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Battle for Okinawa: Islanders face off with Tokyo over bases

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By Elaine Lies

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A growing number of islanders say it should be just that.

Put this in perspective, sure it's "growing" but look deeper at the facts, the growth comes in a large part from the transplanted mainlanders who come down here to raise a ruckus and then crawl back to their homes in honshu.

Plus with a growing population of over 1.4 million people in the prefecture any "increase" is to be expected, but the numbers are tiny in comparison to the overall population and people are easily mislead into believing that the movement has any actual clout, they don't, it's mostly academic types and fringe goofballs, that no one actually takes seriously.

The budget being cut was expected, you reap what you sow.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Surprise, surprise, the bulldozers are coming in. Time for some people to realize their place on the totem pole.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yubaru, why do you try to underplay it?

You look at the facts:

Attendance at demonstrations shows a continual increase way above any population increase.

Okinawans voted in Onaga because he is anti-base in fact, not just when it suited him, like Nakaima.

And there is very strong support for Okinawa internationally.

"Transplanted mainlanders" are the product of your very fertile imagination.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

It would be interesting to compare this with the development of Narita Airport. Of course there are differences. More importantly, there is a similarity, local opposition. It took years after constuction was completed to open the airport because of local opposition. They were riots in which locals fought with the police and some lives were even lost. The train line going to Narita City was blown up in places. It was only years after completion that it was deemed safe to open the station under the airport. How many years did it take to open a second runway?

The security at the entrance of Narita was not introduced to protect against foreign terrorism but local opposition.

Some users of the airport may have noticed that there is still one farm in the middle of it.

And that is Chiba. Okinawans have far more reason to protest.

It seems clear that Abe could learn a lot from history.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing ahead with the construction of a new base near the island’s northern city of Nago

I understand the plight the people of Okinawa are going through. They feel like they are between a ROCK (Japan) and a HARD PLACE (U.S.). However, they are not building a NEW BASE. They are just adding to the existing base, Camp Swab. Once that is completed, Futenma will close. It was agreed and expected that 9,000 troops with families will leave the island to Guam. Along with Futenma; Camp Lester and Kinser will also close. The size of American troops is getting smaller, but slowly. Baby steps people.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Okinawa was given a chance to become it's own independent nation after America left. They can't have it both ways. The bases need to be in a strategic place to counterbalance China, and that just so happens to be Okinawa.

That doesn't excuse the terrible behavior of many of the Marines there. But if for whatever reason Abe manages to overturn Article 9 and kick all US bases out of Japan, you can bet your ass that the SDF will use Okinawa as a main base.

I think that Narita protests just highlights the instance of "not in my backyard" and seems utterly inept and short sighted from protesters. These things need to go SOMEWHERE. I understand that this is pushing people out of ancestral land, but it will push someone else out of their land if it moves somewhere else. Get over it.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Okinawans voted in Onaga because he is anti-base in fact, not just when it suited him, like Nakaima.

Cripes, you are blind, take a look at Onaga's previous stance towards the bases, he is a chameleon too.

Attendance at demonstrations shows a continual increase way above any population increase.

You OVER exaggerate the facts, the demonstrations are tiny in numbers of people attending, at most 50 to 100 hardcore activists and nothing major to even make the news most nights, and that coming from media outlets here that are totally anti-base.

If the demonstrations were so huge and prominent as you like to infer, this would be all over the networks in the entire country........but nothing.

Transplanted mainlanders" are the product of your very fertile imagination.

You will eventually realize that it's hard to see and accept things when you constantly have your head in the sand.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

In the Deep South during the Civil Rights Movement, White People would say that our Black Folks are happy and content with their lives but those Yankee Instigators come down here and stir up trouble. Before Reversion the U.S. Military would say that that outside instigators were causing the Okinawans to protest and that they were getting paid to protest and free bentos etc. The truth is that the Okinawan People have been protesting the U.S. bases ever since there were bases and will continue to protest as long as there are bases. The Outside Instigators on Okinawa are the Tokyo Bureaucrats and LDP who try to influence local elections with promises of big budgets to try and get Pro Base Candidates elected and force LDP candidates who were elected on an Anti-Henoko Campaign to change their position.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

They feel like they are between a ROCK (Japan) and a HARD PLACE (U.S.)

