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

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15,000 demonstrators in apathetic Tokyo? Wow!

15 ( +16 / -1 )

As I have been saying all along, if the people choose to protest they should be doing it in Tokyo, not Washington.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Just look at TPP.... Japan won't budge a bit on Agricultural issues.... but they will allow a new base in Okinawa. This is the Government of Japan approving this base.... if they didn't want it they'd say no just like they are with TPP.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why are they protesting now? The protest should have happened when the project of moving Futenma to Henoko was planned.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

Unfortunately, members of Diet prefer to serve interests of Washington, not people of Japan.

10 ( +20 / -11 )

"Why are they protesting now? The protest should have happened when the project of moving Futenma to Henoko was planned."

Was the plan discussed publicly before Tokyo signed off?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Each person is paid to be there. So truly doubt their sincerity.

-15 ( +13 / -28 )

Unfortunately, the more the people protest, the more determined Abe will become - just to show who is "boss"...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

"Each person is paid to be there. So truly doubt their sincerity."

I could say the same of people like you, but since I have no evidence to offer...

18 ( +23 / -6 )

Okinawa really has no options. It's not like it can secede from Japan otherwise it would need to become a US protectorate again, or in any case still have the bases for its own economic and physical protection, or learn Mandarin Tokyo will remain strong on bases in Okinawa but weak on other prefectures having any because protection of Japan is not a shared responsibility. Tokyo gives every indication that Okinawa doesn't matter yet Okinawa can't really leave either. And the dance continues

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Maybe America should have kept Okinawa.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

The protesters, who organisers said numbered about 15,000, surrounded the Diet building holding banners reading “No to Henoko”, in the latest rally against the controversial base.

That's more like it

4 ( +6 / -2 )

They are closed on Sunday's, not a good day to protest.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

-

"True Okinawa" Lol, MAY 25, 2015 - 08:29AM JST Each person is paid to be there. So truly doubt their sincerity.

Takuma7: They are closed on Saturday's, not a good day to protest.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It is ok. No problem

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wish they were demonstrating against the state secrets law.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This base will go ahead regardless of public opinion or protests.

0 ( +6 / -7 )

JT, I only asked for a source from the "True Okinawain"

And asked Takuma7, if he prefer that the government could potentially arrest the protesters if they "disrupt business" on work days.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

With the rising military strength of china, it would serve the interest of both the Japanese and America to have the base in that central location. Protesting wont stop it from going forward.

-6 ( +5 / -12 )

Funny is that there are way more military personal than protesters

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

It's not like it can secede from Japan otherwise it would need to become a US protectorate again,

You may lack the knowledge about Okinawa. It was reversed back to Japan in 1972. However Japan has not much control over it except in name. It is still US protectorate like Guam, American Samoa and American Virgin Islands. I could not see them in the Map of USA. However they are undisputed territory of US like Okinawa. No need to become again. It has been already US protectorate.

any case still have the bases for its own economic and physical protection

Phillipines which is Okinawa neighbor had Subic and Clark Air Bases before. In fact, Subic and Clark land value has increased after shutting down the bases. Many locals prospered due to tourism, maritime trade and real estate boom. Bases are not economic protection. They are burden on limited land space and destroying Eco system, environment, coral reef and wild life. Japan has many Islands not only Okinawa. Why not some Islands share the burden of Okinawa?

or learn Mandarin

Many Okinawans have Chinese grand parents. Many can speak not only Okinawan dialect, Japanese, English, Mandarin but also Fujian and Minan dialect of China. Asking Okinawans to learn Mandarin is same as asking Latino residents from Florida to learn Spanish.

And the dance continues

Okinawans dance is vibrant, colorful, energetic and enjoyable. Why should they can not continue?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Build it, and they will come. Build an island, a la chinoise, and move the USA off of Okinawa. It is the only solution. Yes, it will give credence to China movement, but if you can't beat them, join them. It worked in Kansai, and it will work there. Everybody works, is just an additional benefit.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The number may be a drop in the bucket, but even so it is a significant first step. I'm quite sure the protest will spread like wildfire from Okinawa to all across Japan, eventually boiling down to the whole nation questioning the real meaning of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Many Okinawans have Chinese grand parents. Many can speak not only Okinawan dialect, Japanese, English, Mandarin but also Fujian and Minan dialect of China. Asking Okinawans to learn Mandarin is same as asking Latino residents from Florida to learn Spanish.

Maybe, but the essence of that statement is that Okinawa can either accept its position as an important geopolitical area or deny it.

If it accepts, it can actually make a reasonably good deal by "selling" itself dearly. If she refuses, she'd find herself very alone and ultimately become a base of "someone" anyway.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@JapanGal

Maybe America should have kept Okinawa.

Considering the continued heavy U.S. military presence there, one could be excused for thinking they did.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

At least these protestors are taking their issue to the responsible party.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Okinawa really has no options. It's not like it can secede from Japan otherwise it would need to become a US protectorate again

Why do you think so?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The real meaning of the U.S.-Japan alliance? None or very little. America does not understand a Japanese way. Japan doesn't know an American way. When both countries don't understand each other, the meaningful alliance does not exist. Probably the Americans who live in Japan know more about Japan and the Japanese than any of the U.S. policy makers. American politics reply on ONLY money. When the money from Japan ends, the U.S.-Japan relationship is over. Yes, that simple! The American government who cannot even treat the Japanese who live in the United States well will not care even a bit about the Japanese in Japan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Great news! 15000 active and outspoken citizens for the Okinawan cause in Tokyo! It is a sign that more and more mainlander Japanese are joining Okinawans in their struggle for democracy.

@Kazuaki Shimazaki MAY. 25, 2015 - 11:06AM JST

Maybe, but the essence of that statement is that Okinawa can either accept its position as an important geopolitical area or deny it.

So the essence of your statement is that the central government in Tokyo and the US will not allow democracy in Okinawa because they want to use it geopolitically?

In your eyes do geopolitics and democracy exclude each other? Or in other words you believe it is okay that geopolitics trump democracy?

If it accepts, it can actually make a reasonably good deal by "selling" itself dearly. If she refuses, she'd find herself very alone and ultimately become a base of "someone" anyway.

The way you phrase this anti-democratic "wisdom" sounds like you are talking about forced prostitution, and odd enough that is actually not so far from how many Okinawans feel about the issue: they have been left no choice but to sacrifice their dignity.

It has been said time and time again, for most Okinawans this is a struggle about democracy, equality and ultimately about regaining their dignity.

And it is not only an Okinawan issue because if Okinawans fail with their struggle for realizing democracy on a prefectural level, this could altogether throw Japan off the course towards democracy it had been taking over the past decades.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

TrueOkinawa

Each person is paid to be there. So truly doubt their sincerity.

I don't know where this piece of misinformation comes from, but just think about it.

If each of the demonstrators in Tokyo got ¥1,000 each, the bill would come to ¥15,000,000.

And the bill for the demonstrators in Naha would have been ¥35,000,000.

Where do you imagine this kind of money would come from?

And I know from personal experience that you don't get paid for attending these demonstrations.

The people who attend are all there because they are protesting the construction of the new base in Henoko.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

"she'd find herself very alone and ultimately become a base of "someone" anyway." Not if Okinawa is made the "Las Vegas" of the orient. SK has already made the move, but it doesn't have the weather. Just get the USA out of there, and let it develop into a resort paradise. Guess who will be there! Yes, Chinese, SK, and all the other neighbors.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

noriyosan73

Just get the USA out of there, and let it develop into a resort paradise.

Excellent suggestion.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

sf2k so how will the US take control with its troops? The people of Okinawa will not accept this action. The colonial conquest of Okinawa will not be accepted by the other nations. There will be fighting by the Okinawa people to regain their freedom. Lets hope the US government is not plagued by madness to try and take Okinawa.

-3 ( +5 / -7 )

A Very large percentage of American dislike have a black Prisident, due to their backwards thinking on race. It is cultural thing. So you think they are worry about the move. They will move the base to anywhere they like and Japan won,t be able to do any thing about it. How would the American voter think if they bow to the Japanese over this issue. The only reason have have not is because the Democrate have held power for the last 10 years. The construction of this base will start a month after the Republician get into office.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wish they were demonstrating against the state secrets law.

