COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
national

Okinawa fears revised plan may leave Futenma where it is

75 Comments

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

© 2012 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

75 Comments
Login to comment

It's about time that the governments finally decided not to link the move of the Marines with Futenma, this should have been decided a decade ago.

There was no real reason not to, only the stubborn attitude of the US Military not wanting one without the other.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Many Okinawans, angry at having for decades shouldered the burden

But how many? What a facade of democracy when you cannot even answer that simple question!

Who the hell knows what our overlords will decide to do with this base? They sure are not asking anyone for their opinions, except as a sideshow, are they?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about those small islands Japan just named?....I mean the Chinese would understand a US Base being built there since the islands are unmanned and, up until recently, had no names. But seriously, I think Okinawa is fated to host a US base. It is just placed so nicely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well the new airfield is not going to be built. The people of Okinawa have been rejecting it since 1996. The government of Okinawa is decidedly anti-base. Tokyo and Washington are just going to have and accept this fact. Anyhow the Marines will not move to Guam. There is no money for that and at a million US per marine they must all have gold toilets or something. So in the end it was all a lie, the new airfield would of been built. MCAS Futenma would NOT have closed and the Marines would of stayed on Okinawa. My evidence of deception is the massive costs to move the Marines. The Americans would of kept raising the price then environmental impact until it was canceled. The people of Okinawa do not want the new airfield or MCAS Futenma. Where are the Americans with their self determination and self rule now?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

How come this is an issue decided by TOKYO and WASHINGTON?

They completely ignore the people who have to live with the bases - the people who are actually living in Okinawa.

There was a referendum done several years ago and it was decidedly AGAINST the US bases. I wonder if this is why they don't seem to want to do a new one?

From people I talk to about it, and I meet many people in my business, no one wants the bases here.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

How come this is an issue decided by TOKYO and WASHINGTON?

Because issues of national security are not decided by local prefectural(state) governments. Would it be right for Kansas to negotiate with Japan regarding a defense issue? I think not, it really is common sense that the governments decide this issue.

To not do so would be chaos, hence the problems with Futenma today.

They completely ignore the people who have to live with the bases - the people who are actually living in Okinawa.

In reality no they haven't not at all, you havent been here long enough to know what it once was like. The number of bases in Okinawa has dropped dramatically in comparison to years past.

There was a referendum done several years ago and it was decidedly AGAINST the US bases. I wonder if this is why they don't seem to want to do a new one?

Care to share what referendum you refer to? There has never been a prefectural wide referendum regarding the bases. Please don't muddy the issue even further with misplaced(false) information.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Exactly as I said in the other thread, the US has come to realize the Futenma issue isnt going to budge so they are looking at going ahead with Guam transfer & will simply just continue to use Futenma as is.

But yeah this conclusion shud have been obvious at least a decade ago.

So this will effectively take US base issues out of the hands of local politicians, until they can somewho make the issue NEW again.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Environmentalists in Japan are fighting to Close the Base and save the coral reef, sea grass, dugongs, and turtles that would be destroyed with the new airstrip. I am an American who supports the environment, not the military in any country.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

kirsten

what dont you care about the people of Okinawa?? There are many issues involved, those that only focus on one aspect tend to be of little practical help

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just leave it as it is. I grew up on airbases all my life and you don't notice the noise -unless you want to cry about it. Those communities were built AROUND the base, not the other way around. If Okinawa wants to be pissed, be pissed at their government who sold them out, not the US.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The Tokyo bureaucrats have never given a rip on issues that affect local residents anywhere, much like the DC bureaucrats. It's a result of highly centralized government. Thuggery.

The Okinawans have long protested the continued occupation, and will continue to do so. The Tokyo bureaucrats continue to turn a deaf ear.

Realign the bases, to Guam or Alaska.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"the burden of hosting more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan"

I wonder how that burden would compare with the burden of being subjugated by the Russians or the Chinese.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Think about how many Japanese workers will become unemployed.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If anyone would like to read what Okinawans feel about this, go to this link:

http://www.genuinesecurity.org/partners/report/Okinawa.pdf

There was a prefecture wide referendum in 1996. It was very strongly against the US military presence.

The Okinawan politicians are against the US military presence in Okinawa.

Why?

Because they represent their people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

With the bases in Okinawa emptied of foreign military, think how many tens of thousands of jobs will be created, construction workers, workers in the new hotels, shops and tourist facilities.

