politics

Campaigning begins for referendum on Okinawa U.S. base relocation

31 Comments
By Toru Yamanaka

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31 Comments
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Not just relocation, it would be good if they left Japan once and for all. Japan is no longer US territory anymore. Free Japan! Give back its sovereignty!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

So you want to deny the base move and increase friction even more knowing full well Tokyo will not move it out of Okinawa. What a waste of time

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Maybe you can hold a referendum on stopping the Chinese military, or asking that pigs can fly too?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Suga declined to comment directly on the referendum and repeated the government's position that it was trying to "ease the burden on the Okinawan people in a clearly transparent way."

Right! By building a new base in Henoko!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The result is a foregone conclusion, and just about everyone knows it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The Japanese Govt. is not easing the burden on Okinawa with the Henoko relocation, what they are doing is removing the burden from the people of Ginowan City and placing that burden on the people of Henoko and Nago but the burden is still on Okinawa.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

As usual writers of these 'news' stories get the issue wrong. Everyone agrees that the US Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma should be relocated. The issue is really about the new addition to the US Marine Corps Camp Schwab that is being built to accommodate the relocation. Anti-base groups want Futenma closed and no addition at Schwab. Pro-base groups want Futenma closed and the addition at Schwab built. And, there are some people with no opinion on the issue. Those three questions will be put before Okinawa Prefecture Citizens on February 24th, 2019.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ BertieWooster

Right! By building a new base in Henoko!

I am sorry but this is fake.

Although "a new base" is widely used, and so many misunderstand that a new base is being constructed, as Richard Burgan pointed out, this relocation of the Futenma air base is merge into the Camp Schwab.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Bamboo-san,

It's a new base. If I made the extensions and alterations to my house that they intend to make in Henoko, I would call this a new house. Massive new docks. Runways extending out into the Oura bay. A whole new infrastructure. However you try to downplay it, it's a new base!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Not going to make a difference. If Futenma is to close then it must move to Camp Schwab and it is not a new base. Going to be another 20 years before it moves.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The US has taken Japans sovereignty and the Japanese people are pay for it by buying US arms and increased military expenditure to support US global domination. The Japanese people should demand their Government regain their sovereignty and tell the US to relocate the base to the US mainland and stop making Japan a target.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@rlperez@hotmail.com.au

The Japanese people should demand their Government regain their sovereignty and tell the US to relocate the base to the US mainland and stop making Japan a target.

According to the SOFA agreement that Japan signed with the US, the US can operate its military ANYWHERE IN JAPAN, even on the Kurils should Japan buy those islands from Russia.

This is the consequence of Japan's defeat in WW2.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I do not think the Americans will ever return MCAS Futenma. The new airfield is not a true replacement. Then there is the new seaport which is bound to kill off all of the reefs and coral. It is like Camp Lester which the Americans will never return. It should of been returned with the completion of the new military hospital. The skinny is the Americans do not respect the people of Okinawa.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It is like Camp Lester which the Americans will never return. It should of been returned with the completion of the new military hospital

This is not exactly accurate per the Defense Policy Review Initiative and Special Action Committee on Okinawa, the return of Camp Lester and Camp Kinser has been contingent on the relocation of MCAS Futenma. The building of Naval Hospital Camp Foster was to facilitate the ability to close Camp Lester. The relocation of the Naha Port military functions and the expansion of Camp Schwab is being done to support the logistical aspects that facilitates the closure of Camp Kinser. However, because both camps provide a significant amount of housing to military and dependents, these places cannot be returned until MCAS Futenma is relocated to Camp Schwab which will allow Marines are able to move several marines and dependents off island to Guam.

It's very disingenuous to say that Camp Lester (and Kinser) will never be returned when the parameters of the agreement have not been met.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If I made the extensions and alterations to my house that they intend to make in Henoko, I would call this a new house. 

For the life of me I will never understand the logic of people who think renovating or making an addition to an existing structure makes the entire structure "new".

As I see it, it's just easier to repeat propaganda and lies than to think for yourself!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The issue is really about the new addition to the US Marine Corps Camp Schwab that is being built to accommodate the relocation. Anti-base groups want Futenma closed and no addition at Schwab. Pro-base groups want Futenma closed and the addition at Schwab built. And, there are some people with no opinion on the issue.

Sadly however a large part of the voting population here has become so apathetic to the situation that their votes are going to be swayed in a large part by the "No" campaign.

There is scant information being provided with the benefits of having MCAS Futenma closed, the return of Kinser, a large portion of Foster, the completion of the return of Lester, and the eventual return of Naha port as well.

This information is purposely being withheld from being presented to the people!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It should of been returned with the completion of the new military hospital. The skinny is the Americans do not respect the people of Okinawa.

Funny how the conversation always gets deflected towards "American's". Anyone who keeps laying the blame at the doorstep of the US is making a conscious choice to be intellectually disabled to the situation.

Japan and the US made a security agreement, you and everyone else who makes claims against the US are constantly barking up the wrong tree!

Go complain to Tokyo! Get your fellow Japaneses in mainland behind you if you feel so strongly about it. Problem is folks in mainland would rather the bases stay here, and the US and Japanese government have done quite a bit over the past generation to lessen the burden on Okinawa.

There will NEVER be a time in Okinawa, moving forward, that there are NO bases. Never. It's just a matter of who will be occupying them!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

YuriOtani: Lester cannot be returned until the Middle School and some Family Housing units in Lester are relocated to Foster.

