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Thousands surround Diet to protest at U.S. base relocation plan

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Okinawa accounts for less than one percent of Japan’s total land area but hosts about 75% of U.S. military facilities in the country.

This is a huge number of U.S: military facilities in a small territory. They are right to protest. Poor People.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

This protest was called the Kokkai Daihoi ("massive siege/encirclement of the Diet").

Here are some photos of the event: https://goo.gl/dPFsyQ

Here is a poster promoting the siege: https://goo.gl/CT3FGf

2 ( +5 / -3 )

These people are irresponsible people who do not care about the livelihood of Okinawans and the defense of Japan.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

First it is not a "new" US base as mentioned by the anti US agitators and traitors to Japan. The alliance and agreement reached must be carried out as it is dishonorable to Japan and government. It represents commitment and protection of what is best for Japan as Okinawa is part of Japan. The blame and ignorance concerning Okinawa is on the uneducated and poor information given to the people by the anti-US agitators and land developers. The take small issues and explode them to large scale mis-information to get what they want more YEN in their pockets and forget everyone else. Onaga is one such construction company owner and should not even be a government official since he has a conflict of interest. Follow the money and one can find the remaining agitators who fund and sponsor such disruption to the government and these people should be tossed in jail. Next are the Chinese backers who are pushing buttons behind the scenes to disrupt the US and Japan alliance while continuing to build and expand their military controls on the man made self claimed islands all the more getting closer and closer to the Okinawa islands one at a time like they did to Tibet. We come in peace and then take over militarily. Each agitator out there should be fined or jailed for disruption to society.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

As the two above comments again needlessly prove, to be a "conservative" is to be beyond the reach of facts, logic, nd especially compassion.

Thanks to Japan Today for protecting their right to speak evil, without their tender feelings being hurt.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Thousands of protesters formed a human chain around Japan’s Diet Sunday in protest at the planned construction of a new U.S. base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Once again, APF, Reuters, and other news agencies keep on reporting inaccurate information and folks are sucked into believing it, because they read it in the news. There is no new base being constructed. The base is already there, it's called Camp Schwab. What IS being built is a new extension (landfill) to the current base.

Media can not be counted on for accuracy in reporting this issue if they continue to print misinformation.

These people are irresponsible people who do not care about the livelihood of Okinawans

You have no idea what you are talking about if you think the livelihood of all Okinawans are affected by the bases here. The bases account for between 5% to 8% of the economy here, depending upon whose "numbers" you choose to look at. Moving the base from Futenma should be the priority, and until the Gov of Okinawa has a prefectural wide referendum regarding the issue there is NO WAY to know with any accuracy, just how many people are for or against the move or the construction of the extension on Camp Schwab.

Here are some photos of the event:

That link is extremely deceiving as many of the pictures are years old and not related to this protest. Just as bad as the media writing that it's a "new" base.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Every single one of them are getting paid to be there too.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

Sensato: This protest was called the Kokkai Daihoi ("massive siege/encirclement of the Diet"). Here are some photos of the event: https://goo.gl/dPFsyQ

Yubaru's right, they're old photos. On my screen after clicking that link, the dates on the top eight thumbnails (the eight that are fully visible at my screen resolution) are:

2012-07-30, 20120729, 2012年07月29日, 2013年12月22日

2013年06月03日, 2015年06月14日, 2015年06月14日, 2015-08-30

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Okinawa wil always be a location for army bases. It's just the way it is. American or Japanese.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Every single one of them are getting paid to be there too

While some full-time protesters down here may be getting a stipend for their efforts it's demeaning to the cause that these people are protesting to assume something that you have no proof nor information to support the claim that you are making here.

While I may disagree with the protests, based upon my belief and knowledge that many are overly influenced by false information, I do not support anyone attempting to further cloud the issue by making claims that people are doing this only for the cash.

Prove me wrong, and prove that ALL are getting paid to protest, and I will apologize for it.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Yubaru's right, they're old photos.

@Yubary, @turbotsat

You are both right, and thanks for pointing that out. Some of the photos at the above link are from the weekend's protest, but most of them are from other protest around the Diet (particularly some of the past Article 9 protests).

Let me try again. Here are mainly photos from the weekend's protest resulting from an image search of "国会大包囲" (massive siege around the diet) containing photos posted over the last 24 hours: https://goo.gl/Ei3WHB

There aren't very many photos yet, but I imagine there will be more posted over the next week.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

...think of it as setting up a manufacturing plant... hundreds of jobs... blah blah blah...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Here we go... it's going to be a fun day for comment reading on JT! I'm happy for these people to exercise their Democratic rights regardless of how misguided they may be. Just remember folks, this is in no way indicative of the sentiments of the majority of people in Okinawa.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Okinawa wil always be a location for army bases. It's just the way it is. American or Japanese.

