politics

Cars rally against Futenma base

48 Comments

About 30 cars took part in a rally calling for the closure of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma in Okinawa over the weekend.

The rally, which took place on Saturday afternoon, drew about 60 people in 30 vehicles, the Okinawa Times reported.

At the rally, former Ginowan Mayor Yoichi Iha, who has long opposed the base, said last year's gubernatorial election showed that the Okinawan people want the Futenma base moved out of Okinawa rather than relocating it to Henoko.

New Gov Takeshi Onaga has promised to block Tokyo’s plan to relocate the base to Henoko.

Participants in the rally also protested the deployment of the Osprey aircraft which they say endanger residents in the densely populated area around the Futenma base.

Iha called on the central government to listen to the voices of the Okinawan people.

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48 Comments
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Iha called on the central government to listen to the voices of the Okinawan people.

As a resident of Japan, I am thankful to the U.S. service members stationed here, far from comforts of home and family, for their work in trying to maintain safety and security in the Asian sphere. That said, there are many American tax payers and service personnel and their family members who would like to see the U.S. pull out of places like Okinawa.

Unlikely bedfellows, but Governor Onaga and like-minded U.S. citizens could make real progress toward base removal if they worked together.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Protestors on Okinawa are paid between ¥2,000 to ¥5,000 to show up and wave signs. I question their sincerity.They are violent protestors who don't care about the families and their children they scare as they try to enter or leave the bases. Please take the time and view youtube for these protestors.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Sensato,

Try to see it from an Okinawans point of view. Supposing there were a huge Japanese base in Central Park? Suppose that they promised time after time to give it back to the people of New York but didn't. And suppose, instead of moving the base to Japanese territory, they, against the will of people living in Maine, insisted on moving it there.

The leisure facilities for US military personnel. golf courses, etc., in Okinawa are many and very well developed. Okinawan children study in cramped conditions, US children have huge (in comparison) education facilities, sports grounds. The Okinawan environment has to be the safest in the world. No car bombs, suicide bombs, threats to life. They have a comfortable and very spacious environment. They even have American TV, American shopping centres and American food. Japan pays their utility bills, and I am told that they often leave the air conditioning on while they go back to the States for a long holiday.

And they do NOT create security and safety in the Asian sphere. They create a dangerous environment for Okinawa, which is one reason why Okinawans want the US military off their island. Another is financial. Entrepreneurs do not wish to invest in an area that is likely to bear the brunt of any foreign strike. The US military is holding down the Okinawan economy and is the largest reason why Okinawa is the poorest prefecture. This is a tourist paradise.

Onaga was elected on the basis of his anti-US base stance. He is not susceptible to bribery as his predecessor was. The people of Okinawa chose him and they also chose not to vote for the LDP, who lost all four seats in Okinawa.

I do agree that Onaga and like-minded US citizens could make real progress toward base removal if they worked together. Onaga is doing this. Unfortunately the PM, Abe is in a different world.

Abe's "solution" is to threaten to withhold money from Okinawa.

This is the problem. The Japanese government doesn't represent all the people. Just the rich ultra right.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

Protestors are paid NOTHING for participation and come of their own volition,

AND what Bertie says is true: "And they do NOT create security and safety in the Asian sphere. They create a dangerous environment for Okinawa, which is one reason why Okinawans want the US military off their island."

0 ( +5 / -5 )

As an American, Im all for it, all American Forces should just be pulled out of Japan!! Maybe then the protesters both silent and boistress would quickly see what the presence of these forces curtail. How long would it be before the Chinese are flying patrols over Tokyo, how long would it be before Hokkaido becomes a Nuclear test range for North Korea. Yea lets Kick the American population out NOW!

Or at the very least the United States should turn this into a hard ship tour, send all family members home, restrict soldiers to the bases, everything they need is on base anyways, shopping. food, entertainment. How fast would businesses start folding, with the lack of American stimulus out side the gates.

Oh and how fast would unemployment increase, when all the Japanese lose their jobs working on American bases where they out number the American forces anyways. But wait the Japanese wouldnt care as they look down upon those that work on American bases.

Yea Im with it get the Americans out of JAPAN, so we the world can watch this country spirals out of control, into to total chaos, Ill bet the Phillipine would welcome the presence of the American Military again, they made a mistake and have been paying for it since, Ill bet that country would love the influx of money that would come with the arrival of Americas Military.

Yea go home YANKEE, LOL

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Strange headline. I was picturing those Pixar anime characters demonstrating.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The band the Cars? At any rate, I think it is time for Onaga to wake up and smell the vaseline. Not moving the base only means it is going to stay right where it is.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They need to go in front go the Diet building and U S Embassy in Tokyo if they want to make their point. Or at least, the Defense Facilities Administration building at Kadena Circle.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

i also thought it was some kind of cosplay using the Pixar characters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a resident of Japan, I am thankful to the U.S. service members stationed here, far from comforts of home and family, for their work in trying to maintain safety and security in the Asian sphere.

