Sultanate, Persian, Greek and etc. we have by far the best track record of peacefully returning sovereignty and maintaining a laissez-faire influence over the nations we "colonize" Yes it is so far from ideal, however our "cultural imperialism" over the world is the best thing we got in a "dog eat dog" world of imperfection, even with Bush's failed policies of the last 7 years.

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Let's use another way to describe this issue:

It's like that everyone wants to run his own business, but it's very difficult to do that so most of us work in a big company, then we don't need to worry about market competition or economic recession ....etc. Japan is working in " the US company " today! Japan did run it's own company some 70 years ago but failed and then decided to give up and join a big company. If you have saved some money and want to leave this company today then you take your risk/chance.... it's as simple as that!

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Wottock Hunt You expect the U.S. to buy all the land it uses for its bases at current market prices? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Heck, we don't even pay rent for our embassy in Akasaka! Well, maybe we are now, but for a long time we didn't pay. But, seriously, if we vacated all the bases, not only would that destabilize the area to the extent that you might have to move back to green and pleasant England, the locals would move in and ruin them by ripping out all the grass around the buildings and putting the buildings right next to the streets like in the rest of the country! Cripes!

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It was good to have them there for a while. But with recent Tension & Stupid people who commit a crime, & ruin it for MOST good Americans. we should withdraw Most of our forces 90% - 80% But let the Japanese know that IF North korea tries anything stupid WE will be there to Help & defend Japan. as a Very strong ally. we need to keep our Friendship at its Strongest & Best.

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Did the US leave Clark and Subic because they were asked to? It was politically and militarily expedient for them to protect their Asian assets elsewhere. When the scenario becomes similar in Japan, they will leave.

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The advantage of having foreign military bases on my soil shares our risk with our partners. Im happy if my taxes contribute to that.

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No, the US does not need to have military bases anywhere in Japan, however the current agreements in place require the US to defend Japan against certain military attacks. If Japan feels it is up to the task to once again defend it's own shores, then they should tell the US to please leave.

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Japan need the US, otherwise the Japanese relations with its neighbours could cause WWIII. Japan is not diplomatic enough to prevent upsetting its neighbours constantly. Only the presence of US troops prevent a full blown war. Other Asian countries know if they cause any trouble, will can nuke them back to the stone age, to protect freedom.

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NO WAY. World war 2 as been over for 63 years. Do we have bases in America? Get the warmongers out of Japan and ASIA. Without a war they have nothing. They are in IRAQ murdering innocent people who have done nothing to them.

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13akio13; Heck!! That is unpatriotic anti American talk, are you one of the bad guys? The US is protecting Japan from the threat of evil that is communism. America is not warmongers they are peace makers and freedom givers.

The US is in Iraq to bring freedom, it has already provided democracy.

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Maybe the Americans don't talk about it, but aren't they also there in case Japan militarizes in a direction they don't like?

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"Maybe the Americans don't talk about it, but aren't they also there in case Japan militarizes in a direction they don't like?"

Certainly that was true post WWII. But Japan re-militarizing in the way it did in the first half of the 20th century is practically impossible. The US has been trying to normailze their military since the Korean War without success.

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Did the US leave Clark and Subic because they were asked to? It was politically and militarily expedient for them to protect their Asian assets elsewhere. When the scenario becomes similar in Japan, they will leave.

Yes they did... And the Phillipino goverment went down economically and hasnt ever come back up, the people in those areas are in horrid financial condition..

NO WAY. World war 2 as been over for 63 years. Do we have bases in America? Get the warmongers out of Japan and ASIA. Without a war they have nothing. They are in IRAQ murdering innocent people who have done nothing to them.

And tell me which country you come from that hasnt attacked another??? Japan? Germany? England? you name the country and at one time in recent history they have invaded and killed allot more people in thier attempts to take over countries to rule. Warmongers my butt, Americans are not that and never will be. As for Iraq, if the UN would of let us finish the job in the early 90s we wouldnt be having this talk now would we?

Maybe the Americans don't talk about it, but aren't they also there in case Japan militarizes in a direction they don't like?

Not really as the American goverment has provided all military equipment and weapons for Japan. Naval wise Japan is as modern as American. If Japan was to turn towards an aggresive stance military wise the people of Japan would stop it as they dont want a repeat of the past.

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I think Japan needs to have some military bases in the U.S.

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Most Japanese support a US presence. I'm guessing that's why we are still in Japan.

Democracy, how the int'l Left loathes it...

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USAPatriot.