Or, if Beijing has its way......Chinese bases.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Beijing's Crimea.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

True Okinawa

Every single one of them are getting paid to be there too.

Where does this ridiculous line come from? Someone always has to trot it out whenever there is an anti-US base demonstration.

Just do the maths.

How much would you want to attend a demonstration, 1,000 yen?

That wouldn't even cover getting to the event. But let's say a mercenary demonstrator were paid 1,000 yen.

And there were 28,000 people at the event.

28,000,000 yen?

Nobody has that kind of money in Okinawa.

Okinawa is poor and it's being kept poor because of the bases.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

I don't think all of the protestors are getting paid. But good number of them are. This is common knowledge.

BertieWooster, the flaw is your logic is easy to spot. You're assuming the money is coming from within Okinawa. It's not. It's comes from NGO's, China, hippie peace organizations, etc. Again, common knowledge.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

True OkinawaFEB. 22, 2016 - 07:17AM JST Every single one of them are getting paid to be there too.

You know that for a fact, do you? What, are you the guy who took attendance and collected receipts?

deadbeatlesFEB. 22, 2016 - 07:42AM JST ...think of it as setting up a manufacturing plant... hundreds of jobs... blah blah blah...

A manufacturing plant where the workers periodically get blind drunk, break into locals' homes, and commit rape, only to be spirited away when accused and subjected to another country's legal system every time they get caught?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I don't think all of the protestors are getting paid. But good number of them are. This is common knowledge.

Is it? I mean, I commonly see people saying it, but nothing that has ever shown it to be true.

BertieWooster, the flaw is your logic is easy to spot. You're assuming the money is coming from within Okinawa.

The flaw in your logic is that it would be pretty hard to hire 28,000 protesters, and pay them, all without it becoming public knowledge extremely fast. So where are the advertisements for these protesters, promising payment? Where are the receipts for payment? Where is the paper trail?

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Nobody has that kind of money in Okinawa.

Here you are wrong, there are people in Okinawa that have plenty of money. Yet they have that money because they dont spend it on foolish causes.

Better statement would be there are no philanthropists in Okinawa willing to spend their fortune on this cause. Yet the money collected comes from donations from all over Japan. Not just within the country.

Okinawa is poor and it's being kept poor because of the bases.

No, this is obfuscating the issue and clouding the facts. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture for a number of reasons and none due to the bases. Okinawa has been poorly managed for decades since it was returned to Japan. There is something called the "tate" and "yoko" shakai and Okinawa works under the "yoko" shakai, meaning it's not what you know, but WHO you know, and nepotism ran and still runs rampant here.

There are tons of other reasons as well, but dont point the finger at the bases, point a finger at the politicians who keep on begging for handouts from Tokyo but are unwilling to give anything in return. THAT's a HUGE reason Okinawa is under-developed. Okinawa can not survive on it's own, it doesnt have the means to do so. Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a dream world.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Okinawa has been poorly managed for decades since it was returned to Japan.

I'd like to also add that the Prefecture has failed to do anything to attract traditionally high paying industries such as Tech, Medical, Logistical, ect. There's a reason why young college educated Okinawans are moving to the mainland for work. Tourism only provides service industry jobs which keep the majority of the people in lower income brackets and puts money in the pockets of larger business owners. So while the Prefectural Reps, many of whom are wealthy business owners make money off of the tourism industry, the rest of Okinawa is perpetually stuck in the loop of get out or keep the status quo.

The flaw in your logic is that it would be pretty hard to hire 28,000 protesters, and pay them, all without it becoming public knowledge extremely fast. So where are the advertisements for these protesters, promising payment? Where are the receipts for payment? Where is the paper trail?

Maybe the money isn't going to people individually but used to fund things like travel expenses. I'm not saying that's the case but it is something that can be disguised.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why wouldn't a government put a large base/bases (if it had to put up a base/bases) in an area that they deem strategically important and has less than 1% of its population? It would seem a bit ridiculous to put them elsewhere based on those reasons alone

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why wouldn't a government put a large base/bases (if it >had to put up a base/bases) in an area that they deem >strategically important and has less than 1% of its >population?

Military bases are prime targets in bombing campaigns in an all out war. Better those not-really-Japanese Okinawans than me and my buddies in Tokyo.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

paid protesters are a common site all over the world. I have seen them in South Korea and in the United States. visiting in America I saw protesters in front of a grocery store one time and found out they were being paid to stand there with placards by one of the stores competitors.

At least in Okinawa this is a cause that will bring out a number of people who want to be there.
0 ( +3 / -3 )

Military bases are prime targets in bombing campaigns in an all out war. Better those not-really-Japanese Okinawans than me and my buddies in Tokyo.