Are you serious? US service members stationed in Okinawa are more comfortable than businessmen from seven stars hotel luxury suites from Dubai. You can play seven holes or nine holes golf like Tiger Wood. You can play tennis or basketball or volleyball. Well maintained swimming pool, spa and discounted coupons for groceries and drinks are not available in the states.

The weather is fair. Play ground and schools for kids are spacious. Life is so good. Beaches are calm except shooting and waves noise. The bases from Guam, Middle East and Afghanistan will be jealous to see the six stars tourists life style of spouses and kids of service men.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan is not at war. Why more tha 50,000 US soldiers in Japan? The largest in the world.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan is not at war. Why more tha 50,000 US soldiers in Japan? The largest in the world.

To protect South Korea from the North and Taiwan from the PRC.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Really though I think we should leave Japan, let the Japanese worry about their own security. There are more pressing problems and issues else where! Mainly at Home back in the states, JAPAN DOES NOT NEED THE AMERICAN MILITARY HERE. Lets Go Home.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sorry, guys! You don't want the base relocated after the country has agreed THREE TIMES on it, then you're going to have to deal with it staying exactly where it is. YOUR fault, YOUR problem.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sensato: Japan is more than capable of looking after its own affairs without any help from the U.S. As in most of the conflicts around the world, the U.S plays a roll in them either upfront or behind the seens. Maybe if Obama put more effort in cleaning up his own backyard than trying to so called fix the worlds problems, the U.S wouldn't be such a dangerous place.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Too bad they elected the candidate who will attempt to ensure that the base will stay right where it is.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I have a good idea...Let's move the base to North Korea.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What's the plan for when the bases leave? I don't foresee many captains of industry on the mainland flocking to Okinawa to bolster the economy.

When the bases leave, the money goes with them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Economists at the University of the Ryukyus have studied this situation for years and have determined the amount of off-base money spent by the American military is negligible. Shintoshin located where the old Makiminato Base existed contributes far more to the local economy than all bases combined.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Media-conducted polls show more than 80 percent of respondents are opposed to the central government's Henoko relocation plan. In recent elections -- Nago mayoral election, Nago City councilors' election, gubernatorial election and House of Councilors' election -- candidates on the platform of anti-Henoko swept all of them.

In spite of the election results, the Abe government seems determined to press ahead with the Henoko relocation plan, blatantly breaching democratic principles. Why are they so adamant and so desperate, saying Henoko is the only and best solution? Are they giving benevolence to Ginowan citizens by reducing their burden and working hard for Japan's security by moving Futenma to Henoko? Never.

The Abe government is afraid of being obliged to provide an alternative to Henoko plan because no prefecture in mainland Japan says "yes" to hosting a new base in their backyard. Probably, Abe and his cohorts don't like it themselves, either, and want to dump most of unwanted U.S. bases, necessary evils as former PM Junichiro Koizumi described them, into Okinawa.

The majority of Okinawans are thankful to active demonstrators and sitting-in protesters in front of U.S. Marine bases and on the Henoko beach for years, sacrificing themselves beyond anyone's description.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Every base abandoned in Asia and Europe by the US since the end of The Cold War has resulted in an improved local economy and better standard of living, including less crime.

The U.S. has no interest in defending Japan or any other place in Asia. The bases exist because the U.S. non-elected military/intelligence/business bureaucracy wants to influence or control events on a planetary level.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Addendum:

One should not forget the struggles that are going on for years at Takae District, Higashi Village, in northern Okinawa. What's the problem there? The GOJ is constructing 6 Osprey helipads for the U.S. Marines in lush forests surrounding the village. There, too, sitting-in protests have been going on for years against the construction of berserk facilities and the destruction of pristine natural environment.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Okinawan employment and Okinawan income loss by US base out? Just demand half of money Japan save from annual Omoiyari payment to US military; In 2013 level, Okinawa should get more than 1 billion dollars a year. Now employment. Japan Inc can build their factories in Okinawa instead of skipping to India, Indonesia, and other SE Asian countries. At least Japan Inc do not have to worry gang rape or mystery of disappearance of airplanes. Marines will love to go back to Calof. If they are assigned to Camp Pendelton, instead of in Arabic countries to worry suicide bombs, they will worry if thety can get tickets to Anaheim stadium or Disneyland.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"The rally, which took place on Saturday afternoon, drew about 60 people"

Everyone else was busy or tired I guess.

"Supposing there were a huge Japanese base in Central Park? Suppose that they promised time after time to give it back to the people of New York but didn't."

Bertie, if there were a huge Japanese base in Central Park, that would mean that Japan had won the war and they never would have promised to give it back to the people of New York.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@KoreMan: Protestors on Okinawa are paid between ¥2,000 to ¥5,000 to show up and wave signs

==============================================================

You'd better write who or what organization paid such small money to people, Are you insulting Okinawans are too poor?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Did they rev their engines?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every base abandoned in Asia and Europe by the US since the end of The Cold War has resulted in an improved local economy and better standard of living, including less crime.

Interesting point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Every base abandoned in Asia and Europe by the US since the end of The Cold War has resulted in an improved local economy and better standard of living, including less crime."

