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Okinawan governor calls for revision to Japan-U.S. status of forces pact

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SOFA if the treaty was exchanged during the time of occupation, it must be changed. Having said that , this governor focuses always on the negative aspects of U.S. Forces on Okinawa. It is not fair. Okinawa is benefited in many ways in exchange. Japan built a college and a medical college in such a small island and infrastructures of Okinawa built by the aid of the government are a lot finer than small prefectures of other part of Japan.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Only two Univ. In one prefecture? Are you sure?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Putting Okinawan kids in US schools isn't what Okinawans want. They want their land back for development and they want a reduction in the number of US military housed here. They do not want yet ANOTHER NEW BASE in Henoko. Really, if Japan absolutely HAS to host a foreign military, other parts of the country should share the burden. SOFA is WAY out of date. WWII ended 70 years ago. It needs to be renegotiated with Okinawans having their say also.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

We only have Onaga’s Word that the local people want the US out. For all we know the majority may be indifferent or others whose livelihoods rely on the bases may actually want them to stay. He may be passing off his own bitter views as those of the electorate. You’d think the only crime committed in Okinawa were by service personnel the way he goes on.

Hold a referendum and let the people decide. That’s democracy.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

What is the purpose of allowing Japanese kids to attend US base schools? Do they think they will receive some type of indoctrination and then they will come to love the bases and shout from the roof tops how wonderful they are? As Bertie said, the burden should be shared by other places as well. I am not against the bases, but the idea of only one place housing the majority of them really is quite unfair.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Putting Okinawan kids in US schools isn't what Okinawans want.

And how do you know that? Improving English and other language skills is something I would expect a majority of Okinawa parents would support.

They want their land back for development and they want a reduction in the number of US military housed here.

And so does the US and central governments, that’s why they concluded the 2006 ATARA agreement to relocate Futenma north to Camp Schwab and give back Futenma, Kinser and parts of Foster. Gov Onaga has fought this agreement tooth and nail – and he and the other elites who profit from the bases are to blame for the lack of progress in reducing the US military footprint.

They do not want yet ANOTHER NEW BASE in Henoko.

Please, how many times are you going to repeat this falsehood – Camp Schwab is being extended – there is no new base being built. And the extension will be significantly smaller than the previous area encompassed by Futenma. 

SOFA is WAY out of date. WWII ended 70 years ago. It needs to be renegotiated with Okinawans having their say also

The SOFA has been continually updated since it was signed in 1960 – it is reviewed twice a month at US-Japan Joint Committee meetings, and a major change was negotiated several years ago allowing Japan to request pre-indictment transfer of suspects in US custody for serious cases. The GOJ has since requested this transfer several times and the US has approved on each occasion.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Putting Okinawan kids in US schools isn't what Okinawans want.

According the the PISA report, US education is below Japan in reading (5th vs 14th) and way behind in maths (4th vs 25th) and science (2nd vs 17th). I don't see how a US school has anything to offer a Japanese kid. Maybe Okinawa could find places for gifted base kids in local schools if they want to smooth relations.

*Improving English and other language skills is something I would expect a majority of Okinawa parents would support.*

What other language skills would an American base school provide that would be of benefit to a Japanese kid?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Onaga’s post and title needs to be revised -to better suit the people, and not his personal desire to politicize a recent sentencing to life of a former marine (for murder.)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The American military needs to hold itself to a higher standard.

Drunken fights, alcohol related traffic accidents, rape, even murder. None of this is acceptable in civilian life and the military is suppose to enforce a level of discipline several orders of magnitude greater than the average Joe has to operate under. Its time the U.S got its house in order.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I love all these FOREIGN PERSON opions of "What Okinawans Want".

For that matter, do or have ANY of you ever LIVED in Okinawa ?

I personally LOVE the place, I spent half my life there, off and on, and intend to RETURN there.

The average American / SOFA person is APPALLED at the STUPIDITY of what goes on at the hands of others and it is an EMBARRASSEMENT to us all. As for "Close all the Bases" rants, my father-in-law retired from working on base, as does my wife *(who are, of course, Okinawans). As most realize, if all the bases closed TOMORROW, and every military person LEFT, the island would economically collapse. Enough already.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Basic problem is people don't want military bases in their backyard, same for any place globally.