Well, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, ect are major commerce and logistical hubs and would be bombing targets as well if a real war were to happen. So saying that Okinawa a racially inspired sacrificial lamb isn't accurate.

Uncle Sam wouldn't put $Billions of military assets and thousands of people somewhere that they wouldn't be able to protect them from missiles or bombers. They've developed technology to mitigate those types of attacks.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Strategic island bases are always highly prized. They are usually also contentious, as, for example, at RAF Greenham Common in the 1980s. Strategic bases are always precious because they are stepping stones to a target. In times of war, such island bases are fiercely contested.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Move the bases to mainland Japan then. Voila

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, ect are major commerce >and logistical hubs and would be bombing targets as well >if a real war were to happen.

So that's why Hiroshima was nuked and not Tokyo, Osaka or Fukuoka. Right.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Every single one of them are getting paid to be there too

I think you are confusing the with the pro-nuclear power , pro- LDP rent a crowds.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

CrucialS gets what I'm talking about.

AsianGaijinYesWeExist, why don't you clearly say your point. You point to racism against Okinawans then draw a comparison to Hiroshima on a main island. Are you trying to insuate that Hiroshima's population was purposefully setup as a racially motivated sacrificial lamb in the same way you claim Okinawa is?

Or is it possible that because bases are prime targets (as you also claim), the bulk of bases are placed in Okinawa so as to offset the risk to the population of Japan as whole because it has less than 1% of Japan's population?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So that's why Hiroshima was nuked and not Tokyo, Osaka or Fukuoka. Right.

There wasn't a need to nuke those two cities. The allies had been commencing bombing raids for most of late winter and spring 1945 leaving those cities in rubble. June 1 1945 and May 26 1945 are particularly notable nights in Osaka and Tokyo's history respectively. The firebombing were so intense that each city lost 100,000 people.

Officially Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Osaka-Kobe were bombed for their logistical importance and weapons manufacturing facilities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, the old "We'll give you 1000 yen to go on a mystery bus trip" trick, as indicated by the exact same signs in everyone hands that they were given when they got off said buses.

Fine. Give these people EXACTLY what they want -- no base relocation. Just keep it forever at Futenma. When they complain, point to one of the signs they were holding up.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Hmm. Maybe the US shouldn't have relinquished control of the islands to the GOJ back in 1972. First you give them an arm and they want a leg. Just sayin.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

RE: Nobody has that kind of money in Okinawa.

Err: wrong, there are plenty of super rich landowners, developers and others that have this kind of money some of which are only investors.

RE: Okinawa is poor and it's being kept poor because of the bases. Not so ask the many Okinawan and Japanese companies over the years who have made lots of yen with huge contract but in the name of profit kept the majority and little to the worker. All one has to do is look to the current gov of Okinawa who is owner of a major construction/development company and by the way made a lot of his money on gov base contract jobs. The high dollar and numerous resorts in Okinawa where no one but the landowners makes money or the developer while the rest suffer in poverty and low end wage jobs. Get your facts right then post with substantial proof.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Military bases are prime targets in bombing campaigns in an all out war. Better those not-really-Japanese Okinawans than me and my buddies in Tokyo.

Hmmm, which is a more valuable target, Kasumigaseki or Okinawa? Think about that a moment. Hit Tokyo and you take out not only the government of Japan, but also destroy it's economy in one fell swoop.

Strategically speaking Okinawa is an after-thought if and when there were an all out war in the region. Okinawa's bases serve a different purpose and are a deterrent for preventing an all out war.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I wonder how would the American government and its citizens feel if a foreign country ( such as Russia or China ) decided to establish a permanent base in the US, presumably after they've bombed the shit out of the USA and caused them to surrender.

I'm sure the idea would be appalling.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

ask the many Okinawan and Japanese companies over the years who have made lots of yen with huge contract but in the name of profit kept the majority and little to the worker. All one has to do is look to the current gov of Okinawa who is owner of a major construction/development company and by the way made a lot of his money on gov base contract jobs

Let me get this straight.

Super-rich folk who make their money from base contract jobs might be spending that ill-gained money financing anti-base demos in Tokyo and elsewhere.

...why would they do that?

The phrase 'killing the goose that lays the golden eggs' comes to mind...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I wonder how would the American government and its citizens feel if a foreign country ( such as Russia or China ) decided to establish a permanent base in the US, presumably after they've bombed the shit out of the USA and caused them to surrender.

I'm sure the idea would be appalling.

Well, the United States is in Japan, Germany, Great Brittan, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Australia by invitation. So if the shoes were on the other's feet I'm sure that it would be much of the same story; some who like it, some who don't, and vast majority who are apathetic. Just like it is in Okinawa.

