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Okinawan governor protests to Tokyo after U.S. chopper window falls on school

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In 1996 the Japanese Government and US Government agreed on relocating MCAS Futenma from the densely populated area in Ginowan to Camp Schawb which is located in the far north of Okinawa. The move entailed building a V shaped runway into the bay that forms one side of Camp Schwab. Initially this move was hailed as a good solution by both the Okinawa government and Japan, but then a political faction, with one paramount agenda to oust all American Forces came to power, fueled with outside money. This faction has used continuous delaying tactics to drag the move out for over 20 years, with no regard to the wishes of the people of Okinawa. The influx of millions of outside political money has ensured this faction remains in power. The newspapers and TV on Okinawa are controlled by this faction and report a continuous diet of fake or distorted news and disinformation, while the Okinawa people continue to suffer from a government that that does address it's real problems and needs.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Here’s a novel idea!

instead of protesting every single incident,why not wait until an investigation is completed and all the relevant information is presented.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

"It is absolutely intolerable,"

You need to learn more vocabulary. Everything out of your mouth these days is "intolerable".

instead of protesting every single incident,why not wait until an investigation is completed and all the relevant information is presented.

In this case it's kind of hard to argue that it WASN'T from a Marine helicopter, the only real investigation needed in this case is to find out the cause from the military side, there is little to investigate from the Japanese side here, it's pretty cut and dried.

Oh and please share, what country in the world, now a days, stays "quiet" until an investigation is complete? That's utopia at best.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The newspapers and TV on Okinawa are controlled by this faction and report a continuous diet of fake or distorted news and disinformation, while the Okinawa people continue to suffer from a government that that does address it's real problems and needs.

But you will find that there are those who will argue that they are satisfied with the local news, and no one from outside, meaning "foreigners", have a right to tell them what they should or should not be reporting.

Many are brainwashed, as they can not believe anything unless they read it or see it in the news, and the newspapers and TV are infallible.

Bunch of bs, I know.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@Yubaru

no one denies it wasn’t from a Marine helicopter, infact the pilot made the notification that the window fell.

My point is people have a tendency here to hold a press conference for everything before any formal investigation or facts are gathered.

the incident with the alleged part hitting the daycare seemed to be a fake story but local politicians were quick to point to it and try to exploit it for political gain.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Seems like some of you support the shoot first and ask questions after all the facts are gathered.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cry me a river.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I have lived in Okinawa for a very long time and it’s amazing how so much local crime is under reported if at all but let an American ring the wrong door bell and its front page news!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

My point is people have a tendency here to hold a press conference for everything before any formal investigation or facts are gathered.

Of course, that is prime for the course now a days, and I agree, it would be nice, but I have become literally numb to the constant "intolerable" comments from Onaga and other politicians.

Nary a one has the cojones to stand up and say; "Hey let's try something new to solve the situation!" Japanese are "supposed" to be pretty good a problem solving, as a group effort, but when it comes to political issues, they leave their brains where they sit!

the incident with the alleged part hitting the daycare seemed to be a fake story but local politicians were quick to point to it and try to exploit it for political gain.

That one, it's kind of hard to figure out, I wonder if the cops brushed it for finger prints before everyone and their mother played with it. Does not seem like the kind of part that one can go and pick up at their local hardware store, and it's not something commonly found laying around either, and my uneducated guess would be that MAYBE, just MAYBE, some base worker, took it as a souvenir, and then figured they could use it to stir up some trouble.

It's just easier to blame the military for everything, gets politicians reelected here!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

why is there a school beside an airforce base?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

why is there a school beside an airforce base? because some smart government planning official thought it would be a good idea. the base was there long before the city was.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

To those who ask the Okinawans to move the school, oh if they had luxury of big space of lands. It's like telling islanders like Vanuatu, Fiji, Maldives Samoa to move into the oceans!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Droll Quarry,

Don't let words roll out of your mouth so irresponsibly.

For starters, posters expressing their opinions from an anti-Okinawa standpoint must not forget that U.S. forces are like squatters occupying the land they illegally requisitioned in violation of international law. Take Futenma, for example. The land it sits was dotted with villages and towns before the war but was freely encroached upon by the Army Corps of Engineers and turned into an expansive air field while villagers and townspeople were incarcerated in camps for several years after the war. 

Can squatters have a right to demand a replacement be built at the less populated Henoko district, saying accidents are unavoidable at the current site that is located in the middle of a densely populated residential area?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If Onaga and majority of Okinawans (including "voiceofokinawa") wants the U.S. military and military bases out of Okinawa, then hold a public referendum and vote to secede from Japan and declare itself an independent country.   When Okinawa is no longer under Japanese jurisdiction and no longer a prefecture, Japan cannot order Okinawa what to do, especially accepting U.S. military bases.  Since there is no direct treaty between the U.S. and the independent Okinawa and the previous treaty with Japan is no longer binding, Onaga (or his successor, along with the full support of China and Russia) can order the U.S. military out of Okinawa.

