national

Anti-U.S. base demonstrators march in Tokyo

58 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2016 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

58 Comments
Login to comment

David Blue:

I was stationed in Yokosuka for 2 years, I can tell you that there are more than a few stupid people, but like Randomnator said, they dont last long. And a lot more people walking around with visas working here are a lot more dangerous.

Clueless:

Not picking a fight, but what problems have you had with any military?

But if sometime in the future the Japanese people come together and vote all U.S military bases out of Japan, I'm sure as heck not sticking around too long after that.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No problems mate. 9 fantastic years in the 1 Para (UK airborne) and many tours working with various units in the states.

But I know the problems with mixing the military and the civilian population.

I also believe that every country should be responsible for its own defence.

One other things too. No offense intended but I'm Scottish and just a little tired of being labelled as American. I'm sure you understand.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Aly Rustom

That's not the point randomnator

It is as I was replying to the dude that stereotyped the US military. You make a good point but the majority of Japanese in countless polls WANT the US forces in their country. Probably not too close to their own house but they want them all the same. These protestors are the hugely underwhelming minority but good on them for protesting, a right given to them in the US drafted constitution BTW.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is not going away. The anger against the bases is now spreading around the country.

In my 20 years of dealing with US sofa status personnel here in Japan they are a lot better than the civilian US folks I have met. Most crazies get filtered out of the military but there are some real wack jobs working on the JET scheme and at private language schools. Yes, rapists as well. There are also alcoholics, drug addicts, and violent people in broader Japanese society. You broad brush renders any point you might have had more an expression of your misery in service of your country. Good luck as a civilian.

That's not the point randomnator. Japan is a democracy. And if the majority of people say that they don't want the bases then the bases should go. Whether or not its good for the country is irrelevant. I mean, look at the PM. He's not good for the country, but he did get voted in. That's democracy. You let the people decide. What they chose, whether its good for Japan or not, is beside the point.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

AFP wouldn't know the reality of Futenma being incorporated into Camp Schwab's base. They just piggyback off of local news paper reports which specifically omit that to aide in their political agenda. I find it interesting that all Okinawan media outlets were surprisingly quiet about Chinese and Russian ships sailing around the Senkaku Islands which are considered as part of Okinawa Prefecture.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

These people have their right to demo but are clearly "clueless" as to how things would be for Japan if the US suddenly packed up and went home. (ain't gonna happen) Wake up Japan...very few of your neighbours like you. Keep telling yourselves you are polite to people and well mannered. Your history will always come back to haunt you.

Sucks for you and for me because I live here. I don't want the Americans here any more than you do. But that's the way it has to be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's not the point randomnator. Japan is a democracy. And if the majority of people say that they don't want the bases then the bases should go. Whether or not its good for the country is irrelevant. I mean, look at the PM. He's not good for the country, but he did get voted in. That's democracy. You let the people decide. What they chose, whether its good for Japan or not, is beside the point

True it is a democracy, but does the majority say that? 100 people protesting in Tokyo hardly constitutes a majority. If they want the bases done then they should vote that way. Far too often in this issue as well as others people claim what actually is the minority opinion is the majority opinion simply because the minority is the loudest. I am not saying that is the case here but still I wonder want the actually numbers say.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

That right there is the crux of the problem. Its simply not fair. Everyone PRESUMABLY wants the bases there (we don't know since the Japanese people were never actually given a choice) but just not near them. The Okinawan people should be able to decide whether or not the bases should be there in their own back yard regardless of what the rest of Japan thinks.

The difficult part in that idea and the reason prefectures don't have a vote in regards to bases is that National Security is a National Government's jurisdiction. Unfortunately for Okinawa, Yamaguchi, Nagasaki, Aomori, Yokohama, Tokyo, and Kanagawa. Their wants are second seat to the overall security objectives for the nation as a whole. Whether or not they agree with it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The facts are that: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lodged a protest with U.S. President Barack Obama at a meeting on May 25 over the alleged murder of an Okinawan woman by a civilian U.S. military base worker in Okinawa Prefecture, calling the incident an "absolutely despicable crime." President Obama expressed his "sincerest condolences and deepest regrets" over the incident and said Washington would do its utmost to stop such an incident from happening again.