Super-rich folk who make their money from base contract jobs might be spending that ill-gained money financing anti-base demos in Tokyo and elsewhere.

...why would they do that?

Because the tourism boom in Okinawa over the last 5 years can be profitable for them. Remove the bases, build hotels and nice condos on that prime property, get richer.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Because the tourism boom in Okinawa over the last 5 years can be profitable for them. Remove the bases, build hotels and nice condos on that prime property, get richer.

As noted and is a fact, tourism only brings low paying service industry jobs to the Okinawan people themselves. The money leaves the island to the owners or corporations that build them.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As noted and is a fact, tourism only brings low paying service industry jobs to the Okinawan people themselves. The money leaves the island to the owners or corporations that build them.

I totally agree with you, Yubaru. I think I stated that earlier in the thread, I apologize if my post gave a different idea. Things like the RYCOM AEON Mall do nothing to boost the local economy and the "Tax Free with a Foreign Passport" doesn't even put money back into the Prefecture to use towards building and maintaining infrastructure. I would like to see a Prefectural Diet and Governor who focus on bringing high tech and medical industries to Okinawa that can pay high salaries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

. I would like to see a Prefectural Diet and Governor who focus on bringing high tech and medical industries to Okinawa that can pay high salaries.

Okinawa is attempting to bring high tech, IT related businesses to Okinawa, but so far it has been limited to call centers and data storage facilities, for the most part. Okinawa is the (relatively) safest location in Japan, from natural disasters, that makes it a prime location to house these types of services.

There is a limit to the number of service related jobs that Okinawa can support, and there is a problem NOW with not having enough people to fill open positions in the hotel and tourist industry. There are some larger resorts that have to shut down nearly half their facilities because of the lack of people needed to fill positions that are open.

The infrastructure of Okinawa can not keep up much longer the increase in population. Example; there are now more vehicles on island than number of registered drivers, over 1,000,000 at a rate of 1.4 vehicles per licensed driver. There are plenty of others too, as the tourism industry also uses up valuable water resources at a much higher rather than the local population. If there is a water shortage it's the people who will suffer.

There IS a limit to the number of tourists Okinawa can handle yearly, and with the "new" airport runway (currently under construction, scheduled to open in 2021) it is only going to get worse.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The bases are there on Okinawa now because Okinawa needs the money that the bases bring in on a daily basis. Does anyone here think that the Diet will give any monies to development and sustainment of the island? NO WAY. This way the Diet can spread their funds throughout the mainland whereas the U.S. will spread funds throughout Okinawa. It's been this way since the war and it isn't changing now.

When the bases go, they take their dollars with them...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Very good news indeed as more and more non-Okinawan Japanese seem to understand how unfair the status quo is and are starting to support the Okinawan democratic cause. Many Japanese are also beginning to see this conflict as not only being about Okinawa, but about democracy in Japan in general.

If Abe's authoritarian and discriminating policies were to succeed this would impact Japan in a much more profound way then we might think now. The Okinawan struggle is a struggle for basic citizens democratic rights, for equality and for self-determination and it could become the litmus test for how far Abe and his cronies are willing to go in suppressing democratic voices in Japan.

@ Yubaru

Okinawa has been poorly managed for decades since it was returned to Japan.

On what do you base this claim? Of course Okinawa has a number of historical, structural and cultural disadvantages if judged from an Japanese standard, but how do prove that it has been poorly managed?

To the contrary there is plenty of evidence that it was part of Tokyo's strategy to make Okinawa economically as dependent as possible in order to be able to keep forcing US bases onto the Okinawan people.

The last and most stunning of such examples of Tokyo's carrot and stick policies was when sleazy Suga invited the heads of three hamlets around Henoko to Tokyo and directly offered them big budgets in front of the press, making the local leaders look like aborigines receiving bags of glass beads from white man for giving away land.

Embarrassing for Japanese government politics and for the local leaders, who apparently felt misinterpreted by Suga as they corrected some of his claims later, making clear that they were not pro-Henoko relocation.

@ bjohnson23

Okinawa is poor and it's being kept poor because of the bases. Not so ask the many Okinawan and Japanese companies over the years who have made lots of yen with huge contract but in the name of profit kept the majority and little to the worker.

You are only right insofar as it was Tokyo's policies to feed corrupt Okinawan politicians, and their kin in the construction business, in order to keep Okinawans submissive.

Tokyo's carrot and stick strategy has indeed led to a number of rather corrupt people, especially in the construction business and in local politics involved with bases, becoming more powerful, but more and more Okinawans are fed up with this kind of dirty politics and even powerful economic leaders in Okinawa are changing their stance towards Tokyo's divide and rule tactics.

