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Okinawa marks 40 years since return to Japan

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What money is pouring in from Tokyo? Aside from the money to pay the Japanese civil servants who work on base, what else is being given to Okinawa? The Okinawans who are profiting from the bases are the ones who are leasing their land or renting houses/apartments to the Americans.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The US are still occupying it lol

0 ( +6 / -6 )

All the okinawan's do is complain. Once North Korea attacks South Korea and it spills over to Japan, maybe then they will appreciate the roll the US plays in the region, and the need for the strategic location of that base. 

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Good luck finding funding for the development once the base shuts down and the economy crumbles.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Okinawa might have been happier if the islands were not "returned" to Japan. Okinawa originally was an independent kingdom. If Okinawa were not returned, the islands might have been a charming place under American ruling. People becoming all like "nisei" people speaking English. Isn't that nice?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

People becoming all like "nisei" people speaking English. Isn't that nice?

Not especially. How about their own ethnic language? Wouldn't that be nice?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

First off I have been watching the ceremonies on TV that just finished up a while ago. Typical rhetoric. However one thing that was out of place and SHOULD be noted is the former PM Hatoyama showed up in Okinawa today as well. He is one of the biggest idiots amongst a plethora of politicians and had a whole heck of a lot of nerve showing up for the ceremonies.

He is the one who put his feet into his silver spoon fed mouth when he said it was his goal to move Futenma. People in Okinawa haven't and wont forget it either.

One thing lost in all of these ceremonies is that for the 2nd time since the reversion the people who own property on the bases had their leases (20 year) renewed. Out of the thousands of landowners only about 150, and nearly all of those 150 only own one-tsubo of property, were the ones who disagreed. But because of the current Japanese law their land leases were automatically renewed. There are 31 different bases and land areas which the US Military LEASES.

The yearly budget for the leases alone is 93,000,000,000 yen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aside from the money to pay the Japanese civil servants who work on base, what else is being given to Okinawa?

If you have ever been there you may have noticed the huge changes in the infrastructure, courtesy of the national government. The mono-rail to almost nowhere was funded mostly in part by the national government. Countless other (some useful some not so) public works projects as well were and are being funded nationally that otherwise would not have been.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

. If Okinawa were not returned, the islands might have been a charming place under American ruling.

That's kind of like saying that Texas should have stayed a republic and not part of the US. Sorry but it is kind of ignorant to make comments about something that is, was, and never going to happen.

Okinawa has been a part of Japan since the latter part of the 19th century, late 1860's, and even under control of Satsuma even further back than that.

Okinawa never was AMERICA, it was only under American control with the intent of giving it back in time. Yes there is a lot of history but the fact is it is a part of Japan, with a different heritage, culture, and history. Much like the Native American's in the US.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

If Okinawa were not returned, the islands might have been a charming place under American ruling.

Ask the people of Guam about this one. I know quite a few native Guamanian people that think Guam should never have been allowed to come under American rule. Now they have no choice really.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I have a feel Okinawans were happier than now when they were under American rule. Today, they are angry both at Japan as well as at America (U.S. Forces). What do they want?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Who are the US protecting in Okinawa? The Japanese people or US interests in Asia?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The plan complains, however, that the concentration of US military facilities in Okinawa “is a huge obstacle to our development”.

EXACTLY!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Who are the US protecting in Okinawa? The Japanese people or US interests in Asia?

Thunderbird - the US is protecting NOBODY in Okinawa. They make Okinawa more dangerous by their presence. If anywhere were attacked in Japan, the first place would be Okinawa because they would want to take out the US bases first.

They say they are here because Honshu wants them here, but the Japanese government is a sycophant US puppet.

They are here on their own agenda.

Time to go, guys!

Bye!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Do you live here or just another outsider thinking they know what's best?

I've lived in Okinawa for nearly 3 decades, there is more about this island and it's people and culture that I have forgotten that many people do not even know about.

MCAS Futenma NEEDS to be moved, there are few if anyone that disagrees with that. The problems is WHERE to move it to.

Anyay, if you know anything about the bases/Okinawa, Futenma can be done without since Kadena is here.

This is, again sorry but it's the truth, a comment made out of ignorance of the realities of the situation. Kadena and Futenma have two TOTALLY different missions for two different branches of the US Military.