In a meeting with Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, Defense Chief Nakatani demanded that the U.S. military in Okinawa enhance discipline and take measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter extended "his sincere apologies to the victim's family and friends" during a telephone conversation with Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

So if the Japanese and US Governments do not consider this crime to be a Base Issue then why the need for the J-Govt. to lodge protests and why the need for Top US Officials to make the statements that they did?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

100 people? you get more people than that on a morning Tozai line car

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture, there is a Marine Corps base, but no protest, The city is more likely tourist haven..City residents and Marines are peace fully existing there. No one destroyed. kingIkyo bridge.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As an American, I would love it if the circumstances that made the need for a base did not exist. I have the feeling that removing the American military presence from Okinawa, and from Japan, would be worse than the results of staying, in regards to East Asian stability.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's not the point randomnator. Japan is a democracy. And if the majority of people say that they don't want the bases then the bases should go. LOL much larger protests have taken place against , nuclear power and Japans constitutions revision, all have failed. what does Okinawa have that these other groups dont. Okinawa has to both change the J governments resolve as well as the US on this base issue. Good luck with that.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I bet they also hate trump. They're protesting US military bases but beg for the United States to stay. I just don't understand these people

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You too make a good point.

but the majority of Japanese in countless polls WANT the US forces in their country. Probably not too close to their own house but they want them all the same

That right there is the crux of the problem. Its simply not fair. Everyone PRESUMABLY wants the bases there (we don't know since the Japanese people were never actually given a choice) but just not near them. The Okinawan people should be able to decide whether or not the bases should be there in their own back yard regardless of what the rest of Japan thinks.

So here is what I think they should do.

Each prefecture should vote on whether or not to host a base. IF ALL prefectures vote NO to having a US base there, than that's it. Remove the bases from Japan.

I'm willing to bet that if you posed the question of US bases in THEIR prefecture, the overwhelming majority of Japanese would say no. They like the bases, as long as they are in Okinawa.

But that's not fair.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

let japan defend itself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Some 100 people marched through the streets of Tokyo"

Wow!

"a week before tens of thousands on Okinawa plan to hold their own rally against the foreign military presence."

That's better! OK, like Outrider said, time to let Japan defend itself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let's see if I heard correctly, a couple and a group just like the ones in the picture were discussing the base issues but what was more of importance to them was that they are all land owners in Henoko and have been promised big bucks by developers to make the base issue go away. On one hand they support the base and military and on the other the profit to be made is huge for them...now on the RE: as tensions run high after a base employee " Once again, the guy was not I repeat NOT a base employee and a contracted employee for a local cable company and easily could have been a Japanese national who by the way are not exempt from raping women. This was not a base issue at all.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

bjohnson23,

This was not a base issue at all.

Really?

Then why the lockdown?

I thought they were showing responsibility.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Then why the lockdown? I thought they were showing responsibility

Solidarity not responsibility.

I do not think that a Lt. General of the Marine Corps would apologize and place restrictions on his people because of the crime if he did not think it was not a base issue.

Yubaru's point is proven. "Facts do not matter when dealing with politics in Okinawa. Logic does not work. People against the bases will pull at straws to keep the focus on the bases and do anything they can to keep the focus on that and not the truth."

I saw the General's press conference on the internet and he clearly states that the two are separate issues. His actions are due to the him believing that US military is apart of he Okinawa community and mourns with the community. It had nothing to due with the murderer working on a US Base never about him being a former MarineB

0 ( +2 / -2 )

New excuse sprouted. Used to be protect Japan from China. Here some people are warning Russia is coming.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am pretty sure the Japanese know how to take care of themselves without having U.S bases in many prefectures. Oh wait, I forgot about all the U.S bases in the whole world. Because everyone needs democracy that can only be present when the U.S is present.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmmm.....How about moving the bases up to mainland? Then we'd see tens of thousands of protesters. Mainlanders empathize with the base issue in Okinawa but only up until the point that it does not affect them directly.

Yes. Talk to any average Japanese from the Kanto plain or Tokyoite. They'll say they feel bad for the situation in Okinawa and can empathize with them. Yet only 100 protesters.

If the GI's came to mainland, everyone would then be hopping mad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kindly remove your bases from Okinawa so that the locals can live with peace of mind (and some peace and quiet).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unlike American, Japanese do not go out to protest. 100 demo. Is a large memo. People who have jobs, housewives, they don't join. Sometimes, student will do.