Well naturally. The situation with Okinawa is not too different from Hawaii - in that both places were annexed by neighbouring countries. They have been used and abused since 1879 (and actually earlier than that via the Shimazu clan) Time for the US and Japan to get off their backs

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

No suprise that the anti Americans are elderly, those Okinawins of working age feel more warmly about the jobs and economic boost that the troops bring.

Also housewives from the base can offer cheap, good quality English lessons meaning the bosses/teachers of the local ailing eikaiwa schools might have to get a real job.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I started reading this article, noticing the typical anti-US/anti-GOJ bent, that assertions that were completely wrong were presented as fact, and then I read the author's name and it became immediately clear...........

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Opposing the bases in Okinawa doesn't automatically make one anti-US or anti-GOJ

0 ( +4 / -4 )

7,000 people gathered to protest the Henoko base in Tokyo.

Many of them were greenies that doesn't really care about the welfare of Okinawa just the sea they are planning to reclaim. Basically the Futenma issue and the Henoko issue are two separate things, former with the local resident and mainlander left wingers while the later being greenies and mainland left wingers involved.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let me use an analogy I used on another thread. Suppose you find out about talks going on between your foster parent and a human trafficker to the effect that you are about to be sold to him.

And that is exactly what is happening here. A section, or 18 percent, of Okinawa Island is to be sold or given for free to a foreign army in dealings made between Washington, a boss, and Tokyo, a henchman, over our heads. Certainly, the relocation of Futenma to Henoko will mean the giveaway and, at the same time, fixation of all U.S. bases (Total base area in Okinawa: 2,292 hectares).

Note that Tokyo is trying to persuade us by saying that a hazardous Futenma must not be fixed at the present site. But note that all the bases, including Futenma's replacement, will remain fixed indefinitely.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is going a little too far, but I think Okinawan people could learn a lot from Scotland, where they tried to be an independent country of its own, separate from the rest of the UK. They failed, but at least they are now certain to get more self-automony and probably more money from London. Okinawan people could also play the China card, bringing Tokyo down to its knees and have them beg the Okinawans to stay part of Japan and not to let China use any part of Okinawa for their military use. How is that? I love Okinawa and I don't want this ever to happen, but the possiblilty isn't zero. Abe, please don't make them any more angry or upset.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

“Bases bring in money,” said taxi driver Masatsune Naka, 65. “People have to support families.”

Exactly, and those complaining about the noise can complain to the graves of their ancestors, or just their own direct families, who located themselves AROUND the bases to make money. And they can blame opposition to what has already been promised THREE TIMES for the decrease in funds to the prefecture. I don't agree with Abe building his war machine, but the US presence is there to stay, and they're either going to relocate to the agreed upon site, or stay right where they are in Futenma.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Oh boy here we go again, if it was just the japanese army there whould there be a problem , certainly not , they whouldnt be complaining , i say america leaves and japan defends itself

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Onishi San

but I think Okinawan people could learn a lot from Scotland, where they tried to be an independent country of its own

Scotland has called the referendum for being independent country of its own is more correct. Referendum is collecting the votes of people will for whether it will become independent or still being part of UK.

Okinawan people could also play the China card, bringing Tokyo down to its knees and have them beg the Okinawans to stay part of Japan and not to let China use any part of Okinawa for their military use

In fact China has never used any part of Okinawa. Only US used for bases. Japan in the WWII, used Okinawa as their front battle line as slaughter of the lamb. Keep dreaming Okinawans will beg Tokyo for stay being part of Japan. It may be not in our lifetime, Okinawa will gradully will become like Ireland which separated from UK. Better eating pork rather than begging Tokyo for surviving.

I love Okinawa and I don't want this ever to happen, but the possiblilty isn't zero. Abe, please don't make them any more angry or upset.

I love Okinawa too. I would like to see Okinawa will become another Singapore which divorced with Malaysia and becoming prosperous, orderly and successful nation. Okinawa liberation will become the unstoppable momentum in the future. It will not happen overnight. However it is highly possible. If Singapore could do it, Okinawa will make it too. Japan bullied Okinawa. US ruined and robbed land of Okinawa. Okinawa has nothing to lose for independent movement. Okinawa needs IRA for liberation movement.

