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Protesters rally in Naha, Tokyo against U.S. military bases on Okinawa

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“Why my daughter, why was she killed,” said the message, read on his behalf.

Pretty heavy statement. Meanwhile the US servicemen are out and about drinking somewhere this weekend. I hope they don't do anything stupid on mainland or Okinawa. Sadly, Okinawa is still getting the short end of the stick.

50,000 thousand is hell of alot more than the 100 or so in Tokyo recently.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Maybe about NOW they pull out the bunch of immoral "freeman" off the land the desecrate. This is not a case by case, this is a repeated sequence of events. Purge them.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

It's time for Japan to maintain it's own defenses now. Any further US Military presence will only maintain the idea that we are an unwelcome empire. If the Chinese come, than we will help at the request of the Japanese.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I wonder if they all had their hands out for money at the protest, since they want the government subsidies for the bases in Japan's poorest prefecture but don't want to do the work for it.

“As long as there are U.S. military bases this kind of incident will continue to happen,”

This woman needs to give her head a shake. Murder and rape and other crimes happen in Okinawa without the US bases there, and at a MUCH higher level than the same crimes committed by US personnel per capita. Anyone who thinks crime is going to disappear if the bases do (well, only if the US does... Japan would just take over the bases in most cases) is drinking the kool-aid.

'“Japan is still a military colony of the United States,” said teacher Noboru Kitano, 59, standing at an observation point overlooking the Futenma base, widely seen as a danger to nearby residents. “This base symbolises that.”'

I have Japanese and foreign friends alike who live in Okinawa and sometimes take friends to see the base from this observation deck if there isn't much else to do and since one friend lives not far off, and he says these crackpots literally spend all of their free lives there staring at the bases, hoping something happens (like an accident with an Osprey) so that they can continue living for hate, and some even accost visitors if they think they are American. Sad people.

-16 ( +6 / -22 )

It's time for Japan to maintain it's own defenses now.

Isn't it? They've been an American protectorate for far too long. It's time to throw the "checkbook policy" to the curb and get your feet wet Japan.

Just a matter of time before another rape or sexual assault occurs somewhere in Okinawa by a US serviceman. Sad but true.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

When your neighbour does something bad and he is judged you feel ashamed and partly a regret that this had to happen. When a burglar(a policeman here) comes into your neighbourhood and does something evil (In this case this policeman is an indentity of the whole nation shoving it's hands too deep while failing to maintain the protection it itself believes it brings) you feel a righteous anger as if someone invaded your own neighbourhood, wreaked havoc, desecrated what was dear to you AND HE DOES NOT EVEN LIVE HERE. You know nothing about that soldier, like what a person he is, a soldier, that came from abroad, broke both public and moral rules and commited a crime. And guess what, he came from US, just as the rest of them. If his predecessor did it, if he did it, someone else of his lot will do it, unless purged off the land that is not theirs to either protect or desecrate. This is about the same as the crimes commited by immigrants on the land of South America. Except the whole America is made of immigrants.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Good on the people of Okinawa for opposing the US military presence. Only by making it increasingly difficult for them to carry out their colonial mission will it be possible to see them off. The US military is a major contributor to violent crime and the primary source of environmental degradation in Okinawa, and yet contributes only 5% of the islands' GDP. Pack them off to Guam.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Daniel: First, your explanation of the metaphor is longer than the metaphor itself, which makes it meaningless and ineffective. Second, there are no thieves, and the person who committed the crime in question DOES live here, as do the men and women protection this nation.

"This is about the same as the crimes commited by immigrants on the land of South America. Except the whole America is made of immigrants."

This doesn't make any sense or have any relevance either.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

The best course of action is continue the alliance, increase the Marine presence two fold and build all the bases up with US manning paid by both

Why should we pay? Japan is benefiting the most from the alliance. This is why article #9 should be changed. Then this way Japan can defend themselves with a "normal" military. Defend Senkakus on their own too, without hiding behind red/white & blue.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Naha gathering was 65,000 people. And infuriation was not the dominant emotion. It was a time of grieving and sadness.

I imagine this article was written before the meeting actually occurred.

Probably several weeks before.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

I keep waiting for all of those Pro-US Base Supporters who some people say are a majority of the people of Okinawa to have some Pro-Base Rallies. Has there ever been a Pro-Base Rally on Okinawa? Has there ever been a Pro-Base Rally on Mainland Japan? Maybe the LDP should force those people that they pay bribe money to so they will support the bases to hold some Pro-Base Rallies.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

There will never be pro base rallies in Japan. When the local Japanese visit the open base "friendship" festivals . . . this is as much close to "pro base" support we'll ever see among Japanese.

Sad but true. The Okinawans don't want the US there and the GI's don't want to be there.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Japan4life: what's the population of Okinawa? How many attended? Subtract B from A and you've got your 'rally'. This was a demonstration and a protest, why would people who support something show up at a protest or stage their own? In any case, if you are mocking a lack of supporters as some indication of the number being what people say, are you going to tell me 50,000, or even 65,000, is the majority of Okinawa?

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

smithinjapan: I would say that 50,000 or 65,000 people is closer to a majority of the people in Okinawa than zero.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Japan4life: 1 is also closer than zero, but I doubt 50-65K makes up anywhere near 50%, so your point is moot unless you think the protestors make up the majority of the prefecture, in which case you're just plain wrong.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Interesting isn't it that the person who complains loudly about someone doing something is often guilty of it himself. He rails against "them guys over there doing XYZ" when XYZ is exactly what HE is doing.