Try moving the bases to the USA and see how many would welcome them in their areas, hint very few.

As for bases closing and impacts on local economy check with Germany who faced those challenges.

No easy solution and moving those bases will take Decades.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

cleoToday 09:17 am JST

Improving English and other language skills is something I would expect a majority of Okinawa parents would support.

What other language skills would an American base school provide that would be of benefit to a Japanese kid?

Foreign Language Classes Offered in Okinawa

Elementary: FLES and Japanese Immersion Program

Middle: Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish

High: Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish

http://www.dodea.edu/Pacific/south/education.cfm

2 ( +4 / -2 )

hong kong works pretty well. time for a limited independence for okinawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"People in Okinawa have been shocked and are enduring significant anxiety," 

This old fella is really playing the emotion card, isn't he? Considering the US base workers account for a small percentage of the total crime in Okinawa, it's more likely the shock and anxiety come from local criminals and not the imported ones.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The agreement (pact) should be revised fairly as soon as possible. Okinawa is in Japan and It has law. As to any crimes, accidents,,,involved/committed by US soldiers whether they are on duty or off duty, Japan's police should investigate the cases rather than US military, because this is Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As most realize, if all the bases closed TOMORROW, and every military person LEFT, the island would economically collapse. Enough already.

Enough already? Enough already with the falsehood of the base being the sole contributor to the local economy on Okinawa, it's not 1950 anymore. The businesses that cater to the bases would take a hit but the island would not collapse economically. The bases make up for less than 5% of the local GDP, it's a very small amount when you consider that developed base land makes way more for the local economy (look at Shintoshin) than it did as a base.

The biggest hit would come from the central government itself as I'd imagine with the bases gone Okinawa would lose a lot of the money it receives from the central government for hosting the bases.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Like I said check with Germany as many US bases closed there.

Add in where do those troops go on US soil, current bases got space to accommodate them all, or new bases would need to be build prior to moving them.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The solution is simple, have a referendum vote and let the people decide. But this is something else that will not happen. The political machine that has Okinawa in its grip will see to that. There is so much outside money that is poured into Okinawa politics, it is impossible for a pro people candidate to win. This machine has an agenda of it's own and cares not the least for the people of Okinawa. There are regular posters on JT who are drinking the Kool-Aid and aiding and abetting the machine either knowingly or thinking they are noble by howling for the ouster of the US Military. If the Okinawa people want the US gone, then it should be made so. Up to this point, all the rancor and indignation is a product of the Japanese Communist Party and the Far Right Ultra-nationalists........ get the pitch forks and get rid of the round eye devils!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

 I don't see how a US school has anything to offer a Japanese kid. 

There is plenty, you sue statistics about all Japan, yet Okinawa students have some of the poorest testing scores in the nation. Base schools would help with not only the English, but also a better understanding and cooperation between the people.

The average American / SOFA person is APPALLED at the STUPIDITY of what goes on at the hands of others and it is an EMBARRASSEMENT to us all. As for "Close all the Bases" rants, my father-in-law retired from working on base, as does my wife *(who are, of course, Okinawans). As most realize, if all the bases closed TOMORROW, and every military person LEFT, the island would economically collapse. Enough already.

I agree with everything except the last line, NO the economy would most definitely NOT collapse, not even close to it. Sure some areas that owe their livelihood to the bases would be in trouble, but overall, the bases account for a very small part of the economy of Okinawa.

Putting Okinawan kids in US schools isn't what Okinawans want.

Said by a foreigner, living in Okinawa, who is nearly always stating things in a condescending manner to the Okinawan people, as if they know better than anyone else.

There are plenty of folks that would LOVE to send their kids to base schools, even if it's just for the English education.

Please, how many times are you going to repeat this falsehood – Camp Schwab is being extended – there is no new base being built. And the extension will be significantly smaller than the previous area encompassed by Futenma. 