Okinawa is losing money by hosting the US military.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

To Yubaru (Feb. 06, 2012 - 09:06AM JST):

Suppose 18% of the State of Kansas were occupied by foreign military forces already. And suppose Washington and a foreign government agreed upon relocating one base near crowded Kansas City to less populated Junction City over the heads of Kansans without consulting them, do you still claim the Kansans should not complain and have nothing to say about it because it's a diplomatic matter?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Serrano, with the exception of the contested area, the Marines do not do any good. The Russians are not a threat to Okinawa and any invasion of Okinawa by China means war. If all of the Marines left and went to Guam or Hawaii it would not mean too much. America uses its Marines in Okinawa as a forward base for its wars. It would be just as easy to deploy them from Hawaii or the US Mainland.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

With the bases in Okinawa emptied of foreign military, think how many tens of thousands of jobs will be created, construction workers, workers in the new hotels, shops and tourist facilities.

I don't think so. Those US bases would merely be used by the SDF.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There was a prefecture wide referendum in 1996. It was very strongly against the US military presence.

That referendum was biased, hence my comment about no referendum being held, over 40% of the eligible voters, over 900,000, did not participate or vote, plus the question asked "How do you feel about reviewing the Japan-United States Status of Forces Agreement and reducing the bases in the prefecture?" with the only option in replying being sansei (agree) or hantai (oppose). As expected 89% voted sansei in the NON-BINDING referendum.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Suppose 18% of the State of Kansas were occupied by foreign military forces already. And suppose Washington and a foreign government agreed upon relocating one base near crowded Kansas City to less populated Junction City over the heads of Kansans without consulting them, do you still claim the Kansans should not complain and have nothing to say about it because it's a diplomatic matter?

You misunderstand the point, it wouldn't be up to the people of the state to dictate INTERNATIONAL policy. That is under the jurisdiction and LAWS of the national government. The state or prefecture can and does voice it's opinion, but ultimately it is the decision of the national government that counts. States or prefectures can not dictate nor implement NATIONAL policies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Was there ever any doubt? Never trust politicians. From any country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mr Obama, Bring our soliders home, most don't want to be there in a foreign country anyway and the natives don't want them there. Stop wasting my money overseas or for anything new built overseas, build new in the USA we want/need the work at home.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To MaboDofuIsSpicy (Feb. 06, 2012 - 11:06AM JST), who writes: "Think about how many Japanese workers will become unemployed."

There are 207 Japanese base workers for Futenma at present. If Futenma is closed, they would no doubt lose their jobs and "will become unemployed," as you worry. But don't worry. If Hamby Town in Chatan and Shintoshin in Naha, which used to be a sprawling residential area for U.S. military personnel and their families before 1972, can teach anything, certainly Futenma will follow suit. It is estimated that there will be created more than 32,000 new jobs and yearly economic revenues exceeding well over 45 billion.

Also, think about how prosperous the former U.S. bases, Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Force Base, have become after they were returned to the Philippines.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Also, think about how prosperous the former U.S. bases, Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Force Base, have become after they were returned to the Philippines.

Apples and oranges. Both Subic and Clark are not far from Metro Manilla. The same prosperity would be very difficult in Okinawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Also, think about how prosperous the former U.S. bases, Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Force Base, have become after they were returned to the Philippines.

Then please tell everyone why the Philippines are interested in having the US Military return?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They should just build at the Senkaku Islands. Nobody cares about the environment there, haha!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The okinawans should have stuck with the original deal. It wasn't perfect but it was better than nothing which sadly, it seems like they are gonna get. I blame Hatoyama for opening this can of worms.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Obama administration could score big in the opinion polls if it were to move toward closing the US bases in Okinawa.

US taxpayers would give it an enthusiastic thumbs up, US military personnel who would rather be back home with families and friends would cheer it, and the Okinawan people who want the Americans out would score a victory. Win-win.

The only people who would lose would be many Okinawans who work on the base or whose livelihoods otherwise depend on it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Okinawan people who want the Americans out would score a victory. Win-win.

Please keep in mind the Okinawan people don't want the American's to leave, they want the bases gone. It may be semantics to some but there is a huge difference. Okinawan people don't hate American's they just want their land back.

They would gladly have the American's as tourists or with business interests outside of the military, just not the military.

1 ( +1 / -1 )

To Yubaru (Feb. 06, 2012 - 01:26PM JST): Of course, making foreign policy falls under the jurisdiction of the national government. There's no question about it. But the story would be different if the nation's foreign poplicy obliged its people in some area to unfairly shoulder enormous burdens for a foreign military presence.

Would the Kansans be reticent about such unfairness and forced burdens, resignedly thinking they can't say anything at all about the federal government's foreign policy?

To Ben_Jackinoff (Feb. 06, 2012 - 03:57PM JST): You are begging the question.

To tmarie (Feb. 06, 2012 - 10:50AM JST): You say, "Those communities were built AROUND the base, not the other way around." That's a blatant distortion of history. As for Futenma, there were 5 villages with rich farmland around them. The U.S. occupation forces encroached upon the area with impunity while area residents were herded into camps.