But don't expect Japan or the U.S. to protect Okinawa when China starts building military bases in the Ryukyu Islands and/or claiming Okinawa.

But then Onaga, the communists and the Okinawan leftwing factions don't view China as an "enemy" and would welcome China to Okinawa as "guests".  Time will tell whether the Okinawan people and government will enjoy being a PRC "colony".

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The people of Okinawa bear a larger burden in hosting U.S. Military bases than Mainland Japan even though Okinawa is a small island and only takes up a small portion of Japan. No one should ever call the people of Okinawa whiners and complainers because they have legitimate complaints against the Central Govt. and the U.S. Military because of the large number of bases and the sizes of those bases which occupy some of the best land on Okinawa. I do not agree that relocating MCAS Futenma to Henoko will stop the incidents by Marine Corps helicopters, it only means that the incidents will more than likely occur in another location. The Marines will not be flying over water all of the time and instead of flying over Ginowan so much they will be flying over Henoko, Nago, Kin Village, Ishikawa and Uruma City. Removing the danger of MCAS Futenma does not remove the danger from Okinawa, it only transfer the danger to another area. Removing the Marines completely from Okinawa is the best solution. Okinawa is too small and the population has grown too large and the number of tourists has increased too much to support the type of training that the Marines do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another reason why China wants the U.S. military presence out of Okinawa is its proximity to Taiwan.  With U.S. military bases out of Okinawa, China can make its move against Taiwan unopposed.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ Droll Quarry

Initially this move was hailed as a good solution by both the Okinawa government and Japan,

Actually the people of Okinawa never ever hailed the Henoko relocation plan. It was forced upon them by corrupt and discriminating Tokyo politics and their Okinawan henchman.

The Okinawan population was never asked about the decision and all polls ever conducted send a very clear message: the Okinawan people do not want this new US military facility in their prefecture.

The influx of millions of outside political money has ensured this faction remains in power.

Droll Quarry won't be able to give us one piece of hard evidence for this baseless rumors spread by ultra nationalist trolls.

The newspapers and TV on Okinawa are controlled by this faction and report a continuous diet of fake or distorted news and disinformation, while the Okinawa people continue to suffer from a government that that does address it's real problems and needs.

Again baseless rumors. The Okinawan newspapers are reflecting Okinawan sentiment in a very accurate way and therefor are dominating the media market in the prefecture.

@ wtfjapan

why is there a school beside an airforce base? because some smart government planning official thought it would be a good idea. the base was there long before the city was.

Completely untrue. There were a number of villages there before the base was built by the US military. Inhabitants were illegally forced out of their property and the base took away on of the prime location for agriculture in southern central Okinawa.

If you look at google earth you will understand that every piece of land in Ginowan is close to Futenma, so planning officials don't have much of a choice and in Japan school have to be within the neighborhood they serve.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

bam_boo

it's a choice they made to keep the school by the base. If they wanted a safer location for their own children they would have put it elsewhere. It's like watching grown adults that can't make choices that matter. In the Asia theatre, China NK etc, let's put a school by a base! It's hard to take Okinawa seriously

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Halwick (Dec. 15 | 12:09 pm JST),

All you say about the China threat is based on ifs, but the situation we are under is a hard reality. Any comment on what I said above? Let me recapitulate it in part:

U.S. forces are like squatters occupying the land they illegally requisitioned in violation of international law. Take Futenma, for example. The land it sits was dotted with villages and towns before the war but was freely encroached upon by the Army Corps of Engineers and turned into an expansive air field while villagers and townspeople were incarcerated in camps for several years after the war.

Can squatters have a right to demand a replacement be built at the less populated Henoko district, saying accidents are unavoidable at the current site that is located in the middle of a densely populated residential area?

No compunction about what your country is doing here?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

instead of protesting every single incident,why not wait until an investigation is completed and all the relevant information is presented.

Because there's no explanation that would excuse bits of aircraft falling on playgrounds.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ sf2k

it's a choice they made to keep the school by the base. 

The way you argue it is obvious that haven't looked at a map of Ginowan city once and apparently don't understand the situation of the local citizens.

There's simply is no location in Ginowan that is not directly affected by Futenma military action.

Over 90% of Ginowan is located within 1 km of the Futenma base and helicopters are flying in and out of Futenma in almost all directions and at all times even in the middle of the night.

There is no school in Ginowan that is not bothered by US military noise and worried about "equipment falling from the sky". Your talk about safe places for schools in Ginowan is nonsensical.