The two are not and have never been interchangeable. Futenma's mission is to support the ground pounder Marines. Marine units, air and ground, work in close conjunction with each other. You move Futenma out of reach of Okinawa and you take away one of it's most important mission requirements to work in close support of the ground based Marines.

They are a team. MAGTF (Marine Air & Ground Task Force) take away the aviation arm and you limit the overall capabilities of the entire force.

Oh I will will add, I do not and have not for nearly 30 years, have ANYTHING to do with the US Military, work or otherwise. I am a civilian, living and working no where even close to any military installations in Okinawa. I have done and am continuing to do research about these issues and believe me it is NOT an easy topic from what ever angle one chooses to look at it from.

The solutions are not cut-and-dried, there are hardships to be had from whatever angle one chooses to look at the problem from. HOWEVER, the anti-base crowd, however noisy they may be, have no concrete plans or ideas on how to replace the loss to the economy if and when the bases get moved out of Okinawa. They are "hoping" that something or someone will help them out, yet the reality as well of the economic situation of the island is that the ONLY replacement is dependence upon the national government (welfare). That IS a FACT as well.

It's some serious dreams to believe that increased tourism is going to replace what is there now. Tourists in Okinawa leave on average, per-person, only between 10,000 to 20,000 per tourist (roughly $100.00 to $200.00 US) the rest ends up in the pockets of mainland corporations. Plus tourist industry related work is for the most part MINIMUM WAGE PART-TIME wages, for low skilled, under-educated folks.

Not many people want to face this reality, they only want to complain and push for the bases to get out of here.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Thunderbird - the US is protecting NOBODY in Okinawa. They make Okinawa more dangerous by their presence. If anywhere were attacked in Japan, the first place would be Okinawa because they would want to take out the US bases first.

This is an ignorant comment too, look up the word ignorant before you start to complain, I am not calling you ignorant, just the basis that you use to make a conscious under-educated comment about the situation in Okinawa.

The US military in Okinawa and Japan are part of an overall DEFENSE agreement between the two countries. Japan would NOT be where it is today had the two countries not come to these agreements.

One has to understand, without blinders on, about the missions that each branch of the military has. Okinawa is protected, heavily protected, thanks to the US Military being here.

Okinawa in reality is not truly a strategically militarily important strike point in Japan. There are more important and sensitive targets in mainland, particularly Kasumigaseki. To cause true chaos in Japan would not to be to attack Okinawa

One must realize as well that to even attempt to attack the US Military here would provoke a response that few if anyone would want to consider. Think MADD if you are old enough to remember what that really meant.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm waiting to be the designated ignorant one now, but why couldn't the "mission" of Futenma be carried out in an equivalent sized corner of Kadena? The mission consists of people, activities, and facilities. Nothing sacred about not doing it somewhere there is room, excepting the unwillingness of the AF and USMC to play together. Tuff s**t, I say. So OK, the Marines are Very Important For Our Defense, but by the way what is Kadena's mission except to flatten some poor country before the Marines wade in?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well... As an American I want our troops gone from Okinawa as well. Along with ANY troops stationed outside of the U.S. border. I have grown so tired of seeing and hearing all the complaints about our bases and involvement in international affairs. I'll not go into the LONG list of things that could or should have happend if America had not been an active participant in world affairs since WW2. Whether or not you agreed with their methods, the fact that you can openly criticise the Government of the U.S. or Japan should be noted that China does not take the same level of criticism at all. I would like to see all American military pulled back to our own borders and for America to return to the isolationist ways from before WW2, but, thanks in part to Pearl Harbor, Japan helped to create this Frankenstein. How much $ would your nation have spent in national defence if America had left in say the 50's? How would your economic progress have been mitigated by defence spending? How much would it be now if we pulled out? Do you belive that China would not forcefully claim the disputed islands if America did not have a strong footprint in the area? We have become, whether we wanted to be or not, the world's policeman. Are you ready to have China take that position? Or Russia? How about yourselves? Ready to travel to disparate parts of the world and fight for another nation? And not one word about the U.N. They are as ineffective as the League of Nations was before them. So the choice is the monster you know, or the monster you don't know.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I'm waiting to be the designated ignorant one now, but why couldn't the "mission" of Futenma be carried out in an equivalent sized corner of Kadena? The mission consists of people, activities, and facilities. Nothing sacred about not doing it somewhere there is room, excepting the unwillingness of the AF and USMC to play together. Tuff s**t, I say. So OK, the Marines are Very Important For Our Defense, but by the way what is Kadena's mission except to flatten some poor country before the Marines wade in?