All one has to do is look to the current gov of Okinawa who is owner of a major construction/development company and by the way made a lot of his money on gov base contract jobs.

Are you talking about Onaga? No, he's not the owner of a major construction/development company, but he's a thoroughbred politician from a politicians family.

Such apparently wrong claims are not really helping your credibility here. It is the kind of completely baseless rumors that the extreme right-wing "netuyo" are unscrupulously feeding on.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just curious ... but did anybody see this demonstration at the Diet on TV? I saw numerous TV newscasts here in the Tokyo area on Sunday and today (Monday), but didn't see this event. If it wasn't there, why? Did the government manage to "censor" the TV news agencies and keep them from reporting on this? As I said ... just curious ...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The bases are there on Okinawa now because Okinawa needs the money that the bases bring in on a daily basis. Does anyone here think that the Diet will give any monies to development and sustainment of the island? NO WAY. This way the Diet can spread their funds throughout the mainland whereas the U.S. will spread funds throughout Okinawa. It's been this way since the war and it isn't changing now. When the bases go, they take their dollars with them...

No it doesnt. Okinawa is NOT totally dependent on the bases, it's a rather small percentage of the actual GDP 5% TO 8%

On what do you base this claim?

Experience.....politicians that scream "No bases" and then reach out with their other hand and demand more money from the government. Or how about the previous gov that dropped Okinawa into a more than decade long recession because of their obstinate stance against the bases. Unwillingness to improve infrastructure for political reasons, and it's not just about the bases, in fact the mismanagement comes from non-base related issues. The list is long indeed.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

bam_boo: "Many Japanese are also beginning to see this conflict as not only being about Okinawa, but about democracy in Japan in general."

Except that Okinawa is part of Japan, and the central government, which funds the nation's poorest prefecture, is trying to go against the democratic government of Japan and do it's own thing, under the self-serving renegade Onaga, and when not even the majority of the prefecture support him.

"The Okinawan struggle is a struggle for basic citizens democratic rights,"

Wrong. It's a few unhappy people whose families built around the base to milk off it some years ago pushing their desires on the rest of the populace -- something you claim and decry Tokyo is doing.

"...but he's a thoroughbred politician from a politicians family."

Ah, so then he's no different from people like Abe, Aso, Hatoyama, and others who are 'thoroughbred' politicians. More proof he's just as nepotistic and meaningless as you claim the others are. Well done!

If Okinawans don't want the relocation, keep the base in Futenma permanently. You can't have both, bam_boo, and then also demand the US protect Japan under the joint-treaty and also that Okinawa get money from the Central Government for housing the bases. And in the meantime, Okinawa should get all funding cut in the equivalent of delays and court costs that Onaga's personal mission have cost.

Again, you can't have it both ways. Let these protestors know they have won: the base will stay in Futenma until further notice. If they want to complain about the noise and danger, they can talk to their local politicians and thank them.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

smithinjapan FEB. 22, 2016 - 02:58PM JST Except that Okinawa is part of Japan, and the central government, which funds the nation's poorest prefecture, is trying to go against the democratic government of Japan and do it's own thing, under the self-serving renegade Onaga, and when not even the majority of the prefecture support him.

What do you expect? No-one has ever apologized to the people of Okinawa for what they were put through, not the U.S., certainly not Tokyo. There is deep bitterness in Okinawa, in particular about how their leaders from the "mainland" sacrificed them at the end of WWII.

Okinawa is the only place in Japan that experienced battle on the ground where a quarter of a million people died here in three months of slaughter from April to June 1945. People cannot forget the tragedy, the horrible past. All the more so when you realize that many of the victims did not die in battle but killed themselves on the orders of Japanese military commanders. The Japanese military was the only military that ordered soldiers and people to take their own lives, rather than surrender. People were taught that killing themselves was a noble act. Many feel that it's very hard to forgive teaching in Japan at that time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Okinawa is the only place in Japan that experienced battle on the ground

but more than 200 major cities nationwide were destroyed by air raids besides Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Still many people are suffering from the injuries who survived the bombings.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Smithinjapan: Except that Okinawa is part of Japan, and the central government, which funds the nation's poorest prefecture, is trying to go against the democratic government of Japan and do it's own thing, under the self-serving renegade Onaga, and when not even the majority of the prefecture support him.

Please show us the poll that includes the voting and non-voting Okinawans, that shows the majority don't support Onaga. The majority of voting Okinawans DID vote Ogana into office, that's a fact. There is no proof that non-voting Okinawans approve or disapprove Onaga's actions.