Good post!! The bases are needed as part of th US strategy to bring freedom and democracy to the world. The US does great good by its presence. What would happen if it was a Japanese army instead, doesn`t bear thinking about, does it?

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Military is needed in a dangerous area Asia, and the US is the only power that can keep the peace.

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First, everyone in this world knows I am very pro Ryukyuan and I jus know that should we leave, the Japanese will take over the whole of the Ryukyu Islands. This not true of the rest of the lands taken from Japan by the Cairo Accords and I know that Russian and most of Asia will never return the lands taken from them. I also am aware that Japan is sending a thousand Japanese a month to The Ryukyu Islands and soon there will be more Japanese there, than Ryukyuans. Other-wise I do feel that all American Forces should be returned home. 63 years is too long for our troops to protect our other wise enemy from the rest of Asai.

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the U.S. needs more bases in Japan, nuclear ships offshore, and Drones. Only thru 100% strategic coverage can they protect Japan from the Neo-Coms and Liberals. And they need to be protected from the crap Hollywood movies also.

I say 500,000 troops, a few thousand drones, and 3 nuclear carriers.

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hairforest, you are right on some points.

Nevertheless, the notion of renouncing her pacifist constitution understandably causes Japan’s neighbors to become very nervous due to Japan’s past Asian aggression. This is the paradox of Japanese remilitarization.

It is nice to be concerned about what your neighbors say, but the bottom line is that Japan must be able to forge ahead. If they renounce Article 9, that does not mean that the next move is to declare war or start an arms race with China. It just means that Japan is taking a step to provide for their own security, and not rely totally on the US.

I think that if Japan were to take a more proactive (not agressive) role in her defense, then the US could draw down some of the forces that we have here.

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The question should be reversed. Does Japan need US bases. My answer is no. Their presence in the past only made Japan vulnerable to attack. The bases are useless now with the cold war over. Japan has no enemies. It was do far better as a neutral nation like Sweden.

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If Japan was to turn towards an aggresive stance military wise the people of Japan would stop it as they dont want a repeat of the past.

nippon5

you clearly dont know much about your average Tanaka, if Jpn ever got to that stage the people wud do NOTHING, this is one of the dangers of Jpn, look at what the LDP do to their own country/people & the people do NOTHING, except re-elect them, notice the pattern

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I don't think the U.S needs to.

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yeah, why not? the US absolutely need military bases in japan. so that she can keep her eyes + WMD really close to China, and N.K.

but do ordinary japanese need the US military bases anywhere in Japan? i don't know! but J-gov seem to want it so bad!

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GW..

Everyone belives what they want, my Japanese friends are not drones to any politicians, and dont just follow. My wife is Japanese and she doesnt just follow, so maybe its just your friends;) I dont see Japanese people coming togother to produce weapons, joining the army to fight when most belive in peace not war... But hey I could be wrong thats why its an Opinion and not history.

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Japan has no enemy in the cold war area? Ha, ha...it is such a naive way of understanding the world at large. By the way, the neutral country is Switzerland, not Sweden. Without U.S military bases, Japan would slowly being swallowed by the Chinese, Korea(s) and Russian. They would harass and choke Japan into submission to their domain. Japan can be strong, neutral and peaceful through a good diplomacy. The world is getting to respect Japan over the years. U.S helps Japan to be free and prosper as the world is moving in the scene of a global village. Do not sell your soul to weakness.

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USAPatriot; " Badsey; The US does not need more military in Japan. However Taiwan may be a good place for some bases. That would keep the chinese in check. Hee Hee! "

Booooo~~ it's easier said than done! the US don't even dare to let Taiwan president visit the US without China's 'APPROVAL', no mention to set up bases. And let me know when and where the US ever beat China's Amy after WWII? I personally still quite like America if you don't keep Heck!! Heck!! Heck!!

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yosun; Bush has no fears over China , nor does McCain. If they step out of line they will be nuked back to the stone age, and they know it.

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Does the U.S. need bases in Japan? Oh yes - so that it can continue to kid itself that it is a regional power in Asia, when it plainly isn't. It suits the Japanese just fine to have their defence bills paid by the gullible US taxpayer, as well.

USAPatriot - I'm not sure McCain's very likely to be in a position to do anything about China, except as a private citizen. As for your macho-man stuff about bombing people back to the "stone age" - I seem to remember that phrase being used once before - in a war that you lost, against a country which is still a communist one.

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Basically, until the J-gov repeals article 9, the US will stay. I think the US will gradually reduce its presence over the next 5 to 20 years. Maybe down to zero. But it's really up to the Japanese.