The ultra right-wing nutjobs, the ones who parade around in loudspeaker cars blaring out loud music and screaming and shouting are the people that accuse the Okinawan protestors of being a) from outside Okinawa and b) paid to protest.

The Okinawan protestors are largely from Okinawa. And they are NOT paid.

I don't know what percent of the protestors are Okinawan exactly, but having attended several demonstrations and gotten into communication with people at them, I judge the majority to be Okinawan. I know for a fact they are not paid. That is pure bovine excreta.

On the other hand, the anti-protestors ARE paid and they are NOT Okinawan.

They ARE what they accuse!

0 ( +8 / -8 )

President Barack Obama received the equivalent of a diplomatic tongue-lashing over the death of the 20-year-old woman from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a visit to Japan last month.

This is BS....Anyone who thinks that Abe gave Obama a tongue lashing has their heads in the sand.

The Naha gathering was 65,000 people. And infuriation was not the dominant emotion. It was a time of grieving and sadness.

There is no way 65,000 people could fit into the track and field venue of Onoyama park. If anyone has every been there they would know. It's PR BS at best.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

smithinjapan: And how do you know I am wrong? Do you live in Okinawa or have you ever lived in Okinawa? Were you in Okinawa during the US Military Occupation and do you know anything about the history of the relationship between the people of Okinawa and the US Military? Can you prove that a Majority of the People of Okinawa support the US Bases? I would say that based on all of my years on Okinawa that more people on Okinawa oppose the bases than support them and the majority of people who do support the bases do so because of the economic support they receive from them and if that economic support was taken away they would then oppose the bases. If you think that a majority of the people support the bases just because they like the US Military and appreciate the job that they do, I would say you`re just plain wrong.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

China just waiting as they already are almost weekly coming into Okinawa waters all the way to Kyushu and what did the JNSDF do. Nothing. Japan is not capable of a military fight as the Imperial ways of WW2 are not there. The Majority of All Japanese like the fact that American blood will be shed defending their right not to fight. They also realize that and do not want Article 9 to change. They like their kids in one piece as the taste of war and battle does not exist no more as for the Marines they know what hell is, been to the Middle east and Afghanistan lately? Japan not ready to defend itself in its current state and mentality of war. Why die when someone else will for your security.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I don't know what percent of the protestors are Okinawan exactly, but having attended several demonstrations and gotten into communication with people at them, I judge the majority to be Okinawan. I know for a fact they are not paid. That is pure bovine excreta.

Good post Bertie. You've actually been there done that. So no need for links and other nonsense in order to throw out / prove the official numbers.

We all know the US needs to leave Okinawa. A couple yrs ago I was pro-US bases, often arguing with BertieWooster. But after the recent rapes, assaults, murders, DUI w/ injury etc. etc. . . The US servicemen have given all Americans (military or civilian) a black-eye.

Plus, I feel its Japan's turn to roll up their sleeves and quit hiding behind red/white & blue all the time. Obviously the SDF can defend Japan and Japanese interests in areas in and around Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Good post Bertie. You've actually been there done that. So no need for links and other nonsense in order to throw out / prove the official numbers.

Actually no, not been there, nor done that......don't believe everything you read here. Bertie has a tendency to exaggerate and has the proverbial "Stockholm Syndrome".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

time for japan to regain its rights of having its own servicemen...and kick these foreigners out!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Again the protests have combines several issues that are related but requiring different consideration. By that process, they have invited a very confusing and very volatile situation for Japan.

First issue is the problem with crimes committed by US military personnel and related support personnel on Japanese soil. This issue also has to deal with the "legal" parameters in which both US and Japanese suspect is treated and processed for acts of crime and under what jurisdiction.

The second issue is basically a territorial issue with the actual physical presence of US military in Okinawa as a foreign entity and territory within Okinawa.

That issue is the actual "location" of the base as being in Okinawa and not elsewhere. This opens up a multitude of emotional as well as logical and rational issues regarding the "placement of the base" due to the many years of actual occupation and because Japan could not defend Okinawa "effectively" at the ending part of the war, which appeared to be an "abandonment".

Attached to that both directly and indirectly is the imminent "exposure" of Okinawa to possible future enemy attack by having a base located there. It is a valid concern to prevent possible higher degree of "danger" to the people of Okinawa.

Along with that is the economic issue as to where in Okinawa will "benefit" or be "disadvantaged" by the base.

The third issue is a very basic one as to the need for US military physical presence within Japan.

The fourth and the most difficult issue that must be first resolved "before" the rest can really be addressed are the issues which relates to the Japanese Constitution and the concept of a SDF. As long as Japan is "dependent" on US military for "protection" and "security", the above issues will continue to be a problem which will invite not only protests but extreme emotional reaction.

That is because for the Japanese, the fourth is so closely related to the ever present reminder of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the idealized concept of "peace" without Nuclear arms and wars.

At least these demonstrations keep the discussions and the argument going.