Forever, as they keep drinking the koolaid!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

''A spate of crimes.'' You'd think those were the only crimes on the island during that time. Punish the people found guilty and let our other servicemen and women not have to continually pay the price. Okinawa is forever a ''victim.''

2 ( +2 / -0 )

During the election, Trump said he would withdraw the US military from Japan (and South Korea). How about it? Oh, Trump hasn't been able to get anything done. Also, bases are not in Japan to protect Japan. They were put here after the war to ensure Asia that Japan would never go on a European style imperialist rampage again. That is why the US demanded Japan make a military after occupation ended (even though they wrote on our consitution we cannot have a military). Apologists for the US military say that the bad behavior of US military people is because after the end of the cold war, they lost their sense of purpose. I'm sure that 99.99% of US military people are good (I've met some), it is just that only the 0.001% bad ones make the news, especially in Okinawa.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

People in Okinawa have been shocked and are enduring significant anxiety," Onaga told Kono.

Yeah, guess what, EVERYONE, American's and Japanese alike were shocked at the recent drunk driving incident. You are not alone, and the overwhelming majority of military folks on Okinawa are doing their damnedest to be good neighbors too!

You also are very much responsible for increasing the anxiety, with your constant lies and over exaggerations about the military. IF you turned down your rhetoric, the people would relax more too!

Despite only accounting for 0.6 percent of the country's land mass, Okinawa is home to about 70 percent of the total area of land exclusively used by U.S. military facilities in Japan.

And lets remember the fact that less than 10% of the land area of the prefecture of Okinawa are US bases.

Okinawa is forever a ''victim.''

Honestly there are very few people here who are "victims". Playing the victim card is a Japanese trait, the national government does it as well with issues related to WWII, Onaga is just playing their game against them!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As most realize, if all the bases closed TOMORROW, and every military person LEFT, the island would economically collapse.

I don't think so. The bases have substantially retarded Okinawa's growth as a tourist destination. It's ideally located to become the Hawaii of East Asia, especially with the new casino legislation having been passed and hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists just an hour or two away by plane. This is where the longterm economic focus should shift.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Add in where do those troops go on US soil, current bases got space to accommodate them all, or new bases would need to be build prior to moving them.

Not true, there are many military bases in the US that have been downsized and with very little effort and expense, could be reactivated to capacity. When the US government considers closing a base in the US, the city and state where it is located, protests the CLOSING of the base. They recognize the economic impact. You would be very hard pressed to find any city that would turn down having a base located nearby.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I don't think so. The bases have substantially retarded Okinawa's growth as a tourist destination. It's ideally located to become the Hawaii of East Asia, especially with the new casino legislation having been passed and hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists just an hour or two away by plane.

The economy would not collapse, but there would be a significant impact that would take several years to recover from. Tourists are great, but what is not being said is the overcrowding, crime, and inflated prices that comes from them. Tourism has been around for many years on Okinawa and the average Okinawan has not benefited. All the construction, hotels and tourist destinations are owned/operated by mainland Japanese companies, the money goes back to Japan. Okinawa still has the highest unemployment of any prefecture, along with the highest rate of alcoholism, lowest school test scores, highest divorce rate, AND food prices here are higher than mainland Japan. What is the cause?..... Corrupt government from the prefecture level on down.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The bases have substantially retarded Okinawa's growth as a tourist destination. 

Do you have any idea of what you are talking about here? Tourism has jumped here over the past five years to record numbers. In fact Okinawa gets more tourists here yearly now than HAWAII!

Over 9 million tourists will visit Okinawa this year alone, with nearly 2.2 Million coming from overseas locations.

Your presumption here is way off base, as tourism has had record increases for the past 5 years running. So no the bases being here have most definitely NOT hurt the tourism industry. Not even close!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Just a thought bases could add to the attraction as food, etc could be sampled from Ryukyu, Japanese and US/International cultures.

If Okinawan play it right they could benefit from the bases.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If Okinawan play it right they could benefit from the bases.

Believe it or not, there was a time when tourism increased BECAUSE of the bases. In particular, one festival, the Kadena Carnival, it was a yearly festival that local and Japanese national tour companies promoted the hell out of, and increased their business because of it.

All of it changed because of 9/11.....