The course of Ryuku people are not depending on others.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine nails it when he says that the way Tokyo treats Okinawa hasn't changed since WW2 when Okinawa was misused as a bulwark against the US attack on Japan, or what Okinawans refer to as "Suteishi", a stone thrown in the way of the attacker.

Much like the military rulers then Abe doesn't care about Okinawans at all and he is just using Okinawa to "protect" the mainland. In case there'd be any military conflict Okinawa would suffer most, once again.

The also article rightly points out that the US bases are more and more becoming an obstacle to Okinawas economic development and a growing number of Okinawans seem to begin to understand this.

While until very recently many Okinawans, who actually opposed the bases, were afraid that their withdrawal would negatively effect the islands economy, it is now becoming a commonplace to say that the bases should withdraw so that Okinawa can develop a healthy and sustainable economy.

Actually many Okinawans I talk to see the budget cut as a welcome incentive to help developing a more anti-base-pro-independent-okinawan-economy.

Comments here about "mainlanders who come down here to raise a ruckus", "left wingers" and "greenies" are just smokescreen arguments to divert attention from the democratically expressed will of the Okinawan people.

Okinawans from all political and social backgrounds are surprisingly unified in what they are striving for: a peaceful and democratic island with much less military on it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Islanders face off with Tokyo

Sounds like the start of a hockey game between New York and Tokyo

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let me use an analogy I used on another thread. Suppose you find out about talks going on between your foster parent and a human trafficker to the effect that you are about to be sold to him.

This analogy of yours here is both condescending and beneath contempt, your arrogance shows through towards the Okinawan people, and with your handle "voice of okinawa" you should be ashamed of yourself for equalling the Okinawan people to a child.

Okinawa, excuse me, Ryukyu, has a long, rich, and vibrant, history. They were mentioned in some of the initially printed and distributed encyclopedias as being a refined culture and people and mainlanders being described as barbarian.

Okinawa has been and always will be the linchpin in the Pacific. It's location places it in the path of competing powers and they have done well for themselves even with different entities and powers competing over them.

THAT is a fact, and it is also a FACT that no matter what happens with the base(s) JSDF or US, Okinawa will remain firmly as a part of Japan, no matter how much people wish differently.

It is pure ignorance to think otherwise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Okinawa has been and always will be the linchpin in the Pacific. It's location places it in the path of competing powers and they have done well for themselves even with different entities and powers competing over them.

Only until Okinawa became a military bulwark for Japan and then for the US.

Okinawas rich and vibrant culture has been horribly damaged by military action on its soil and nobody knows better about the uselessness of military involvement of an island so small then Okinawans.

Which ever military is stationed in Okinawa means a threat to the island and won't help Okinawans in what soever way.

It is pure ignorance to think otherwise.

The way you are trying to diminish and misrepresent the clearly and democratically expressed will of Okinawans is ignorant, Yubaru.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Okinawans from all political and social backgrounds are surprisingly unified in what they are striving for: a peaceful and democratic island with much less military on it.

This statement here underscores your ignorance of the situation overall. When Henoko gets built all the bases from Kadena south, with the exception of a small part of Cp Foster(Zukeran) will be returned to Japanese control, thereby lessening to a HUGE degree the footprint of the military in Okinawa.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yubaru (Feb. 04, 2015 - 08:52PM JST):

You suggest Okinawa should be proud of its long, rich and vibrant history. Well, thank you for the nice words. But you go on to suggest that Okinawa remain a part of Japan, no matter how differently people wish. Isn't there an illogical frogleap in what you say here?

I am not very enthusiastic about Okinawa's independence right now. But if Tokyo abuses it as it does now and offers it to Godfather U.S. for its freewheeling use as a military colony, the story would be quite different.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Fredrick Leach

Oh boy here we go again, if it was just the japanese army there whould there be a problem , certainly not , they whouldnt be complaining , i say america leaves and japan defends itself

I don't think it is about American base. It is about any base, any armed force Japan has/is going to have. Those who are constantly protesting against bases in Okinawa, if you follow the news closely, many of them are not even Okinawa residents.