The ability for Okinawa to decide for itself to what degree it wishes to take on the burden of hosting foreign military bases is a far more fundamentally important issue than the state secrets law.

The hub-bub about that law is overblown anyway, most people complaining about it can't even describe what it does with any accuracy.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

You may lack the knowledge about Okinawa. It was reversed back to Japan in 1972. However Japan has not much control over it except in name. It is still US protectorate like Guam, American Samoa and American Virgin Islands. I could not see them in the Map of USA. However they are undisputed territory of US like Okinawa. No need to become again. It has been already US protectorate.

Really? When has the US had control over my life here in Okinawa? It is nothing like Guam, and the law here is Japanese.

Phillipines which is Okinawa neighbor had Subic and Clark Air Bases before. In fact, Subic and Clark land value has increased after shutting down the bases. Many locals prospered due to tourism, maritime trade and real estate boom. Bases are not economic protection. They are burden on limited land space and destroying Eco system, environment, coral reef and wild life. Japan has many Islands not only Okinawa. Why not some Islands share the burden of Okinawa?

Calling the PI a neighbor to Okinawa is like saying China is a neighbor, distance is about the same, wait China is closer. Sure Japan has "many" islands, the whole country is made up of them, and Okinawa is one too and it wont stop being a part of Japan either.

Many Okinawans have Chinese grand parents. Many can speak not only Okinawan dialect, Japanese, English, Mandarin but also Fujian and Minan dialect of China. Asking Okinawans to learn Mandarin is same as asking Latino residents from Florida to learn Spanish.

Quantify "many" please. 10? 20? 100? On an island of over 1.3 million people the number is insignificant and your assumption that "many" (again quantify the number please) can speak all those languages in the same person is down right BS. You over generalize without having any knowledge of the facts. Sure there are some that speak the languages but the way you make the reference to Florida and Spanish is downright BS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tired of the "Not in my back yard" mentality some folk have. These bases have to be built somewhere and Okinawa has been chosen for it's strategic location. If or when the Chinese do storm the beaches I wonder who they gonna call....and it ain't Ghostbusters!!

I also suspect many who are vocal are probably secretly thankful for the business troops stationed there will bring to the local ecconomy. Many of these folk directly profiting from such business or working for the bases themselves...double standards right there.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

YuriOtani: "The colonial conquest of Okinawa will not be accepted by the other nations. There will be fighting by the Okinawa people to regain their freedom. Lets hope the US government is not plagued by madness to try and take Okinawa."

Enough of the 'colonial conquest' nonsense. The US has been there since WWII and GAVE BACK Okinawa to the Japanese government. Okinawa is NOT a colony, and I'm embarrassed for you if you think so. Your bombast is the kind of talk that gets no one anywhere, and is certain only to reaffirm that protest against the bases is strictly emotional and illogical, and not based on the realities of the situations in Asia at present.

Anyway, fine -- don't relocate the base. Keep it right where it is, in Futenma. It's one or the other, people. You decide.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki (May. 25, 2015 - 11:06AM JST):

Maybe, but the essence of that statement is that Okinawa can either accept its position as an important geopolitical area or deny it.

If it accepts, it can actually make a reasonably good deal by "selling" itself dearly. If she refuses, she'd find herself very alone and ultimately become a base of "someone" anyway.

What Kazuaki Shimazaki describes here about Okinawa's strategic location also applies aptly to Tsushima and Sadogashima. Could he tell the same thing to the residents there to the effect that they must give 18 percent of their land to a foreign army for their exclusive use of it as permanent bases? The fact that he can do so suggests he regards Okinawa not as a sovereign territory of Japan but something that can be used as a bargaining chip or a commodity in business dealings.

I suspect the central government seethes with people like him who don't care about the welfare of their own nationals. Well, maybe, Okinawans are not Japanese nationals after all for these people.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"Maybe America should have kept Okinawa."

"Considering the continued heavy U.S. military presence there, one could be excused for thinking they did."

Heck, four-fifths of Okinawa is non-military base.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's one or the other, people. You decide.

Not necessarily. Okinawa could conceivably become base free, or even revert to pre-1609 conditions, where it was doing just fine till the Shimazu samurai meddled.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Who cares? Only pro-China politicians and Medias pick up as news. "Majority rule" is democratic principle, Okinawans are minorities here. We had been negotiating this problem for decades patiently under the strong oppositions but now it was already agreed by the former Okinawan mayor Nakaima and present Abe.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So the essence of your statement is that the central government in Tokyo and the US will not allow democracy in Okinawa because they want to use it geopolitically?

That's a very nasty and realpolitik way of putting it, but OK, I'll bite the bullet - YES. But tack China on the list, if Okinawa breaks away from Japan and US.

Democracy is not a licence to ignore realities. Some countries (or prefectures / provinces ... etc) have oil and gas. Some have rare minerals. Some have a good (or bad) geographical position. Some have pretty scenery or lots of interesting relics. And if you want to make your way forward in the world (even within your country), you have to sell what you have. If for some reason you don't want to sell your best asset and you don't have a lot of good 2nd best assets, at best you will suffer horribly for your choice, and at worst you'll be coerced to do so.

Further, the Okinawans are not even that determined. Generally, what they now want is the cake and eating it too - take away the bases, continue to give us the aid. The world doesn't work like that, but I don't think I've seen a substantive Okinawan willing to say even so much as "If you take away all the bases, we agree to never ask for aid again", much less offer to "If you relocate to Guam or whatever, we'll foot the bill of the relocation" or anything that might compensate the other parties for their inconvenience.

The world is not about getting something for nothing. I see some Netizens forecasting a nearly definite bright cheery future for Okinawa without the bases, but me aside, it seems the Okinawans are not nearly as confident as these Netizens are with their choice.

What Kazuaki Shimazaki describes here about Okinawa's strategic location also applies aptly to Tsushima and Sadogashima.

The two are not nearly comparable. Tsushima and Sadogashima are only miles or maybe a couple dozen miles away from shore. Okinawa is hundreds of miles away from Kyushu. It is also not clear what enemies there are ... Korea? Russia's a bit too far away at those points.

Nevertheless if bases are already established on them, I'll argue the island residents are in a somewhat weak position to ask them to leave.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

smithinjapan May. 25, 2015 - 02:41PM JST

Anyway, fine -- don't relocate the base. Keep it right where it is, in Futenma. It's one or the other, people. You decide.

I call such logic as smithinjapan brandishes "a hooligan's logic." You can't demand a replacement for stolen property (Futenma sits on stolen property, you know) by threatening the land holder: "We will keep the land and stay where we are if you can't find its replacement in the vicinity. It's one or the other, stupid. You decide."

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

voiceofokinawa: "You can't demand a replacement for stolen property (Futenma sits on stolen property, you know) by threatening the land holder: "We will keep the land and stay where we are if you can't find its replacement in the vicinity. It's one or the other, stupid. You decide."

Okinawan belongs to the Japanese government, my friend. What's more, people aren't saying, "if you can't find it's replacement in this vicinity..." the replacement has been found, and decided on THREE TIMES including by the Okinawan governor less than a year ago. It's not "hooligan's logic" at all -- going along with a contract YOU signed is called living up to an agreement. On the other hand, demanding money for hosting the bases and at the same time demanding the bases leave is completely ILLogical, and that's what you and Okinawans are doing. Are you saying Okinawa will give up all money from the government for hosting the bases, and will pay for the relocation elsewhere since they are reneging on the contracts, if the bases relocate outside of Okinawa? My guess is 'no'.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The US should just totally pull out of japan and let the japanese spend the money to defend themselves against China et al. That's what the japanese people want anyway. The japanese won't mind all the extra taxes necessary to fund their own defense.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

smithinjapan (May. 25, 2015 - 04:46PM JST):

In 1996,then Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale announced at a joint news conference that they had agreed to return the Futenma air station within 7 to 8 years. We were enthralled to hear the news. But it soon turned out there was a string attached to the agreement. Futenma's replacement must be found within Okinawa. Can one call this return of something in the true sense of the word, especially in the light of the fact that Futenma sits on stolen property?

In 2006, the two sides agreed over the heads and against the wishes of Okinawa that the relocation site would be Henoko in Nago City. Since then, Washington has been coercing Tokyo to implement the plan as soon as possible, fully knowing their action and Tokyo's in particular will blatantly violate the democratic principles on which the raison d'etre of the U.S.A. as a nation is fundamentally based.