The important thing now is to separate the first issue and deal with it realistically, rationally and practically. There must be a "change" in the "contract" between the USA and Japan regarding jurisdiction, first. Then some of the "emotional" aspects of the victims may subside.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Philippines were in the exact same position. They were sick and tired of the US colonialists and kicked them out. 25 years later, Manila wants America back because the China threat is real, at least real enough to welcome back America, the same country whose flag they burned for years.

America should leave. Japan doesn't deserve it. You know why Japan and the Japanese feel the US military presence isn't needed and it's more harm than good? Because Japan doesn't know life without it since WWII.

You take for granted that another country's men and women are here in your country and willing to give their lives to protect you and your freedom. And they give you their money by way of shopping and services.

Yes, there are bad apples, ask anyone living near a base in the US. Some get drunk, commit disgusting acts, and face light penalties. But, by national average, fewer crimes are committed by military personnel than that of everyday society.

Japan, protect yourself, take care of your own backyard and then you'll see what the burden of being the wall between you and China is really life.

These protestors don't care that the US is more well behaved than when Japan had bases in Korea and China.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan4life: "Can you prove that a Majority of the People of Okinawa support the US Bases?"

The voter turnout was only 55% or so, for which Onaga and Co. barely got a majority. That means they do not represent the majority of Okinawans. And don't say "only Jose who vote matter", because Okinawans can't vote on security issues, so their opinions don't matter on the issue of bases if you believe that.

"I would say you are just plain wrong"

At least you qualified it by saying it is only opinion, and not fact, because that's all it is. Some of the posters on this issue, in fact, claim they are the voice of ALL Okinawa in protesting, which is obviously not true at all (that's not opinion). When asked why Inaga doesn't hold a referendum, they get all defensive and avoid the question. Speaking of which, if you're certain more are against the bases than support it, I pose the same question to you: why won't Onaga hold a referendum?

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

The Philippines were in the exact same position.

But they reaped many benefits when young filipinas married sailors/ marines and went stateside. From there they were able to live the American Dream and bring over their relatives (legally) into the US.

Filipinos have prospered quite well in the US. Japan isn't 3rd world, so they don't need to go stateside.

They were sick and tired of the US colonialists and kicked them out. 25 years later

Wrong. After the Soviet Union collapsed and cold war calmed down, the US was looking to close a couple bases here n' there.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Wrong. After the Soviet Union collapsed and cold war calmed down, the US was looking to close a couple bases here n' there.

Wrong. The Philippines ordered the US military out of The Philippines. Listen, I get that daddy Trump wants the bases gone, and so you must fall in line, but let's be objective here.

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/28/world/philippines-orders-us-to-leave-strategic-navy-base-at-subic-bay.html?pagewanted=all

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese do not want these Americans on their soil but they insisting and occupying the Japanese soil, they behave like the occupation forces from the begging till now, how many times they have killed and rapped the innocent Japanese women and for how long japan will pay for them.

The American backed politicians and the media brainwashing the Japanese people for these bases in their own favor

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

smithinjapan: The reason Onaga does not call for a referendum is because if the Anti-Base people won the Japanese Govt. would not honor it just like they did in 1997.

On December 21, 1997, a referendum on the proposed base was held throughout Nago City, including Henoko. In the weeks leading up to the vote, pro-base and anti-base activists held rallies and put up signs. The Japanese government poured in money and personnel to support the pro-base forces, and some employers pressured workers to vote in favor of the base. Although the referendum had been conceived as a simple yes-or-no, up-or-down proposition, Nago mayor Higa Tetsuya, who had abandoned his earlier opposition and now favored the base, succeeded in splitting the ballot into four alternatives. The results were:

approve base construction–2,562 votes (8.13%)

approve if construction is accompanied by appropriate measures for protecting the environment and positive economic effects.–11,705 votes (37.18%)

oppose construction–16,254 votes (51.63%)

oppose if construction lacks appropriate measures for protecting the environment and positive economic effects–385 votes (1.22%)

With an 82.45 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, a total of 52.8 percent opposed construction and 45.3 percent favored it. In an astonishing move, Nago City Mayor Higa ignored the results of the referendum just completed and announced his acceptance of the base, then promptly resigned from office. Stung by the results of the referendum, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which controlled the national government, now began offering carrots to get people to support the construction of the facility. The National Government developed a complex structure of persuasion and “buy-off” designed to neutralize, divide, and defeat the anti-base citizen groups. Monies under a “Northern Districts Development” formula (tied to submission to the base project) were poured into Nago City and surrounding districts (80 billion yen in 2000 to 2009), filling the coffers of construction and public-works related groups and easing the fiscal crisis of local governments.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The Japanese do not want these Americans on their soil but they insisting and occupying the Japanese soil,

Wrong. Many Okinawans perhaps want the bases gone, but no prefecture unilaterally decides defense policy.

how many times they have killed and rapped the innocent Japanese women and for

I dunno, only a handful of times over decades? The anti-base folks use this line time and time again, completely ignoring the fact that base associated crime per capita is far, far lower than amongst the general population of Okinawa.

how long japan will pay for them.

Until the people of Japan, not just "Okinawa," decide otherwise.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Let the most democratic and free peoples of this world continue to ignore what's happening in Okinawa. Let's keep shrugging off the rising frequency of their public displays of resentment.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

While many still think, feel and talk of the past and what remains physically, mentally and emotionally, it is important to resolve any problems and differences, one step at a time and one at a time. We cannot load many issues on one step and try to resolve them all. We must address each issue with proper, applicable and meaningful perspective, prioritizing that which must be resolved first.

