politics

Main landfill work begins at disputed U.S. base relocation site on Okinawa

52 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

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To the protester holding the sign that reads, "no war"-you should know that the US military presence is likely the only factor preventing war in this region.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Bugleboy, you beat me to it. I was gonna post the same thing. I for one can't wait for the base to be finished so we can finally hear the end of this. The last bit of Hatoyama's legacy.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Tamaki calls the one-sided decision "illegal" 

Feel free to say anything you want, but just saying something does not make it a fact!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

It is wrong and arrogant that Abe Government still ignore Okinawa's public opinion,even if new US military base is necessary.

Plan of new US base was made in 90's.

Situation continues to change,international tension at far-east area is about to be loosened.

but,only Abe Government clings to old project.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

What do they want Abe do? Do they want Abe tell U.S. that we cannot do it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What do they want Abe do? Do they want Abe tell U.S. that we cannot do it?

That would be good. Denny would and Onaga would have done too, but Abe doesn't have the cohones. He just thinks and does what they tell him.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

A sign in the picture says "No War." How does one argue with that sentiment? However, the lack of military preparedness, and the lack of military alliances, does not assure the prevention of aggression. Just ask the peoples who were subjugated by Imperial Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Okinawa represents less than 2% of Japan's population, their opinion means absolutely nothing on a national level

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@Dango bong, you're absolutely right. And that's why Okinawa should separate itself from Japan. It wasn't part of Japan, to begin with.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

A sign in the picture says "No War." How does one argue with that sentiment? However, the lack of military preparedness, and the lack of military alliances, does not assure the prevention of aggression. Just ask the peoples who were subjugated by Imperial Japan.

I don't get why this is a bad idea, why should Okinawans care about Japanese self-preservation interests, the last time they did and resisted, the whole island was shelled.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It’s interesting to see that person holding up a sign stating, NO WAR! Has he stopped to consider why the US are in Japan in the first place? Japan waged war on Asia for the first half of last century and the US base in Okinawa is the result. If he wants to hate anybody, he should hate himself.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

It’s interesting to see that person holding up a sign stating, NO WAR! Has he stopped to consider why the US are in Japan in the first place? Japan waged war on Asia for the first half of last century and the US base in Okinawa is the result. If he wants to hate anybody, he should hate himself.

Yeah, because the protester, probably being no older than a teenager back in the 1940s had a lot of say in how Japan was governed. Very astute

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The Okinawans are pissed. Care factor in Tokyo, minimal. This is what leadership is? Okinawa is part of Japan right?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If Okinawa thinks their marriage to Japan was a mistake, divorce is the only way to solve the problem.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A truly shameful embarrassment. Seeing as democracy is not respected, time to prepare for seccesion.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This is a shame. I totally disagree with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Seeing as democracy is not respected, time to prepare for seccesion.

I doubt most Okinawans would want that even if it meant the US marines would leave.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The answer is very simple.

Japan needs a normal military again to protect itself without the US.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

1glennToday 07:00 pm JSTA sign in the picture says "No War." How does one argue with that sentiment?

Good point. Bear in mind that Japan hasn't been at war for over 70 years, I wish I could say that about the USA.

Tamaki calls the one-sided decision "illegal" 

I'd say it is! Who the heck does Abe think he is telling Okinawans that their island home is a rubbish dump for gaijins. He didn't even ASK or talk about it - he's just doing it. That's not becoming of a democracy, let the Okinawan people have their say on the issue!  I thought Okinawa was part of Japan anyways but politics and history aside, the people there sure deserve better than to have their home converted into a trash pit. Not to mention the ocean life! As a US military veteran I know that they destroy and waste $B every year on stuff that could be of use to others as well. It's a sickening disgusting shame.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Okinawa has a high level of living standard, quality of life, clean environment, resources spend every year by mainland to support Okinawa.

Being with Japan is the best moved they made, China would have conquered them otherwise, and you would be under CCP rule and communism with Xi your president for Life and a Social Credit System judging every move you make. That's why they'll never leave Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

AlexBecuToday 11:20 pm JSTOkinawa has a high level of living standard, quality of life, clean environment, resources spend every year by mainland to support Okinawa.

Being with Japan is the best moved they made, China would have conquered them otherwise, and you would be under CCP rule and communism with Xi your president for Life and a Social Credit System judging every move you make. That's why they'll never leave Japan.

Maybe so. I can't disagree with that even though I never have been there. Still the $100.000 question is 'Would you want your home to be the trash can for a foreign military that loves to spend and waste $B every year? Would you like to see your ground + ocean polluted by God-knows-what by directive from a government so far away that didn't even ASK you if they could?'.  

I'm a US veteran, a gaijin man but I sympathize with these people. Don't dump your trash on us! Take your garbage someplace else.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tamaki calls the one-sided decision "illegal" 

Feel free to say anything you want, but just saying something does not make it a fact!