Addiu

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What about other countries who have troops stationed in other countries and used war and military might to take over those locations like Britian!!!! The difference is the US seems to give the area back to the people who they took it from and Britian holds on until they are ousted...

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I believe Japan is mature enough to handle its' own political matters. Japan must learn to get along better with its' neighbors. I have never understood why Asian people can't get along better. The hate between Japan/Korea/China is almost irrational = it cannot be explained thru logic and I don't think colonialism helps.

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Asia is still relatively unstable and Japan has shown it can take responsibility for itself by constantly increasing it's own self defense burden. However, Japan is also wise to continue to engage in the policy of 'collective defense'. Having foreign troops on your soil is the clearest statement of solidarity. Essentially, 'if you attack me, you attack my friends too'.

Collective defense along with the policy of mutually assured destruction has so far stopped all sides from taking their disputes too far.

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The US Military need to stay because Japan's way of thinking towards its Asian neighbours and its distorted view of history still can't be trusted.

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Does the U.S. need to have military bases anywhere in Japan?

Better question would be without changing the question much is....

Is it worth it to the U.S to keep military bases in Japan when Japan is now quite capable of her own self defense and re-arming her military to match all players in the region.

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USAPatriot: " Bush has no fears over China , nor does McCain. If they step out of line they will be nuked back to the stone age, and they know it."

Nuke war only guarantee all of the people kicked back to the stone age. however, Human nowadays are still not really far from barbarian, good thing is that a nuke winter probably can save the earth, and bad thing is that poor people may feel good to die together with the rich people.

I support that all of the nuke weapons on earth be destroyed, including those ones owned by China, the US, Russia.... etc.

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I am not sure if the US bases need to be in Japan or not. However, I do have a question. If the bases were to close how would it affect the ecomomy? I know when our local Air Force base closed many civilians lost their jobs. The closing nearly devasted the community. It was years before it bounced back. By the way, my brother really enjoyed his tour of duty in Japan. He visited many historical places while he was there. He saw many beautiful sites. I still enjoying looking at the photos. He was treated with much kindness and respect and in tern he was very respectful to all he met.

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I posted my comment to quickly. That last sentence needed to be rewritten. It is more than a little bit awkward. Sorry about that.

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We don't need bases here if the Japanese want to revise article 9 and have their own standing army. Otherwise yes we need bases because it's a dangerous neighborhood.

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OhioDonna, If the bases closed Okinawa's economy would be in quite a bit of trouble. Most Japanese I know favor the current system with the US providing guaranteed defense against China NK et al and favor keeping article 9 and the SDF as a defensive force only.

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The US doesn't "need" to have bases in Japan or a lot of other places, but it does help maintain US dominance in world affairs.

As for whether Japan "needs" Us bases, I believe despite the isolated scandals that hit the US bases (rapes, murders, etc.) and the noise pollution, the US bases have done more good than bad (at least in Japan). However, I believe Japan is fully capable of defending herself against North Korea, and despite tensions, I highly doubt Japan and China will ever come to blows.

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Sarge

"Heck, if we'd just let Europe figure out what to do when Hitler attacked..."

That is exactly what the US did do. Germany declared war on the US or had you forgotten the minor detail?

Hairforest

You leave very little to be said & I agree with you about 99% sadly as you can see many people really do still believe the rubish about the US protecting Japan. After the second world war the US created a series of defence rings around itself. For either the USSR or China to attack the US they would first have to go through these defence rings. It would have stopped them, but it would have expensively slowed them down. This is the prime reason the US nearly went to war with the USSR over bases in Cuba. The USSR had come right inside the final shield. Britain, Germay & Japan are military bases. Remember Britain was an ally of the US & yet they are still an occupied country today, & who are the US defending them from?

If you are an American I can well understand you believing what you were taught to believe, it is the drip drip feed of your education, but should you have the courage to step outside what you have been taught without feeling you are betraying your country, which you would not be doing, you might just be able to see the world & the US from a surprisingly different poiint of view. You are not seen as the worlds policeman, you are seen as a reckless threat to world peace who only ever act in your own self interest with little thought give to those you ask & expect support from.

Nobody (I hope) is damning the American people here, but we see an America that Americans seem to be blind to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

how do you know for certain that deutschland declared war on the us back in wwii? were you there in germany at the time? or is this the history channel?

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how do you know for certain that deutschland declared war on the us back in wwii?