Secondly, in a democracy, if you feel something is wrong, you have the right to voice your opinions, demonstrate and fight against perceived wrongs. I know you feel that way when it comes to restarting nuclear energy, why is this any different?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ edojin

Did the government manage to "censor" the TV news agencies and keep them from reporting on this?

The government doesn't even have to censor because the media corporations know exactly what they can cover and what is off limits. The submissive conservative news outlets know from frequent wining and dining with Abe and sleazy Suga, the less submissive ones know from public threats by Abe and his watchdogs.

@ Yubaru

politicians that scream "No bases" and then reach out with their other hand and demand more money from the government.

Who exactly are you talking about?

There have been submissive and not-submissive Okinawan politicians. Usually the submissive types like Nakaima and Inamine are the ones that first pretend to oppose Tokyo's policies, as that is of course the majority opinion in Okinawa, and then reverse their positions under purported "pressure" from the central government, pretending that they did their best against Tokyo's power harassment.

Unwillingness to improve infrastructure for political reasons, and it's not just about the bases, in fact the mismanagement comes from non-base related issues. The list is long indeed.

You would have to be a bit more specific as such general accusations are not even remotely proving anything.

I could easily refute your claim of "Unwillingness to improve infrastructure for political reasons" unless you are referring to completely useless infrastructure measures that arise from Tokyo's carrot and stick policy like cutting mountain tops in Yanbaru to make completely unprofitable pineapple fields and building roads to nowhere in the jungle. To oppose those is the duty of any sane politician and the Okinawan environmentalists at the forefront of the anti-Henoko movement have always opposed those destructive "pork-barrel" projects.

@ smithinjapan

Except that Okinawa is part of Japan, and the central government, which funds the nation's poorest prefecture, is trying to go against the democratic government of Japan and do it's own thing, under the self-serving renegade Onaga,

It seems you have never heard of some of the basic foundations of modern democracy, which are "self-determination", "regional or local autonomy", "equal rights and duties for all citizens" and "meticulous protection of minority rights".

In no other true democratic nation would a region have to be submissive to the central government in regard to policies that mainly concern that region.

All modern democracies have constitutions that prevent such a "tyranny of the majority". That is democracy 101.

The problem is that in Japan this doesn't work properly. Okinawans where never granted the same status with other prefectures as they were returned to Japan having been forced to become the US "military keystone" and were never ever asked whether they want to be such.

And unfortunately there is no constitutional court in Japan that would have the courage to face the ones in power to protect citizens constitutional rights. The supreme court has even said that it doesn't deal with US alliance issues even if seemingly unconstitutional. Quite unbelievable, but that's Japan.

and when not even the majority of the prefecture support him.

We know that clearly more then 70% of the Okinawan people support his stance on the Futenma relocation, which is to oppose the construction of a new US military facility in Okinawa.

And even of the small minority that doesn't directly oppose the relocation scheme many apparently do so because of the threats from Tokyo, not because they think it is a good policy measure.

And in the meantime, Okinawa should get all funding cut in the equivalent of delays and court costs that Onaga's personal mission have cost.

Anti-democratic bullying policies to threaten the people of a prefecture with budget cuts, if they are not submissive.

Let these protestors know they have won: the base will stay in Futenma until further notice.

Yes, that's exactly what authoritarian bully Abe is saying "sink or swim you renegade, weak and minor Okinawans".

Once again those are anti-democratic power harassment policies.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

sfjp330: "Okinawa is the only place in Japan that experienced battle on the ground where a quarter of a million people died here in three months of slaughter from April to June 1945. People cannot forget the tragedy, the horrible past. All the more so when you realize that many of the victims did not die in battle but killed themselves on the orders of Japanese military commanders."

Not sure whom you are arguing against here, as I have always said, and maintained, that what the IJA did during the 'war of attrition', before, and even after in regards to Okinawans, and even today in how they are in some ways treated as 'non-Japanese' citizens, was and is wrong. It is SO wrong, in fact, that the government won't admit the forced suicides and have stricken them from the history textbooks as well.

Doesn't change the present reality, though, that fighting against the relocation of troops that are there for their protection is only delaying the inevitable, and is against their own best interests one way or another.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

That's FUNNY, the weather was SO NICE here, we all just went to the BEACH.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We know that clearly more then 70% of the Okinawan people support his stance on the Futenma relocation, which is to oppose the construction of a new US military facility in Okinawa.

No you don't, and if it was true Onaga would have already held a referendum on the matter, he hasn't because he could lose it as well.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yubaru: No you don't, and if it was true Onaga would have already held a referendum on the matter, he hasn't because he could lose it as well.

Do you have proof that Onaga hasn't held a referendum simply because he could lose? Or is that just your opinion?