I think we're seeing Tamaki crack under the pressure of failing to meet his one campaign promise. Everyone ignored him and now he is spouting off nonsense like this, that it's an "illegal" decision even though Japan's courts ruled otherwise. He's floundering.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

One, the people who talk about secession for Okinawa know nothing about Okinawa other than what they read in some book, or a Wikipedia article , any comments they make, can and should be dismissed out of hand.

Next, no one really has paid any attention to the fact that, due to media "interpreting" the news and not reporting all sides of it, everyone who is protesting this landfill based upon "legal" grounds keeps forgetting that the legal issue was NOT about the landfill. The legal issue was on a technical point in the original document submitted to the national government and one regarding an access rights issue.

No one from within the prefectural government, with the exception of Denny's comments here, are protesting the legality of the landfill project itself, BECAUSE there is no legal issue there. The prefecture has no "legal" grounds, outside of the previous mentioned issues, to challenge the national government,

So the only way they and the anti-base folks can keep support is through emotional blackmail!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

t is wrong and arrogant that Abe Government still ignore Okinawa's public opinion,even if new US military base is necessary.

Which is forged upon one side of a story.

Plan of new US base was made in 90's.

Actually no, this "plan" was initially conceived in the mid-60's and rejected because the Japanese government at the time refused to allocate funds for the project because Okinawa was still under American control.

Situation continues to change,international tension at far-east area is about to be loosened. but,only Abe Government clings to old project.

Do you have rose-colored glasses on? What do you call that big island that China built near the PI as a military installation? What do you call the almost daily incursions that the Chinese Navy and AF's make around the Senkaku islands? What do you call the renewed nuclear expansion by NK?

If THAT is "loosened tensions" I really wonder what you would call "tightened" one's!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"In order to maintain the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance and to remove the risk of the Futenma air station, its relocation to Henoko is the only solution," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Friday.

This is a worn-out explanation of why Futenma must be relocated to Henoko. Haven't we argued on other threads that this reasoning by the central government is nothing but sophistry and shenanigans?

Firstly, if removing the danger Futenma faces at the current site is the reason why it must be relocated to Henoko, then both Kadena and Yokota air bases must be the next to be removed. But are they on the government's agenda for removal or relocation? I doubt it.

Secondly, there’s no strategic reason why it is necessary to build another Marine base in Henoko, (1) when the most active elements of Okinawa-deployed Marines are to relocate to Guam, leaving only support and command units in Okinawa; (2) when it's been bilaterally agreed that primary responsibility to deal with contingencies involving territorial disputes rests with JSDF and not with USFJ,

Thirdly, Futenma sits on illegally confiscated private land and therefore the U.S. side has no legitimate right to demand Futenma's replacement be built within Okinawa.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Thirdly, Futenma sits on illegally confiscated private land and therefore the U.S. side has no legitimate right to demand Futenma's replacement be built within Okinawa.

As has been pointed out numerous times as well, this is not an issue, it is an OPINION not based upon fact!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Thirdly, Futenma sits on illegally confiscated private land and therefore the U.S. side has no legitimate right to demand Futenma's replacement be built within Okinawa.

On a separate note, people should also take a look at the "logic" used here when considering the comment.

One, first off it's based upon a false premise, as there is no "legal" issue attached to the current Futenma base nor any other US Marine or US military facility in Okinawa. Yet this poster ONLY attaches a legal claim (their opinion) towards MCAS Futenma. based as well upon bias and attempts emotional blackmail here too.

Next, the US government, don't be fooled here, is NOT demanding that the replacement facility be built in Okinawa, THAT decision was made by the national government. According to the current SOFA and security treaty agreement, a replacement facility was agreed upon by both parties, and again, it did not need to be in Okinawa, but was after years and years of debate, was agreed upon by Hatoyama and Obama, even though the former lost his job as PM because he failed to keep his promise of moving it outside of Okinawa.

Lastly; this poster believes that it's "OK" to have the base anywhere else in Japan, "outside" of Okinawa, based upon their misguided and faulty belief that somehow it is illegal. Consider that for a moment, if it was built "outside" of Okinawa, it wouldnt be a problem for them, even if it was built on an outer island WITHIN the prefecture it would be ok. Just not on the main island. That too makes their opinion, overall, illogical.

So that calls into question as well the rest of their opinions about the necessity of the MC here in Okinawa.

If it's ok somewhere else in Japan, but NOT on the main island of Okinawa, then their overall logic about their necessity gets called into question as well.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Note what Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says about "deterrence". He mentions "the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance" and not the deterrence of the U.S. Marines.

In a nutshell, he wants to say Japan must not anger the U.S. by not implementing the Henoko relocation plan because it would result in the weakening of the Japan-U.S. alliance. What a sovereignty Japan is!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Note what Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says about "deterrence". He mentions "the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance" and not the deterrence of the U.S. Marines.