You also have to remember that the Okinawa Government likes to move the JMSDF aircrafts from Naha. Guess where they will relocate to if the Marines leave Futenma.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If I made the extensions and alterations to my house that they intend to make in Henoko, I would call this a new house.

How does this analogy make sense to anyone?

Your address stays the same. Your house stays the same. You just added a new driveway. ITS STILL YOUR SAME OLD HOUSE.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If Okinawa is a sovereignty state, she has the right to speak up for her own! Once the Okinawa was a kingdom, too bad the atrocities done by Japan lead the inhabitants has forgotton their own identity! And they were paying the price of under military occupations that she has no part in it! It was Japan started the castastropic wars against other countries, Okinawa has no part in it!  History is so unfair!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says, as usual, that the relocation is to "ease the burden on Okinawan people."  

If Suga is right, then Yokota Air Base in metropolitan Tokyo, which is also as dangerously situated in a densely populated residential area as Futenma, must be next in line to be closed. But is it?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Both Washington and Tokyo must be fully aware, through a sequence of elections and public polls, of the fact that the majority of Okinawans are opposed to the relocation and want Futenma to be closed and returned immediately without any strings attached. If the U.S. is a matured democracy, as MacArthur so blatantly boasted, it must listen to the democratic voice of the people rather than instigate Tokyo to expedite the relocation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yubaru,

Why did the chicken cross the road?

The chicken crossed the road for no reason other than to reach the other side of the road. Likewise, the U.S. wants Futenma's replacement to be built in Henoko for no reason other than for its own sake and convenience. The U.S. says the Marines are stationed in Japan (Okinawa) to defend Japan, but, if so, why do the most active elements of them are to relocate to Guam, leaving only command and support units in Okinawa? 

Under such circumstances, why does the U.S. need to maintain Futenma’s function in Okinawa the same as ever or even strengthened? There's no strategic reason whatsoever in the construction of Futenma’s replacement in Henoko with lots of new functions and innovations added which neither Futenma nor Camp Schwab has -- the reason why it may be called a new base.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The U.S. Marines were not necessary to be on Okinawa when I first came here in 1967 and they are not necessary to be on Okinawa in 2019. The U.S. Marines on Okinawa have nothing that would deter an attack by an enemy and they contribute almost nothing to the defence of Japan but yet they have the most bases on Okinawa and the Japanese taxpayers are going to spend 3 trillion yen (current prices but will probably double or triple before the completion) to build them a state of the art facility. The U.S. Marines on Okinawa have more dependents on Okinawa than fighting troops and they spend more time on their golf courses, private beaches and other leisure facilities than they do training.

Send Shinzo Abe and the Okinawa hating LDP and bureaucrats in Tokyo a message and vote no to Henoko!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The closing of Camp Kinser and other bases have nothing to do with the relocation of MCAS Futenma. I suggest you search for an agreement signed by Japan and the U.S. in 2012 where they agreed to close Camp Kinser and relocate Marines and their dependents to Guam regardless of what happens to MCAS Futenma.

The timetable for the closure of Camp Kinser depends on the Japanese Govt. building replacement facilities on Guam and existing U.S. Bases on Okinawa. The same for Naha Port which depends on a new port being built in Urasoe. The relocation of MCAS Futenma is a separate issue from other base closures and relocation's. I would like for people who are talking about all bases being closed south of Kadena if MCAS Futenma is relocated to give a time table for that happening. You not only have Camp Foster but you have Plaza Housing Area, Kishaba Housing Area which are controlled by the Air Force as are all housing areas even if they are on Marine Bases and the Ft. Buckner Communication site behind the Futenma Shrine which is controlled by the U.S. Army which would have to be relocated somewhere on Okinawa.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good idea! US should also have a referendum on border wall!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bringing the thread back on topic, this referendum is a waste of taxpayers money and time!

Do not be at all surprised if the turnout is low, but whatever the turnout is, the results will still be overwhelmingly "no".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru,

You seem to be hyperconscious of how tax money should be spent, for you call the referendum "a waste of taxpayers' money and time."

But the Abe government is supposed to spend Y2.5 trillion or about $25 billion for the construction of the Henoko new base, according to the Okinawa Prefectural Government's rough estimate. Compare this exorbitant cost with the Prefecture's FY 2019 budget in the amount of Y734.9 billion.

In my opinion, this whole project of relocation is a white elephant in light of Japan's defense and security. Then, can you ever say the referendum is "a waste of taxpayers' money and time"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Any money spent on the U.S. Marines on Okinawa by the Japanese Govt. is a waste of money. Go inside a JSDF base on Okinawa and see how they live and then go inside a U.S. Marine Base on Okinawa and look at all of the Military Family Housing, Dependent Schools and Leisure Facilities the GOJ has built for them and see the difference. The JSDF is more important for the defense of Japan than the U.S. Marines. Instead of wasting the Japanese Taxpayer money in Henoko, spend it on the JSDF.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s interesting how on Friday and Saturday, major news outlets like Asahi, Mainichi, Yomuri, etc are reporting that it will be a massive hurdle to get more than 50% participation in the referendum. In spite of that Kyodo releases a “poll” claiming nearly 70% would participate... sounds fishy. Maybe a last ditch effort to renew interest in something that is a non-issue to most Okinawa residents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've also heard the same story as japan4life tells in his Feb. 18 | 12:58 am JST post  Apparently in order to alleviate an impression that USFJ are using bases overly and extensively they are letting JSDF come inside some hitherto U.S.-exclusive bases for a joint use of them. And JSDF personnel are struck with a stark contrast between U.S. facilities and their own -- housing and all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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