If you look at what I wrote you would see exactly what I was talking about, to refresh your memory here;

Anyay, if you know anything about the bases/Okinawa, Futenma can be done without since Kadena is here.

What you are proposing (and what has been proposed as well by US Senators no less) is something totally different. BTW I agree with what you have written here, it is basically inter-service rivalries that prevents cooperation between the MC and AF. Furtenma could easily be moved to Kadena with a LITTLE cooperation between the services.

However dont expect the "local" Kadena Town politicians or Okinawa City politicians for that matter to agree.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Loose Canon, I do not believe for one minute that anyone who lived through the cold war era, and prior to that the rise of communism want to even consider what "might" have been had the US NOT been in Japan following WWII.

It's a moot point.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When the US air bases started to close in the UK the towns and villages around them gave a sigh of relief, but then the economics of the situation hit home... but then they found new ways to make ends meet and got on with it. I'm sure the people of Okinawa would find other sources of income.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was born at the start of the Korean War and raised in Hawaii attending elementary, intermediate, high, and university there. I lived in Aiea below Camp Smith and worked at a 24-hour service station on Kam Highway very close to Pearl Harbor. To go to school I passed Hickam Airforce base and gazed at Tripler Memorial hospital reflecting "pinkly" above Fort Shafter.

I hated the military presence growing up but came to love and appreciate all the benefits their presence brought to Hawaii's economy throughout the second half of the last century. Take a look at the infrastructure and economies of the neighbor islands even now and you can see how big a difference having national coffers available for infrastructural and logistics improvements are.

Today, you can hardly tell the military presence. Tourism has become the top earning industry there. But, there remains huge areas on Oahu where the military (and national expeditures) continue to sustain local economies - the North Shore, Wahiawa/Haleiwa/Leilehua/Kaneohe/Waianae among them.

My vote is to find that "separate peace" and to shoot for the mutually agreeable "soft landing." The U.S. needs a friendly and supportive base of operations, Okinawa needs the economies of detente. This is not a black and white issue. Hawaii continues to rely on Federal financial support despite world-class tourism success.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When the US air bases started to close in the UK the towns and villages around them gave a sigh of relief, but then the economics of the situation hit home... but then they found new ways to make ends meet and got on with it. I'm sure the people of Okinawa would find other sources of income.

One can not make the same comparisons between the UK, Okinawa, and Japan. Logistically speaking alone Okinawa is too far away to add any industry that would benefit both the island and the country other than tourism or gambling.

No natural resources, limited infrastructure, a relatively under-educated work force (education statistics will back this comment up) and distance from potential markets, makes it cost prohibitive to invest the money needed to bring the economy up to par with the rest of Japan.

At best Okinawa can and in some ways already has, become a gateway of sorts between SE Asia and Japan, (something it, throughout it's history, has always been pretty good at) THAT is where the focus for development should be in my opinion. Get away from only focusing on tourism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Isn't Okinawa still the poorest prefecture in Japan? You'd think they deserve a bit more after having to put up with the US bases and discrimination by the mainlanders. I wonder what it'd be like had they been given back their independence.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One, (not You (baru)), could make the case that the rich Okinawan culture is worth preserving, but will die if the American presence and the associated mainland Japanese influence continues. Of course that is too much to hope for, but still is a good reason for wanting those influences to vanish. The Okinawans were poor but content before the war. You can argue that they are better off now but I disagree. Don't dredge up the Satsuma/imperialist argument, and the fact that a few thousand landlords have been made wealthy doesn't cut the karashi either. The Japanese government would be happy to end their blood money payments for Okinawa infrastructure and the Okinawans would get along somehow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the okinawan's do is complain

It seems they do love a whinge - no doubt about that. However they probably have good reason after being colonised by both the Japanese and the Americans - as well as having an economy and infrastructure that is not much better than a developing nation. If Japan stopped pouring in the mainlander's taxes, the place would probably end up 3rd world! I've heard there are some nice beaches in the joint though. I doubt they could ever be independent in the future as I don't think there are any major natural resources there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This vast presence is a source of friction with islanders who complain of noise and the risk of accidents from the bases, as well as the crime and social problems associated with the presence of a huge contingent of mainly young, single men.