Governor Nakaima agreed to the relocation plan by reneging on his election promise that he would reject the relocation plan as the result of incessant cajoling and coercing by Tokyo. That itself was a very undemocratic act on the part of Tokyo. Nakaima was ousted from office by the overwhelming majority of voters in the following election.

So can you say "the replacement has been found, and decided on three times including by the Okinawan governor"?

What country is the U.S.A.? Is it a democracy or an empire forcing its will on others?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

despite the protesting, the bigger question is yet to be answered? Who stands to gain the most? Not the Oki's, as the other developers like Ozawa, Hatayoma ad Onaga are in cohoots for other construction plans that will make them richer but to them Henoko is a problem. Follow the money...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Onaga-san is a rarity in Japan. An actual politician, who thinks logically, gets his ideas across, is capable of delivering a powerful and meaningful speech without notes AND who actually represents the people who voted for him.

This is recommended reading:

http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/2015/05/23/18587/

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Democracy is not a licence to ignore realities.

So what then is democracy exactly in your eyes? Something for good weather periods only?

I believe you are actually quite close to how the LDP and Abe see democracy, as a system that is conveniently tolerated until more important factors define their policies, such as making a "beautiful country" or "keeping social harmony".

If for some reason you don't want to sell your best asset and you don't have a lot of good 2nd best assets, at best you will suffer horribly for your choice, and at worst you'll be coerced to do so.

So you are telling Okinawans their geopolitical value is their best asset? Who are you to tell this to the people of a whole prefecture?

To let Okinawans decide on their assets is democracy to force your idea about assets onto them is not.

Generally, what they now want is the cake and eating it too - take away the bases, continue to give us the aid.

Who exactly want's the cake and eat it too? Those kind of fuzzy and unsubstantiated accusations are completely off the mark.

Kazuaki Shimazaki, do you know how much of the government budget Okinawa gets? Do you have information that it is substantially more then other prefectures?

Despite being the "poorest" and most remote prefecture regarding the allotment of overall central government budget Okinawa apparently is ranked 6th amongst the 47 prefectures. Is that the "cake" you are talking about?

Despite the burden it carries the money it gets is just slightly above average.

This are the numbers I have access to and they tell us clearly that your talk about "wanting the cake and eating it too" is wrong.

If you have different information that can prove "how greedy Okinawans are extorting Tokyo" show it us, otherwise just stop with your baseless accusations.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Unfortunately, members of Diet prefer to serve interests of Washington, not people of Japan.

Show me a Japan-wide poll on the base relocation issue. Since you're claiming that a majority of Japanese oppose the relocation, you should be able to back your claim up with actual polling data. I'm waiting.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

voiceofokinwa: "So can you say "the replacement has been found, and decided on three times including by the Okinawan governor"?"

Absolutely. Can you speak on behalf of Okinawa and say that you will no longer receive any money from the government that you would otherwise for hosting the bases, and pay for an alternative to the already thrice agreed upon contract? I notice you failed to answer that question.

"What country is the U.S.A.? Is it a democracy or an empire forcing its will on others?"

The better question is what are Okinawans? people who should never be trusted to live up to their promises? people who want handouts for not doing the required work? People who LITERALLY build their residences around a place that helps them survive and protects them, then spits on where they eat a couple of generations later?

Because that's what they are if you were to have your way. And you watch... when the base is relocated to Hemeko, which it will be if it does not stay permanently in Futenma (one of two choices, my friend!), many people will choose to move and situate themselves around the base, and business in the area will boom, while those around Futenma demand the government help them for business lost by the bases leaving.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@ yamashi

Unfortunately, members of Diet prefer to serve interests of Washington, not people of Japan.

True, true.

True Okinawa

Each person is paid to be there. So truly doubt their sincerity.

Sure ... 15,000 times how much each? A bottle of spring water and a biro pen like the Chinese students get to turn up at PRC Embassy organized protests (... plus the threat of having their overseas student funding cut).

Just how many flight from Okinawa did they say for ... that must have been some blip in ticket purchases?

@ The better question is what are Okinawans?

People who had their land stolen by a foreign imperial force, people who were used as practise dummies for the USA invasions of Asia ... people with unregulated toxic waste and ordinance dumps in their backyards and US aircraft pulling stunts that no Americans would allow in their own backyard.

Of course, the US Gov has a long history of taking land that wasn't its and not honoring treaties, doesn't. The US was built on it. So why should the poor Okinawans expect to be treated different,yes?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"The protesters, who organisers said numbered about 15,000, "

What about the other 125,000,000?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Luce-A: "people who were used as practise dummies for the USA invasions of Asia"

"Invasion of Asia", eh? No, it was the invasion of Japan during the Second World War, and it was the Japanese who declared war on the US, not vice-versa, and put their own people (ie. the Okinawans) in harms way. Thank them, not the US, for being cannon-fodder in Japan's war of attrition.

"Of course, the US Gov has a long history of taking land that wasn't its and not honoring treaties, doesn't."

You're actually saying this in defense of a nation that not only took Okinawa before the US did (and gave it back, mind you), but tried to take most of East, South-East, and even parts of West Asia before their massacres came to a halt? Seriously?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Illyas "Show me a Japan-wide poll on the base relocation issue" Why not Solar system-wide? Aren't you able to see opinions of Okinawa people here?

"Since you're claiming that majority of Japanese oppose the relocation"

The majority of Okinawans urge to remove foreign military bases from their soil. Tokyo officials prefer to listen and serve foreigners rather than interests of Okinawans. Can you understand it?

@smithinjapan "The better question is what are Okinawans?"

People who respect themselves and defend their rights and interests. Besides, aren't you tired of boring apple polishing service in favor of the USA ?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Okinawa without beautiful white sandy beaches like Hatti without Caribbean river, Japan without Mount Fuji, China without Giant Panda, Australia without Great Barrier Reef and US without Miami.

As a nature lover, I do not care much about Geo Politics. In Pureto Rico, US has polluted water near bases with bombing practice, dumping toxic chemicals and orange agent Hopefully Okinawa beaches will not share the cruel and unbearable fate like it.

US should pollute Mississippi river instead of other residents mother nature gifts.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Censors.....quit your cherry picking please. Another thread, bye.....

If you dont want shit to get stirred up here, then quit reposting threads like this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

umbrella May. 25, 2015 - 04:55PM JST

The US should just totally pull out of japan and let the japanese spend the money to defend themselves against China et al. That's what the japanese people want anyway. The japanese won't mind all the extra taxes necessary to fund their own defense

.

You say the U.S. should pack up and leave Japan, Okinawa in particular. Nothing would make us happier than that.

You then continue to say:

... let the Japanese spend the money to defend themselves against China et al.

Don't worry. There's a way for not so much money to be spent on defense. Pursue omni-directional diplomacy. Make friends with neighbors; don't antagonize them. The idea to establish an East Asia Community proposed by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is one such effort to realize that goal. Of course, the U.S. may not like it and try in all its capacity to frustrate such an effort.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It's really simple with the encroachment by both Russia and China, the Japanese are worried about their territorial integrity, the budding friendship between the US and Vietnam who is also concerned with China. They're hoping that a US presence leads to some restraint on both China and Russia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

time demanding the bases leave is completely ILLogical, and that's what you and Okinawans are doing. Are you saying Okinawa will give up all money from the government for hosting the bases, and will pay for the relocation elsewhere since they are reneging on the contracts, if the bases relocate outside of Okinawa? My guess is 'no'.

Doesn't change the fact the bases are on confiscated land

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ smithinjapan

There are so many misconceptions in your posts that it makes sense to go through one by one.

First please tell us what you are referring to when you say "Okinawans agreed to the relocation"?

Okinawans were absolutely not democratically involved in the negotiation process and no elected official of the Okinawan prefectural government directly endorsed the Henoko plan.

Also Okinawans were never offered an alternative, but they were pressured, threatened and given Hobson's choice.

Some mayors from northern Okinawa have at one point given their ok, but that is not the Okinawan people and that was no proper democratic procedure. To the contrary, it was the central government offering big public works projects for their constituencies in exchange for subservience. Look at Henoko village, it's stuffed with government facilities that are completely out of proportion and that are there for no other reason then to corrupt Henoko citizens.

