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55% of Okinawans unhappy with 50 years since reversion to Japan: poll

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I've lived in Okinawa for over 42 years and have been very active with both Okinawan and American communities. Most of my local friends of all ages and genders are very well educated and provide great feedback on their feelings about bases here. ALmost 80% or more fully understand the need for these bases and feel Okinawans are provided enough financial compensation to support them. I have to dispute your survey source, please let us know who was surveyed.

8 ( +27 / -19 )

after its return to Japan

Not a biased article at all.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

As for the hosting burden in Okinawa, 83 percent believe it is disproportionately large compared with other prefectures.

That means 17 percent didn't understand the question.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

That means 17 percent didn't understand the question.

And how in the world did you come to that conclusion?

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Perhaps these unhappy citizens could look at a map and locate the primary enemy of Japan, Taiwan, and peace in the area. When XiJinPing attacks Taiwan, do you expect he will ignore Okinawa? Is your JSDF ready to counter the PLA?

-4 ( +17 / -21 )

Nothing like a big list of statistics to help put things into perspective.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

And how do the Ryukyu native people feel about the taking of their kingdom by the Japanese ?

There's definitely a difference between the now called okinawans and the Japanese.

Okinawans are much more friendly and very generous and kind than Japanese.

Not to say that Japanese aren't generous and kind .

Okinawans just more so.

Okinawa is a more positive atmosphere and the culture isn't Japanese.

During the war the okinawans were treated horrible by the Japanese government which can only be described as war crimes.

13 ( +28 / -15 )

In the survey, 58 percent said such facilities should be reduced significantly, with 14 percent believing they should be totally removed, while 75 percent were in favor of the view that part of the U.S. bases in Okinawa should be moved out of the island to other prefectures.

Well over 10,000 hectares of land has been returned over the past decade, and literally another, at least 10,000 to 15,000 more, will be returned when the landfill at Camp Schwab is completed.

It's the lack of information sharing, from the local media, local government, and national government, that keeps the average, read that as, "in the dark" person living here in Okinawa, unaware of the major changes, and return of land that will occur when said landfill is completed.

The land scheduled to be returned, is in some of the most congested areas of the island, and will be a HUGE relief for the overwhelming majority of the people living here.

The local politicians and national government are nearly 100% to blame, as they could never get themselves to agree, as the politicians wanted more money. They wanted money to replace the money their "bases" provided, and wanted more money to keep them!

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Hold an independence referendum.

Going independent is the only way to get rid of US bases and become free once and for all.

Ryukyuans deserve independence. They were always a sovereign kingdom until the invasion and annexation by Imperial Japan in 1879, and they are the only former sovereign country that still has not regained freedom and independence.

They deserve it.

-10 ( +15 / -25 )

Well, hardly surprising seeing how the prefecture has been treated by both Japan and the US, I would believe even higher numbers.

Of course this does not mean the people would have been happier still under American rule, but that they have been mistreated for decades is something nobody can deny.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

The US constructed these bases in Okinawa long ago. Back then there was nothing. It was empty land. Ungrateful. If Okinawa doesn’t want US bases then Japan shouldn’t have attacked the US unprovoked in the first place. Reap what you sow.

-20 ( +10 / -30 )

The survey was conducted on 1,500 residents aged 18 and older across Okinawa from March to April.

Not a large sample size...what does an 18 year old Okinawan know about what life was like the times before and after the reversion?

The poll found that 67 percent do not support the plan. Among them, 35 percent called for canceling the project and closing the air base.

Lul.

On the local economy, 93 percent said they feel disparity with other prefectures. To ensure further development of Okinawa, 48 percent believe more efforts should be made in the area of education.

This...this right here...48% want to see more efforts in the area of education--and what does the Island get, a new shopping center, or Basketball stadium, or road widening on 58. SMDH.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"found that 94 percent have welcomed the reversion itself."

Say no more.

Especially when non-entities are the ones clamouring for "independence".

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@THOMAS R MOUNTCASTLE

When XiJinPing attacks Taiwan, do you expect he will ignore Okinawa?