I understand Okinawans' feelings very well. There are too many US bases and facilities in such a small island. Most bases are very dangerously close to residences. Many people don't want the US bases and so many troubles by soldiers any more there. If so, the US should close some bases and move them out overseas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Things got better when Okinawa was returned to bring a Japanese Prefecture.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

When are the Russians going to return the the northern islands?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

When are the Russians going to return the the northern islands?

When Hell freezes over - or possibly when the ice floes up there melt permanently!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@kdt3272

Once North Korea attacks South Korea and it spills over to Japan, maybe then they will appreciate the roll the US plays in the region, and the need for the strategic location of that base.

Did you forget that the U.S. is also in South Korea?

As of May 2010, it is reported that there are some 28,000 to 28,500 US armed forces personnel in South Korea. Comprehensive details of Army, Air and Naval forces are available on this website:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/korea-orbat-usfk.htm

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru-san:

If you have ever been there you may have noticed the huge changes in the infrastructure, courtesy of the national government. The mono-rail to almost nowhere was funded mostly in part by the national government. Countless other (some useful some not so) public works projects as well were and are being funded nationally that otherwise would not have been.

Tokens only!

Okinawa doesn't even have a railway.

Hokkaido has rail services everywhere, subways, expressways and expensive road heating in a place that's going to be bankrupt in a few years. Gas/oil prices are NOT going to go down!

Yuirail, the new airport and the "expressways" only appeared here just before the summit conference in Busena.

Tokens!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Fadamor:

So WHO'S the douchebag here?

The douchebag is the politicians that placed 50,000 militia on this island.

The Japanese government who think they want US "protection" but do not want it anywhere near the main islands of Japan and the Okinawa "politicians" who allowed this mess to happen.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Isn't Okinawa still the poorest prefecture in Japan? You'd think they deserve a bit more after having to put up with the US bases and discrimination by the mainlanders. I wonder what it'd be like had they been given back their independence.

YES, YES, YES!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Never mind about the people of Okinawa, they will survive. It is time to cut down on the ludicrous spending of tax payers money to keep these troops that accomplishes nothing, 70 years ago MAYBE, TODAY NO.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing changes in the world order. Submit!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The China's first-strike strategy toward Okinawa or Japan is more than hypothetical in the near term and considered unlikely. China's most contentious issue is Taiwan, where assertions of complete independence from the mainland can infuriate Chinese leaders. China has built up it's military but also its extensive ties with U.S. In a future, in Taiwan the risk of conflict could increase. It really depends on the circumstances, but would Taiwan be the provocateur? If so, it might be hard for the U.S. to support intervention. If China moves to capture control of Taiwan, the U.S. would face a rocky dilemma. Are U.S. really going to let a small, democratic country get snuffed out by a huge authoritarian country?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Really it was so nice when our Okinawa Assembly did not have to ask an American General permission to do everything. I was 13 at reversion and while not perfect, we need to remain with Japan. About my position on bases, add my usual blah. Am just a single person and nobody cares about my blah.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

One, (not You (baru)), could make the case that the rich Okinawan culture is worth preserving, but will die if the American presence and the associated mainland Japanese influence continues. Of course that is too much to hope for, but still is a good reason for wanting those influences to vanish. The Okinawans were poor but content before the war. You can argue that they are better off now but I disagree. Don't dredge up the Satsuma/imperialist argument, and the fact that a few thousand landlords have been made wealthy doesn't cut the karashi either. The Japanese government would be happy to end their blood money payments for Okinawa infrastructure and the Okinawans would get along somehow.

Then don't bring up the the idea that the Okinawan people were content prior to the war, because they were not. Check the history and you will see what I am talking about.

They were far from content. And your comment about "they will get along somehow" is truly a pipe-dream.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Okinawa doesn't even have a railway.

Hokkaido has rail services everywhere, subways, expressways and expensive road heating in a place that's going to be bankrupt in a few years. Gas/oil prices are NOT going to go down!

Yuirail, the new airport and the "expressways" only appeared here just before the summit conference in Busena.

Tokens!

Ok here we go, please stop before you really put your foot in it. Okinawa if you havent noticed is an ISLAND. At one time, up to WWII it had a small gauge railway that was destroyed in the war. A relic sits in Yogi Park.