To do that, sometimes "opinions" and "feeling" along with extreme idealism can interfere and prevent a meaningful "dialog" needed to effectively resolve an issue or problem. Ultimately any result must be physically realistic and practical.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The case has intensified longstanding opposition to the bases—a key part of the U.S.-Japan security alliance

The US-Japan security treaty has effectively made Japan a protectorate of the US. And the person responsible for this is none other than Shinzo Abe's grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, the top WWII criminal who received political funding from CIA and was handpicked by the US to run postwar Japan. The arrangement between the US and Japan also made Ryukyu a perpetual US military colony out of the needs of the Americans to militarize the East China Sea .

For me, the situation between Ryukyu and Japan is very similar to that between Papua New Guinea and Australia between 1906 to 1975 after Britain transferred the administration of Papua New Guinea to Australia.

When Papua New Guinea became independent in 1975, this is what the Australian PM, Gough Whitlam said:

"It should never be forgotten that in making our own former colony independent, we as Australians enhance our own independence.... Australia was never truly free until Papua New Guinea became truly free."

Putting it into the current situation in Ryukyu, the phrase becomes "Japan will never be freed of US control until the Ryukyus become truly free."

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't know why why the same people commenting here cheering when Japanese citizens demonstrate against Abe (which I think it's refreshing) suddenly become hostile when OKINAWAN people do the same but towards American military presence. It is their fundamental rights to freedom to protest as long a it is peacefully done. People in America demonstrate on various issues and I don't see anything wrong with that.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We all feel bad for the woman who was raped and murdered and we all hope the perpetrator is prosecuted and punished, BUT, the murder was not caused by the US base people. Surely, we should all be outraged by rape and murder, period. Why aren't there outrage and marches on the street for the rape, murder and abuse of women in Japan!? Or for the shocking cases of child abuse and infanticide? Why no marches for the millions of women who have faced sexual molestation on a daily basis in Japan for decades?!

These people are misguided and/or xenophobic.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Okinawans should understand the context of why US need to be on their islands. Like real estate, location is extremely important to achieve needed objectives, in this case military objective to monitor Chinese naval movements in particular with P8 anti sub tracking.

There is no security threat to Japan itself. China have no reason to attack Japan. Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute is a convenient excuse to allow US to hangout in Japan and Okinawans are necessary victims due to their strategic location especially around Miyako Strait.

US Need Japan to guard the East China Sea, in particular track Chinese submarines heading to the Western Pacific towards Hawaii, West Coast. Pivot To Asia will fail the moment Chinese subs, navy show up in great frequency near US coasts. The Political effect will force Washington to de Pivot From Asia.

Okinawans should see US presence on their soil as serving US more than Tokyo's interest. Japanese, like other allies are taken for a ride by neocon US story telling about protecting her allies. She only look out for Number One, herself!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is absolutely no need for any American military base on Japanese soil. The Defense Forces of Japan are more than capable of handling any threat to Japan's security on their own. If Prime Minister Abe had any real pride as a Japanese, he would demand the immediate removal of all American bases from Japanese territory. Having American bases is Japan actually puts Japan in greater danger, not less.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan4life: you crack me up. This is not 1997. Onaga is not holding a referendum because there it would fail, and that would be the end of his little project. The government would "ignore" it? First, when has that stopped Onaga up to this point? The man has zero say in the defense of the nation, yet has put in injunctions, has considered lawsuits, and does everything -- including spending like Masuzoe on private trips for said project, but claims is for the people -- to stop construction, knowing full well it will be "ignored" (i.e. It's not his choice, nor Okinawans). You think that's why suddenly a referendum is where he draws the line on what to push? Classic!

Keep Futenma where it is until the agreed upon base is complete. If never completed because of Onaga, then never move out of Futenma. THAT much is his choice. And no more handouts, I say. Cut off Okinawans subsidies until the base is complete and the troops moved.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

The tone of the article and the caption beneath the photograph above make this gathering appear to be aggressive. I've already mentioned that it wasn't. Here is another opinion from someone else who was there:

MOVING afternoon, today, at Onoyama Koen, few steps from my home. Around 65.000 people, under a crazy hot sun, gathered at the athletics field to mourn the loss of Rina Shimabukuro, a 20-year-old office worker from the city of Uruma, raped and killed at the end of April by Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a 32-year-old former U.S. Marine employed by Kadena Air Base. Several personalities, including Governor Onaga, spoke to the mass dressed in black, accompanied by traditional, beautiful Okinawan songs.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Well, those who commits these offences are professionals chosen by American government who are supposed to have high standard and moral valeus compared to normal citizens. It's like when Catholic priests commited sexual abuse that bring strong emotions by the citizens affected. Of course people felt betrayed due to the trust and responsibility given to US military and they broke it, sigh.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

smithinjapan: you crack me up.

People that I know who had land returned from the government lease ended up with far more by using their property for standard commerical purposes. Stores get built, small shopping centers and they create jobs and more income for the landowner, the employees, the contractors who built it and the contribute more in taxes to the community than the base lease ever did.

