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Over 70% of voters reject U.S. base transfer in Okinawa referendum

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2/3rd's of the electorate, over 700,000 voters, either voted for it, abstained, or picked the neither option.

I have stated countless times that the people here are pretty much apathetic to the issue, and this proves it.

However, the anti-base people are going to extrapolate this into saying that "ALL" Okinawa is against the landfill at Camp Schwab.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

Prior to the referendum, some voters expressed concern that a rejection of the plan could lead to the Futenma base remaining in its current location,

Would have been very hard pressed to hear this said publicly here during the run up to the vote.

Supporters of the relocation plan ran a campaign that was largely perceived as low-key.

"Low-key" They were no where to be seen. Folks dont talk about being for the bases openly.

In Okinawa's first prefectural referendum in 1996, nearly 90 percent voted in favor. No other referendums have ever been conducted at the prefectural level in Japan.

Numbers are dropping, during that 1996 referendum roughly 60% of the people voted and 90% were against, this time just over 52% voted and 70% were against.

Run this referendum again in 20 years and see what happens!

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

For context people should consider the whole picture and not just how a biased side will portray the referendum. These are numbers I put together from various Kyodo and Okinawa Times articles 

There are roughly 1.15 million eligible voters in the prefecture. 

Roughly 52% (605,000) participated in the referendum. This number was down from the 63% participation in the gubernatorial election and the 59% in the previous referendum. 

Approximately 48% (550,000) did not participate in the referendum 

Breakdown of the votes within the 605,000 participants: 

For: 116,000 (19%)

Against: 435,000 (72%)

Neither : 53,000 (9%)

Breakdown amongst 1.15million eligible voters:

For: 116,000 (10%)

Against: 435,000 (37%) 

Neither/abstain: 603,000 (52%) 

(Neither =4% abstain =48%)

Statistics is always up to an individual’s interpretation but I just think we should always make sure we see the whole picture. It may show that things aren’t as clear cut as some want you to believe

0 ( +9 / -9 )

The referendum was pointless and thoughtless. It did not touch upon the serious background of the issue. Are they also against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty?

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

The people have spoken.

US troops are unwelcome here.

Go home.

6 ( +20 / -14 )

So 71% want Futenma to stay...

This issue dates back to the Koizumi era, with landowners demanding that revenue from land leases is assured by the Gov’t when Futenma is returned.

The zoo outside of Schwab and Kinser is the snowballed result of foreign influencers and communist activists jumping on the bandwagon.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Good result. However you wish to twist the result the vast majority of those who went to a polling booth and expressed their opinion is against.

Various interpretations can be given for the 42% of eligible voters who didn't vote, but nobody knows why this is. Could be apathy. Could be they were sick. Could be a relative or a boss had told them not to. Could be there was something good on the telly.

Can't argue with the results!

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Now watch as this is spun into some wild conspiracies to negate the people's voice. If a Russian involvement is thrown in, I wouldn't be shocked.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The referendum was pointless and thoughtless.

Quite so, and it was forced upon the prefecture by people in mainland!

It did not touch upon the serious background of the issue.

Of course not, that requires information to be shared that will make call the media's coverage of the issues regarding the bases into question.

Are they also against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty?

Who is "they?" Remember the people who voted in the referendum are Japanese citizens just like you!

And no, this referendum was about a landfill project that will eventually become the replacement for MCAS Futenma!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

OMG, that doubles vote percentage for literal democratic party, aka LDP.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I hate to say this, but I think many average citizens in Okinawa have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what they say or do, the central government is going to ignore them and the Okinawan government and just do what it wants to do.

That is, unless the populace is actually willing to engage in civil unrest and push the central government to use force to quell the unrest. And I doubt there are many that are willing to do that.

Which means that, at this point, given that the project is already underway and there is very little hope of stopping it, I would imagine many citizens have just thrown in the towel, figuring the sooner that it is done, the sooner Futenma can be shut down.

Or something like that.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Breakdown amongst 1.15million eligible voters:

For: 116,000 (10%)

Against: 435,000 (37%) 

Neither/abstain: 603,000 (52%) 

(Neither =4% abstain =48%)

Statistics is always up to an individual’s interpretation but I just think we should always make sure we see the whole picture. It may show that things aren’t as clear cut as some want you to believe

By your logics implication every single Japanese national election in recent memory would be " invalid" then since a huge percentage of voters " abstain" from voting .