Yes, those communities were built around the base after the war, but where else could the villagers go when their villages were swallowed up into the vast base and disappeared? It was those villagers who worked as pomp-priming factors and created Ginowan City as it is.

A village grows into a town, city and metropolitan. A small colonial community called New Amsterdam became a metropolitan called New York as the population grew.

To Yubaru (Feb. 06, 2012 - 05:32PM JST): You say "the Philippines are interested in having the US Military return." Currently, the Philippine and U.S. governments are negotiating in Washington about how to re-deploy U.S. forces in that country. But the Philippines will never allow a permanent U.S. military presence on their soil again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please keep in mind the Okinawan people don't want the American's to leave, they want the bases gone.

@Yubaru

That was a very kind thing for you to say. From what I've heard I'm not sure if I fully agree, but it was very kind nonetheless. Thank you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only people who would lose would be many Okinawans who work on the base or whose livelihoods otherwise depend on it.

And China would lose too since they won't have anyone to blame their hatred to anymore.............

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That was a very kind thing for you to say. From what I've heard I'm not sure if I fully agree, but it was very kind nonetheless. Thank you.

With no bases Okinawa would have to depend upon the tourists to maintain their economy even more than they do now, and the American's would bring that and more. Okinawa can not survive without it. Whether it comes from American's or otherwise really doesnt matter. Money is money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

voice....

To Yubaru (Feb. 06, 2012 - 05:32PM JST): You say "the Philippines are interested in having the US Military return." Currently, the Philippine and U.S. governments are negotiating in Washington about how to re-deploy U.S. forces in that country. But the Philippines will never allow a permanent U.S. military presence on their soil again.

Never say never. One truly doesnt know, stranger things have happened.

Of course, making foreign policy falls under the jurisdiction of the national government. There's no question about it. But the story would be different if the nation's foreign poplicy obliged its people in some area to unfairly shoulder enormous burdens for a foreign military presence.

Would the Kansans be reticent about such unfairness and forced burdens, resignedly thinking they can't say anything at all about the federal government's foreign policy?

Yuri doesnt get it hence the manner in which I wrote it. With regards to the "unfair" burden however that is debatable to a degree. In comparison to even 20 years ago land has been and is continuing to be be returned.

The burden also helps the national government as well, and this is one thing people continually overlook. Okinawa is the most economically depressed prefecture in Japan. Without the base presence it would become an even greater burden on the national government and the Okinawan people have to come up with concrete solutions on how to replace the income the bases provide and not just nakunai sa way of thinking.

Until the Okinawan people can give positive alternatives, not just sucking down the Japanese tax payers money, the bases should stay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

**With the bases in Okinawa emptied of foreign military, think how many tens of thousands of jobs will be created, construction workers, workers in the new hotels, shops and tourist facilities.

Okinawa is losing money by hosting the US military. ** That's a pretty funny joke. You might want to look at what has happened to other places when bases have closed.

**Yes, those communities were built around the base after the war, but where else could the villagers go when their villages were swallowed up into the vast base and disappeared? It was those villagers who worked as pomp-priming factors and created Ginowan City as it is.

A village grows into a town, city and metropolitan. A small colonial community called New Amsterdam became a metropolitan called New York as the population grew. **

Have you checked the population around the bases? Have you asked where people are originally from? Most of the people around the base are not from those five villages and have moved close to the base to either work ON the base of a job/company that is there because of the base population.

I 100% understand that the people from the original area have a right to have their land "back" but if you are going to start with that line of thinking, then how about Japan just leave Okinawa all together? I mean, let's be honest, Okinawa was taken over forcefully by the Japanese, is regarded as the poor uneducated cousin and doesn't mean much. However, the locals won't. Why? Because they know they'll be worse off alone. The US base thing isn't really the issue, is it? It's that the Tokyo government is calling the shots and the locals don't like it. I get it but let's just call a spade a spade. Like I said, having grown up on air force bases and near runaway all my life except for now, it isn't the noise nor the land. It's the politics of it all.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Because issues of national security are not decided by local prefectural(state) governments. Would it be right for Kansas to negotiate with Japan regarding a defense issue?

A complete strawman. Of COURSE the people of the whole country should have a say about national security. They should vote on an issue such as whether they want a foreign military base on their soil. If no, then bye, bye. If yes, then the people should once again vote to see if anyone wants it locally. And if no one does, then bye, bye.

it wouldn't be up to the people of the state to dictate INTERNATIONAL policy. That is under the jurisdiction and LAWS of the national government.