While many are NPO and other groups with different agendas including Japanese Revolutionary Communist League (革マル派) and RCL National Committe (中核派,) both Chinese and Korean activists have been making significant apprearance in each and every protests in Okinawa. Such groups include Korean Unification Churchs, 従軍慰安婦を許さない朝鮮人会, 南京大虐殺を許さない中国人会, 琉球独立工作機関中国共産党友の会 and such.

Conflicts between Okinawa and Tokyo is one thing—of course it needs serious attention and the issue needs to be resolved in a peaceful manner, with a mutual agreement. But emerging anti-Japan, anti-US groups coming from China and Korea, trying to rip Okinawa apart from Japan and cause chaos cannot be overlooked, either.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

innit,

The troops from the bases provide very little income to Okinawans. Most of the income generated here is from tourism.

You write:

Also housewives from the base can offer cheap, good quality English lessons meaning the bosses/teachers of the local ailing eikaiwa schools might have to get a real job.

For one thing, not all the local eikaiwas are failing and for another, I wonder what you consider a "real" job.

I worked at a kindergarten in Naha for a while where some of these housewives were employed. I'm sure that this doesn't apply to all, but these two - native American English speakers - seem never to have heard of grammar. One of them admitted to me that she wouldn't know a noun from a verb when I questioned her grammar in the following conversation:

"Where's the schedule?"

"It's wrote on the wall!"

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Conflicts between Okinawa and Tokyo is one thing—of course it needs serious attention and the issue needs to be resolved in a peaceful manner,

You may come from another planet. Tokyo is puppet of US. In the map, Okinawa is one of the prefecture of Japan. Reality is different. Okinawa is more likely Guam, America Samoa for US frontal wall for strategic interest. Okinawa was enslaved by Japan before. Now Japan has lost control over Okinawa and it will use carrot and stick for pleasing her master. Okinawa is unofficial territory of US except in official name.

But emerging anti-Japan, anti-US groups coming from China and Korea, trying to rip Okinawa apart from Japan

Back in 1970, the world was not fully globalized. Okinawa had little interference from others such as China and Korea back then. There was a largest anti base riot back then. It was called Koza riot. Current protests are so minor comparing with that one. Therefore your theory of Korea and China were inflaming for natives anger over US and Japan is out of touch with locals.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/12/17/general/military-policemans-hobby-documented-1970-okinawa-rioting/#.VNKK3SwYEUU

Anti Japan sentiment came from WWII because Japan used Okinawa as butcher house. Anti US sentiment comes from US service men crimes, environmental issues and injustice of grabbing their lands. They are purely responsible over their actions for local resentment and anger.

trying to rip Okinawa apart from Japan and cause chaos cannot be overlooked, either.

FYI, Mainland Japan US bases land are mostly owned by government. Okinawa bases land were owned by private owners. Imagine someone went to hospital for medical treatment. When he come back to his house, the house was flatted by Bulldozer for base. If it is your property how would you feel. You have to understand their pain and suffering. Okinawa natives are being treated worse than animals by US or Japan. Anti US and Japan sentiment and anger are gradual long term development. It has not become overnight.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yubaru FEB. 04, 2015 - 09:36PM JST

This statement here underscores your ignorance of the situation overall. When Henoko gets built all the bases from Kadena south, with the exception of a small part of Cp Foster(Zukeran) will be returned to Japanese control, thereby lessening to a HUGE degree the footprint of the military in Okinawa.

My ignorance of the situation is that I can perfectly understand why the vast majority of Okinawans are completely fed up with Tokyo's anti-democratic carrot and stick policy.

They want to be treated the same way other prefectures are treated and they want to decide on how their island is governed.

They also want much less or even better no military on their island as they know very well that any kind of military action on a small island means unleashing hell for the population.

You might find it OK to reduce the footprint of the US military by destroying another unique and precious piece of Okinawan nature and building another new military facility, Okinawans disagree.

You are free to believe whatever you want, just do not try to make it look like your ideas are shared by decent number of Okinawans.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hopefully everyone can get along and see the positive of the situation. I am sure both Abe and the local Government are doing their best. lets support them all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

heynong

Back in 1970 the Vietnam war was at it's height and Administration rights of Okinawa was not returned to Japan and was still being held by the US.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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