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In Okinawa's first prefectural referendum in 1996, nearly 90 percent voted in favor. No other referendums have ever been conducted at the prefectural level in Japan (last paragraph).

In case you didn't know, the 1996 referendum was about SOFA (Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement) and also about the feasibility of the U.S. military presence at the current scale. Nearly 90 percent of the people who had voted rejected the status quo of both. 

Prior to the referendum, some voters expressed concern that a rejection of the plan could lead to the Futenma base remaining in its current location, while others questioned whether Okinawa should sacrifice the marine ecosystem off the Henoko coast -- home to an endangered species of dugong -- for the land reclamation work. (3rd from the last paragraph)

This may partly explain the results of yesterday's referendum. Some people must have been worried that, if the Henoko relocation were not realized, Futenma would not be closed and might remain at the current site fixed forever -- a kind of defeatism in my view and much to our chagrin.

But win we did anyway -- the anti-Henoko camp.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Only 37% of Japanese citizens in Okinawa voted against base relocation. Not a big opposition. Step down, Denny. Time to let the National government continue the work to get the new base finished within 12 months.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Who gives a crap it's a non-binding symbolic referendum whose outcome was already known before it happened

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Supporters of the relocation plan ran a campaign that was largely perceived as low-key.

Perhaps because they know the choice of relocation site has nothing going for it except 'It's not Futenma'?

Can't make an impassioned argument in favour of something that has no redeeming qualities.

Nobody wants a military base in their backyard. Don't move it, just scrap it. Or move it to America.

By your logics implication every single Japanese national election in recent memory would be " invalid" then

Logically speaking, they are. The LDP rarely (if ever?) gets more than 50% of the popular vote, yet hold some 2/3 of the seats.

(2017, 49.71% of the popular vote, 61.08% of the seats

2014, 49.54%, 68.63%

2012, 44.49%, 67.71%

2008, 38.17%, 61.67%)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The Japanese people who work on those bases obviously do. As do bar owners and restaurants and shopping malls.

Nobody wants a military base in their backyard

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

By your logics implication every single Japanese national election in recent memory would be " invalid" then since a huge percentage of voters " abstain" from voting .

Please direct me to anywhere in my post I claimed that the referendum was invalid? I only posted the breakdown of percentages results based on actual voters and total eligible voters. If you arrived to that conclusion it is based off of your own interpretation of the data.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"Many residents have long hoped for the Futenma base to be moved outside of Okinawa, which continues to host the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan as a legacy of the U.S. military occupation of the prefecture from the end of World War II to 1972."

I don't know if it's practical from a strategic point of view, but moving the bases out of Okinawa sounds totally reasonable and legitimate to me.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Logically speaking, they are. The LDP rarely (if ever?) gets more than 50% of the popular vote, yet hold some 2/3 of the seats.

Not in Okinawa. There are no LDP members representing Okinawa in the current national DIet.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's such an innate Japanese trait to avoid confronting the real issue at hand. I'll never understand why the governor couldn't be straight with his constituents.

The referendum should have been worded 'Do you support a USA military base on Okinawan soil at all?'

Instead, we now have a confusion as to whether 'some' Okinawans' would like tge current base to remain where it is.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There are no LDP members representing Okinawa in the current national DIet.

Well, 0 is certainly less than 50%....

I imagine it makes the decisions taken in Tokyo even less palatable to Okinawans.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Can we all appreciate the fact that Denny Tamaki is the first and so far only half-Japanese who have been elected as a governor of a Japanese prefecture?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

If they think the Americans are bad, wait until the Marines are no closer than Hawaii and the Chinese decide that Okinawa is part of ancient historic homeland of China.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

"This is the first time that opposition specifically to the plan...was clearly shown so it bears significant meaning," 

Yeah, the significant meaning is, half of the eligible voters in Okinawa didn't participate.

It is the same with every election in Japan. The only people who vote are the politically motivated and those who will benefit from the outcome. The other 40-50% couldn't be bothered getting up from their sofas. This is what has kept the LDP in power for most of the last 70 years. It doesn't matter which party governs Okinawa, the LDP in Kasumigaseki will always have the last word.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Can we all appreciate the fact that Denny Tamaki is the first and so far only half-Japanese who have been elected as a governor of a Japanese prefecture?