British bases were in Japan but they did not go out from base.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ j1067 : What is Japan's ideology?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@David - I don't know WHAT Navy you were in. But I was in both the Navy and the Army and I did not see those things at all. But thanks for the fuel to make them seem worse than they are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

IWillliB,

I strongly support those Tokyo demonstrators. So I may be one of them who you call "clowns." If so, then you could answer the questions that I posed to Stephen Jez in my post above (Jun. 14, 2016 - 07:27AM JST ). Could you?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

voiceofokinawa:

Your questions are strawman questions. It is impossible to answer questions based on false premises. I called the demonstrators clowns because their simplistic demand seems to be "no base", period. Without explaining what kind of alternative to an US military presence they want.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How Japan will protect Japan is none of US military's business. US can not afford to lose annual OmoiyarimFund to be back and Pentagon will not be able to finance wars in middle east and that will be none of Japan's business.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WilliB (Jun. 14, 2016 - 10:50PM JST),

The questions I posed are not straw man question as you say. They are down-to-earth questions very relevant to Okinawa's fate and future.

Until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, I had believed in what the U.S. military authorities preached: As long as there existed a communist threat, the U.S. military presence would remain here. So when the Soviet Union collapsed, I felt a ray of hope that Okinawa's miserable plight as a U.S. military colony might finally come to an end. But did it? Evidence tells to the contrary: The U.S. wants to maintain the status quo, that is, to keep Okinawa as its military colony, forever. The Futenma issue embodies this U.S. scheme most typically.

The Tokyo demonstrators or Okinawa's anti-base activists in Henoko, Kadena and Futenma are thus sending a message that such unjust schemes cannot be tolerated forever. Do you still call them "clowns"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Most Okinawans consider the protesters a meiwaku and complain about them and mainlanders causing trouble.

Careful here, voice will ask you for "proof" because the media tells a different story.

I know what you are saying and I agree, but since the media doesnt tell the whole story how is anyone going to "prove" anything.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@David - Dude, that was 25 years ago. Let me repeat, 25 years ago! Eons ago. Hey, I was in both the Navy and the Army, and I never saw anything near what you allege the US Navy is about. You have taken one scandal and unfairly painted the whole military with it, because you did not like your time in the Navy and are intent on vilifying it. So, are we to believe that the Navy is just a marauding bunch riding their boats around the water, drunk and coked out of their minds singing merrily while raping and beating everyone in their path? Facts do not prove that. The militaries crime rate is far better than the national or even local level. Out of 50,000 military personnel and their families, there were 29 offences in 2014. Non of them violent. None. Mostly parking violations and the like. That is exceptional. Where else does that happen? No where. My apologies but the reality that you are trying to spin here is in fact fallacious according to statistics and those are the ones that count. I'm sorry that you did not enjoy your time in the Navy or maybe where not able to fit in. But it is no excuse to demonise it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CyburneticTiger,

These units and equipments are not relocating to Guam because it doesn't make sense strategically to create logistical space and time from the (potential) battlefield.

Who disputes the importance of logistics in warfare? The catch is that in your view logistic units can be forward-deployed while the most active core elements can be deployed in the rear, far from "the potential battlefield." Does such troop deployment require the virtual military colonization of Okinawa? And what’s that to do with Okinawa’s superior strategic location? Explain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ironic photo, Japan's peace is built on the ruins of war with those US bases the foundation of stability in these islands. Without the American presence Japan would be a Russian territory.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Only 100 protesters? I hope the bases close too. Too much drama. Let Japan be sovereign nation, and NOT as US protectorate.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Some 100 people marched through the streets of Tokyo, with many of them holding banners reading “no more base”.

Hmmm.....How about moving the bases up to mainland? Then we'd see tens of thousands of protesters. Mainlanders empathize with the base issue in Okinawa but only up until the point that it does not affect them directly.

Same thing down here with people who have no bases or even see any US Military folks.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

easily could have been a Japanese national who by the way are not exempt from raping women. This was not a base issue at all.

It's not, but it has become the focal point of the dispute. Facts do not matter when dealing with politics in Okinawa. Logic does not work. People against the bases will pull at straws to keep the focus on the bases and do anything they can to keep the focus on that and not the truth. Oh and the media plays along.

Really? Then why the lockdown?I thought they were showing responsibility.

Different incident and nothing pertaining to bj's post.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

bjohnson23,

I do not think that a Lt. General of the Marine Corps would apologize and place restrictions on his people because of the crime if he did not think it was not a base issue.