PLA will ignore Okinawa and Japan as whole during Taiwan invasion as long as following two conditions are met.

1) Japanese SDF doesn't intervene.

2) Japanese government doesn't allow the US military to launch a military intervention from Okinawa. US fighter jets flying out of Okinawa is OK, but they then must not return to Okinawa and stay on Taiwan for the duration of conflict.

If Japan doesn't honor above to commitments, then Japan itself becomes an enemy combatant and China then legally can bombard Tokyo with thousands of ballistic missiles.

Part 1 is already official.

Part 2 is unofficial. Japan to this date has refused to grant an advance consent of letting the US military launch intervention from Okinawa, greatly frustrating US war planners.

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3130423/japan-troops-wont-get-involved-if-china-invades-taiwan-pm

Japan troops won’t get involved if China invades Taiwan, PM Yoshihide Suga says

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

They were always a sovereign kingdom until the invasion and annexation by Imperial Japan in 1879

Okinawa was annexed by Japan after the Invasion of Ryukyu in the 1609.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

@koiwaicoffee

Okinawa was annexed by Japan after the Invasion of Ryukyu in the 1609.

Absolutely not.

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

1866 TongzhiZhao Xin 趙新; Yu Guangjia 于光甲[24]Shō Tai final investiture mission confirms Shō Tai as King of Ryukyu.[8]

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Okinawaliving

Its not fair to discriminate the 18 yr old okinawan because 18 years of living in Okinawa is still 18 years of life experience after the reversion.

Which is what this article is focused on.

Furthermore its obvious that you are not aware that Okinawa has many island groups and not just one island.

You may live in Okinawa but its clear you don't understand the culture or are accepted into the community.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

There are consequences to starting world wars, and these consequences can be felt for a long time. Of course younger people who have grown up in peace and relative prosperity don’t understand this very clearly. They see the “here and now,” and don’t know or don’t care what brought them there. Nor do they look at the potential consequences should those forces withdraw.

Peace and freedom (such as it is) are not the normal condition of humanity. Tyranny and oppression are the normal condition. Those few who remember the war years understand this, those lucky enough to have grown up in freedom don’t.

m

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The US constructed these bases in Okinawa long ago. Back then there was nothing. It was empty land. Ungrateful. If Okinawa doesn’t want US bases then Japan shouldn’t have attacked the US unprovoked in the first place. Reap what you sow.

Exactly

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Hold an independence referendum.

What do they have to hold it for when more than 90% are against independence?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Samit

I agree with most of your comment apart from the fact that the Ryukyu kingdom is the only sovereign nation that hasn't regained its freedom and independence.

In my opinion there's also hokkaido and Hawaii and many other places in the Pacific .

Lets not forget that the Ryukyu kingdom stretched all the way to the tokara islands and was a tributary of China.

The Ryukyu government was set in place by China and forced marriage of Chinese royalty .

So its debatable exactly how independent the Ryukyu kingdom was at the time of annexation by Japan.

After the invention of gunpowder there was much more interest in Okinawa by China due to the massive amounts of bat guano and sulfur deposits.

The Ryukyuans had hand cannons long before the Europeans or Japanese.

They even had thier own navy.

Yes okinawans definitely deserve thier independence i wholeheartedly agree.

Okinawans are wonderful people .

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Some people benefit from the bases from leases, contracts, business and employment and some do not. It isn’t very hard to understand.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The mail poll, held ahead of the 50th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japanese administration on May 15, found that 94 percent have welcomed the reversion itself.

Of those discontent with the aftermath, 40 percent cited little progress in consolidation and reduction of U.S. military bases.

Title of the article is misleading . . . .

3 ( +3 / -0 )

GaijinjlandToday  08:09 am JST

If Okinawa doesn’t want US bases then Japan shouldn’t have attacked the US unprovoked in the first place. Reap what you sow.

Yes, Japan woke up one day and decided to attack Pearl Harbor for no reason.

Reading high school history books will make you stupid.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

In my opinion there's also hokkaido and Hawaii and many other places in the Pacific .