He is not a "half" Japanese citizen, he is 100% Japanese. And if you want to get into ethnicity issues, you had better do a little more research.

Many Japanese politicians have "mixed" blood heritages, just not "American"

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

He is not a "half" Japanese citizen, he is 100% Japanese. And if you want to get into ethnicity issues, you had better do a little more research.

Many Japanese politicians have "mixed" blood heritages, just not "American"

He is a Haafu. His mama is Japanese, but his papa is American. Are there any other elected governors or mayors who are Haafu?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

YubaruToday  06:39 am JST

However, the anti-base people are going to extrapolate this into saying that "ALL" Okinawa is against the landfill at Camp Schwab.

Nope, so far you're the only one repeating that claim, over and over again.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The turnout was 52.48 percent, according to the prefecture

So, if my math is correct:

Only about 37% (not 72%) of the eligible voters actually voted "no."

Just under 10% voted "yes."

Just under 5% voted "neither."

The other roughly 48%, by not taking part in the vote, expressed no opinion at all.

Surely they would have voted, though, if this issue was so extremely important.

And they make up nearly half of the voting population in Okinawa, which is a significant number of people who "sat this one out."

This all means that there doesn't seem to be overwhelming opposition to the base transfer, as Tamaki and certain other opportunistic politicians are trying to lead us to believe.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

He is a Haafu. His mama is Japanese, but his papa is American. Are there any other elected governors or mayors who are Haafu?

You missed the point entirely. And please try to keep in mind the term "hafu" is derogatory and no one refereed to nor called him that during the election.

He is the Governor, not the mayor, and if you noticed I wrote about Japanese politicians, not just Governors.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

opposed the relocation plan as they think Okinawa needs no more bases, 

Do they not understand the word "relocate" ?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Some posters here won't ever be able to accept the democratic expression of the will of the Okinawan people. In one or another way they will try to spin it to fit their world view.

The outcome once again expressly underlines all polls and surveys ever conducted on this and similar issues.

And for a non-binding prefectural referendum the turnout was actually quite remarkable. Even in countries with a strong democratic tradition where citizens referenda play a crucial role in the decision-making process like Swiss voter turnout is mostly in the 40% range.

So for the Okinawa people and Denny this referendum was a full success and for the LDP in Tokyo it will create quite some headaches. It could actually evolve to be the nail in the coffin of the Henoko relocation project.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Given that the US forces are doing absolutely nothing to oppose either North Korea or China, they have shown that they are utterly useless and pointless and might as well pack up and go home.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It seems to me that the government does not care about the result of the referendum as long as Abe is a prime minister. Abe may target the 4th term of prime minister from 2021 after they change the rule.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ohh Bam_boo, if you think that’s true then you really can’t see the forest for the bamboo.

Theres a glaring problem to the argument that the majority of Okinawa is in opposition. You can’t deny it when they were only able to pull out half of the eligible voter and only have around 1/3 of eligible voters vote in opposition.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What does Okinawan want really? Do they want to get rid of all U.S. Forces from Okinawa and do not need any economic assistance from the central government in return? Then, you should go independent from Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They should just pull out and let the Japanese fend for themselves. Then see what happens.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Given that the US forces are doing absolutely nothing to oppose either North Korea or China, they have shown that they are utterly useless and pointless and might as well pack up and go home.

Ever hear of the word "deterrent"? Not to mention you obviously dont keep up with the news in the region either.

The US is here because the Japanese government wants them here. And if and when the Japanese government decides otherwise, they will stay. If the Japanese government asked them to leave, they would, it's that simple.

Take off your blinders.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

And for a non-binding prefectural referendum the turnout was actually quite remarkable. Even in countries with a strong democratic tradition where citizens referenda play a crucial role in the decision-making process like Swiss voter turnout is mostly in the 40% range.

This isnt Europe, it's Okinawa, in the 96 referendum there was a larger turnout, there was a larger turnout for the Gov's election. But you like other spin-doctors will fail to accept that it was a lousy turnout considering all the money and effort put into getting out the vote.

The anti-base factions and prefectural government spent millions upon millions of dollars, both private and tax payer money Not to mention the literally tens-of thousands of man-hours into getting people to participate and vote no. Just to further delay the outcome.