If Kadena would bring back the Kadena Festival of old, it would be one hell of a party!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Yubaru

Over 9 million tourists will visit Okinawa this year alone, with nearly 2.2 Million coming from overseas locations.

> Your presumption here is way off base, as tourism has had record increases for the past 5 years running.

I totally agree that the growth in tourism in recent years has been phenomenal. It now generates multiple times more revenue than comes from the bases. The point I was countering was that Okinawa's economy would 'collapse' if the bases were closed. The numbers you've provided also seem to support my assertion that it would not.

So no the bases being here have most definitely NOT hurt the tourism industry. 

I said they have retarded the growth of the tourism industry. The fact that investment in tourism only began in the 1970s after decades of American occupation is pretty irrefutable evidence of this retardation in my opinion. How could it not be?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Foreign Language Classes Offered in Okinawa

Elementary: FLES and Japanese Immersion Program 

Middle: Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish 

High: Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish

So basically, Chinese, French, Spanish. That's good. (Not much point Japanese kids learning Japanese as a foreign language in Japan, is there?)

Meanwhile the kids are being sent to juku to catch up on the reading, maths and science. And probably also Kokugo?

To butt in on the tourism vs bases debate....

Mr cleo and I love holidaying in Okinawa, we go virtually every year. And whenever possible we avoid staying/playing in the areas around the bases where the screaming jets flying overhead threaten to burst the eardrums and driving from A to B involves a huge detour through X, Y and Z because there's a huge base in the way. In other words, we go in spite of the bases, not because of them. They are no kind of attraction. We much prefer the nice, quiet, remote islands where there are no bases.

As for the recent upswing in tourism; I feel a lot of it may be due to the growing affluence in China and other Asian countries, coupled with the fear of terrorism abroad; I know of quite a few couples who used to go to Europe, etc., who now holiday in Japan, and Okinawa benefits from that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan is still under US occupation. Japan is governed by Washington. It is time for Japan to regain their sovereignty and tell the US to remove ALL their bases. By having US bases on Japanese soil it is making Japan a target, it is not giving Japan any protection but just a base for the US to continue to bully, dominate and instigate war. You need to make your politicians accountable to the Japanese not Washington.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Onaga is telling Kono to end letting Okinawa be the Crimea of Asia.

Plainly speaking, Ryukyuans would like to see the Yankees go home.

The Japanese government's offer of letting Ryukyuan children study in Amerikan schools inside the bases as an appeasement is a funny insult to the true owners of Okinawa.

Just go home Yankees!

You have Guam, or go to the Philippines where Yankees are loved and treated as superstars!

Amerikano military bases are no longer welcome in Okinawa.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If Okinawa wants to. invite mainland industries, try to teach speaking standard Japanese. (hyojungo). Okinawa will outdo better than north eastern Japan . Kyushu and Chugoku region industries will love Okinawans weather.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 And whenever possible we avoid staying/playing in the areas around the bases where the screaming jets flying overhead 

So you must be taking a ferry or some other form of transport to get here other than Naha Airport because around there has "screaming jets" from the JSDF flying in and out all all times of the day!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The fact that investment in tourism only began in the 1970s after decades of American occupation is pretty irrefutable evidence of this retardation in my opinion. How could it not be?

No, this is not accurate either, investment, REAL investment in tourism here, did not start until the turn of the century. In 72' (reversion year) there were something like 400,000 tourists that came to Okinawa, at the turn of the century roughly 4.5 Million, but since then the number has jumped to a bit over 9 Million this year alone.

Foreign investment in hotels and infrastructure started booming here in the past 5 years alone.

Investment here in tourism is recent, and the bases had little to do with it either way, it's the government that was the problem.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What Onaga really wants is to oust the U.S. military out of Okinawa.  But so long as Okinawa remains a Japanese prefecture, the U.S. military will not be removed.  So Onaga is quietly working with China and communist party to influence Okinawans voters to vote for independence via a referendum vote .  After independence is achieved, then Onaga can oust the U.S. and Japan military presence. 