Are you serious? It is a proven FACT that Germany declared war on the US, b/c,

a) they believed in their interests

b) they hoped the Japanese would reciprocate by attacking the USSR.

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Imagawa, "For either the USSR or China to attack the US they would first have to go through these defence rings. It would have stopped them, but it would have expensively slowed them down."

From the "but it would have slowed them down" I assume that you meant "it would not have stopped them" I can assure you that the Soviet Union and China did not have the potential power to land a significant number of troops in Japan at any time during the cold war once the US had established those bases, and given the closeness of Japan, it would have been a cakewalk compared to an attempted invasion of America. The Soviet Navy in the region lacked the power to do much of anything to its American counterpart, and the Chinese navy was more or less non-existent until after they broke with the USSR. The military bases in Japan were not placed there with the intention of preventing an invasion of America (which was unnecessary thanks to ICBMs) but rather with the intention of preventing the spread of communism, which was considered an threat to American interests, and therefore an indirect threat to American security. They did additionally provide security for Japan in the early years of the cold war when it was believed that it might fall to communism. Read up on the effects of the Yoshida Doctrine on Japan and see what that says about security arrangements and the economic results of American basing.

Which brings me to my opinion on the US military bases in general. As an American, I think that forward deploying military forces to East Asia is expensive and at this point the costs far outweigh the benefits. We do not need those bases anymore, Japan is unlikely to be invaded (and since its military budget is the 6th highest in the world, in case of conflict it could look after itself) and should a conflict with China occur over anything other than Japan (Taiwan is far more likely), the Japanese government would likely forbid the use of these bases in the war effort. Japan doesn't need them, we don't need them, and they are expensive. Why are they still there?

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To Imagawa:

If you are an American I can well understand you believing what you were taught to believe, it is the drip drip feed of your education, but should you have the courage to step outside what you have been taught without feeling you are betraying your country, which you would not be doing, you might just be able to see the world & the US from a surprisingly different poiint of view.

That statement is REALLY important. An American generally is kept in the dark of US Foreign Policy, and the screening in higher education is intense. If a student has no solid background/reason to be studying US Foreign Policy, many are pressured out. This occurs in first, second and third tier colleges, but the staff directs the screening. My background did help me get in and stay in certain classes. Also, my aptitude for it was sky high in certain categories, and students w/ outstanding skill(s) may be allowed. Also, some Professors must like the student views to go higher. However, it is a closed society and this is more evident at the highest levels. Thus, many Americans are kept out, and why soooo many do not understand why US Bases are in Japan - for example. It is a hard and a dangerous field depending on a student's background and strength of sponsor(s).

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The Funny Man

"but rather with the intention of preventing the spread of communism, which was considered an threat to American interests, and therefore an indirect threat to American security."

American security or American business? Is there in fact, for America, a difference?

You go on to say;

"I think that forward deploying military forces to East Asia is expensive and at this point the costs far outweigh the benefits. "

But hasn`t this alway been the case? The "fight" against communism was alawys going to be unwinnable when you are fighting against what a native population "believes" they want?

In any real sense I agree with you, but I believe the US has handled the last 60+ years so badly that they have lost trust where they had it and confirmed a lack of trust where that already existed.

The bases in Japan today have lost any meaning they might once have had and as such should be removed, for both the Japans and Americas sake.

Sorry but my keyboard seems to have gone totally mad, the keys have all changed and I have to give up. Sorry.

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Does the U.S. need to have military bases anywhere in Japan? - No...but Asia does. Though Japan has moved to a more modern society, many of the old people (especially those in J-gov) tend to be Oji-tarians(Old men doing only what they want to do without thought of those around them). This is not to say that the Japanese people are mean spirited but they tend to not be able to see past their noses.

So, to ensure that a military buildup does not happen in Asia (which Japan would aggrevate unintentionally), the U.S. is the best balancer and best credible powerbroker. Of course, we know, that Joe E-1 Marine is not the best diplomat and face of America but the total American military forces in Japan is diplomatically and respectfully of its host.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan...it's really hard to understand Japanese are civilized in terms of "humanity and dignity on themselves and others".

The US, the strong military power, the primitive measure is very useful and effective in this country, Japan.

Even China, Russia, and North Korea are eager to have the US military stationing in Japan.

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Bibric

Like most deep poets your words will not be understood in your life time. This sad but how it is.

Now can I ask are you for or against US bases in Japan?

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imagawa

I'm very sorry that at this point, I agree US has to station in Japan. Sorry about it. I know how hard it is to live under the foreign influence!