The turnout was a huge disappointment for Denny and the anti-base coalition, and it's going to be interesting to see just how much each of those "No" votes cost in the final accounting! I wouldn't be surprised it cost at least 5,000 yen per vote!

All the problems with childcare, employment, under pay, etc etc etc, yet millions wasted on a non-binding referendum, the results not being what was expected.....waste of money again!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Please direct me to anywhere in my post I claimed that the referendum was invalid?

Did not say you claimed the referendum was invalid but that was the subtle nuance that I got from your post indeed. If that was not the nuance you intended...fair enough.

Only 37% of Japanese citizens in Okinawa voted against base relocation. Not a big opposition. Step down, Denny. Time to let the National government continue the work to get the new base finished within 12 months.

Love Gambare,s sense of humor as usual. 12 months?.... it might take that long just to set up another MoD expert panel to study how to get all the pillars in to reinforce the " mayonaise " soft seafloor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But...but....something.....something CHINA!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@ CrucialS

The referendum clearly backs up all factual data available on the opinions of the Okinawan people, in particular the reality of an overwhelming opposition to the Futenma relocation and the discriminating proportion of US military stationed in Okinawa.

It has to be said again and again: all polls or surveys ever done on the issue show an above 70% of the Okinawan people are against the relocation and for a drastic reduction of US military in Okinawa.

In turn there is absolutely no factual data to support your far fetched argument about the Okinawan people being indifferent to the issue.

If people don’t go to a referendum it doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ Schopenhauer

First and foremost they want their democratically expressed will respected.

And the one almost universally shared wish of the Okinawan people (as also the 1996 referendum clarified) is either a drastic reduction or a complete removal of the US military stationed in Okinawa.

In regard to financial support, all Japanese prefectures receive big money from Tokyo and Okinawa isn’t even the top receiver.

It is by large a myth created by the LDP that Okinawan people get insane amounts of money and therefore should surrender their democratic rights.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There was a lot of opposition in Chiba to Narita Airport being built too, and it got built to the benefit of the country.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

But win we did anyway -- the anti-Henoko camp.

how is that a win when the base will still be relocated to Henoko, the people of Henoko have voted for a pro base mayor, are their views irrelevant. Futenma will be returned and all that extra land will be developed for the the local population thatll be the real win for the Okinawan people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Schopenhauer,

What does Okinawan want really? Do they want to get rid of all U.S. Forces from Okinawa and do not need any economic assistance from the central government in return? Then, you should go independent from Japan

You keep saying Okinawa had better be independent if we don't like U.S. bases. But do you know U.S. bases are planted not only in Okinawa but also all over Japan? In other words, Japan, of which Okinawa is only a part, is under a virtual U.S. military occupation with bases seamlessly having been carried over from the Occupation era. 

Judging from what you constantly suggest that Okinawa go independent if we don't like the status quo, you seem to think Japan should be a half-independent, subservient U.S. vassal forever. You must even think Japan can be the 51 state of the U.S.

Okinawa’s anti-base voice is thus a noisy cacophony to you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In turn there is absolutely no factual data to support your far fetched argument about the Okinawan people being indifferent to the issue.

About 48% who didnt vote does and that is "factual data"

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Abe will ignore the result, as expected. He said he will "explain more carefully" to the Okinawans why they are wrong and he is right.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

please try to keep in mind the term "hafu" is derogatory

Not this old potato again.

It isn't derogatory unless you choose to be offended by it.

And whether Tamaki is half or not has no bearing on his position as Guvnor of Okinawa.

If people don’t go to a referendum it doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion.

Especially when it's announced ahead of time that the result will be non-binding, ie the central government isn't gonna listen whatever the result. Isn't choosing not to vote in itself an expression of an opinion? That opinion might be 'I just don't care' or it could equally be 'What's the point?'

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yubaru

About 48% who didnt vote does and that is "factual data"

You have to explain to us how 48% who for one or another reason decided not to vote in a referendum do prove anything.

The only fact I see here is that they didn’t vote.

Of course you will always try to spin things to fit your views, but you have failed to provide us with any factual data that could even hint at an acceptance of the relocation plan and the current status quo of the US military in Okinawa by the Okinawan people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You have to explain to us how 48% who for one or another reason decided not to vote in a referendum do prove anything. The only fact I see here is that they didn’t vote.