No doubt, Onaga and left-wingers will welcome Chinese financial, economic and infrastructure and tourism investment after the US leaves.  Unfortunately, it will unwittingly become a Chinese vassal and colony.

But Onaga and the leftist/communist supporters will not consider Chinese presence as a "colonist" or "occupier".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

you must be taking a ferry or some other form of transport to get here other than Naha Airport because around there has "screaming jets" from the JSDF flying in and out all all times of the day!

One expects planes to be flying around an airport. Dunno about you, but I don't travel to the other side of the country to stay/play in the vicinity of an airport when there are beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear coral seas to be had.

You're right though, the trip from Naha to wherever we were staying used to be almost as dire as the trip from Kanto to Okinawa (I hate flying). At least these days there are direct flights to Ishigaki, which cuts hours off travel time and avoids the screaming jets. And from there, yes, there are ferries.

The worst place for screaming jets in my experience is the area around the Southwest Botanical Gardens; supposed to be a place where you can relax and soak in the atmosphere, but there are regular (several times an hour) assaults on the ears from overhead. Once was enough.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is another reason why there is a large U.S. military presence on Okinawa.  Looking at a map, you'll find Okinawa is only 732 km away from Taiwan. 

So long as there is U.S. military presence on Okinawa, China views the U.S. military presence as an annoying thorn in its plans to invade and annex Taiwan.  That's why China wants U.S. out of Okinawa and quietly supports Onaga.

https://forwardobserver.com/2017/10/report-china-had-secret-plan-to-invade-taiwan-by-2020/

Just as the U.S. is obligated to help defend Japan, it is obligated to help defend Taiwan as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One expects planes to be flying around an airport. 

Same could be said about Kadena too, and by extension Futenma as well!

he worst place for screaming jets in my experience is the area around the Southwest Botanical Gardens; supposed to be a place where you can relax and soak in the atmosphere, but there are regular (several times an hour) assaults on the ears from overhead. Once was enough.

Want to bet which was built later?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Same could be said about Kadena too, and by extension Futenma as well!

Which is why I do not consider them holiday destinations.

Want to bet which was built later?

Can't say I care, tbh. The topic I was addressing was tourism vs military bases and how one affects the other. Military bases are a turn-off, something to be avoided by holidaymakers (this one, at least - and, I imagine, most others). A tourist attraction constantly noise-bombed by military aircraft is not attractive, imho. Which is why I have no plans ever to make a repeat visit to the Botanical Gardens and their environs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can't say I care, tbh. The topic I was addressing was tourism vs military bases and how one affects the other.

Funny there are plenty of tourists here that have commented "how one compliments the other" as many folks visiting Mihama go there because of the "American" influence and enjoy being around the military folks and their families.

The smart folks down here have learned how to make money off the situation and not focus on the annoyances.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The smart folks down here have learned how to make money off the situation and not focus on the annoyances.

Sorry, but the smart folks trying to sell tourism using loud noises and military stuff aren't going to make any money off this person.

I've never heard anyone say a military base 'compliments' anything. I understand lots of young singles might complement local bars, but again, not my scene.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've never heard anyone say a military base 'compliments' anything. I understand lots of young singles might complement local bars, but again, not my scene.

Probably so, you don't live here, are just another tourist when you do come, and have little if any interaction with the people that are happy with meeting up with US folks down here.

It's easy to understand your feelings on the issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

you don't live here, are just another tourist when you do come, and have little if any interaction with the people that are happy with meeting up with US folks down here.

Tourists have no idea what tourists think about tourist attractions, right.....

(You know you've been in Japan too long when you counter an argument with 'You don't understand us!'....)

If you're talking to people hanging around a base, of course there's a very good chance they'll be people who are interested in that kind of thing. Maybe you need to talk to the tourists who are not hanging around the bases - I'm sure there are way more of them than there are folk going all the way to Okinawa just to get onto a base and enjoy the military experience. Just as talking to people on the ski slopes isn't going to give you much insight into why people go to subtropical places.

I've been happy to meet up with US folk down on the beach, you meet some nice people snorkelling. Doesn't mean I want to put up with their jets screaming overhead when I'm trying to relax, or even just trying to hold a conversation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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