Well the national government dictating things like this is what I expect of a DICTATORSHIP. And while you are correct that this is generally the way it works, it does not, by a longshot, make it right.

The Japanese government should have a national vote on the issue. If the Japanese vote for the U.S. presence, then the people should of each prefecture should vote if they want a base. If a prefecture votes yes, then go to cities. If two want, then junken for all I care! But if you force people to give up their towns and lands without even trying to ascertain the will of the people, then that sir, is TYRANNY.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

you don't notice the noise

tmarie, you are not me and you don't get to speak for me. Just because something happens for you does not mean it happens for us. We were not all forged in the same mold you know. I am thinking that all that soundproofing in houses around the air bases is probably there for a reason.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The land the bases take up is enormous!

Naha is a cramped town with most people in apartments and the US military in houses with gardens and green space.

How would you feel?

2 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of the people around the base....if you are going to start with that line of thinking, then how about Japan just leave Okinawa all together?

I don't understand what is so complicated about having a vote and knowing who wants what for sure. And if the vote is keep to the base, then what is so complicated about having the government buy the land at a fair price plus compensation?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good grief, when will this ever end?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The land the bases take up is enormous!

Naha is a cramped town with most people in apartments and the US military in houses with gardens and green space.

How would you feel?"

EXACTLY - kurisipisu

It's a total insult to the people who live here. Tiny streets, no place to park, cramped living accommodation and Kadena is built as if it were in California. HUGE swathes of space between buildings. The whole facilities could be accommodated in one tenth of the space.

But then the US military are not IN Okinawa - most of them haven't arrived here yet. They live an American lifestyle, in American sized living quarters, eating American "food," watching American TV and talking only American to each other.

They don't want to be here and Okinawa doesn't want them.

Tokyo doesn't want them either, which is why it has decided to put a huge distance between them and the metropolis. I wonder if anyone remembers the furor when it was suggested that they relocated the US military to Kyushu!

No one wants them.

They are an anachronism.

Time to go home, guys!

Bye!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well the national government dictating things like this is what I expect of a DICTATORSHIP. And while you are correct that this is generally the way it works, it does not, by a longshot, make it right.

The Japanese government should have a national vote on the issue. If the Japanese vote for the U.S. presence, then the people should of each prefecture should vote if they want a base. If a prefecture votes yes, then go to cities. If two want, then junken for all I care! But if you force people to give up their towns and lands without even trying to ascertain the will of the people, then that sir, is TYRANNY.

Basil, I couldn't have said it better myself. The Japanese national government is the one forcing these bases on the Okinawans, for Japan's benefit. A national referendum would of course keep the status quo intact -- Japan defended by the US, but with many of the living, breathing human soldiers -- that pesky downside of defense -- crammed into a faraway southern prefecture that in olden times was considered to be second-class compared to the Yamato people.

If Okinawans want them, great. (Not much sympathy for people who built homes and businesses on empty land around the bases and then complain that the bases take up too much space, though.)

But if Tokyo wants them, I say let Tokyo host them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Basil, I couldn't have said it better myself. The Japanese national government is the one forcing these bases on the Okinawans, for Japan's benefit.

When are people here going to get it through their heads that Okinawa is a part of Japan. The Okinawan people are citizens of Japan. While they have a very rich and different culture and history than the rest of the country the people are still Japanese citizens, and as Japanese citizens they also have a responsibility for the defense and security of the country as well.

It isn't that hard to figure out really.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okinawa NOW belongs to Japan BUT for a period of 27 years at the end of WW2, Okinawa WAS governed by the US and that is when the military bases were built. ( Battle of Okinawa ). Japan is at fault totally for the US being in the territory that Japan had acquired through Military incursion into the Ryukyu Kingdom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarie, you are not me and you don't get to speak for me. Just because something happens for you does not mean it happens for us. We were not all forged in the same mold you know. I am thinking that all that soundproofing in houses around the air bases is probably there for a reason.

So I don't get to speak for you but yet your "us" comment leads me to believe that YOU think you can speak for others? Perhaps you should reread what you wrote to me and think about whom YOU speak for?

I don't understand what is so complicated about having a vote and knowing who wants what for sure. And if the vote is keep to the base, then what is so complicated about having the government buy the land at a fair price plus compensation? My comment has nothing to do with anything you've just written. Like I said, the bases really aren't the issue. The issue is that Okinawa doesn't like being bossed around by Tokyo but doesn't have a choice. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Okinawa as it is is one of the poorest, is under achieving in test scores for education and has one of the highest unemployment rates. Shame the locals don't put more thought into those problem rather than play tit for tat with the boys from Tokyo.

I would 100% support Okinawa separating and going their own way. Thing is, they are smart enough to know they can't do it and instead, bring this issue up over and over again. Like I said, this isn't the real problem.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Boom! Exactly what I said earlier today. The people in Okinawa want to have their cake and eat it, too. They don't seem to realize that the Marines are there to stay -- at least for the time being. It would be NICE if Japan lived up to the promise it made twice in the agreements, but if they renege again then the base will stay where it is. So, the people complaining about all the noise and danger and what not can thank the politicians of Okinawa for screwing them over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

YuriOtani: "Well the new airfield is not going to be built. The people of Okinawa have been rejecting it since 1996. The government of Okinawa is decidedly anti-base."

There's something you need to accept, my friend, and that's that there are only a few people in Okinawa rejecting it, while many work for and live off the bases and would lose everything if the bases left. More importantly, it doesn't matter if the government is 'anti-base', they are going to have that base in one place or another. Next time the locals are crying about the noise and dangers of the base where it is, you go ahead and console them by saying you were against it being moved to the agreed upon (twice) location. I'm sure they'll thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapan, what province in Canada would allow the central government to do what the Tokyo government does to Okinawa? I know the people of Canada, it would not happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The burden also helps the national government as well, and this is one thing people continually overlook. Okinawa is the most economically depressed prefecture in Japan. Without the base presence it would become an even greater burden on the national government and the Okinawan people have to come up with concrete solutions on how to replace the income the bases provide and not just nakunai sa way of thinking.

Yubaru, your comment shows that you don't really understand the situation in Okinawa.

First of all the big chunk of the US base budget comes from the central government, plus the comfort budget that Tokyo is paying towards Okinawa since the reversion... so the Japanese government has to pay twice for the US military and to keep Okinawans well-behaved and quiet. And you can be sure that if there'd be no bases on Okinawa the central government wouldn't dare to pay such amounts to Okinawa. You just have to look at other underdeveloped areas in Japan to know...

Second, what you call depressed prefecture hasn't changed at all if seen in relation. Where did the huge 'comfort budgets' that Tokyo poured into Okinawa get the prefecture?

Did Okinawa climb up the wealth ladder in relation to other prefectures? No, not at all. Okinawa is still the prefecture with lowest income and, according to central Japanese standards, with the by far lowest level of education, etc. etc.

Why is that so?

Because the money that was poured into Okinawa up to now had just one very clear aim: to make Okinawans dependent and quiet (if not more directly to bribe them). The money was not allocated in a way that would empower Okinawans. Of course there are many Okinawans who benefit quite a lot from those comfort budgets, but those are not necessarily the ones who would guide Okinawa towards a brighter future. The ones that profited most were filthy politicians and their kin, usually low level constructions companies that know how to pour concrete, but not much more. The money with it's focus on unnecessary civil engineering and impressive but rather contentless facilities, has actually prevented Okinawa from becoming ready for the future and kept a big number of low level, low income jobs.

About the Futenma base, that Okinawas worry about it remaining open longer is understandable, but it will take less effort to get Futenma closed then it did to stop Henoko.

I believe it will be closed rather sooner then later, as it is unjustifiable to keep it open, I just very much hope that there will be no major accident before that happens...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's something you need to accept, my friend, and that's that there are only a few people in Okinawa rejecting it, while many work for and live off the bases and would lose everything if the bases left.

smithinjapan, as all available polls and all other verifiable information shows us that the vast majority of Okinawans want the US bases drastically reduced I would say your statement is a false assertion.

I have asked you and others who did post similar claims in former threads to corroborate such claims and haven't seen one piece of verifiable information that could support your wired assertion that a majority of Okinawans are welcoming the status quo of US military presence in Okinawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@YuriOtani

My evidence of deception is the massive costs to move the Marines. The Americans would of kept raising the price then environmental impact until it was canceled.

Umm... You must think we're all idiots, but we're not. Your "evidence" is all smoke and mirrors. It's the Okinawans who kept causing the costs to rise. Every day of delay raises the costs. EVERY DAY. The delays created by the Okinawans are directly responsible for the increased costs. I'm sure you knew that, but found it more fun to find one more thing to blame the Americans on.

The environmental impact study was ALSO initiated by the Okinawans when they claimed some poor endangered manatee was going to be wiped out if the base was built at Camp Schwab. Again, I'm sure you were well aware of that already, but it gets you off to blame America for things. As for the manatees, if an animal that large in size is SO localized as to its species threatened by construction along a 1 mile streatch of shoreline, then the species is doomed anyways. They don't have enough mating pairs to survive in-breeding defects.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fadamor, the price of the move to Guam and the environmental impact on Guam. Do the numbers, it is over 10 billion US dollars to relocate 4,500 Marines?