You have no idea what you're talking about when you say people are looking for a handout.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

might as well be a pro-Communist-China-please-take-over-our-country rally

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

how can you call people who want foreign troops out of their land pro-china communist?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

People that I know who had land returned from the government lease ended up with far more by using their property for standard commerical purposes. Stores get built, small shopping centers and they create jobs

And they'd transform the islands into a giant mall. Retail doesn't work greatly in Okinawa (Americans on bases get everything shipped from home... except the awamori for Friday nights). You think people from Tokyo will start doing their shopping in Okinawa ? Agriculture doesn't work (the wholesalers hire youth from Kansai and Kanto and send them gather the fruits otherwise there would be nobody doing it, average farmer is 90 yr old). Tourism doesn't work (my coworkers were able to rent full hotels for the price of one room, as the active season is just Golden Week and New Year and they are empty the rest of the time). They'd be lucky if Japan bought the US bases to recycle them into SDF bases. Otherwise, that would make Okinawans neither richer nor poorer

These people are misguided and/or xenophobic.

You're misguided. Not wanting foreigners imposing by force their presence is not xenophobia. The Americans never had any business imposing their presence to these people. During 3 decades, civilians were treated as war prisoners, deprived of any nationality, which was greatly unfair as these island people were the furthest you could be from Imperialistic Japanese regime. Then they've had to keep living with the US army in their backyard for 4, 5 generations. They get zero benefits (unlike Hawaiians and Guam pple, they don't get US passports, US investments, US tourism, nothing). That Tokyo signed agreements does not change the feeling of being occupied. The case of the murder girl is just the last drop.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Japanese do not want these Americans on their soil but they insisting and occupying the Japanese soil,

Guess again. Even Gov. Onaga believes that the bases should be in Japan. He just wants them equally distributed among all 47 prefectures and not the majority on the island of Okinawa.

That is not something you will ever hear him say publicly here in Okinawa, but he did say that in a recent interview with NPR.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Once again a huge demonstration for a small island and for a nation where demonstrations are almost a taboo.

And as always smithinjapan works hard at trying to turn reality upside down.

japan4life, I and others here have provided plenty of hard evidence proving that a clear majority of the Okinawan people want either a complete removal or a drastic reduction of the US military in the prefecture.

Not only all polls ever done prove that, but also the only prefecture-wide referendum in 1996 (90% against the US bases http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/09/world/okinawans-send-message-to-tokyo-and-us-to-cut-bases.html) the Nago referendum mentioned, multiple huge demonstrations, all recent elections, the public debate, the media, the local representatives, etc., there's absolutely no doubt about what the Okinawan people want.

Asked about the evidence for his absurd claims smithinjapan's attempt to depict a vote for the governor as a pro US base vote completely misses the point. While Onaga is a very popular governor this issue goes far beyond any personality discussion.

The Okinawan people simply want equal rights, an end to the decades long discrimination and self-determination as it is guaranteed in Chapter VIII of the Japanese constitution ("Local Self-Government").

@ coskuri

Retail doesn't work greatly in Okinawa (Americans on bases get everything shipped from home... except the awamori for Friday nights)

It seems as if coskuri has never been to Okinawa. Retails works so well that every returned US base is turned into another huge shopping mall or entertainment district. First Chattan, then Shintashin in Naha and last but surely not least the biggest shopping mall in Okinawa: Rycom.

Tourism booms like crazy, especially foreign tourism that since three years is seeing a unprecedented boom, but I personally believe that neither tourism nor retail will provide a sustainable and reliable base for Okinawan development on the long run.

That Tokyo signed agreements does not change the feeling of being occupied. The case of the murder girl is just the last drop.

Those are very true statements. Tokyo has never really cared about what the Okinawan people want.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tourism booms like crazy, especially foreign tourism that since three years is seeing a unprecedented boom, but I personally believe that neither tourism nor retail will provide a sustainable and reliable base for Okinawan development on the long run.

Doesnt matter what you believe, it's the government and us Japanese that have made the choice to fuel the tourism business in Okinawa. It isnt "especially" foreign tourists, it's by far the domestic market that is booming here.

Back in 1972 there were about 4.5 million tourists that visited Okinawa yearly, now it is over 9 million per year with a goal of 10 million by 2020- 2021 when the new runway being built at Naha AP is completed.

Domestic tourism accounts for over 90% of the market with just over 900,000 or so coming from foreign destinations.

Okinawa does not have the infrastructure to support any type of manufacturing business and tourism and IT are the future of the island.

Retails works so well that every returned US base is turned into another huge shopping mall or entertainment district. First Chattan, then Shintashin in Naha and last but surely not least the biggest shopping mall in Okinawa: Rycom.

The comment was pointed towards the American military community here and not off base, and they are right. Just about everything IS shipped from the US to the bases.

Retail does not "work" so much as you think. Those malls and shopping areas are funded by mainland companies who leech the profits from the island people and tourists. Seems you never have been to Okinawa either if you think otherwise.

An example would be Cebu in the PI, there are HUGE malls there built with foreign money and the locals work there but dont buy things there, they are for the tourists, just like here.

The land returned could be put to better use, but it's the landowners who see the yen signs from folks offering them cash to develop the land commercially that talks loudest. Who can blame them it's their land, so they are in effect to blame as well for selling out.