The reason most of the U.S. Bases are on Okinawa is because the Japanese Govt. still thinks of Okinawa as a First Line of Defense just like they did in WWII. The Govt. and most Mainland Japanese are still willing to sacrifice the people of Okinawa in order to protect the Mainland.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

His actions are due to the him believing that US military is apart of he Okinawa community and mourns with the community. It had nothing to due with the murderer working on a US Base never about him being a former MarineB

While this was the intent I am sure, this is NOT how the local community took it. Sadly whomever is advising the Gen forgot to pass along that in Japan, apologizing for the deeds of an underling means you are accepting their mistake and accepting that they were wrong. We all know the guy wasn't military, but the fact he was former, got played up like crazy, even by some ignorant posters here too. THere is little anyone can do now, but just keep quiet, and stay away from any incidents.

@ mukashiyokatta.. Kindly remove your bases from Okinawa so that the locals can live with peace of mind (and some peace and quiet).

Sure let's put them in your backyard. Much appreciated. Thank you!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nobody likes bases, but these clowns should ask themselves what the alternative is. Japanese re-armament? Chinese domination? Instead of holding peace signs, they should explain what they want. The world we live in is not a hippie camp, alas.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

. US can not afford to lose annual OmoiyarimFund to be back and Pentagon will not be able to finance wars in middle east and that will be none of Japan's business.

RIght, this money you speak of does not go to the US, it's for the Okinawa Pref. government.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The questions I posed are not straw man question as you say. They are down-to-earth questions very relevant to Okinawa's fate and future.

Questions that has been answered a thousand times by various posters on this board that YOU choose to ignore because YOU choose to listen to anything outside your preconceived opinion. Okinawa is key terrain and terrain is and will be forever the most important thing in strategic advantages. The location of this island allows for disaster relief and conflict responses from Australia to Hokkaido much more timely and efficiently than moving 2 hours north to Kyushu. The Ryukyu archipelago creates a natural blockade from a certain territory hungry neighbor and is the southern flank of Japan. It goes much further beyond military training; it's national security.

Until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, I had believed in what the U.S. military authorities preached: As long as there existed a communist threat, the U.S. military presence would remain here. So when the Soviet Union collapsed, I felt a ray of hope that Okinawa's miserable plight as a U.S. military colony might finally come to an end.

What miserable plight? Its such a gross exaggeration it makes it seem like you have never even been here. The island continues to grow and modernize and the people are happy. Only a small fraction (the clowns) are disatisified. I have been living here for years and normal people are very content. Most Okinawans consider the protesters a meiwaku and complain about them and mainlanders causing trouble.

But did it? Evidence tells to the contrary: The U.S. wants to maintain the status quo, that is, to keep Okinawa as its military colony, forever. The Futenma issue embodies this U.S. scheme most typically.

New times and new threats.

The Tokyo demonstrators or Okinawa's anti-base activists in Henoko, Kadena and Futenma are thus sending a message that such unjust schemes cannot be tolerated forever. Do you still call them "clowns"?

They're a fraction and unrepresentative of the REAL Okinawa. There a meiwaku.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well let me elaborate on what I lived with. A full bird Captain who couldn't go 24 hours without hard liquor to the point of staggering and falling. A violent Lt. Commander who got promoted to Commander. A Lieutenant (junior grade) (LTJG) who gambled with enlisted personnel (I don't think that's weeding out). Many of my shipmates had been given the option of prison or a clean slate with enlistment. I couldn't stand it and I don't think the people of Okinawa deserve these incorrigible people in their country. I can easily side with the Japanese on this issue and hope they suffer no more crime or fatalities from ill behaving Americans. Anyone who says I'm lying just search "Tailhook Scandal" and try to candy coat that incident.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Strangeland:

" That's incorrect. They want no bases in Okinawa, with the alternative being either somewhere else in Japan, or in Guam. "

Guam is too far away, and "somewhere else in Japan" would simply shift the burden to someone else, a "nimby" argument. So if that is it, I´d call them selfish, rather than clowns.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

CyburneticTiger,

Questions that has been answered a thousand times by various posters on this board that YOU choose to ignore because YOU choose to listen to anything outside your preconceived opinion. Okinawa is key terrain and terrain is and will be forever the most important thing in strategic advantages.