Hokkaido was Kingdom for Ainu? What was it called?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

THOMAS

i think its important to clarify and remember one very important fact when you talk about China invasion of Taiwan.

Both the USA and Japanese governments do not technically recognize Taiwan as being it's own country.

They observe Taiwan independence.

As much as i like Taiwan and i truly do , Taiwan is technically still China and a self governing province.

So no China will not be invading its own country.

If you remember history at all it was Japan that attacked China and Taiwan became Japanese territory .

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Hold an independence referendum.

I agree.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Peeping_TomToday 08:11 am JST

"found that 94 percent have welcomed the reversion itself."

Say no more.

Especially when non-entities are the ones clamouring for "independence

This means that only 6% wanted the US military to rule Okinawa.

And it was after the reversion that Okinawans found out Japan would keep the American bases in Okinawa. That's when the calls for independence started

0 ( +3 / -3 )

KennyG

Not only the Ainu.

There was many tribes of first nations natives and indigenous people's living in Hokkaido and adjacent islands before Japan invaded and annexed the Hokkaido area.

Sorry i don't know all the different tribes names.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne

Discrimination is the wrong word choice. I'm saying, that how can an 18 year old person relate to living conditions from 50 years ago...they cant. Just like I can't relate to what life was like during The Great Depression in the US during the early 1900's. I have an idea, I can speculate, I can read about it, but I can't give you a first hand account or experience. And again, 1,500 people on an island that is close 1.4million people is too small of a size to produce any real results. It would be as if I asked a family of 5, "do you want a million yen", and the 2 year old child said "no". Okay, no million yen for your family.

The article is about Okinawa, so yes, that would include all of the islands that make up the Prefecture of Okinawa.

You may live in Okinawa but its clear you don't understand the culture or are accepted into the community.

You're right, in my soon to be 20 years of living on Okinawa with an Okinawan Wife, and two Okinawa Children who've grown up on this island, along with all of my friends, colleagues, experiences, and family I don't understand the culture.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Okinawans love the US military bases there.

Never mind the 1500 people polled.

Ask the 15,000 locals working on the bases making double and triple the average wages of island workers.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

"That's when the calls for independence started"

Certainly.

Glad you've mentioned that an overwhelming 4 % of Okinawans want independence!

N.B. I didn't dream about the 4% figure.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The people of Okinawa have every reason to be unhappy with the Japanese Govt. because the Japanese Govt. has sacrificed them every chance they have had. Sacrificed them during the Battle of Okinawa to protect Mainland Japan, sacrificed them again by giving them to the U.S. Military in order to get Sovereignty for Japan and sacrificed them again at Reversion time by making secret deals with the U.S. to keep their bases intact and to continue to have full control over them. The J-Govt. even agreed to allow the U.S. to store Nuclear Weapons on Okinawa if needed.

Some U.S. Bases on Okinawa are needed but the Bases on Okinawa are too big for what is actually required. These bases were built by the U.S. Military without any regards for the Quality of Life for the people of Okinawa. They take up most of the best land on Okinawa and are more like U.S. Cities than Military Bases. There are more Military Dependents on Okinawa than Troops and large portions of the land is taken up by Military Family Housing, Dependent Schools and Leisure Facilities. If the Japanese and U.S. Governments were serious about reducing the size of the bases, at least 30 to 40% of the land could be returned without affecting the Military Mission. There is a base called Camp Shields that is near Kadena Air Base and it is home to the Seabees and you can debate whether the Seabees are actually required to be on Okinawa but even if they are, they are part of the Navy and could easily be relocated to the Navy Base at White Beach and Camp Shields could be returned. The problem is that neither the U.S. or Japan cares about the people of Okinawa and never have.

The people of Okinawa owe the Japanese Govt. nothing but the Japanese Govt. will never be able to repay the people of Okinawa for the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make for Mainland Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

55% of Okinawans unhappy with 50 years since reversion to Japan: poll

Did they want to go back to the US?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This article's title has little to do with anything but the American military, as usual. Everything is always tied to the American presence. Nothing about how the central government pays no attention to them. Nothing about health care or low wages. Just barely a small bit about education and being Japanese. Next year, largely like the last, just change the date on the article, don't worry about doing a meaningless survey, and reprint this exact same thing.