And because of the illegally confiscated US base land there is a huge lack of developable land in Ginowan and the city's ability to do meaningful urban planning is extremely limited.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bam-boo

Sorry but you need to look at a photo of the school, it's right on the corner of the base. So you put it somewhere else. You switch locations you don't just put a school by a base. Like living at the end of a runway. You have other things to put there. You make it sound like you've never seen a parking lot filled in or a building moved before. You tear down and build up based on priorities. It's called construction. The whole world uses it yeah?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Don't look at a photo of every school. Look at a photo of one school and say, Hmm, it doesn't belong at the end of a runway. Start there, wisdom follows

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Again baseless rumors. The Okinawan newspapers are reflecting Okinawan sentiment in a very accurate way and therefor are dominating the media market in the prefecture.

I hope that no one ever believes this here. The media here only reports one side of the story, and refuse to publish anything that puts the military in a positive light.

They "dominate" the local market because they are the only game in town, and they all work together in keeping positive news to a minimum!

They only share the sentiment of their editors and are all leftist.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ Yubaru

So I guess you want to make us believe that the people of Okinawa clueless and tricked into reading Okinawan newspapers buy a some kind of foreign conspiracy or leftwing media mafia? Any objectifiable evidence to support such weird claims?

In my eyes this kind of claims are a display of a deep rooted disrespect for the citizens of Okinawa and their life choices including their media choice.

The media here only reports one side of the story, and refuse to publish anything that puts the military in a positive light.

For the people of Okinawa the US military in its current irreal concentration on their islands is a nuisance, a threat and they just want it reduced to justifiable levels.

Personally the Okinawan people have no problem with americans or US military personal and the media is never disrespectful to US military individuals. Except for very few exceptions US military personal is treated with respect and in a welcoming way by the Okinawan people, even they didn't invite the US military to their island.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Halwick

But don't expect Japan or the U.S. to protect Okinawa when China starts building military bases in the Ryukyu Islands and/or claiming Okinawa.

Japan already protects Okinawa, SDF personnel and F-15s are there. Japan can (and should) defend itself.

Another reason why China wants the U.S. military presence out of Okinawa is its proximity to Taiwan. With U.S. military bases out of Okinawa, China can make its move against Taiwan unopposed.

With all my due respect and greatest sympathy to the people of Taiwan I don't understand why Japan should be involved militarily in any possible confrontation with China over Taiwan. Japan is not bound by any security agreement with Taiwan.

But thanks for your post anyway, it demonstrates very vividly that US bases in Okinawa are not for the sake of defence of Japan as usually claimed, but for US strategic interests, and Okinawans are just pawns in the US chess game against China.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are 8 U.S. Military Bases in Mainland Japan and 13 U.S. Military Bases on Okinawa. 8 of the 13 U.S. Bases on Okinawa are Marine Bases which means that there are the same amount of Marine Bases on Okinawa than there are total U.S. Bases in Mainland Japan. Okinawa which is only 70 miles long and an average of 7 miles wide has almost twice the number of U.S. bases than Mainland Japan. The people of Okinawa have every right to be angry whenever a serious incident occurs or a crime is committed by a SOFA Status person. For people to demonize the people of Okinawa for protesting against the bases after all of they have been through and what they are still going through 72 years after WWII and 45 years after reversion to Japan shows disrespect and prejudice towards the people of Okinawa.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

re: The people of Okinawa have every right to be angry whenever a serious incident occurs or a crime is committed by a SOFA Status person.

Yet I don't see one Japanese or Okinawan stepping up or willing to shed their own blood to protect their people. You enjoy your words and freedom of speech because of those very same Marines, yet remain silent when one Marine yet again shed blood and harms way without any thought to himself other than to help others on the Toll Road  a few weeks ago now his career and family are at risk by stopping to render aid when no one else would and was hit by a Japanese motorist yet you, others and the mass media remain silent. Shame on us for not saying anything and only print the bad about the US military presence, yet forget what they service is what we reap yet they get nothing in return.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

All you say about the China threat is based on ifs, but the situation we are under is a hard reality. 

@voiceinokinawa: Really? And what's your comment on the below news? 

http://www.todayonline.com/chinaindia/china/china-set-invade-retake-taiwan-2020-taipei

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/chinas-secret-military-plan-invade-taiwan-2020/

AsakazeToday 05:14 pm JST

But don't expect Japan or the U.S. to protect Okinawa when China starts building military bases in the Ryukyu Islands and/or claiming Okinawa.

Japan already protects Okinawa, SDF personnel and F-15s are there. Japan can (and should) defend itself.

As for Japan protecting Okinawa: After Okinawa becomes independent and is no longer a Japanese prefecture, Okinawa will kick out U.S. and SDF. Japan will have no obligation to protect Okinawa. 

Onaga doesn't need or want Japan; that's why he's making overtures to China in the hopes of getting their financial investment and trade. But as I've said before, he is unwittingly positioning Okinawa to be a PRC "colony".