Okinawan's themselves are to blame for many of the problems here and what is going on now is that everyone is focused on the bases, and are forgetting about everything else. There will come a day when people here will wake up and realize that it isnt just the bases. It's happened before and it will happen again.

Onaga is a one issue Gov and that does not bode well for the future of Okinawa.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Some of the emphatic, declarative statements here about what "Japanese think or want" seem like they were pulled out of hats to reinforce the opinions of the writer. And some of the opinions are so ill informed.

The Philippines did kick the out the US military from frustration about the crime and social decadence of the US presence. The US military brings the ghetto with it when it sets up shop.

The people of Okinawa have done nothing to deserve this treatment by the US AND Tokyo.

Why do you hate the people of Okinawa, smithinjapan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Yubaru

It isnt "especially" foreign tourists, it's by far the domestic market that is booming here.

You are very wrong here. Domestic tourism has seen many booms in Okinawa, but foreign tourism has just started to boom three or four years ago. While domestic tourism only rose by 1.3% in 2015 foreign tourism rose by a whooping 70%. Foreign tourism has seen its percentage skyrocket from less than 1% to more than 20% in 2015, that's what I mean.

Retail does not "work" so much as you think. Those malls and shopping areas are funded by mainland companies who leech the profits from the island people and tourists. Seems you never have been to Okinawa either if you think otherwise.

Again, you are wrong here. While some of the retail profit goes to large Japanese companies like AEON (that's Japan and that happens in every single Japanese prefecture) the percentage of local Okinawan companies is far above average in Japan. Especially successful Okinawan retail companies are SanA and Ryubo. SanA runs by far the most of the Okinawan malls, but of course it is fighting an uphill battle against in a very centralized market structure.

The land returned could be put to better use, but it's the landowners who see the yen signs from folks offering them cash to develop the land commercially that talks loudest.

I agree with you here, but as you say who could blame them...

Okinawan's themselves are to blame for many of the problems here and what is going on now is that everyone is focused on the bases, and are forgetting about everything else.

That is where you simply fail understand the Okinawan problem.

The basis for a healthy society and economy is self-determination. This doesn't mean complete independence, but the ability of the prefectural citizens to define the major trajectories of the future of their prefecture in a genuinely democratic process.

And this is what first the US and then Tokyo has been withholding from the Okinawan people.

Onaga is a one issue Gov and that does not bode well for the future of Okinawa.

Onaga has been elected by a majority of the Okinawan people with a clear democratic mandate, but I have no idea on what kind of mandate one could base such an odd and seemingly democracy defying judgement like the above one on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You are very wrong here. Domestic tourism has seen many booms in Okinawa, but foreign tourism has just started to boom three or four years ago. While domestic tourism only rose by 1.3% in 2015 foreign tourism rose by a whooping 70%. Foreign tourism has seen its percentage skyrocket from less than 1% to more than 20% in 2015, that's what I mean.

I'm wrong? What a joke, I work in the tourism industry here and get the facts and information that comes out from the prefecture monthly.

Domestic tourism is steadily rising. Percentages mean nothing without numbers. Fact, Okinawa will get approximately 1,000,000 foreign tourists this year. The first year that it will top the million mark. In 2015 the numbers were a bit over 900,000 so your percentages are off the mark, a 20% increase would mean that the number would be higher, it isnt.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't know where you get your numbers from, but official prefectural numbers seem to prove you wrong:

Heisei 27 (The Japanese fiscal year that ends in 2015)

Domestic tourists 6.260.000

Foreign tourists 1.670.000

That is more than 26% foreign tourists.

If you work in the tourism business you should try got the facts right.

http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/site/bunka-sports/kankoseisaku/kikaku/statistics/tourists/documents/h27-f-gaikyou.pdf

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapan: If you think that the Japanese Govt. would accept and abide by a referendum where the people of Okinawa told them that they wanted the US Bases removed then you are already cracked up. The 1997 referendum is very important even today because if the results had been accepted by the Japanese Govt. like they were supposed to be then the discussion about relocating MCAS Futenma to Henoko would have been finished right then and there and the Govt. would have had to have found a new location. The National Govt. would never accept the results of a referendum on Okinawa that does not turn out in their favor.

As far as keeping MCAS Futenma in place, it is the US that called Futenma the most dangerous base in the world and if a tragic accident happens there the people of Okinawa will not blame Gov. Onaga but will blame the US and Japan for keeping the most dangerous base in the world in place just because they can`t get their way on a replacement for it. The National Govt. and the US has never came directly to the people of Okinawa and tried to explain why the Bases are necessary to be on Okinawa, the good that they do and why there is no other option but Okinawa. They should have a series of town hall meetings throughout Okinawa and talk directly to the people but instead they take the attitude that the people of Okinawa are not equal to us and we can do anything we want to them and there is nothing they can do about it. Then when an accident occurs or violent crime is committed they come running to visit the Governor with their heads bowed and promise that it want happen again.