US military bases have caused numerous crimes to the innocent citizens in South Korea and Japan. Still many Cons want them in Korea. I strongly disagree with that. Yet, Japan...there are too many Cons like Korea..Sorry about that.

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Yes

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"Cost sharing in support of U.S. forces stationed on its territory remains Japan’s most significant responsibility sharing contribution. Indeed, its host nation support is the most generous of any U.S. ally, and consists of funding covered under both the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) and the Facilities Improvement Program (FIP). Japan’s cost sharing support for U.S. forces in 2000 was $5.0 billion, covering 78.9 percent of U.S. basing costs. "

So the answer is Yes.

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Imagawa, To a certain extent there is not a difference. Business (more specifically money) is always linked to political power. For America or any other country, money is a necessity for power, which is in turn a necessity for security. However, it is but one factor among many, and America has on occasion subordinated business and monetary interests to political factors. The effort poured into assisting the reconstruction of Japan after WWII and the protections accorded to Japanese business in order to allow it growth are examples of that. (look up the Yoshida doctrine to see just what American military engagement with Japan post WWII did for the economy)

Although they seem useless now, I disagree with your assertion that the bases were always that way. They proved extremely helpful in the Korean war, a war which significantly aided Japan's economy, and which did succeed in preventing the spread of a brutal communist regime. They also proved useful in the symbolic containment of Soviet power throughout the Cold War. Only after the Cold War ended did they lose their utility.

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TheFunnyMan.

"The bases in Japan today have lost any meaning they might once have had and as such should be removed, for both the Japans and Americas sake."

"they might once have had"

I think, though for different reasons, we were in agreement.

I would add that I think Bibric wants the bases in Japan so as to keep them out of Korea, but still close to hand should South Korea need a little helping hand.

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I think we (the US) needs some bases in Japan, but at a reduced level, and in different areas. Okinawa, while strategic, is a Cold War relic. China is growing stronger by the day, and if the US military is stretched fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, than it certainly is not prepared for China re-taking Taiwan by force (one of the reasons often cited for keeping a base in Okinawa was to protect Taiwan). The Soviet Union is dead and gone, and really, the only country in the area that would start a war (where the US could beat it) is North Korea. I think the US should withdraw a lot of the personnel to Guam, and make a new base in the Tohoku region of Honshu, say in Akita ken. Heck, the towns up there are dying out, so a military base could be economically beneficial to the area.

Before people shout off about Okinawa's strategic importance, remember, on paper, China's got the US by the b@#$s. The economic ties are too important now with China to risk a war. Like it or not, China is in the driver's seat for unification with Taiwan. It's a matter of time before China gets the political or military clout to unify the island with the mainland.

In Tohoku, however, there is more space for a base (Okinawa is cramped), it is closer to the Dear Leader's Socialist Paradise (obvious sarcasm), and, if the need arose, Russia. The US would still be maintaining it's security pacts with Japan and South Korea, and we could finally be rid of the festering, money-bleeding problem that is Okinawa.

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The bases are needed to secure the US' commercial and political interests in the area. While there's a quantifiable advantage to be had, the US will cajole, bully or buy influence and resources wherever and whenever it can.

As a smaller player in the game of risk, I'm sure the Japanese government asks itself where its own best interests lie on a daily basis. For now it's in Japan's commercial and political interests to ally with the US and keep the bases. Having said that, with the growing commercial and political influence of China, India and Russia, that link must be weakening.

As for the bases ongoing influence on security, not much, barring something kicking off in Taiwan or North Korea I doubt much will change. For the aforementioned new players, the 'long game' is being played out in Africa and South America.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If there are no U.S. bases in Japan, then Japan will need to have more weapons and troops, since some of its neighbors aren't all that friendly. If Japan has more weapons and troops, there are just enough right wing nutcases in politics to get the country back into an aggressive, antagonistic philosophy, despite what the Japanese people want, and there goes the peace and stability in the region. The U.S. has forgotten this point, or believes the nature of the politicians have changed, so they've been pushing Japan to expand their military capabilities, but in my opinion this is a mistake. There have always been peace-loving people in Japan, but those people won't be the ones who choose whether or not to enter into armed conflict.

So yes, the U.S. needs to have bases in Japan. There are drawbacks for both countries, but bases are needed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This question will be easily answered if/when the North Koreans start lobbing missiles over here in thier last ditch effort to take as much with them when they go down.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's great for the japanese, they save billions of dollars each year from having to pour into their defense budget, all thanks to the U.S taxpayer dollars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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