US bases in Okinawa are not for the sake of defence of Japan as usually claimed, but for US strategic interests

And what's wrong with the U.S. protecting its own strategic interest? China and Russia protects their strategic interests abroad. Do you deny that? Why is China building those military bases in the South China Seas? And why do THEY want the U.S. military out of Okinawa and Korean peninsula? 

With three communist countries in proximity to Japan, why does Japan wants the U.S. military bases on Okinawa and Japan mainland?

Okinawans are just pawns in the US chess game against China.

North Korea is a pawn of China and Russia as well.  Onaga is a pawn of China.   Any country that buys into China's "One Belt, One Road" program will be a pawn in China's economic chess game. But I suppose in your eyes China is not a "evil imperialist" and it's preferable to be a Chinese communist pawn than a U.S. pawn?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yet I don't see one Japanese or Okinawan stepping up or willing to shed their own blood to protect their people. 

Really now? Guess you never heard of the Japanese Self Defense Forces, which on their own are considered to be the 4th "strongest" military on the planet.

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-worlds-20-strongest-militaries-ranked-2015-9/#5-india-16

2 ( +3 / -1 )

bjohnson23,

My freedom of speech is assured on Okinawa with or without the Marines. Even if the Marines left Okinawa, the Air Force, Army, Navy and JSDF will still be here. The Army Green Berets at Torii Station are more effective than the Marines. Remove all of the Marines from Okinawa, return all of the land currently occupied by the Marines to local use and Okinawa will be a better place, the quality of life of the people of Okinawa will greatly improve and crimes and aircraft incidents caused by the U.S. Military will decrease considerably.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Again baseless rumors. The Okinawan newspapers are reflecting Okinawan sentiment in a very accurate way and therefor are dominating the media market in the prefecture.

Except for the rise in popularity of the Yaeyama Nippo which is a total newcomer in the prefecture and presents news more fairly and at times counter to the Shimpo and Times. That kind of puts a wrench in your idea of the times portraying local sentiment when they're losing subscribers to the new guys.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I have said on several occasions on this site that Japan is still under US occupation, Japan has lost its sovereignty, and is under US control. The Japanese people need to pressure their Government and demand that the US leave their shores, remove the military bases that make Japan a target.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Halwick,

Okinawa was invaded by U.S. forces in 1945 with the actual occupation lasting until 1972. But a virtual occupation has continued even after with almost all bases remaining intact. Okinawa's being under a virtual U.S. occupation is an ongoing hard fact. It’s nothing but a bluff if you say Okinawa would suffer under Chinese occupation if the U.S. occupation discontinued.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But a virtual occupation has continued even after with almost all bases remaining intact. 

Why do you insist on passing along blatantly inaccurate information?

Okinawa's being under a virtual U.S. occupation is an ongoing hard fact.

This is a prime example of "alternative facts" IF it was as you say, then the recent incidents involving military personal would be prosecuted under US Military justice, they arent. Japanese law would have no meaning, You would need a passport to travel between Okinawa and mainland Japan, etc etc.

Oh right you are living on pre-reversion Okinawa, over 40 years ago!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yubaru,

Today, the U.S. Armed Forces in Japan, including in Okinawa, are not occupation forces, for sure. They are here, being provided with bases and areas free of charge in exchange for the defense and security of Japan and the Far East, according to Article 6 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. 

But note that the USFJ are carry-overs from the Occupation era that ended in 1951 in mainland Japan and in 1972 in Okinawa. The bases and areas the occupation forces used were also concurrently carried over as they were with military personnel’s extraterritorial rights and perquisites guaranteed by the Treaty. In other words, a virtual occupation continued even after Japan recovered its nominal independence in 1951 and Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972.

Can you deny it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Halwick

After Okinawa becomes independent and is no longer a Japanese prefecture, Okinawa will kick out U.S. and SDF. Japan will have no obligation to protect Okinawa

Very unlikely fantasy scenario. I also can do that: after Guam, Hawaii and California become independent they will kick out US bases.

And what's wrong with the U.S. protecting its own strategic interest?

Absolutely nothing wrong with it, every normal country should protect its interests. But please protect your own interests on your own. If it's in the US interests to start a confrontation with China over Taiwan - no problem, go ahead full throttle. But do not drag Japan into it.

With three communist countries in proximity to Japan

Still stuck in 80s? Cold war with evil communists ended thirty years ago. Vietnam is a communist country, but Japan enjoys very friendly relationship with it. And for your information: in Russia communism ended in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR.

it's preferable to be a Chinese communist pawn than a U.S. pawn?

Japan should not be a pawn of anyone. Japan should be a politically and militarily self-reliant country capable of defending itself without foreign military bases on its soil.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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