No It don't, it's self-explantory and factual. nearly half of the eligible voters did not participate.

Of course you will always try to spin things to fit your views, but you have failed to provide us with any factual data that could even hint at an acceptance of the relocation plan and the current status quo of the US military in Okinawa by the Okinawan people.

Well guess what, the people have not been given ALL the information they needed to make a valid judgement, based upon the information they were provided, even I stated the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

You refuse to accept THAT fact as well.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The old folks who have passed down their property from generations don't understand the logic and impact if the Americans disappeared from Okinawa. It's a welcome mat for China to invade and start WW3, if theyve already stolen our Senkaku which if you check on Google maps is within close proximity to Okinawa, then they'd next invade Okinawa..

We still need the American alliance against China.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Remove all bases from Okinawa, watch the economy tank. Then laugh.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Nope, so far you're the only one repeating that claim, over and over again.

Nope, guess you watch the local news.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sorry, meant to say you DONT watch the local news!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Abe should stop wasting money and time, when 70% of the people says no, he should take a no. forcing people or situations that are in correct is not wise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe should stop wasting money and time, when 70% of the people says no, he should take a no. forcing people or situations that are in correct is not wise.

70% of the people who voted, not 70% of the people, and do not forget it's a NON-BINDING referendum.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, I'm sure that if Tamaki uses the results as an excuse to name himself the acting PM, the US and its allies would declare him to be the legitimate government of Japan.

Oh, wait, that's only the case when the US isn't getting its way, and wants to replace a government that is listening to the wants and needs of its population rather than Washington.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/-/70236

The link is the Okinawa Times. This article covered incidents occurred in 2016.

リンクは沖縄タイムスです。この記事は、2016年に発生した事件を報道したものです。

At the construction site relocating the Futenma base function to Henoko, the opposing members arrested and assaulted the officials of the Okinawa Defense Bureau. And the culprit was arrested.

普天間基地機能を辺野古に移設する工事現場で、反対するメンバーが沖縄防衛局の職員の身柄を拘束し尋問・暴行を加えました。そして、犯人が逮捕されました。

A video shot of the incident scene was posted on the net. However, the Okinawa Times covered the case but hidden the existence of this movie. Ryukyu Shimpo, Asahi Newspaper, Mainichi Shimbun and Japanese television also deliberately hidden the existence of animation.

事件現場を撮影した動画がネットに投稿されました。しかし、沖縄タイムスは事件を報道しましたが、この動画の存在を隠蔽しました。琉球新報、朝日新聞、毎日新聞や日本のテレビも動画の存在を意図的に隠蔽したのです。

The reason is that if Japanese citizens were to know the existence of animation, they were afraid that the support against the US military base opposing the Okinawa base would decline.

理由は、動画の存在が日本国民に知れ渡れば、沖縄で活動する米軍基地反対に対する支持が低下することを恐れた為です。

The intentionally concealed media has taken a critical attitude to the Abe administration and participated in this criminal act by making such a sneaky concealment to support the base opposition movement.

意図的に隠蔽したメディアは安部政権に批判的な姿勢を取っており、基地反対運動を支援する為にこのような卑劣な隠蔽を行い犯罪行為に加担したのです。

And Okinawa Prefectural Assemblyman and Diet members who support Tamagusu Okinawa Governor and Gojo Governor are supporting the criminals who caused the incident.

そして、玉城沖縄県知事と玉城知事を支援する沖縄県議会議員と国会議員達は、事件を起こした犯人達を支援しているのです。

Below is a link to the evidence movie. The video site is YouTube. It is uncut. English translation is the function of Google that translated Japanese into English.

以下にその証拠動画のリンクを掲載します。動画サイトはYouTube。ノーカットです。英文は、Googleの機能で日本語を英語に翻訳したものです。

https://youtu.be/8eS4o-CxyjI

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Japanese people who work on those bases obviously do. As do bar owners and restaurants and shopping malls.

Of course they do, we’re they to move out, lights out. Hate to say it, but with the growing Chinese threat looming over Japan, the mainland obviously feels the Safety and stability of the island is far more important than the wishes and desires of the people. If anyone thought that this vote was going to change anything is not dealing with reality.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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