It appears Smith also has an opinion he can't prove to be fact.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Do you have proof that Onaga hasn't held a referendum simply because he could lose? Or is that just your opinion?

One I live in Okinawa, two I voted in the gov. election and would have known about any referendum as well, three it isnt an opinion.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yubaru:

Do you realize that you still didn't answer the question?

I asked if you have proof that Onaga hasn't held a referendum simply because he "could" lose?

Wether or not you live in Okinawa doesn't answer the question, nor wether you voted or not, nor if there was or wasn't a referendum, we both know there hasn't been one, but that doesn't make your opinion a fact.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wether or not you live in Okinawa doesn't answer the question, nor wether you voted or not, nor if there was or wasn't a referendum, we both know there hasn't been one, but that doesn't make your opinion a fact.

You really need to understand Okinawan politics if you need a "black and white" answer here to satisfy your curiosity.

It's obvious, he has discussed having a referendum numerous times, and has put it off numerous times, as recently as September as last year, as he has been waiting to "read" the public's opinion before going through with it.

It's what's NOT happening that is proof enough. If and when he loses the court battles it will be too late. He should have done it right after his election, and before his globetrotting to drum up international support from people who can do NOTHING to help his cause.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru: Thank you for addressing my question this time.

I still can't find factual evidence that he's been discussing a referendum multiple times nor polling to get a read on the publics opinion on this matter. But I imagine that any and all politicians would consider their chances of winning or losing before pushing a referendum.

In that regard, you might be right to say he is concerned about the possibility that he could loose. The key word being "could" loose, nothing is a sure thing in politics.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru and smithinjapan keep repeating far-fetched assertions about the Okinawan people not knowing what they want in regard to US bases and Henoko, but they have never ever provided even one piece of factual evidence for such presumptuous claims.

Everybody in Okinawa knows what the majority wants. The polls tell it, the media tells it, the election results tell it, the public says it, there's absolutely no doubt about the fact that the large majority of the Okinawan people is clearly against any new US military facility in their prefecture.

And that some Okinawan people yield to pressure from Tokyo doesn't make them pro-base or pro-Henoko, usually they just give up to be anti because they're afraid to lose their jobs.

Do you have proof that Onaga hasn't held a referendum simply because he could lose?

There actually has been a prefecture wide referendum in 1996 where an overwhelming majority of 89% voted for a clear reduction of the US military on the island and absolutely nothing indicates that this stance has changed substantially.

The Okinawan people have been clear about what they want even under sustained and strong pressure from Tokyo all along the way.

Under the current circumstances a referendum could heat up things in way nobody could foresee and is not an option to take light-heartedly.

To say one would need a referendum to know what Okinawans want is cheeky, to put it mildly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bam_boo: Thank you for providing the facts in regards the 1996 referendum, I was unaware of that.

I am aware of Smith and Yubaru's bias opinions, though I have to give credit to Yubaru for at least responding to what he has written.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9609/09/okinawa.vote/

That referendum is interesting... Voter turnout was barely 60%. Which is similar to today's elections, except for recent ones are not so skewed to one side anymore. You do the math and it's close to 50/50 of the total population of Okinawa that was anti US.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ CrucialS

That referendum is interesting... Voter turnout was barely 60%.

Which is quite a high turnout for a non-binding referendum, especially for a country with such a passive electorate like Japan. Even in a very democratic country like swiss there are hardly any referenda with more then 50% participation.

You do the math and it's close to 50/50 of the total population of Okinawa that was anti US.

Kind of a weird assumption that only the ones against the US bases would go and vote while the ones pro bases would all stay home. How could that happen?

The normal assumption would be that there is an at least roughly similar pro and contra ratio amongst non voters as amongst voters.

And please note this was not a "pro" or "anti US" referendum, it was about US military on Okinawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

bam_boo: "All modern democracies have constitutions that prevent such a "tyranny of the majority". That is democracy 101."

And yet you think 'tyranny of the minority' is okay instead. At least you have finally agreed that it is only a minority of Okinawans who support Onaga. Good on you for confirming that at least.

"We know that clearly more then 70% of the Okinawan people support his stance on the Futenma relocation, which is to oppose the construction of a new US military facility in Okinawa."

No, you do NOT know that, and if you think you 'know' it you are only proving that it is simply wishful thinking because the fact of the matter is Onaga is only supported by a minority of Okinawans. Even Stuart Hayward has to clarify his comments by saying "the majority of VOTING Okinawans...", which I am getting to.

Stuart Hayward: "Please show us the poll that includes the voting and non-voting Okinawans, that shows the majority don't support Onaga. The majority of voting Okinawans DID vote Ogana into office, that's a fact. There is no proof that non-voting Okinawans approve or disapprove Onaga's actions."