The Japanese Govt. can not remove the subsides from Okinawa because almost all of the large public work projects done on Okinawa are done by Mainland Japan Contractors who are big donors to the LDP. Take a look at the list of Prime Contractors working on the extension of Naha Airport and look at the list of Prime Contractors who are going to do the work at Henoko and see how many are from the Mainland. Almost all of the Prime Contractors who build facilities inside the US Bases with funds provided by the GOJ are from the Mainland. The overwhelming majority of companies who benefit from J-Govt. spending on Okinawa are LDP supporters so cutting off their revenue would not be good for the LDP. A lot of the money given to Okinawa by the Central Govt. winds back up in Mainland Japan. The people of Okinawa bear the burden of the bases but it is the Mainland Japanese who profit from them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

oh look. Another mob taking advantage of some tragic event to advance an agenda that endangers Japanese and regional security. Hey. It happens. Fukushima was exactly the same pattern. Different mob. Same pattern of disinformation and astro-turfed indignation.

Of course everyone has the right to protest and have an opinion, but a small minority that lives on visceral hate has found a few more adherents recently because of some criminal activity. And now we have to pay attention to a few tens of thousands of people instead of paying attention to the bigger picture. That bigger picture is that Japan, not only Okinawa, has agreed to host and support US forces as a trip wire against Russian or Chinese aggression. For that, Asia gets stability and free trade, and stability. Did I mention stability?

Just like cheap electrical power, people become lazy and expect that there do not need to be sacrifices, and that the system will just continue to roll on without periodic re-examination and adjustment. And then when something bad happens, everyone starts screaming about having to sacrifice more than the other guy. The truth of the matter is that Okinawa benefits hugely from the position it is in. Japan does. Asia does. The US does. The world does. Everyone just needs to work a little harder to keep the good times rolling.

OR, we can shut it all down, just as Japan did with nuclear power. Then nobody gets what they want. Okinawa goes back to being a backwater. Japan starts spending more on guns and less on butter, and the rest of Asia does the same. Yippee. Dump nuclear power and go back to coal. Give up on peace and go back to more militarism.

Does anybody get the feeling that all these do-gooders and protesters are just taking society backward, in entirely the wrong direction? Lose the big picture and focus on a the agit-prop and get ready to lose the good life, everybody.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ 5SpeedRacer5

Your post sounds like: we have to sacrifice, but you carry the burden... and dare to complain!

It is obvious that you think Japan needs US military, but what are you willing to sacrifice? What do you do, except telling Okinawan people that they should shut up and accept the burden that has been forced upon them?

That bigger picture is that Japan, not only Okinawa, has agreed to host and support US forces as a trip wire against Russian or Chinese aggression.

No, Okinawa has never agreed to host the bulk of the US military in Japan, it was forced to. First by a US military that established a kind of military dictatorship in Okinawa after the war and then by Tokyo, that denied Okinawa the same constitutional democratic rights that all other prefectures enjoyed.

This kind of arguments by apparently mainland Japanese that tell Okinawan people that they ought to be thankful are pure hypocrisy.

Of course Japan can agree to host such an extensive presence of US military, but how can it decide to force the bulk of that burden on one of the smallest and weakest prefectures against the outspoken will of the people of that prefecture? What kind of nation is that?

Does anybody get the feeling that all these do-gooders and protesters are just taking society backward, in entirely the wrong direction?

No, most reasonable people will get the feeling that Okinawan citizens are fighting for equality, justice and democracy.

And they will get the feeling that Japan wants full protection by the US, but is not ready to carry the burden that comes with a massive presence of US military.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

CBS in USA televised Okinawans protest, placards and a young girl with placard on her chest that was on her chest in Japanese watashimomgiseisha desu ( I an also bictim of rape ) it gave more time than each of other news

0 ( +0 / -0 )

65,000 protesters is a massive number for Japan. The US military would be heavily advised not to dismiss their concerns and make proper action to prevent any future reoccurence of this anti-social and sociopathic behaviour

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why are there so many fairweather posters on this site? This article, anti-base comments get thumbs up and pro-base gets thumbs down. Last week, it was opposite. So people see a big amount of protesters and decide to jump on the bandwagon?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ Angelo Working:"There is absolutely no need for any American military base on Japanese soil. The Defense Forces of Japan are more than capable of handling any threat to Japan's security on their own. If Prime Minister Abe had any real pride as a Japanese, he would demand the immediate removal of all American bases from Japanese territory. Having American bases is Japan actually puts Japan in greater danger, not less."

I couldn't agree more, I support that strongly. All the US bases in Japan needs to be shut down completely.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Wc626,

Is it wrong for Americans to be drinking in accordance with the restrictions? Because I am sure the izakayas here are losing money since every Okinawan on this island is not drinking and is mourning. The majority of people here have moved on.

Thousands of Okinawans are still getting visitor passes to the bases here and buying up the goods from the PX and shoppette. Many times the same products you see for sell in Naha market.

There is no way to stop a murder from occurring, American or Japanese. Base or not, this is a human issue that should not punish all Americans here, or have to be subject to special patrols and stereotyped as everyone being a criminal.

If the news agencies would take a try at reporting balanced news, maybe such hatred wouldnt rear its head on either side. The base issue has nothing to do with not one person on this island. Take complaints and protests to D.C. and Tokyo.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Until jobs are actually cut there will not be support from the working base MLC's who make up an extensive large populace along with the Japanese contract companies, Japanese company contract employees and all the delivery logistics that support the bases find themselves say "eeyyy, ETOoooo" and no job...Best if this large group started pushing back against those fighting hard to have their jobs wiped out...These MLC's need to show their support for the bases or do the honorable thing and quit.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No, Okinawa has never agreed to host the bulk of the US military in Japan, it was forced to. First by a US military that established a kind of military dictatorship in Okinawa after the war and then by Tokyo, that denied Okinawa the same constitutional democratic rights that all other prefectures enjoyed. This kind of arguments by apparently mainland Japanese that tell Okinawan people that they ought to be thankful are pure hypocrisy. Of course Japan can agree to host such an extensive presence of US military, but how can it decide to force the bulk of that burden on one of the smallest and weakest prefectures against the outspoken will of the people of that prefecture? What kind of nation is that?