I LOVE Okinawa and visit regularly. I understand about the bases, and I am all for a reduction, even a complete removal if they so choose. However, the root of their problems lie elsewhere.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

On the local economy, 93 percent said they feel disparity with other prefectures. To ensure further development of Okinawa, 48 percent believe more efforts should be made in the area of education.

Despite some challenges, I think Okinawa is a nice place, has a potential for economic growth and prosperity. The southernmost prefecture has been a leader in terms of number of newborn babies as well as fertility rate, an outlier pattern to nationwide average showing aging population and shortfall.

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is a top and competitive research and education school. Perhaps (non-military) investment is the key.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To further strengthen sharing culture and history with the mainland Japan, not to mention national security, I suggest that some royal members and state officials (ministerial level) stay on the island as a representative or cultural ambassador. Currently no standing liaison office exists directly connected to Tokyo while there is only a second-tier ministerial position in charge of economic development (pork barrel??) in Okinawa and Hokkaido.

The former Emperor, now Emperor Emeritus Akihito seems to feel for Okinawa. It should be a royal tradition. I suggest that one of its royal house branches be open on the island.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Head of GHQ, tried hard to make occupied-Japan a U.S.-friendly democracy, emancipating farmland by abolishing the centuries-old sharecropper system, inaugurating suffrage for all persons aged over 20, regardless of gender, etc.

Okinawa was placed outside of MacArthur's reformation for its administration was put under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy. Nonetheless, the Navy didn't spare its efforts to make war-devastated Okinawa a showcase of democracy. Like in mainland Japan, people felt they were emancipated from the yoke of oppressive militarism and imperialism.

In mainland Japan, MacArthur was revered like a demi-god for his efforts to upgrade people's standard of life. As part of his efforts to solve food shortage, he ordered Okinawans residing in mainland Japan to evacuate to Okinawa, which was in a critical food shortage itself with all farming land devastated and used for bases.

Okinawans began to turn against the U.S. occupation when its administration was transferred from the Navy to MacArthur's Army, whose efforts were directed only to maintain and expand bases, giving short shrift to the welfare of the locals. If there was any welfare of the people, it was for the sake of maintaining of bases without any hitch.

The reversion movement rose like surging waves under such circumstances. The people thought, disillusioned though they were, that Okinawa would be freed from hosting so many U.S. bases and enjoy peace under Japan's new pacifist constitution.

These figures of percentage must be considered under such circumstances.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

1500 pollsters. Been to Okinawa many times and about 90% want the bases gone. The 10% I drunk with, were landlords raking it in, charging overinflated rents to US military, paid for by Japanese taxpayers. Even on-base Japanese contractors hate the bases.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This poll paid for courtesy of the CCP.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If it weren’t for the bases, Okinawa wouldn’t get any funds. There is no agriculture, no fisheries because of the pumice stones, no manufacturing, no tourism, no industry, no nothing. Okinawa is doomed and paying for her sins.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

What about Okinawa become the 51st state of United States? U.S. may think Okinawa is necessary for them geopolitically. Going independent will not be feasible economically for Okinawa. If they feel they are treated badly by Japan. It is an option.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Are you satisfied with the course of history over the last 50 years? Send that question to everyone on the planet and I imagine 55 percent unhappy would be one of the most positive country results on the planet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okinawaliving

Perhaps for some unknown reason you think that the article was referring to people that only lived during the war and through the reversion and thats what the issue is.

However being that an 18 yr old is part of the survey that's obviously not the case is it !

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I get the Okinawans' feelings, there's nothing more annoying than arriving to beautiful Okinawa only to find heaps of loud and obnoxious Americans everywhere, yelling at locals in English and acting like if they own the place.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Only 55%? How many here are dissatisfied with the direction your home countries have taken over the last fifty years? I daresay that the figure would be much higher than 55%.

Wasn't it Frank Herbert who wrote in “Dune” “The science of humanity is discontent”?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Only tourists and Americans are happy there, locals suffering from both.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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