The majority of voting Okinawans is not the majority of Okinawans. Period. And if you need proof that people are against Onaga and his policies, just look at the vote on the area one of the bases will be relocated in which the LDP candidate won. There's more proof for you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ smithinjapan

At least you have finally agreed that it is only a minority of Okinawans who support Onaga. Good on you for confirming that at least.

You didn't get my point. I was talking about the nation of Japan in relation to the prefecture of Okinawa, not about inner Okinawan minorities or majorities.

Imagine where democracy would end up if for example the majority of prefectures could team up and decide to store 75% of all Japanese highly poisonous industry waste say in Aomori prefecture. Absurd and unconstitutional scenario, but actually quite close to what has been happening to Okinawa since its reversion in 1972.

No, you do NOT know that, and if you think you 'know' it you are only proving that it is simply wishful thinking because the fact of the matter is Onaga is only supported by a minority of Okinawans.

Again you didn't get my point. I was not talking about what percentage of Okinawans were supporting Onaga, but what percentage is opposing the Henoko relocation and demanding a clear reduction of the US military footprint.

The 70% + is not my number but that of more then a dozen or so polls by all kinds of organizations and with all kinds of methods, and as I've said before it is surely not only the polls that make this clear.

You in turn, smithinjapan, completely fail to provide any whatsoever factual evidence to support your far-fetched claims about a purportedly high number of pro-base Okinawans.

Where can we find your "silent majority of pro-base Okinawans"? Maybe you have that weirdo "Happiness Realization Party" in mind. They are the only party in Okinawa that is enthusiastically pro-base and yes they have some hundred followers, but even the LDP candidates in Okinawa have to serve anti-base rhetoric if they want to be elected.

And if you need proof that people are against Onaga and his policies, just look at the vote on the area one of the bases will be relocated in which the LDP candidate won.

Are you referring to the Ginowan vote? To help you with the facts, two independent exit polls had exactly the same result, 56% of the voters in Ginowan opposed the relocation of Futenma to Henoko while only 33% supported the plan.

The Ginowan vote was not a pro or anti Onaga vote nor was it a pro or anti Henoko relocation vote and nowhere did the incumbent mayor Sakima state that he's in favor of the Henoko relocation scheme.

The only clear message of the election: Ginovan citizens are fed up with the US military in the center of their town.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There actually has been a prefecture wide referendum in 1996 where an overwhelming majority of 89% voted for a clear reduction of the US military on the island and absolutely nothing indicates that this stance has changed substantially.

Which will happen when Futenma is moved to Henoko. There WILL be a "clear reduction" of the bases, that much is very clear.

@Stuart....

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201509090048

There have been a number of other stories in Japanese on the local news broadcasts about this issue, preceding and following the Gov election, the articles are no longer available.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Which will happen when Futenma is moved to Henoko. There WILL be a "clear reduction" of the bases, that much is very clear.

Sorry, Yubaru, but nobody cares what you consider to be a "clear reduction".

The question is what the Okinawan people consider to be a "clear reduction".

And the Okinawan people have made it very clear that they want a reduction of the US military footprint to happen without the construction of a new military facility that will reinforce the presence of the Marines for decades to come and without the destruction of another part of the Okinawan environment.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Sorry, Yubaru, but nobody cares what you consider to be a "clear reduction".

I am Japanese so like it or not my opinion counts, and a hell of a lot more than yours does, doesnt mean you can't share it, just means that mine carries the weight of having a say (vote) in the matter.

Oh you bring up a referendum from twenty years ago, after the horrendous rape of a 12 year old girl, taken in the heat of the aftermath of that incident.

The military presence WILL be clearly reduced after Futenma is moved to Henoko, like it or not that is a fact.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Really wish the Americans will get it and drop their entitlement thinking. I have learned all about it living in America how they are entitled to this that and the other. Okinawa does not belong to the United States and their war crimes of seventy years ago have not been paid. You do not need Okinawa to defend Japan and China is not going to invade Okinawa. It is still part of Japan which is an act of war against Japan and the US has pledged to defend Japan. No the bases on Okinawa are a knife to the throat of China. They are to support a possible first strike with refueling tankers being based out of Kadena. The B-2 bombers take off from Guam and the Stealth fighters from South Korea. Now if the knife was removed from the Chinese throat there is the possibility of peace. The people of Okinawa can see through the American deceptions and demand ALL of the bases get shut down.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The U.S. should just pull out of Japan and let Japan deal...I wonder how long it would take for Russia and China to start bullying Japan over those islands then.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

<>American people do not think US bases prevent China from attacking Japan. Chinese investment rescued US economy. US bases are in Japan so that US receives annual payment from Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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