Yes, I've occasionally seen some posters say the reason why the U.S. military is stationed in Okinawa is because of Okinawa’ superior strategic location. But that doesn’t justify the U.S. position to keep occupying Okinawa indefinitely, saying "We won the war." Can you colonize other countries, justifying your action by saying “We want to colonize your country because it is rich in precious natural resources” ? Are we living in the age of 20th century law of the jungle? It is noteworthy, then, that the official line in which the U.S. military presence must be maintained in Japan is the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, not the fact that Japan was defeated in World War II.

If the Marines are stationed here because of Okinawa's superior strategic location, then you must explain why the 4,900 combat-ready, most active elements of them are moving to Guam, leaving only support units behind in Okinawa (Marine Corps Times: Oct. 1, 2015). That this is possible means the Marines are stationed here not because Okinawa has a superior strategic location but simply because the U.S. wants the status quo (=virtual military occupation) to keep on going.

New times and new threats.

Certainly, times change. Along with it, “new threats” come and go. In the mid-20th century, it was a communist threat. Following it, the "arc of terror" (global terrorism) and then today's "China threat" and "North Korea threat." But all these threats will surely disappear sooner or later as things go in this world. Then, what would the U.S. come up with to justify its indefinite military presence here?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You should read some books on military strategy, the most complex, critical, and time consuming part of conducting warfare is not movement of infantry but it's logistical support elements. These units and equipments are not relocating to Guam because it doesn't make sense strategically to create logistical space and time from the (potential) battlefield. A smaller contingency of combat ready troops can remain in Okinawa to secure, respond, and sustain until the greater forces flow in. It's not about status quo, it's all because Okinawa serves as he perfect hub for logistical and combat response/defense.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The original purpose of establishing bases in Japan was to ensure Japan will never attack USA. Japan proved it won't. Japan just peacefully landed USA and Japan inc. Just conquered US industries peacefully.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Create a fresh U.S. Base" is misleading. Should be create a replacement for a base that was agreed to be moved decades ago. Hate to say it but if Henoko doesn't get built then Futenma isn't going anywhere.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The Donald will solve this by tasking the troops home or moving thrm to Guam.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

All the best Onaga-san

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Most Japanese support USFJ with no doubt. These people who are against it are basically anti US and anti Japan ideologists.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Stephen Jez,

Your logic is "never reduce the U.S. military footprint on Okinawa any bit." So if one base is to be closed, its replacement must be built somewhere else in Okinawa. Otherwise, the old base must remain at the same site as is.

The base we are talking about here is a Marine base. Could you explain why its function must be maintained in Okinawa forever? Could you explain why the Marine air wing can't train their flight skills except in Okinawa? Or the Marine ground forces can't train their combat skills in jungle, urban or amphibious warfare except in Okinawa?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I called the demonstrators clowns because their simplistic demand seems to be "no base", period. Without explaining what kind of alternative to an US military presence they want.

That's incorrect. They want no bases in Okinawa, with the alternative being either somewhere else in Japan, or in Guam.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most people here are stuck with a false dilemma.

Either live with the abusive but protective husband whom life would be far worse without, or live unprotected in a neighbourhood that is hostile to you because of what you did 70 years ago.

Pretty much follows the line of the typical arguments made by an abusive husband who thinks he owns his wife for her sake.

If its going to be troublesome either way, Japan should just re-militarize and maybe even make some nukes. A whole new can of worms but the current problems can be done with, and then Japanese people won't have to be told by Americans: "Better me than Russians, now bend over backwards"

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Two people? Huge protest! They probably didn't want any other pics to be shown because they are of people holding all the same mass printed signs that people are given along with 1000 yen to take a bus ride and do something they aren't told about beforehand, and then hiding behind the masks and signs.

Just have a spokesperson come out and say that if the bases go, Okinawans can no longer hold their hands out to the government, including for the money they got to hold the mass printed signs. That'll shut them up pretty quick.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

japan4life: "So if the Japanese and US Governments do not consider this crime to be a Base Issue then why the need for the J-Govt. to lodge protests and why the need for Top US Officials to make the statements that they did?"

You ever hear of elections? Some big ones coming up, and people need some points.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I can't blame the Japanese for saying enough is enough! What I saw during my enlistment angered me. Alcoholic, drug addicts, violence and people who couldn't go 24 hours without getting into trouble. I couldn't wait to get out of that living hell called the Navy.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites