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Views on U.S. bases shift in Okinawa

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By Mathias CENA

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Base-related crime, accidents and pollution are potent irritants for Okinawa's 1.5 million residents.

Same old bull

Only crimes committed by U.S. military irritate them. See the need now, do you? You'd have been speaking Chinese decades ago if it weren't for the U.S. presence.

0 ( +24 / -24 )

A couple of weeks ago, the PM was reported saying that he hopes he will "gain the understanding" of people in Okinawa.

Now, we have a report on how "opinion is changing".

Hmm

Xi Jinping is as vicious as deluded super power leaders get, but what exactly has he done recently to change the minds of Okinawans?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Thanks for the narrative shift, AFP!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

A ballistic missile fired over a highly populated region from a hostile dictator will definitely give perspective.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Propaganda :-)

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Campaign has started lol

0 ( +5 / -5 )

"Views on U.S. bases shift in Okinawa"

Just more propaganda trying to convince people they don't really feel the way they feel. And if the base moves, wait until they discover all of the poisons left behind in the ground which is one of the most routine characteristics of U.S. military bases both domestic and offshore occupation. And then one of the more pristine areas of Okinawa will be destroyed for no benefit to anyone except the Major Stockholders in the United States. If China wanted Okinawa, they would have taken it six hundred years ago while Japan was busy murdering each other and invading Korea. Unlike the U.S. and Japan, China doesn't invade, it trades. If China were an invasive culture, not only would Okinawa be speaking Chinese, EVERYONE in Japan would be also and for centuries.

See the need now, do you? You'd have been speaking Chinese decades ago if it weren't for the U.S. presence.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

There was a shift in views that's why the gov was reelected

1 ( +5 / -4 )

“Only crimes committed by U.S. military irritate them.”

US servicemen behave quite differently when they are stationed in Germany or other European countries. They commit far fewer violent crimes in those countries. The resentment Okinawans feel is understandable.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Hope we can move towards an America free future with total military independence without western interference in Asia.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

solution is simple.pack your things and go back home.you are not needed and not welcomed here.come back but only as tourist,not occupying force.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

But "if we think about the security of Japan and of east Asia, the presence of bases on Okinawa is inevitable in a way," he told AFP. "A lot of people of our generation recognize that reality."

Smart man. We have only China to thank for this. Xie Xie.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

MocheakeToday  04:50 pm JST

Base-related crime, accidents and pollution are potent irritants for Okinawa's 1.5 million residents.

Same old bull

Only crimes committed by U.S. military irritate them. See the need now, do you? You'd have been speaking Chinese decades ago if it weren't for the U.S. presence.

As anti-CCP as I am, I'm afraid that is bull as well. The US hasn't been in Okinawa until 1945. Prior to that, the Qing Dyasty (China) was defeated by Japan in 1895. The Republic of China at the end of WWII was in no shape to "invade Okinawa" as they were fighting the Mao's Communists. After 1949 when the PRC was established, they were in no way capable of invading Okinawa. They couldn't even take Taiwan. So no, Okinawans would not have been speaking Chinese without the US military presence.

The US presence in Okinawa is absolutely needed by Japan for it's own security today in the face of China, North Korea and Russia. It is also absolutely needed by the US as the largest logistical hub and US military presence in Asia. The anti-US Base crowd are either naive or CCP influenced. You know, the same ones who constantly repeat that Japan is still "occupied".

There is no excusing US service members committing any kind of crimes in our host nations, the rules of which are set forth in the SOFA. Those who do disgrace the United States and the uniform they wear.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I see it only pragmatic. They profit from our burden, when getting support from the rest of Japan over average (otherwise they wouldn’t have any economic activities, income and jobs there despite a few in tourism industry), and in return they have a burden over average to host the US forces. It’s that clear and easy to understand.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Talk to anyone under 40 in Okinawa and they'll tell you very rationally they understand why the US bases are there and the benefits that accrue from them - most importantly jobs. There are 8,984 local national positions at US facilities on Okinawa - most paying more than jobs off-base.

The older folks and their senior politicians rant against the bases, but they do all they can to keep them there - and to block any meaningful reductions that would so benefit the local populace...

Futenma would have been closed by now, with all that land returned for local use; schools, universities, retail...but nope, the anti-base pols and their vested interests fought the transfer at every turn - so Futenma remains open...

And the answer is simple - two reasons; 1) they have no other issue to campaign on - reduce the bases, and they would be forced to tell the local people how they would increase jobs, entice manufacturing and R&D, reduce out of wedlock births and alcohol-related traffic accidents (Okinawa leads all prefectures in both)....and 2) when Futenma is returned, it is now the responsibility of the local government to develop it - not an easy job and the longer it sits empty the more the local people get angry. The anti-base pols would prefer to take the easy way out...let it remain in US hands...

Craven? You bet, but we are talking about politicians . One day the local people will see through this ruse and elect leaders that will finish the construction at Camp Schwab and transfer the assets from Futenma - then the base will be returned...and the military footprint decreased...a win for all...

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Ah okay got it that's why the people of Okinawa re elected the anti US base Denny despite the huge financial and political leverage that the pro US LDP has, and the urgency with which the LDP and US want the opposition to disappear. ..blatantly biased and overall one sided article, poor level of journalism.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Ah okay got it that's why the people of Okinawa re elected the anti US base Denny

I wonder how many of these "Okinawans that elected the anti US base Denny" are actually china-nese.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I wonder how many of these "Okinawans that elected the anti US base Denny" are actually china-nese.

Zero, as no "china-ese" can vote in Japanese elections! Pretty crude statement by the way.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Ah okay got it that's why the people of Okinawa re elected the anti US base Denny despite the huge financial and political leverage that the pro US LDP has, and the urgency with which the LDP and US want the opposition to disappear. ..blatantly biased and overall one sided article, poor level of journalism.

I suppose it's unlike the literally hundreds or possibly thousands of articles here that were totally unbalanced, biased, and one-sided, to the anti-base one's in the past.

Denny won, but he did not get a majority of the electorate, only those who voted, only around 53% or so, the rest are pretty apathetic about it anyway.

Oh and do not forget, the cities that actually host the bases that are causing all the ruccus, have PRO base Mayors, and PRO base majorities in their city councils.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

There is no way in hell this article will ever see the light of day in Okinawa.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The US bases are absolutely necessary if Japan is to permanently retain the Okinawan chain. Only a small minority of Okinawans oppose the bases. Most know that without them, there's no economy or employment.

Expansionist China would be licking their lips like a wolf eyeing a lamb, if the bases were gone.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Between 1972 and 2020, Okinawa's government recorded 582 violent crimes involving base residents, and the kidnap and rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. soldiers in 1995 drew more than 80,000 protesters.

For comparison the author should be putting the number of violent crimes committed by Japanese on Okinawa for the same time period. Do the math, basically it's 12 crimes a year, over 48 years, once a month, but in reality in the past 20 years or so, it's actually less than half that.

This information often gets taken out of context, to make it appear as if the military are devils, but since they never talk about how much Japanese crime there is, it's impossible to be taken in context.

Believe me, Japanese on Okinawa commit a HELL of a lot more violent crime than anyone from the US Military does!

0 ( +12 / -12 )

There is no way in hell this article will ever see the light of day in Okinawa.

LOL. Most of the Okinawan islands do have the internet now - and the Japanese govt will not censor it! Okinawans don't need to be babied - they are free to read all points of view - they are Japanese after all.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

solution is simple.pack your things and go back home.you are not needed and not welcomed here.come back but only as tourist,not occupying force.

So you’re ok with Japan changing it’s Constitution to allow a standing Army and Navy? Will you be ok with paying more taxes to pay for defense?

The US military is not a occupying force. If you’d like to see what occupying forces look like, just look at Russians in Ukraine. Words mean things.

At the end of the day it is exceptionally cheaper for Japan to host the US military bases than yo build, supply, pay for a modern standing Army and Navy.

I doubt most Americans will be tourists Of Okinawa. We have Hawaii!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It’s funny to read the comments from American posters how the bases “have to be in Okinawa”. No, they don’t have to be in Okinawa. How is it different if the bases were in Kyushu? What would change?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

This article is pure propaganda. There has been no shift. The US is trying to paint China as a threat which is curious because I don't see China invading other countries and starting wars. That's more of a US thing. Vietnam, Iraq, etc. If the US absolutely has to be in Okinawa, they should start to pay their own way and not to continue to sponge off Japan. Pay up or go home!

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

WHO says Okinawans DON’T like the bases? That’s your biased opinion. I know plenty of people that DON’T “Oppose the Bases”. I even read BUMPER Stickers to the fact, that were printed in English !

4 ( +9 / -5 )

MeiyouwentiToday 05:57 pm JST

“Only crimes committed by U.S. military irritate them.”

> US servicemen behave quite differently when they are stationed in Germany or other European countries. They commit far fewer violent crimes in those countries. The resentment Okinawans feel is understandable.

Show me the statistical proof. Or is it just how you feel? I don't think an altercation in a bar makes headline news in Germany like it did a few days ago here.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

To continue from my previous post, an altercation like that will always paint the foreign service person as the guilty party no matter what actually happened.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

@ Yubaru

Zero, as no "china-ese" can vote in Japanese elections! Pretty crude statement by the way.

They've already brought in fake Japanese Yen money. You think they won't manufacture fake Japanese IDs and pretend to be a local and influence the votes? There was a case of a china guy who was caught with a fake JGSDF id card. He claimed he was a "cosplayer" as a Japanese soldier.

In the US, some law enforcement officials intercepted a shipment of boxes from china. They contained hundreds of fake US driver's ID with chinanese names.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

"Propaganda", several of you claim?

What interest does a French government-owned news agency have in all of this?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

But with Okinawa now a front line in the burgeoning confrontation between China and regional U.S. allies, the bases are increasingly important for American and Japanese defense strategies.

America and China are not at War. Press whipping things up yet again

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Better US than Chinese.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

This article is pure propaganda. There has been no shift.

That's plain from the article. It's just the view of the persons(2?) Interviewed

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jexan....

A ballistic missile fired over a highly populated region from a hostile dictator will definitely give perspective.

The far north of Hokkaido is hardly highly populated. And at a height of 100kms.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Not even view more like a wish

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This article is pure propaganda.

Like the anti-base bs isnt propaganda either?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

mocheake:

You'd have been speaking Chinese decades ago if it weren't for the U.S. presence.

For centuries, the dynasties of China have had cordial relations with what the natives call Luchu. Not once was the Chinese language imposed on them. As soon as Japan invaded and colonized Luchu, the Japanese language was imposed on them, just like English was imposed on the natives of Australia, North America, Ireland and Wales, with punishment dished out to children who spoke their own languages.

Please, think before you write. It's as if you're making up things as you write.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Pukey2Today 08:47 pm JST

mocheake:

> You'd have been speaking Chinese decades ago if it weren't for the U.S. presence.

> For centuries, the dynasties of China have had cordial relations with what the natives call Luchu. Not once was the Chinese language imposed on them. As soon as Japan invaded and colonized Luchu, the Japanese language was imposed on them, just like English was imposed on the natives of Australia, North America, Ireland and Wales, with punishment dished out to children who spoke their own languages.

> Please, think before you write. It's as if you're making up things

I never make things up. The stuff you wrote about Luchu has no relevance to the world we live in today. Why is North Korea firing missiles over Japan? They know Japan won't do a damn thing except to "protest strongly." Why is China constantly violating Japan's territorial waters and air space? Same answer. You probably equate 1722 with 2022 but I don't, and neither does the U.S.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

[ I doubt most Americans will be tourists Of Okinawa. We have Hawaii! ]

Yes, and in the process the Hawaiian people have become the poorest, least healthy group of people on what was formerly their own land. But hey enjoy your vacation at the Hyatt, don't mind the Polynesians cleaning your room and transporting your luggage.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

US servicemen behave quite differently when they are stationed in Germany or other European countries. They commit far fewer violent crimes in those countries. The resentment Okinawans feel is understandable.

I’m gonna need to see the source you got that info from, chief.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The crime rate among the US military in Okinawa is much lower than the local population. (Based on Japanese Police statistics) The base population is around 40,000, only about 3% of the total population of 1,500,000 for the prefecture. Adding in the military population lowers the crime rate. (I make no excuse for any US military member who commits a crime in Okinawa. I always say throw the book at them.)

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Deeply rooted in Okinawa,which was an independent kingdom before Japanese annexation in the 19th century

This is grossly incorrect.

Okinawa was never an independent kingdom !

That's the Japanese name they gave after they colonized it.

The Ryukyu kingdom was independent until Japan invaded it the first time in 1609 and forced it to be a tributary.

The second Japanese invasion of the Ryukyu kingdom that resulted in annexation was in 1872 and not the 19th century.

Furthermore the Okinawans or Ryukyuans don't want either the Japanese or Americans in Okinawa !

It's the USA and the Japanese that China doesn't like.

No okinawans aren't Japanese !

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Funny how that works.

Japan, live with safety, peace and prosperity or become a part of Korea. Your choice.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ryukyu Kingdom/Okinawa - Japan history has and remains one-sided and exploitative. What once was a favored geographic position at the crossroads of East and Southeast Asian trade is now a military garrison and the playground of Mainland Japanese. What a fate.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What do those who live on Okinawa really want ?

Stand up and be counted for your opinion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rape is bad. Bad enough. But, is the gang rape of a twelve (12) years young Okinawan girl by American soldiers stationed in Okinawa horrible enough to send every American soldier home to the U.S.A. ? Okinawans think so. The United States of America does not think so. That is why Americans are still in Okinawa.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The second Japanese invasion of the Ryukyu kingdom that resulted in annexation was in 1872 and not the 19th century.

Uhh Gaijin. The 1800s is the 19th century. We will in the 2000s, but it’s the 21st century.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If China were an invasive culture, not only would Okinawa be speaking Chinese, EVERYONE in Japan would be also and for centuries.

China under Kublai Khan tried to invade Japan but failed TWICE. It's not easy invading an island country that is mostly alpine.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ryukyu islands are American territories that can be seized by the US military at anytime. Japan only has de jure sovereignty over the islands.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No okinawans aren't Japanese !

You are 100% wrong. Okinawan's are 100% Japanese citizens. Their culture and ethnicity are different BUT they are Japanese citizens.

Furthermore the Okinawans or Ryukyuans don't want either the Japanese or Americans in Okinawa

Obviously have zero idea of what life is like in Okinawa. Many dont want the US Military in Okinawa, but love having American's here.

But I am sure the nuance of that statement is probably lost in translation with some folks here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The longer foreign troops are stationed, civilians living near and outside their camps become more accustomed to them, their economy becoming more intertwined with them.

But anyone who has ever lived abroad takes this to be very abnormal. 

If Russian troops were stationed in Hawaii, occupying so large swaths of land in a moth-eaten fashion, would U.S. citizens be reticent?

If there was a shift in Okinawans' attitude toward U.S. bases, it must be assertive China, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s repeated missile launching tests that are responsible for all this.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The longer foreign troops are stationed, civilians living near and outside their camps become more accustomed to them, their economy becoming more intertwined with them

Not just foreign bases, but "native" bases as well. The civilians living around all the JSDF bases and facilities here in Okinawa have had the same effect.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Russian troops were stationed in Hawaii, occupying so large swaths of land in a moth-eaten fashion, would U.S. citizens be reticent?

This is nonsense, it's the same as trying to compare Japan having a large number of military bases all over China!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@yubaru

Obviously Okinawa is part of Japan and okinawans are Japanes citizens.

I didn't say they weren't Japanese citizens.

The genealogy of the Ryukyuans isn't Japanese.

Here in Okinawa where i live the okinawans have made it crystal clear they are not Japanese even tho Okinawa is part of Japan.

How come you don't know that is baffling.

The Ryukyuans that the Japanese have renamed okinawans are an indigenous group of mainly aboriginal malay tribes and Pacific islanders.

Whereas Japanese are han Chinese /Korean and Mongolian - hence the monolid eyelids that Ryukyuans don't have.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I didn't say they weren't Japanese citizens

Direct quote from you here:

No okinawans aren't Japanese !

If you dont want people to misunderstand you, be clear in what you write. Your posts are far too often easy to misunderstand, and seem scatter-brained attempts to make a point that has nothing to do with the actual discussion at hand.

Here in Okinawa where i live the okinawans have made it crystal clear they are not Japanese even tho Okinawa is part of Japan.

But I will bet every last one of them will state they are citizens of Japan, and would have it no other way as well. Next time ask them, how would the people on Okinawa survive without being part of Japan.

Here is a question for you,

Please share, just how you are going to differentiate between "native" Okinawans and "Japanese" here on Okinawa? I have put this question to countless numbers of people here, let's hear your reply!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The longer foreign troops are stationed, civilians living near and outside their camps become more accustomed to them, their economy becoming more intertwined with them.

But anyone who has ever lived abroad takes this to be very abnormal.

Not in places where, as you said, the economy has already become intertwined

German towns who have had US bases since Hitler's defeat, for example. Their businesses already know how to take advantage of that. To them, it's already quite normal

If Russian troops were stationed in Hawaii, occupying so large swaths of land in a moth-eaten fashion, would U.S. citizens be reticent?

Russians are US enemies, but US and Japan are not enemies

Americans do love their US bases, but of course not enemy bases

(And yes, there was a large US base occupying huge swaths of land in Hawaii)

If there was a shift in Okinawans' attitude toward U.S. bases, it must be assertive China, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s repeated missile launching tests that are responsible for all this.

Of course.

Now ya know who to blame

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It’s not just crime (which was mostly rapes, drunken shenanigans, and racing…) but the noise, & issues with helicopters crashing (breaking pieces off) into populated areas.

For 77 years, Okinawa has been continuously occupied by US troops “for their on good,” ignored by the Central Government, and the US military doing stupid crap like drag racing, raping people, and getting abusively drunk. I mean, the 1995 Okinawa Rape Incident was just the worst of the incidents, but before that, the Japanese police couldn’t arrest and prosecute any crimes from US troops.

My Point: they have good reason to be resentful.

Japan has been mostly safe since WWII and—until recently—we haven’t had such OVERT threats. Additionally, the JSDF has finally become big and militarily strong enough to feel like an actual national military again.

So, not surprised by the whole ball of flies in the wax mix of reactions among the Okinawans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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