Again the people of Okinawa have NEVER signed off on the new airfield. Am positive the Governor will NEVER sign the construction permit. That means MCAS Futenma will remain open, though if the Americans really wanted to help. They would stop flying the noisy jets into it. Move the helicopter landing pads into the center of the facility and give back the land not needed for a small airport. However because they have not done this shows they need a full size airfield and thus the small one in the north would NEVER replace it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, your comment shows that you don't really understand the situation in Okinawa.

Actually I know about everything you posted, and I beg to differ on a couple of points you made but it only comes down to a matter of opinion and until either one or the other becomes reality the points are moot from both sides.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Edited to add.....I am not talking about the budget only.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are begging the question.

Sorry?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, your problem is you see 2 sides instead of 3. The people of Okinawa are not slaves to the government in Tokyo. The Americans say the bases keep us "free" but in reality we are slaves to the bases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smithinjapan, what province in Canada would allow the central government to do what the Tokyo government does to Okinawa? I know the people of Canada, it would not happen.

You are trying to compare apples to oranges. Canada didn't lose a war and make agreements with the winning country with included not having a military and allowing bases of the winning country to be built. There are plenty of military bases in areas that I am sure first nations would love to do away with - but they don't have a leg to stand on with it. Much like the Okinawans.

If you do want to look at issues with a province though, take a look at Quebec.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've always loved the expression "Careful what you wish for" You know doctors wouldn't be doctors if they didn't have the flu or cancer to battle every week. If there was a cure, they'd be out of job soon. Likewise, these Okinawa politicians just love it that the more outspoken Okinawans are willing to keep it going. It seems like an unending battle doesn't it? If it does end the way you want it won't be the citizens of Okinawa that reap the spoils. From Fukushima to Okinawa, Deep Pockets control everything.

Yuri, Yubaru, OkinawaMike, I think you guys should be happy. That's a lot of Marines being moved. It's a start. I know you want it ALL and eventually I think you will. It's good to see them go.

Now I don't know if those 4,700 Marines have families there in Okinawa. I also don't know if those families spent some of their hard earned salaries in the local economy either. One thing I do know is that the money will now come back to the U.S.

I'm curious about a few things though. What do think is going to happen to Futenma and Okinawa when you do finally win this fight? Do you expect Japanese automakers to come and build factories to create jobs? Or do you expect the technology sector to come there and set up shop cause of Okinawa's excellent educational system?

Is it tourism you want? Do you expect that mainland Japanese will spend big money on domestic travel to Okinawa when it cost the same to go to Italy or France?

Do you have one of those little model cities in a glass case somewhere "Shin-Futenma"?

Unfortunately, I don't think you have the answers cause you are a foot soldier. They often call Marines "Grunts" and it's funny but you don't realize you are the same. Somewhere far behind you in an office somewhere is a guy with a bunch of investors in his pocket. He has plans for the land that you are hoping to get back to the people.

How come this is an issue decided by TOKYO and WASHINGTON?

Cause they are in charge of the military presence currently in Okinawa. Okinawa is part of Japan until you rebel like Taiwan.

They would gladly have the American's as tourists or with business interests outside of the military, just not the military

Translation: We only want your money and please set up Costco.

Sometimes it's better NOT to try to make yourself good. I support America's military being removed from Japan..I do but what you said there is pretty pathetic. You and I know very well that Americans aren't going to stay there in Okinawa. Silly idea. Those that stay would be attacked through bureaucracy and discrimination.

Listen it's okay to be the bad guy right now. Everyone understands.

Americans aren't coming to Okinawa for a vacation. It's not going to happen. Someone with 10,000 to spend on a vacation is NOT going to choose Okinawa. Venice, Italy YES. Okinawa, Japan where they protest against Americans, NO. Stop pretending they will forget in new generation with Internet. They'll wiki Okinawa and that'll be it.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

NetNinja,

Good post. Probably too much reality for too many, however.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually I know about everything you posted, and I beg to differ on a couple of points you made but it only comes down to a matter of opinion and until either one or the other becomes reality the points are moot from both sides.

Yubaru, Do you want to deny that Okinawan politics and economy have been deeply influenced by the budgetary carrot-and-stick policy of the central government in Tokyo? I don't think that there's any lack of evidence for Tokyo's bullying and pressuring approach towards Okinawa.

Sad is that quite a number of Okinawans think that they have no choice then to eat the carrots and avoid the stick... but I can empathize with that.

Shall we go on small tour around Okinawa to take a look at the most obvious results of what the Tokyo 'carrot and stick' budgets do to the Okinawan environment?

We could start in Yanbaru, in the north of the island, with the Rin-do, a massive network of completely useless forrest roads that criss cross the unique forrest. Then we can find completely non-competitive pineapple fields that were created by flattening hilltops with comfort money from Tokyo.