If you are referring to the signing of the landfill proposal by Nakaima, then it is absolutely clear that Okinawans were opposed to it and it was a betrayal of the will of the people.

There was nothing "promised by the Okinawan people" and unless you clarify what you are talking about your claims that "Okinawans agreed to the relocation" are completely baseless.

Can you speak on behalf of Okinawa and say that you will no longer receive any money from the government that you would otherwise for hosting the bases

So who exactly agreed on hosting bases for money, smithinjapan?

Are you talking about some of the mayors in northern Okinawa, or about Nakaima? A large majority of Okinawans have clearly voted against such corrupt bribery tactics, so your assumptions are again without rhyme or reason and highly insulting towards the Okinawan people.

People who LITERALLY build their residences around a place that helps them survive and protects them, then spits on where they eat a couple of generations later?

To call Futenma a place that helps Okinawans survive is pure cynicism and shows that you have absolutely no understanding of wartime and post-war Okinawan reality.

First of all the US military deprived the people of their livelihood by taking a large part of the most fertile and arable land in central Okinawa away from them to create the Futenma base. Destroying peoples livelihood and then being proud of giving pittances, is that US military style? I hope not.

many people will choose to move and situate themselves around the base, and business in the area will boom

Just like Chattan, Omoromachi, etc.? Smithinjapan, you seem to be stuck in the 1950ies with your view. Booming places in Okinawa are not at all adjacent to US military facilities anymore. To the contrary the most severely struggling places are neighboring US bases, like Koza, Kadena and Kin.

Though it is true that often the economically most successful places are on returned US military land.

Another good reason to force the return of Futenma without relocation.

It seems you have created your own narrative of Okinawa that has completely lost contact to reality and ignores historical facts, smithinjapan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

smithinjapan(May. 25, 2015 - 07:56PM JST):

The better question is what are Okinawans? people who should never be trusted to live up to their promises? people who want handouts for not doing the required work? People who LITERALLY build their residences around a place that helps them survive and protects them, then spits on where they eat a couple of generations later?

Tell me what kind of promise Okinawans made to the U.S. which we reneged on. Did Okinawa ever voluntarily give base land to the U.S. military for alms in return?

Except for Camp Schwab and its affiliated Northern Training Area, most U.S. bases, Futenma in particular, are planted on mostly private land illegally and immorally confiscated in the early days of Occupation while area residents were herded into concentration-like camps. And you disdainfully say people built their residences around the bases that fed them to survive.

True, people worked on bases to maintain their meager livelihood in post-war days. But don't you know their former villages and towns together with farms, sometimes wholly and sometimes partially, were swallowed up into bases? Where else could they go except live around bases and what else could they do except work for bases to survive?

It's disgusting to hear offenders preach morality to us victims.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But both Tokyo and Washington have repeatedly backed the plan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month insisting it was “the only solution”.

The deal is sealed. Time to sit back watch the endless pro/con bickering in these JT forums. Lots of great posts above, but Im wondering what Okinawa really has hidden in their sleeves.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Smithinjapan

When Luce-A writes:

Luce-A: "people who were used as practise dummies for the USA invasions of Asia"

She is referring not to the invasion of Japan during WWII, but this:

The residents of Takae, a small village in the hills of northern Okinawa, are no strangers to the American military. Since 1957, they’ve been living next to the world’s largest jungle warfare training center – and many of them are old enough to remember the days when the U.S. Marine Corps hired locals to dress up as Vietcong for its war games.

http://closethebase.org/2011/01/03/postcard-from-takae/#sthash.0QJFOb3o.dpuf

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Okinawa wont run from US the bond is to strong permanent and untouchable....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

During the 1950s, the U.S. forces used “bayonets and bulldozers” to seize residents’ lands by force to expand their bases. 91 percent of the Futenma base site was stolen from residents. Okinawans were forced out of houses, schools, Temples by US military, at bayonet point.

They were herded into concentration camps and their homes, villages, streets, houses and shops were flattened with bulldozers. That is the history of Futenma.

A similar thing is happening in Henoko, except that the US military are doing it indirectly. They are using the Japanese Coast Guard and Police as their Front Organization.

Promises have been broken so many times, that no Okinawan believes that Futenma will close. Maybe it won't and then there will be two bases, Futenma and the new superbase in Henoko.

Suddenly, less US military presence in Okinawa becomes more. Less burden becomes more burden.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

During the 1950s, the U.S. forces used “bayonets and bulldozers” to seize residents’ lands by force to expand their bases. 91 percent of the Futenma base site was stolen from residents. Okinawans were forced out of houses, schools, Temples by US military, at bayonet point.

Yeah. And those same residents got drunk with joy and celebrated the successful 1941 surprise attack @Pearl. Just like every other major city on the mainland. War is hell. Win some lose some-

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Nathaw

Many Okinawans have Chinese grand parents. Many can speak not only Okinawan dialect, Japanese, English, >Mandarin but also Fujian and Minan dialect of China. Asking Okinawans to learn Mandarin is same as asking Latino >residents from Florida to learn Spanish.

I've been here four years and don't think I've met a single Okinawan of Chinese descent. I'd like to see where you are meeting all these Mandarin-speakers. Everyone I know who speaks Mandarin is either a 1st-generation Chinese immigrant, an exchange student, or a mainlander who works in the tourism industry. I know one 21-year old female who is mixed Taiwanese/Japanese.....she also took it as an insult if I called her Okinawan. "Don't lump me in with these people, I'm Japanese."

@YuriOtani

There will be fighting by the Okinawa people to regain their freedom.

No there won't. My friends work as security guards at clubs here....most of the "males" are herbivore men, and won't even defend themselves when struck by an aggressor, let along take up weapons to secure their independence.

@voiceofokinawa

What country is the U.S.A.? Is it a democracy or an empire forcing its will on others?

Neither. It's a Federal Republic.....forcing its will on others. ^_^

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Noble713 you forget the Koza riots and think of the people of Okinawa as water behind a dam. The Americans claiming Okinawa for their own would be like destroying that dam and the flood which follows will clean away the American presence. Remember this we the people of Okinawa are Japanese nationals but not Japanese.

So let me get this right an Okinawa person who would be insulted by being called Okinawan? Then she is not a Okinawa person at all. She thinks of herself as Japanese, the problem is the Japanese will not agree.

Now as for the "men", well what you see is a very small part of the population and these men will not fight? Kind of sexist at best and racists at worse. The Okinawa people are not quick to anger but once their course is set watch out! Also remember when the USA is hit by sanctions by the UN things will be different. Oh being a permanent member? The Republic of China use to be such too and now they are not a member.

Oh Smith the people of Okinawa promised nothing to the Americans, nothing at all! The Americans invaded in the Steel Typhoon and took what they wanted. Second you make it out that the people of Okinawa are the property of the Japanese. How interesting coming from an American. What would happen if one of the US States would be used like property by the US government? What you forget to add is the US founders were worried about the "tyranny of the majority". They have built in protections against "populism" that Japan lacks. So why do you believe the Japanese majority should dictate to the Okinawa minority?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wc626 Wc626May. 26, 2015 - 01:30AM JST

Yeah. And those same residents got drunk with joy and celebrated the successful 1941 surprise attack @Pearl. Just like every other major city on the mainland. War is hell. Win some lose some-

That war you talk about was over 70 years ago. The Occupation on mainland Japan ended in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect while Okinawa was severed from Japan and kept under ongoing U.S. occupation. The occupation of Okinawa was supposed to come to an end when it was reverted to Japan in 1972.

But you say: "War is hell. Win some lose some," thus justifying this excessive U.S. military presence in Okinawa. So the U.S. forces are stationed here as occupation forces and not as the "defenders of Japan" as stipulated in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. I think you are telling the truth and nothing but the whole truth The security treaty is then nothing but a farce, a facade to hide the reality.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

BTW where does the money come from to pay for protesters? Read the English language link below from the Ryukyu Shimpo.

http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/2015/05/22/18569/

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

SerranoMay. 25, 2015 - 08:38PM JST

"The protesters, who organisers said numbered about 15,000, "

What about the other 125,000,000?

probably back in Okinawa making sure the government doesn't snatch the land to build the bases by force.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think you are telling the truth and nothing but the whole truth The security treaty is then nothing but a farce, a facade to hide the reality.