Note also that he does not say anything about the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force either!

It's the "total" force that makes up the alliance and that includes the Marine Corp!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Everyone doesnt understand. It is simple and I wish people in Okinawa and Japan would realize they cant do nothing. They can complain ask the JP government to move bases but I am sorry the JP government can't move bases even if they tried. Only Americans have that power and they are not going anywhere

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yubaru,

It's the "total" force that makes up the alliance and that includes the Marine Corp!

Structurally speaking, of course, the Marine Corps Japan is an integral part of USFJ. But this isn't at issue here. Strategically speaking, how will the Marines contribute to the defense of Japan or function as a deterrence force (1) when their most active elements are to move to Guam and (2) when primary responsibility to defend Japan's territory rests with JSDF and not with USFJ (the Marines)? 

Under such circumstances, what's the reason why Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga can say "Henoko is the only solution"?  The relocation site can be anywhere, not necessarily within Okinawa.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Structurally speaking, of course, the Marine Corps Japan is an integral part of USFJ. But this isn't at issue here. Strategically speaking, how will the Marines contribute to the defense of Japan or function as a deterrence force (1) when their most active elements are to move to Guam and (2) when primary responsibility to defend Japan's territory rests with JSDF and not with USFJ (the Marines)? 

Reread what you wrote. You keep trying, to no avail I might add, to separate the MC from the rest of the services and has been pointed out countless numbers of times that is 100% wrong.

Doesnt matter which elements stay here or not, that is not up to you to decide.

Not to mention that Okinawa will remain as a training area for the MC as well, as agreed upon between the two national governments in the treaty.

Quit beating a dead horse here, no matter how many ways you try to say it, the same conclusion comes out in the end.

You have no point, other than your opinions.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A very unfortunate development that people in Okinawa take extremely serious. The public discussion here in the prefecture makes it very clear that the Okinawan people feel discriminated and will keep opposing the construction of this new military facility.

There's no way that this will end amicably unless the central government stops the construction and respects the democratic will of the people in Okinawa.

Officials in Tokyo said the Henoko plan is the only one feasible and they will stick with it despite protests.

It's the only feasible plan because Okinawa is the only prefecture the central government would force such a decision on.

The inner-Japanese discrimination is blatant and the way this decision is forced upon Okinawa is anti-democratic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yubaru,

Not to mention that Okinawa will remain as a training area for the MC as well, as agreed upon between the two national governments in the treaty.

So you admit MC bases are planted here mainly for training purposes and hence active combat units that use these training bases can be stationed far from Okinawa, that is, in Guam or Hawaii, and come here on a regular basis for training in jungle warfare, urban-type warfare or expeditionary warfare? 

What provision in a bilateral treaty or agreement specifically says this is OK?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What provision in a bilateral treaty or agreement specifically says this is OK?

And what part specifically says it isn't ok?

I never made the comment about "specifically being here for training purposes", the world is more than just black and white!

It would be nice for once for you to stop trying to put words into peoples mouths! It's rude at best!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How these training bases of the Marines are hazardous and causing a milliard of trouble can be illustrated by the following episode:

In June this year, a bullet mark on the window of a work hut in Sukuda, Nago City, was found. We suspected it was a stray bullet from a firing range in Camp Hansen, a Marine base, although the Marine authorities initially denied it outright. Okinawa police investigated the incident and confirmed it was a bullet mark from a heavy machine gun, whereby they asked the Marine to allow access to the interim result of the Marines' own investigation.

On Dec. 12, the Marines notified Okinawa police in writing that the bullet had indeed been fired from Range 10 in Camp Hansen in breach of procedural guidelines. Such stray bullet or ricochet incidents have occurred a number of times in the past or, more concretely, a total 28 incidences since 1972, according to the document compiled by the prefectural government and reported by The Ryukyu Shinpo (June 22, 2018). Inquiries by Okinawa Prefecture have almost always remained unanswered and cases remained unsolved, and so this notification to Okinawa police by the Marines is a rare preferential treatment. 

Such is the burden and agony Okinawa must forbear because of this heavy U.S. military footprint.

Futenma’s relocation to Henoko warrants Okinawa’s burden of housing so many unwanted U.S. bases will continue as it is.  It’s really mind-boggling that the central government should be colluding with Washington to perpetuate this state of affairs for good.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How these training bases of the Marines are hazardous and causing a milliard of trouble can be illustrated by the following episode:

Which has nothing to do with the topic of the article, and should be deleted!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

By the time the prefectural referendum takes place in February well over 50% of the landfill should be finished and the results will be meaningless, but because the prefecture was forced into having it, we will have our tax money wasted , again, on a meaningless gesture.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru,

And what part specifically says it isn't ok?