Close by we have the huge dam projects, that are justified with growing water consumption and water shortage, while wells with marvelous quality drinking all over the island are drying out because of too much or bad planned urban development.

When we arrive in Henoko, carrot and stick jumps at us in the form of a huge newly built Okinawa National College of Technology... how the heck did this get to Henoko a sleepy village with 1000 some inhabitants? Because of its wonderful nature and the nice beaches close by? Sorry for being a bit cynical... Further down road into Henoko a hugely oversized Community center stick out of the small single-family homes (it makes sense to check its size on google maps as it really is HUGE), another carrot that was prepared to corrupt Henoko citizens who at first were largely agains the new base on their beach.

Just to compare the size of public facilities of Okinawan villages with US bases and the ones without is rather appalling.

We are just getting to the center of the Island and I could go on quite endlessly, but this would go beyond the scope of this discussion. I think you can get what I want to say.

There is a growing number of Okinawans who are fed up with such a system, even it can mean short-term economical challenges for them, but they feel that on the long run Okinawan well-being is dependent on their own ability to create things with real values.

To stop the Henoko construction is a huge step in right direction. To get Futenma closed soon will be the next and I believe it won't be as hard as the former.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So I don't get to speak for you but yet your "us" comment leads me to believe that YOU think you can speak for others?

Strange, since I allowed for the possibilty that others could be like you with my wording. Declaring that everyone is different is not exactly speaking for others, is it?

Still, it does not explain the widespread use of soundproofing around the bases, does it?

Like I said, the bases really aren't the issue. The issue is that Okinawa doesn't like being bossed around by Tokyo

I can't think of any bossing around that bothers Okinawa except for the bases. Therefore, it seems the bases really ARE the issue. We LOVE the bases but we HATE that you make us take them...just...makes...no...sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We LOVE the bases but we HATE that you make us take them...just...makes...no...sense.

"us" again, eh? Seems you didn't learn from your own lecture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarie, the war has been over for 67 years. The island of Okinawa is not a prize to keep. The people of Okinawa are not slaves for the bases. This is where America gets in trouble, all of its talk about "freedom". However they deny it to others. They make excuses for their misdeeds. This issue is not going away and for me myself it does not matter what happens.

The Governor will make a decision soon (hopefully) and Tokyo and Washington will discover the new airfield is not going to be easy. The Americans blame Tokyo for the lack of "progress" but they do not control the Okinawa people like puppets. So in order to build the base force is going to be needed. Another Okinawa only law, riot police from the mainland to allow construction. Perhaps even the Marines themselves to crack a few stubborn heads. The world is watching and seeing the hypocrites that the Americans are about "freedom".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Victory for the Okinawans.. maybe not exactly what they wanted but they got rid of 4700 marines and I read that the other 3000 will be on long deployments to S Korea, PI and Austrailia. So, while Futenma MCAS may remain, there will be relief. Also, of them 4700 that will be gone, I guess that about a thousand live on base, this will free up some on base housing for the others living downtown and save millions of tax payers dollars a year in rental costs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yuri, Yubaru, OkinawaMike, I think you guys should be happy. That's a lot of Marines being moved. It's a start. I know you want it ALL and eventually I think you will. It's good to see them go.

Now I don't know if those 4,700 Marines have families there in Okinawa. I also don't know if those families spent some of their hard earned salaries in the local economy either. One thing I do know is that the money will now come back to the U.S.

First off Net, you really haven't been reading my posts too closely if you think I am going to be happy with the Marines leaving here. I believe Futenma needs to be relocated, in Henoko is fine with me too. But the Marines that the government wants to move are not the combat forces, but the support forces, the ones with families.

Those families have been and are great ambassadors for the US here in Okinawa. They would not be moving back to the states either, they would be going to Guam or where else they are sent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, Do you want to deny that Okinawan politics and economy have been deeply influenced by the budgetary carrot-and-stick policy of the central government in Tokyo? I don't think that there's any lack of evidence for Tokyo's bullying and pressuring approach towards Okinawa.

Your question here is very misleading. Damned if you do damned if you dont huh? Certainly the "carrot and stick" is prevalent in Okinawa, none can deny that. That happens anywhere in the country as well, Fukushima ring a bell? But none of the politicians want the money to stop flowing either. In fact they have been fighting to be able to use the money as they see fit and not for what the national government controls.

You are a bit off the mark though on some of your points/projects. But for discussions sake I wont argue the details.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, your problem is you see 2 sides instead of 3. The people of Okinawa are not slaves to the government in Tokyo. The Americans say the bases keep us "free" but in reality we are slaves to the bases.