Then I hope the people of Okinawa remain united and put up a good fight. Abe and DC are formidable foes. Independence is usually faught for. Yeah, people often died or bled for it. So tell me, how strong is Okinawa's will?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Noble713"My friends work as security guards there...most of the "males" are herbivore men and won't even defend themselves when struck by aggressor let alone take up weapons to secure their independence..."

You are familiar with unsignificant number of people who waste time in night clubs and make rapid conclusions about all Okinawans, right ? It is the same as getting "geographical knowledges" about some country from hollywood movie. Years ago Americans considered Vietnamese weak and skinny. The results of invasion ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Oh look, 15,000 morons protesting to keep MCAS Futenma open. How thoughtful of them...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Oh look, 15,000 morons protesting to keep MCAS Futenma open. How thoughtful of them...

Common problem here, selective memory.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Years ago Americans considered Vietnamese weak and skinny. The results of invasion ?

. . .Like I've been saying all along. "Win some, lose some." Okinawa is going to eventually decide whether or not the basewill be constructed, but just how far are they willing to go? Weak and skinny vietnamese had already won the war (in their temples) long before firing any shots-

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wc626 May. 26, 2015 - 09:16AM JST

The struggles now sweeping across Okinawa are not for independence but for democracy, justice and equality. The Futenma relocation plan that was agreed on between Tokyo and Washington over our heads runs counter to all these principles.

It's pitiful of both governments that they wouldn't listen to local people's pressing voice unless they resorted to violence and terrorism.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Democracy, equality and justice are all virtues of independence.

The Futenma relocation plan that was agreed on between Tokyo and Washington over our heads runs counter to all these principles.

These kinds of issues have been going on since '72 right? I hope Okinawa gets what it wants. But remember the ole' chinese proverb- "be careful what you wish for."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

voiceofokinawa

sweeping across Okinawa are not for independence but for democracy, justice and equality.

I have never seen the news of US servicemen killed civilians in traffic accidents or air craft accidents were severely punished. US has ruled Okinawa with Iron fist before. Even some criminals of perverts were just punished with feather like sentences. Okinawans have been exploited with lack of constitutional protection.

One of my Okinawan friend went to hospital for treatment. When he came back to his house, his house were already demolished for facility of base. It was without his knowledge and reasonable compensation. Even Native Americans got one dollar for selling New York. Injustice!

I do not buy the theory of Okinawa will get democracy, justice and equality with peaceful protest. It is not realistic. Wc626 is correct to say that Okinawans are so passive and tolerant about oppression. 70 years has been passed.

Without the real struggle and physical combat, Okinawa will be enslaved forever.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One of my Okinawan friend went to hospital for treatment. When he came back to his house, his house were already demolished for facility of base. It was without his knowledge and reasonable compensation. Even Native Americans got one dollar for selling New York. Injustice!

This was over 40 years ago right?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@USNinJapan2 "Oh, look 15,000 morons protesting to keep MCAS Futenma open"

They are not morons but ordinary people who defend their rights and their soil. Perhaps, you are aware that years ago Soviets re-located troops, leaving bases in Eastern Europe. 'Evil Soviets' as you liked to call them. Still America keeps bases here and there, all around the world, showing true nature of aggressive empire. Mythic tales about role of 'global policemen' or 'universal defenders of everything' look out pretty laughable for any sane and educated person. The worst part of it (and your message proves it once again) is arrogant attitude of Americans to locals. You consider them 'people of second sort' or something.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Flyfalcon May. 26, 2015 - 11:01AM JST

Whether they are for independence or not, Okinawa's struggles will be like Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent civil disobedience. Didn't India recover their dignity through such measures as nonviolent civil disobedience?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

USNinJapan2 the people of Okinawa never agreed to the bases which are used to train Americans. Protect Okinawa? not a chance of that! The SDF can protect us and the people of Okinawa can go back to living. I do not think we will be poor long. There is so many possibilities and if the Japanese like American bases they can host them!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There is so many possibilities and if the Japanese like American bases they can host them!

Good point. The main reason the security treaty is popular with the mainlanders is they "feel safe", without seeing the US military (most of the time) which protects them. I guarantee you that when there are a few Osprey flights around urban areas they'll start changing their tune. (Not that the security treaty doesn't serve a purpose - it's the only thing keeping article 9 intact for the moment)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@YuriOtani

There is so many possibilities and if the Japanese like American bases they can host them!

The Japanese are hosting them already. In Okinawa. Which is in Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The SDF can protect us and the people of Okinawa can go back to living.

Protect "us"? How can the SDF protect you in Oklahoma? Okinawa is "living", and "living" rather well right now thanks in part to those bases that you detest from so far away.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

and when the "open base" Friendship Festivals come around (right about apr-aug) Every JN and their mother come out in droves to experience and admire the US military and its array.

How ironic.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ hokkaidoguy

The Japanese are hosting them already. In Okinawa. Which is in Japan.

Yes, but Okinawans clearly said they don't wan't to host the bulk of US military bases and they won't accept a huge new military facility being built while destroying another part of their invaluable environment.

@ Yubaru

Okinawa is "living", and "living" rather well right now thanks in part to those bases that you detest from so far away.

Well you will have to leave it up to the people of Okinawa what they define as "living rather well". They have clearly expressed their will through multiple channels, including democratic elections, and that will states that for their wellbeing it is essential to drastically reduce US military without a relocation of Futenma within the prefecture.

To ignore this will means to defy democracy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@bamboo

To ignore this will means to defy democracy.

Democracy?

A minority of the population of Okinawa is attempting to dictate National Defense Policy. That's nowhere near democratic.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well you will have to leave it up to the people of Okinawa what they define as "living rather well". They have clearly expressed their will through multiple channels, including democratic elections, and that will states that for their wellbeing it is essential to drastically reduce US military without a relocation of Futenma within the prefecture. To ignore this will means to defy democracy.

I live in Okinawa, two I am a citizen of Japan. That gives me a right to state my opinions, more so that someone who does not live here.

Plus like hokaidoguy states succinctly;

A minority of the population of Okinawa is attempting to dictate National Defense Policy. That's nowhere near democratic.

Please redefine your idea of what democracy is.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Many posters posted democracy will prevail for Okinawa plight. in the real world, it does not work that way. There will be bias for special interest group. Politicians can not please everyone. Democracy can be interpreted for self interest with bias.

Japan annexed Okinawa for territorial expansion. US exploited and bullied locals for strategic interest. It was against their wills and souls.They needed to be free by themselves with Revolution. Not the evolution.70 years has been too long.

Foreign expats with J spouse with neutralized citizen or mainlanders will not care about their suffering. Their loyalty belongs to their homeland. In the real life, Hokkaido is not Okinawa. If It will be annexed by Russia like Crimea, they will have compassion.

Being passive and forgiving will not go anywhere. Unless I am wearing someone else shoe, I do not know about the sense and sensibility of Shoe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ hokkaidoguy

A minority of the population of Okinawa is attempting to dictate National Defense Policy. That's nowhere near democratic.

First, it is not a minority but a clear majority of Okinawans that want US military reduced without constructing new facilities within the prefecture.

Second, please tell me, hokkaidoguy, how in the world are Okinawans dictating national defense policy?

It was an inhuman national defense policy though that has been dictating the life of Okinawans for the past 80 years.

And national defense policy is not cast in stone and there is no one truth about how national defense is organized.

You should take a look what former U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs Nye says about defense policy in regard to Okinawa:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201412080029

He says that with the development of Chinese ballistic missiles the over-concentration of US military facilities on Okinawa is becoming a problem. He says it makes an easy target for a Chinese attack and thus once again reminds us of the dangers that a US military in the neighborhood can pose in the case of a military conflict.

The Okinawan "geopolitical importance" here doesn't sound nearly as deterministic as some in the US military and the Japanese government would like to make it look like.

I live in Okinawa, two I am a citizen of Japan. That gives me a right to state my opinions, more so that someone who does not live here.

Nobody is denying your right to state your opinions, just don't try to state your opinion as if it were that of the Okinawan people.

Please redefine your idea of what democracy is.

Democracy is to respect the will of the people. Very simple. That doesn't need any "redefinition".

But note that democracy is not a system in which a majority can dictate a minority what to do. Democracy only works if the rights of minorities and regional constituencies are properly respected.