(Long story short) After the war under the USCAR there was no need for rebuilding one, and after reversion cost prohibitive. Hokkaido wasnt bombed to bits either you know.

You are WAY WAY WAY off track on the monorail and expressway statement. The monorail had been in planning stages for nearly 40 years! The local government couldn't afford the money needed to purchase all the land, and build it. Sections were bought way back in the 70's and 80's but sat idle because of lack of funding.

The expressway my mis uninformed friend from the late 70's it initially only went from Ishikawa to Nago, the southern extension had been on the books for decades AGAIN no money!

Neither of these projects could have taken place without the national governments assistance, and they were and are huge and have made a significant change for the better in peoples lives.

The list is long, but if one doesnt want to look they will never see it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

****By all means.....if any part of Japan does not want any US military presence then Japan should tell the US military to leave and not come back even if it means not coming back if Japan needs help defending from a hostile country. Americans are tired of countries that only want to use the US for military reasons and then when they don't need them anymore they want them out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Dell_1957 May. 16, 2012 - 06:38AM JST. By all means.....if any part of Japan does not want any US military presence then Japan should tell the US military to leave and not come back even if it means not coming back if Japan needs help defending from a hostile country. Americans are tired of countries that only want to use the US for military reasons and then when they don't need them anymore they want them out.

You have a short memory. Japan tried but U.S. won't let them. In 2009, when Hatoyama became a PM of Japan, the Obama administration was aware that there was a section of politicians in Japan who sought distance from U.S. Even many Japanese people started to view Japan’s policies as being dictated by the U.S. and described their own country as “America’s baby”. In particular, right-wing nationalists vouched for reducing reliance on the U.S. and argued that Japan must not be afraid to take a confrontational position in foreign policy. Hatoyama was probably articulating his foreign policy in conformity with the national mood but at the end it proved disastrous. The Obama administration was instrumental in Hatoyama’s ouster from office because of the latter’s inept handling of the Futenma base relocation issue. In April 2010 held at Washington, Obama snubbed Hatoyama and weeks later Hatoyama resigned and was replaced by the more U.S. acceptable Kan Naoto. Kan immediately confirmed that the Futenma base issue would proceed according to the US desire. No wonder, when the leaks surfaced, he declined to comment and said that the announcement of information was “not legitimate”. The Japanese government succumbed to the U.S. pressure to follow its line of thinking. Okinawa may be a problem for Japan but getting out of this is likely to be messy. Japan has no alternative than to preserve its alliance relationship with the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sfjp330, it was more than just "distance." While Hatoyama was doing his handiwork, Ozawa was off in Beijing with some 600 personnel and bullying the Imperial Household Agency into breaking standard protocol to have the Emperor meet Xi Xinping. All while the US was bruised and bloodied after the financial crisis and other myriad problems. "Kick 'em while they are down", eh? Can't see how anyone would be remotely surprised by Washington's hostility.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe the Marines could be moved to Iwo Jima. Sandy beaches are good for their training and the island have a long airfield and NO civilians or women.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Sfjp330....the real reason the Japanese government doesn't tell the US to pull out is because they know that Japan has no real military to defend itself compared to your neighbors. Japan is only pretending to be a US friend to ward off any country that is thinking of military action against Japan...Japanese people want their cake and eat it too...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe the Marines could be moved to Iwo Jima. Sandy beaches are good for their training and the island have a long airfield and NO civilians or women.

Tom - I think Afghanistan would be a much better choice. They would get all the training they wanted - in real time!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I have so much more to say about all this, but I prefer just to stay out of it. Everyone here has made valid points but some have made invalid points as well. It's all about opinions, but can't we all just get along?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tom DeMicke,

last year during the worse disasters in the history of this country, the U.S. military here were fantastic and went well beyond the call of duty. They went into the Fukushima plant. They cleared and got the airport in Sendai run and running at an amazing pace. This was important since all the major roads nd rail lines into Miyagi had been very badly damaged. They delievered emergency supplies. There are so many Japanese and non Japanese who live on the mainland who will never forget their great efforts. Thank you so much.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Who are the US protecting in Okinawa? The Japanese people or US interests in Asia?

@thunderbird2...... what else. Of course US interest in Asia. LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zichi ... thank you for your kind words. It's much appreciated.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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