Yuri you see it as two parallel lines. 10% or so of the Okinawa economy depends on the bases, give or take a few percentage points based upon current conditions.

Okinawa has benefited from the bases and continues to do so as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NetNinja....I've always loved the expression "Careful what you wish for"

Good post.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are a bit off the mark though on some of your points/projects. But for discussions sake I wont argue the details.

Yubaru, for the discussions sake it would be good to argue the details, and I would be glad to hear them, but of course this is not the right thread for that discussion...

Okinawa has benefited from the bases and continues to do so as well.

There's no doubt that some people in Okinawa benefit from the bases, but Okinawa as a whole has not at all benefited from the US bases.

To the contrary it will take Okinawa decades to overcome the sleazy system that has been imposed on Okinawa by the US military and the central government in Tokyo against the will of the majority of Okinawans and the fact that some Okinawans are partaking in that system doesn't relieve the US and Tokyo from their responsibility towards establishing it.

Saying Okinawa has benefited from this carrot and stick system is cynical as Okinawans didn't have much of a choice in establishing it and as such are not at all in the position to be happy about the benefits, except you see Okinawas as subordinates who should be happy about the master giving them food.

The current system with US bases that have been forced onto Okinawa deprive Okinawa of a self-determined, democratic future which is based on values created by Okinawans themselves.

Only a drastic change of the status quo will make it possible for Okinawans to realize a better future for their islands. Preventing the Henoko relocation and getting rid of MCAS Futenma are two huge milestones on that path to a better future for Okinawa.

If Okinawans choose to host US bases in an open and truly democratic process, based on proper information and clearly outlined choices, I would accept that, even my belief is that any kind of military facilities in Okinawa mean more of a threat to island then a protection.

There is no way to protect a place like Okinawa by military action in a meaningful way if a powerful enemy should ever again chose to attack the island and the ones who know that best are Okinawans themselves with their horrifying experience during WW2.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bam_boo I get the impression from reading your posts that you too seem to differentiate between Okinawan's and Japanese.

While arguably the Okinawan's are ethnically different from Japanese they are Japanese citizens and the issues like it or not as I see it, need to be faced from them as being citizens of Japan. As long as Okinawa is a prefecture of Japan and it's people are citizens of Japan, they too have to consider the issues facing the country as they are a part of it as well.

I do not disagree with the fact that if even from a pure safety point of view, MCAS Futenma must move from it's current location.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Saying Okinawa has benefited from this carrot and stick system is cynical as Okinawans didn't have much of a choice in establishing it and as such are not at all in the position to be happy about the benefits, except you see Okinawas as subordinates who should be happy about the master giving them food.

No need trying to put words into my mouth, I can do that very well on my own and your assistance is not necessary. No the people in Okinawa did not have any choice in the matter and they are subjects of a system that discriminated against their rights, not just after WWII but prior to that all the way back into the 1800's. They do not have the right of self determination, maybe they should, that too is another topic.

The former consulate general said it very well about the way the Okinawan politicians treat these issues and it is also a fact that they want to have their cake and eat it too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is digusting that Tokyo would force the bases on Okinawa and also disgusting that the Americans would take advantage of them doing so.

And I thought this was decided? Just GTFO already!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bam_boo I get the impression from reading your posts that you too seem to differentiate between Okinawan's and Japanese.

That's true. But many Okinawans do so as well, especially elder ones. I think it is important for the Okinawan identity to differentiate themselves from the rest of Japan and it is natural as Okinawans really feel different in so many respects.

I believe the only way for Okinawa to preserve their own identity within the Japanese nation would be to become an autonomous region. The current status as a remote prefecture in a highly centralized system is in many ways fatal for Okinawa. To become independent in a regional framework would be even better, but that doesn't seem to be a realistic option at the moment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The former consulate general said it very well about the way the Okinawan politicians treat these issues and it is also a fact that they want to have their cake and eat it too.

Are you talking about Maher? The guy who is calling Okinawans "lazy" and "masters of extortion."?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Talking from my own experince, living next to futenma, study and my wife being Okinawan. It seems like most of the people that want Futenma gone is mainland japanese people. Also Okinawa was much better off when the US had control of it after WWII, and seriously not many people complain about there lands being used by US military bases since they get a pretty good chunk of change every year, and I know because my family is leasing one out. If it wasn't for the US being here in Okinawa, it was the US miltary who built one of the first paved road here in Okinawa.

This is just some FYI I have been in Okinawa for a long time and have met of a lot of Okinawan people who are not bothered by the US military, and are actually greatful they are here. Since the military provides jobs for about 30,000 local nationals. Once again this is information that I know of, so please I dont need any hating comments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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