Please imagine where democracy would end up if a simple majority could let's say decide to have all nuclear power plants on one remote island against the will of the inhabitants of that island. Ridiculous! But not too far from what is happening in Japan now.

Though it is important to note that up to know no Japanese majority has actually stated it want's the bulk of US military in Okinawa, but the government, with its history of discriminating Okinawans, finds it convenient to keep things the way they were.

However you look at it the current situation is unjust, undemocratic, discriminatory and not-sustainable.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Zenpun"They needed to be free by themselves with Revolution"

As some posters have already stated above, there is also non-violent way. They have been asking Tokyo to listen and respect their opinion. Tokyo officials prefer to be deaf and blind. Okinawans may vote for Independence on Referendum like Crimea or Scotland did.

"In the real life, Hokkaido is not Okinawa. If it will be annexed by Russia like Crimea.."

Actually, Russians are interested in strong economical relations with all neighbours than start useless and stupid war. There are much more similarities between Crimea and Okinawa than between Hokkaido and Okinawa. Historically, Crimea belonged to Tatar Khanate. Even as subject of Ukraine, Crimea was still semi-independent republic and had all rights to determine, whether stay with Ukraine or join another country. Finally, Crimea joined Russian Federation and seems locals are OK with it. Okinawa was part of Ryukyu Kingdom, before invasion of Japanese.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First, it is not a minority but a clear majority of Okinawans that want US military reduced without constructing new facilities within the prefecture.

Until there is a referendum on the current issue this is an assumption that no one can make. If you are basing it upon the last gov election then there are over 260,000 eligible voters who are against Onaga, who won with close to 100,000 votes with something like less than 60% of eligible voters placing votes.

Second, please tell me, hokkaidoguy, how in the world are Okinawans dictating national defense policy?

I'll answer this too, because by refusing to accept the addition to the base they are in effect telling Abe that his policy is against the will of one small minor but strategically located prefecture in Japan. However Abe and his government, who determine the policies of the entire nation say otherwise, so they are in effect attempting to dictate policy and by having Onaga go to Washington show they are going against the will of the state.

To get an accurate answer on the issue a national referendum and debate should be held and the government respond accordingly to the wishes of the people they serve. (But Japan doesnt operate that way.)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yamashi

Unlike Okinawa, Russia has never forced Crimea against their wills. Crimea was given to Ukraine as Anniversary gift by former soviet leader. I agree with your post as Okinawans should have been allowed for referendum. It is the real democratic way and majority rule. However it will never be.

If Okinawa location is at Hokkaido near Russia, I bet you Russia will not let her neighbor being crushed under oppressive force. Okinawa is very unlucky.

Okinawa will never get liberation with peaceful demonstration. Japan is not Russia who has made referendum according local people wish.

They have been devastated and being cheated for better tomorrows. Sadly relocation of base will become reality against locals wish.

Something in life is beyond our control.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nobody is denying your right to state your opinions, just don't try to state your opinion as if it were that of the Okinawan people.

And just how are you going to separate Japanese from Okinawa? Seeing as how Okinawan's are Japanese citizens, so are you suggesting that there be some sort of method between what "Japanese" and "Okinawan's" choose?

That sir is a pot that no one wants to open.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Until there is a referendum on the current issue this is an assumption that no one can make.

Where is your pro-base, pro-relocation crowd, Yubaru? Where in the Okinawan media or public can we find their pro-Henoko relocation statements?

No, assumptions can be made with good reason. There have been several opinion polls with very clear and consistent results on the topic and the last election was crystal clear not only concerning the governor, but also regarding the delegates, as non of the LDP candidates was elected in the 2014 election. Looking at the nationwide trends this is as clear a message as a prefecture in Japan could possibly send to Tokyo.

There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that a large majority of Okinawans is asking for a clear reduction of US military and oppose the Henoko relocation. The only point that is not clear though is how much people are willing to sacrifice for this objective.

Until recently Tokyo was quite successful with its carrot and stick policy and many Okinawans were afraid of the negative economic impact of anti-base politicians, but this has clearly changed and to pretend it is not clear what the majority of Okinawans want is presumptuous.

Of course a referendum would be the best way to decide and that is exactly what Okinawans are fighting for, a democratic process in which they have a say on long-term decisions concerning their prefecture.

there are over 260,000 eligible voters who are against Onaga

We don't know how many of the 260,000 Nakaima voters are pro-Henoko relocation, but surely not all, because Nakaima didn't run on a "pro-Henoko" ticket, he ran on a "there's no choice so we should at least take the money" ticket, which was clearly rejected by the vast majority.

To get an accurate answer on the issue a national referendum and debate should be held and the government respond accordingly to the wishes of the people they serve.

Wow, this is the first time I hear you proposing some kind of democratic process in relation the the Okinawan US base issue.

But what you propose is against the constitution of Japan and of any serious democracy. For good reasons (I have outlined in a previous post) national referendums which deal with topics that only concern one prefecture are not allowed.

And just how are you going to separate Japanese from Okinawa? Seeing as how Okinawan's are Japanese citizens, so are you suggesting that there be some sort of method between what "Japanese" and "Okinawan's" choose?

Legally it is people who live, are registered in and vote in Okinawa. Culturally and ethnically it is people of Okinawan descent. I don't know why this should be a difficult topic.

Of course nobody is interested in any kind of racial separation discussion here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@True OkinawaMAY. 25, 2015 - 08:29AM JST Each person is paid to be there. So truly doubt their sincerity.

Do you have details of each person? How much hotel cost, travel cpstl, etc. Also don't forget who donated.'

Anyibe who has Japanese citizen is Japanese. Way back from time of Amaterasu.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So what then is democracy exactly in your eyes? Something for good weather periods only?

Democracy is there to give the people the power to choose between realistic, achievable options. It does not free them from the realities of the market, or the world. What's not achievable by an autocracy cannot be achieved by a democracy - both are limited by the quantity and quality of cards in their hand.

So you are telling Okinawans their geopolitical value is their best asset? Who are you to tell this to the people of a whole prefecture?

Unfortunately, it is their best asset, as clearly determined by the United States and Japan and China if she can get a leg in the door (you might notice the occasional attack on Japan's hold on Okinawa by Chinese scholars - right now it is very occasional and right-wing, but this is just setting up a bridgehead in public opinion).

What's your best asset is determined by the market. What you think is your best asset is not very useful if no one's willing to shell out for it.

Despite being the "poorest" and most remote prefecture regarding the allotment of overall central government budget Okinawa apparently is ranked 6th amongst the 47 prefectures. Is that the "cake" you are talking about?

I thought it was something close to that. Thanks, Bam_boo, it would have been hard to dig things out on short-notice.

According to you, they are the poorest and most remote. By population they are about 27th. Yet they get 6th in funding. That's not bad, Bam_boo. Think about what that 6th would be if a bunch of US Marines were not on this island. They'd be lucky to get 27th (in proportion to their population).

@voiceofokinawaMAY. 25, 2015 - 09:50PM JST

There's a way for not so much money to be spent on defense. Pursue omni-directional diplomacy.

Though it'll be an exaggeration to say Diplomacy is all hard power, hard power nevertheless lies at the core. At some point, you will get to an issue where smiles won't solve the problem, that someone must win and someone must lose, and what decides those games will be hard power - armies and money. Yukio, who was in a party that never got the executive in about 50 years, did not understand that before he got into power.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Democracy is there to give the people the power to choose between realistic, achievable options.

Yes. And now please tell me what is not realistic and not achievable about the Okinawan democratic will.

The only reason why the will of Okinawans seems "not realistic" is because some high ranking official in the US military said he would prefer to have the marines in Henoko. If he had to face a strictly democratic system like in the US he'd probably have ten other ideas how to facilitate the reduction of marines, but he apparently doesn't have to. So he says just lets do what is most convenient for the military.

Other people in the US military have other opinions. For example that it would be perfectly OK to integrate Futenma with Kadena, or to resort to a rotation strategy, or, or, or.

There are plenty of realistic options, but as long as Tokyo and the US military can bypass democratic processes and succeed with conveniently forcing their will onto Okinawans they will do so.

As I said before there is no one option in national defense and in a true democracy it is the will of the people that dictates national defense. Only in a dictatorial regime it is the other way around.