Sorry, your post with this  sentence has been deleted.  Regardless, I'll respond to it.

Article 6 of the Japan-U.S Security Treaty stipulates:

"For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan"

This provision says U.S. forces can't use facilities and areas in Japan for purposes other than "contributing to the security and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East." How does training in jungle warfare presumably in Southeast Asia and urban warfare presumably in desert countries like Iraq and Afghanistan contribute to the maintenance of peace and security of Japan and its vicinity?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"America First" politics by Japanese Abe government who prioritizes US Force than Okinawa or democracy.

They are like puppet regime of something.

Japan's US weapons purchase budget has increased year by year.

And,This is clearly Environmental Disruption.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

US Force and Abe government just try to send US base to other place of Okinawa.

Deceptive Abe government calls it "Burden reduction of Okinawa".

it is mere fraud.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So when do these folks have time to go and demonstrate? Calling in sick? Are they unemployed (or is that part of the problem?)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Article 6 of the Japan-U.S Security Treaty stipulates:

"For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan"

This provision says U.S. forces can't use facilities and areas in Japan for purposes other than "contributing to the security and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East." How does training in jungle warfare presumably in Southeast Asia and urban warfare presumably in desert countries like Iraq and Afghanistan contribute to the maintenance of peace and security of Japan and its vicinity

Where does it say they "can't"?

Read it again, there is nowhere in the treaty that states nor outlines anything specific, regarding the use of said facilities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru,

In essence, the provision says Japan provides facilities and areas with U.S. forces in return for their defense of Japan. Does this warrant U.S, forces can use these bases and areas with impunity for whatever purposes? In Kadena Air Base, for instance, U.S. National Guard fighter jets regularly come from the U.S. mainland and train.

The Japanese taxpayers pay a large amount of base maintenance costs without knowing the bases are also being used for training for a war abroad. Since the USFJ brass keep telling the Japanese people that their troops are always prepared to sacrifice their life to defend Japan, they firmly believe the U.S. military personnel are stationed here solely for the defense of Japan whereby they are willing enough to shoulder the bulk of base maintenance costs in addition to providing facilities and areas for free.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Addendum:

The article, "Main landfill work begins at disputed U.S. base relocation site on Okinawa," must be read with what I said above in mind.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lest anyone should think that I'm posting my opinion based on my fanciful imagination, let me quote retiring USFJ Dommander LT. Gen. Bruce Wright, who contributed a farewell essay to the op-ed page of the Feb. 26, 2008 Japan Times, saying that U.S. service memers in Japan were always ready to sacrifice their life to defend Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

est anyone should think that I'm posting my opinion based on my fanciful imagination, let me quote retiring USFJ Dommander LT. Gen. Bruce Wright, who contributed a farewell essay to the op-ed page of the Feb. 26, 2008 Japan Times, saying that U.S. service memers in Japan were always ready to sacrifice their life to defend Japan.

One man's words, taken out of context and cherry picked as par for the course.

Since the USFJ brass keep telling the Japanese people that their troops are always prepared to sacrifice their life to defend 

One man does not make up the "brass"

Not to mention, the landfill will be completed, Futenma will move to Schwab, and this all will pass!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru,

Of course, you can dismiss Gen. Write's writing simply as one man's opinion. But he was USFJ Commander, not an ordinary person on the street, when he wrote the piece.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Under what circumstances he wrote this piece? 

It was a farewell message to the Japanese people when his stint as USFJ Commander was coming to an end and also when bilateral negotiations were underway to decide what amount Japan should share.as a sympathy budget.

It was a message written with Japanese readers and taxpayers in mind, never intended to address to U.S. service members.  Would U.S. service members be satisfied if they heard that they were stationed in Japan to defend it even at the cost of their life?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Would U.S. service members be satisfied if they heard that they were stationed in Japan to defend it even at the cost of their life?

At least they would be defending a democracy - in this case against Communist China probably. I think most US Marines know that and accept it. Japan is not a dictatorship. Dictatorships are not worth defending but democracies are.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

starpunk,

The primary reason why the U.S. maintains its armed forces in Japan is not necessarily for the defense of Japan, a democracy, but to defend its own vested interests and continuing hegemony in the region. Whether Japan is a democracy or not doesn't matter for the U.S. at all. There're a host of undemocratic countries in the world that the U.S. is allied with for pragmatic reasons. See:

       https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/28/americas-unsavory-allies/

In the past, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan were dictatorships but were supported strongly by successive U.S. governments as they are now. So to say USFJ is here to defend Japan because it is a democracy is wrong.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The primary reason why the U.S. maintains its armed forces in Japan is not necessarily for the defense of Japan, a democracy, but to defend its own vested interests and continuing hegemony in the region.

I know it's a difficult concept, but two country's interests can coincide without negating the other.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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