Its pretty much how every nation works. The only difference is Japan relies on a foreign military vice it's own. In the United States, states like Virginia and North Carolina which house close to as many military bases and personnel (not counting reservists) as Texas and California yet are a third or less the size have absolutely no say in where the federal government decides to put bases.

65,000 protesters is a massive number for Japan.

Interesting you should point that out. http://www.sankei.com/smp/politics/news/160619/plt1606190029-s1.html probably the least biased news group in Japan estimates the size of the crowd around 30,000, half of what the organizers claim. If anyone has ever been to the soccer field/track of Onoyama park knows that it would not hold 60,000+. The lower estimate is probably more accurate.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ CrucialS

Its pretty much how every nation works. The only difference is Japan relies on a foreign military vice it's own. In the United States, states like Virginia and North Carolina which house close to as many military bases and personnel (not counting reservists) as Texas and California yet are a third or less the size have absolutely no say in where the federal government decides to put bases.

Your comparison is pure nonsense. Here just a few of the many reasons why:

... 1. US Military in Virginia and North Carolina is a domestic force

... 2. Virginia and North Carolina were never occupied and ruled by a foreign military force

... 3. The land on which the US military forces reside was never illegally snatched by a foreign military force from its rightful owners.

... 4. Neither the majority of Virginia nor of North Carolina's citizens have voiced opposition to the stationing of US military.

... 5. Neither Virginia nor North Carolina in the US are in a meaningful way comparable to Okinawa in Japan. They've not been independent cultural entities with their own history.

... 6. While North Carolina features the second highest ratio of Military base land (only superseded by Hawaii) this is only 5.48% of the state land. In Okinawa we are talking about 10.4%, (on the main island Okinawa it is a whooping 19% and more then 40% of the arable land!) almost twice!

Beside the above obvious points the whole context in relation to policy making (US federal system vs Japanese centralized system) and national defense strategy is completely different. Other then you're trying to suggest here pretty much every nation works quite different.

If you want to compare the Okinawan issue to some other similar situation I would make sense to come up with more meaningful and rational examples.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Virginia and North Carolina were occupied and ruled by a foreign military force led by Generals Sherman and Grant.

They were independent entities that were part of the Confederate States of America.

Hawaii was an independent nation occupied and ruled by a foreign military force.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Virginia and North Carolina were occupied and ruled by a foreign military force led by Generals Sherman and Grant.

Sounds like a confederate general talking in 1865... few people in 21st century outside of the "confederate states" will understand what you are talking about.

But then where is there any meaningful similarity to the Okinawan issue?

They were independent entities that were part of the Confederate States of America.

When and how exactly were Virginia and North Carolina independent cultural entities, kingdoms or independent nations like Okinawa? At most they were part of a "Confederate States of America", but do you seriously want to compare the "Confederate States of America" to the kingdom of Okinawa? If yes, then on what basis with with what aim?

Hawaii was an independent nation occupied and ruled by a foreign military force.

If there's anything remotely comparable to the Okinawan situation within Japan it is indeed Hawaii within the US, but then CrucialS didn't mention Hawaii and I suppose he had some reasons?

I believe we could learn something from such a comparison, but only if it is done by defining reasonable parameters otherwise it would come to nothing.

To start with the following wikipedia article could help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_sovereignty_movement

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As I feel bad for the parent that lost their daughter, I also feel bad that they use her death for political purpose.

As for the number of people attended, Sankei claimed roughly 30,000 (3,800 inside the field, 11,920 outside (doubled the number due to increase being observed)) estimated by seeing a top view picture.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

By their logic, if some person working at some convenient store commit murder, all the workers at the convenient stores need to leave the islands.

Nope. Not an equivalent comparison. The stores are Japanese companies who pay Japanese taxes, and employ Japanese staff, and have nothing to do with war. The US military are guests. Apples to oranges.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tourism by foreigners skip Okinawa. People live in poverty. Unlike Puerto Rico in USA, Okinawa has GIs roaming.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

U.S. needs this Japanese base to develop all kinds of subversion to eventually find a fingernail hold on "The South China Seas Oil Basin" the largest, the easiest to drill the cheapest to ship light sweet crude left in the world. USA does not want to burn this oil necessarily. They wish to enforce that it be sold in U.S. Fiat Funny Money currency, to "underwrite" that currency, while the Feds, the Banksters in New York fashion great schemes to live off of "The Skim" on these sales. Japan and its Japanese occupants are to the Aemricans, a sub human class. They will be sacrificed, their homeland destroyed, even contaminated with nukes, at no cost to the schemers in New York City. Chinese factories will pay "The Skim" on U.S. Dollar based Oil sales, with their lives, in horribly polluted factories producing "novelties" for the Americans.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is time for "Okexit".....Okinawa Exit

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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