Unfortunately, it is their best asset, as clearly determined by the United States and Japan and China if she can get a leg in the door

Who claims that Okinawas geopolitical location is its best asset? I have never heard anything like that except from you.

I think that there is a fairly big number of people (from Okinawa, mainland Japan, US, China, Taiwan, Korea, etc.) who would say that the gorgeous nature is Okinawas best asset.

And regarding the market tourism is by far Okinawas biggest business and therefor calling nature Okinawas most important asset is obvious.

According to you, they are the poorest and most remote. By population they are about 27th. Yet they get 6th in funding.

I put poorest in quotes because it is not my way of saying it, but that's how its often seen.

Okinawa is 6th as per capita allocation of government funds, not regarding the overall allotment of money. Being the prefecture with the lowest income (according to official statistics) and carrying the overly large burden of 75% of the US military it shouldn't be a surprise if they were 1st, but it isn't.

What I wanted to say is accusing Okinawans of extorting loads of money from Tokyo for hosting US bases is myth, unfortunately one that many posters here believe to be true.

Even without the US bases the government funding Okinawa gets would be completely reasonable.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

But note that democracy is not a system in which a majority can dictate a minority what to do. Democracy only works if the rights of minorities and regional constituencies are properly respected.

What? So in effect what you are saying is that in a democracy the minority CAN dictate to the majority what becomes state policy. Minority rights can be respected, but that does not mean they become policy, in a democracy the majority typically dictates that, and you are suggesting otherwise.

You truly need to understand what is a democracy. What you are suggesting here is nothing even close to one. A democracy is dictated by the desires and votes of the majority not the minority. What you wrote here is nonsense.

Where is your pro-base, pro-relocation crowd, Yubaru? Where in the Okinawan media or public can we find their pro-Henoko relocation statements?

If you have to ask this you have ZERO knowledge about Okinawa.

Legally it is people who live, are registered in and vote in Okinawa. Culturally and ethnically it is people of Okinawan descent. I don't know why this should be a difficult topic. Of course nobody is interested in any kind of racial separation discussion here.

Yes you are very much suggesting ethnic separation, not racial as they are the same. You spout democracy this and that yet are promoting something very different.

You want to ask people to submit to a DNA test? How are you going to tell who is who Okinawa descent or not?

BTW you discriminate against ME because you made a comment earlier that "just don't try to state your opinion as if it were that of the Okinawan people" I am registered to vote here as a Japanese, yet you tell me not to talk as one, ans infer I dont know because I am not Okinawan. Then tell all the "Japanese" to keep their opinions to themselves, including all the ones that come down here from mainland stirring crap up, they arent allowed to speak for "Okinawa" only Okinawans..

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Kazuaki Shimazaki May. 26, 2015 - 11:20PM JST:

As you say, "smiles" only won't solve an international problem, but genuine mutual trust will. So it's important to work for establishing genuine mutual trust between and among nations however remote the goal may seem. You cannot frustrate the budding of such efforts, saying hard power should be all there is to it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So it's important to work for establishing genuine mutual trust between and among nations however remote the goal may seem.

Key word here "nations" not states, not prefectures, Okinawa and Tokyo have a long way to go and it doesn't help Okinawa one bit, in building trust with Tokyo, by having it's governor go over their heads to Washington.

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So in effect what you are saying is that in a democracy the minority CAN dictate to the majority what becomes state policy.

No, what I'm talking about is just the basics of modern democracy. In the Japanese constitution, as well as in every other democratic constitution I know of, there are articles that protect minorities and articles that state that the central government has to respect the decisions of regional democratic bodies in one or another way.

This doesn't mean that the regions can force policies onto the whole nation, but it also prevents that the nation forces specific policies onto the regions against the will of the people.

For example the Japanese government can not just say "OK we're going to build a nuclear power plant here", but has to gain local approval. Odd enough to do this Tokyo often resorts to the same kind of carrot and stick policy it also applies in Okinawa. That's why most of the nuclear power plants in Japan are in the most underdeveloped areas.

Up to now the central government was able to bypass those provisions in the constitution simply because of the fact that when Okinawa was returned to Japan it had been a US military colony and was already packed with US military. The GOJ made secret agreements with the US to keep it like that, but those agreements just came to light recently and would surely not withstand a strickt constitutional check.

If the central government were to properly apply the constitution it would have to go through some kind of democratic legislative process to justifies why 75% of US military area is in one small prefecture, which would simply be impossible.

That's exactly why the GOJ is desperately trying to avoid to get into any kind of legislative measures in regard to the Okinawan issue.

If you have to ask this you have ZERO knowledge about Okinawa.

I have enough knowledge about Okinawa to know that there is no pro-base movement of noticeable size and that you have really search for the very few singular lonesome voices in the public discussion that say they welcome the US military in its current size and the current relocation scheme.

Can you provide any verifiable information to counter such a claim?

Yes you are very much suggesting ethnic separation, not racial as they are the same.

Where in the world do I suggest ethnic separation?

Do you understand the concept of cultural identity? If not them it doesn't make sense to discuss the Okinawan issue with you at all.

BTW you discriminate against ME because you made a comment earlier that "just don't try to state your opinion as if it were that of the Okinawan people"

You are misunderstanding what I'm saying here. "Okinawan people" is plural and refers to Okinawans as a whole. The majority opinion of the Okinawan people, like represented in elections, in the public discussion, in polls, etc., is obviously very different from yours.

But of course you can voice your opinion as Okinawan, as Japanese or as what ever you feel fits you.

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@Yubaru "You truly need to understand what is a democracy"

Americans like to say it right before attacking and bombing some poor country. In general, democracy takes place when government is elected by people. This government serves interests of people, including minorities. In any case will of people is respected. When the government serves interests of foreign nation, allowing them to deploy bases, this is not democracy and sovereignity, but plain slave behavior.

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Yubaru what would happen if the US Federal government tried to do this with one of the states? Okinawa is part of Japan but Tokyo are not are masters.

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I have enough knowledge about Okinawa to know that there is no pro-base movement of noticeable size and that you have really search for the very few singular lonesome voices in the public discussion that say they welcome the US military in its current size and the current relocation scheme.

Which just reinforces my knowing that you know little if anything about Okinawa and Okinawan politics.

Yubaru what would happen if the US Federal government tried to do this with one of the states? Okinawa is part of Japan but Tokyo are not are masters.

You of all people should be the last one trying to make comparisons between an apple and an orange. The two systems are totally different.

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Which just reinforces my knowing that you know little if anything about Okinawa and Okinawan politics.

Couldn't come up with any meaningful information?

From all what you say about Okinawa and Okinawans I believe either you are living in a bubble or you are conveniently composing things to fit your personal narrative, which has not much in common with reality in Okinawa.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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

This needs to start happening on weekdays, while the Diet is in session

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Tokyo thinks it can discrimate Okinawa. Poor prefecture, few people, far away, no powerful lobby, no problem. Just let them swallow our decisions. In Europe or America democracy impossible situation. If Naichi media really show what happen in Henoko now everything will change.

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Yubaru (May. 27, 2015 - 07:54AM JST):

Key word here "nations" not states, not prefectures, Okinawa and Tokyo have a long way to go and it doesn't help Okinawa one bit, in building trust with Tokyo, by having it's governor go over their heads to Washington.

There's no need for me to respond to your post dated May. 27, 2015 - 07:54AM JST. I was talking about international relations and not about domestic relations such as those between a central government and a locality -- the topic was about how to reduce tensions among nations.

You say in another post (May. 27, 2015 - 01:35PM JST) that, just as an apple and an orange are different, so are the U.S. and Japan, arguing what applies to the U.S. doesn't apply to Japan. But an apple and an orange are the same in that both are fruit, and so are the U.S. and Japan in that they are both nations with elected heads (governments) and governed peoples. Both nations claim they are democracies.

Because you live in Okinawa and pay taxes as a naturalized Japanese citizen, it doesn't mean you know Okinawa better than someone living abroad who is compassionately involved in the Okinawa issue.

Every society has a few black sheep in the flock. Your opinion doesn't represent Okinawa's consensus.

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From all what you say about Okinawa and Okinawans I believe either you are living in a bubble or you are conveniently composing things to fit your personal narrative, which has not much in common with reality in Okinawa.

Ever hear of Okichuro?

Because you live in Okinawa and pay taxes as a naturalized Japanese citizen, it doesn't mean you know Okinawa better than someone living abroad who is compassionately involved in the Okinawa issue. Every society has a few black sheep in the flock. Your opinion doesn't represent Okinawa's consensus.

Neither does yours for that matter. I see things with a wider view, and if you think you know about Okinawa then you shouldnt need to be told that Okinawan people, like many of their Japanese brothers and sisters participate in "events" out of a sense of duty to their neighbors.

I know plenty of folks who participate in anti-base rallies, yet are not against the bases and to explain or get you and others to understand THAT would take a life-time.

And I will add, odds are I have forgotten more about Okinawa, it's people, it's history, it's culture, and it's language, it's customs, it's everything than you and others have yet to learn or know.

All I am ever hopeful for is that people like you and others learn to take off your blinders and quit being lemmings.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yubaru,

You say you "see things with a wider view." I think I know what your wider view is, but could you explain it for precaution's sake?

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Shimajin,

If Naichi media really show what happen in Henoko now everything will change.

Quite right.

It's interesting that the rally where 35,000 people gathered at the cellular stadium to protest the new base in Henoko was not mentioned on NHK news at all.

They chose to ignore it.

But they are going to find it difficult to ignore Onaga when he asks some pointed questions in Washington.

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@bam_booMAY. 27, 2015 - 12:38AM JST

The only reason why the will of Okinawans seems "not realistic" is because some high ranking official in the US military said he would prefer to have the marines in Henoko.

And why would this high-ranking official say that? Maybe because it is really a very good, central location between Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China.

There's no one option in national defense, but there are solutions that are more efficient and ones that are less. You can only take less efficient solutions without seriously endangering your national security when the potential enemy is weak, because if you are even, he plays the most efficient strategy and you don't, you will probably LOSE with fatal consequences to some of your vital interests.

I think that there is a fairly big number of people (from Okinawa, mainland Japan, US, China, Taiwan, Korea, etc.) who would say that the gorgeous nature is Okinawas best asset.

Okinawa may have nice wildernesses, but so do a lot of other places. Unfortunately for the Okinawans, "gorgeous nature" is not the kind of asset that markets well on the world political marketplace however much it attracts casual tourists. In fact, it doesn't make enough to lift the out of "lowest income" according to you...

Okinawa is 6th as per capita allocation of government funds

Fine. They are still above average, which is still a good deal for the "lowest income" (which means they are putting the least money into the bank) prefecture. What do you think is that thing that gives them that?

No, what I'm talking about is just the basics of modern democracy. In the Japanese constitution, as well as in every other democratic constitution I know of, there are articles that protect minorities and articles that state that the central government has to respect the decisions of regional democratic bodies in one or another way.

The Constitution does provide a certain amount of protection, such as anti-discrimination clauses. However, that's not the same as them being allowed to dictate to the majority.

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If these protesters really got balls, they should be protesting @the US Embassy in Tokyo as well as the Diet.

Perhaps block the entrances to major US bases on the "mainland" too. What poor coordinating (reflecting the whole cause in itself) . . . But I'm sure those scenarios might grab some NHK airtime.

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@ Yubaru

Ever hear of Okichuro?

Not really. Sounds like some Roudoukumiai (Labour Union), but then tell us what's it all about.

I know plenty of folks who participate in anti-base rallies, yet are not against the bases and to explain or get you and others to understand THAT would take a life-time.

Most Okinawans are not very strickt in their view of the world and it is common to rally against the bases, but have good friends in the US military. I know almost no Okinawan who dislikes americans personally and I very much appreciate this attitude.

I think there are many Okinawans who could put up with a number of US military facilities in their prefecture, but almost all Okinawans I have ever talked to feel they have been discriminated first by US and then by Tokyo because they have never been asked about the US bases.

As I have said many times, the current sentiment in Okinawa is not so much about one base more or less, but about being neglected. They want a proper democratic process that respects their dignity and equality as citizens of a "democratic" nation. Only if there is a proper democratic process about the US bases in Okinawa with all important information openly available will we know what Okinawans really want.

@ Kazuaki Shimazaki

You can only take less efficient solutions without seriously endangering your national security when the potential enemy is weak, because if you are even, he plays the most efficient strategy and you don't, you will probably LOSE with fatal consequences to some of your vital interests.

I have read quite some texts about the relocation including a number of US military justifications for the the Henoko relocation, but non of them provided a knock-down argument for why Henoko is essential.

The plan that is supposed to be built now is strikingly similar to a 1966 plan of the US military and that makes you think.

Why does the US military come up with a plan from 50 years ago? Are their strategies the same as then? Was that plan so convenient that it still is of value?

My interpretation is that the Henoko scheme is so convenient because it combines a harbor with a runway, something the current Futenma base lacks. So we are actually not so much talking about a relocation but about an upgrade and that makes the whole story quite disgusting. Talking about reducing the burden, but actually upgrading facilities and constructing them in a way that they might last for decades to come is outrightly presumptuous.

Anyway have you read the article by Nye I've linked above? If not you should because his view on the "geopolitical importance" of Okinawa is quite revealing.

In fact, it doesn't make enough to lift the out of "lowest income" according to you...

International tourism is just taking off in Okinawa and as the boom has just started we can expect something for the future. Tourism already provides for 8 to 10 times the income the US military is generating for Okinawa.

It would help the development of tourism, especially international tourism, a lot to drastically shrink the US military facilities.

The Constitution does provide a certain amount of protection, such as anti-discrimination clauses. However, that's not the same as them being allowed to dictate to the majority.

So then why is the GOJ so afraid of getting into any kind of legislative measures in regard to the Okinawan issue? If Okinawa didn't already host 75% of the US bases because it was a US military colony the current constitution of Japan would surely prevent such a one-sided distribution of burden.

But please tell me precisely how are Okinawans dictating anybody? I find this an utterly absurd upside-down view of reality, but maybe you can give me some rational explanation for what you are talking about.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Maybe America should have kept Okinawa.

Then Okinawans behave differently? Or kill or remove them like native Americans?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's JapanGal who said on her May 25 post that the U.S. should not have returned Okinawa to Japan. If the U.S. had kept Okinawa, no such cantankerous problem as the Henoko issue would have been ever occurred, she suggests there.

JapanGal, do you know why the U.S. decided to return Okinawa? There had been strong anti-American (base) sentiments among Okinawans ever since 1951 when it was severed from mainland Japan by the San Francisco Peace Treaty and put under an ongoing harsh military occupation. The U.S. authorities were aware that they could not operate bases effectively in such a hostile environment. So when Tokyo hinted Okinawa's administrative right had better be returned to Japan, they didn't object to it across the board. The Koza Riot of 1970 occurred under such circumstances. In a sense, it was the last straw.

Okinawa was returned to Japanese sovereignty in 1972, as you know. It was returned all right, but on a strict condition that the U.S. military would be guaranteed of its unrestricted, freewheeling use of the bases. In other words, Okinawa was returned to Japan for the U.S. to effectively operate the bases.

So your mentioning that America should have kept Okinawa is based on a gross misunderstanding on your part. America still keeps Okinawa.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the U.S. had kept Okinawa, no such cantankerous problem as the Henoko issue would have been ever occurred,

Why not?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

tinawatanabe,

Why not?

Well, doesn't the answer lye in what I posted above? The U.S. returned Okinawa to calm down grudges and prevent riots frim ocurring against bases. They succeeded in that endeaver to a certain degree but not quite. Grudges would always remain high unless the U.S. demonstrated her sincerety to reduce this excessive military footprint substantially. The Henoko relocation is closing of one base but forcing us to construct a new one, functionally strengthened at that, in its place.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

voiceofokinawa, you are not answering why the Henoko issue would have not been ever occurred if the US had kept Okinawa. It seems as long as lots of bases there, there would be problems.

And about East Asia Community you mentioned above, not many Japanese have faith in it. You know how difficult China and SK are. You sound as if it is Japan that's antagonizing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

tinawatanabe,

I may have misunderstood you when you said "the Futenma issue" would never have occurred "if the U.S. had kept Okinawa.

Does it mean there would have been no raw over Futenma's relocation to Henoko if Okinawa remained in the hands of the U.S. because the U.S. could do whatever it wanted to do during the occupation period; or does it mean something else?

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0 ( +0 / -0 )

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