Sure, just make up stuff and post it, lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@trueokinawan: .They are violent protestors

What kind of violence the prosters did? Did they act like Middle Eastern? Americans? Hong Knong protesters? Police has damahe totals?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hello readers, US base should be relocated in US! they are not of any interest to the Japanese people. Rather it allows the US empire to keep a tight grip on Japan and on its neighboors. regarding the previous comment saying that if the US presence in Japan is stopped, China will be more treatfull. i do no think so. I rather see it as a blocker between normal relation with China, North Korea

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@darnname

Every base abandoned in Asia and Europe by the US since the end of The Cold War has resulted in an improved local economy and better standard of living, including less crime.

Any sources to back this claim up?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In my modest opinion Japan needs the US military protection to avoid an aggression and hence war, However, sooner or later the war will start despite of the US military bases in Okinawa. The only way to avoid war is to be prepared and Japan is not ready to defend itself yet.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ha, Ha ( Simpson's Character Voice ) ! : I was off work all weekend, spent the whole time at the beach ( along with everyone ELSE in Okinawa, no one even NOTICED...with all the traffic out here already, you're going to have to do a LOT better than 30 cars, lol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

True Okinawa,

Protestors on Okinawa are paid between 2,000 yen to 5,000 yen to show up and wave signs

And where did that piece of nonsense come from?

The majority of Okinawans showed their feelings about the US bases when they elected Onaga by a wide margin. Onaga makes no bones about the fact that he wants US bases off the island. He was elected on this platform. He is in direct opposition to Abe and the LDP who desperately want to keep the US happy. The LDP lost all their seats in Okinawa in the recent election.

If the turnout for this demonstration was poor, it probably has to do with the fact that it wasn't advertised. We certainly knew nothing about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A tip:

Anyone who wants to offer any opinion of his or hers about Okinawa should read Jon Mitchel's article titled "Think tank gives Japan-U.S. diplomacy an Okinawan voice" run on the Jan. 5 Japan Times.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ hokkaidoguy: Have you heard about a search engine called Google?

http://www.rwi-essen.de/media/content/pages/publikationen/ruhr-economic-papers/REP_10_181.pdf

The salient points are: The bases have very little impact on the local economy. No property or consumption taxes are derived from the use of land. Bases are more of isolated islands and the image the personnel contribute to the local economy is a myth. More taxes go to support the bases than are returned to the local economy. People are re-employed when land reverts to more productive businesses. The bases are simply a sink of government money.

There are plenty of sources. Go look.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

darnname,

I think the figure is 4 percent that comes from the US bases being housed in Okinawa. It's probably much less nowadays because of the restrictions. Tourism is the big pull.

The Okinawa Prefectural Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports announced on Sep. 19th that tourism income in fiscal 2013 increased by 12.1% to 447.868 billion yen setting a new record.

Tourism however, is limited because of the bases. Futenma and Kadena are both in prime locations for development. These areas could provide HUGE income and make Okinawa independent of Tokyo. In addition to this, people don't want to visit a place that has wall to wall US military. Just as you're lying on the beach, soaking in the sun, an Osprey hammers its noisy way above you. The roads are often filled with military trucks and you have to make wide detours to get round some of the bigger bases. Entrepreneurs do not wish to invest in Okinawa, because if there were a strike, it would be Okinawa that gets it first. This is also why no other part of Japan will have any more bases. When it was suggested that the marines move to Kyushu, a petition was gotten up within 24 hours and the plan was stopped.

The presence of US military is holding down the Okinawan economy.

And the bottom line is, Okinawa is NOT US territory. What on Earth are 74% of the US military in Japan doing on 0.6% of the total land mass of Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@darnname; Excellent post and spot on. If the bases were so great for the Okinawan Economy then Okinawa would be the richest prefecture in Japan not the poorest. When I was stationed on Okinawa from 1967 to 1968 almost all of my paycheck was spent off-base but now because of all of the leisure and recreational type facilities that have been built on base by both the Japanese and U.S. Governments you can get and do everything you want on base. You can even get your car repaired on base. AAFES, MWR and MCCS Facilities probably make more money on Okinawa than anywhere else in the world. Japanese people who have access to the bases can eat at food facilities and even pay in yen at most of them. In fact you will probably see more Japanese eating on-base than you will see SOFA status people eating off base.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@smith how did it become their fault? huh? S2pd BS!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@japan4: Does PX allow Japanese to purchase food there now? When it changed regulation? Yesterday?

Dpn't tjey have to display light otange colotrf ID with uour small pictutre on left top smd right bottom states your military status/ Top line has your number. PX employees who neglect to ID checking used to be arrested./

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@toshiko: Only Valid ID holders such as SOFA Status Personnel and Military Retirees can buy in the actual PX and Commissaries but on the bases there are Burger Kings and other type of food facilities which are operated by AAFES, MWR and MCCS where non SOFA Status personnel including Japanese citizens can eat and drink and pay in either U.S. dollars or Japanese Yen. These places are very popular with Japanese who are employed on the base, Construction workers who have projects on the bases and people who have friends with SOFA Status who escort them on the base. The Japanese people spend quite a bit of money on the bases in Okinawa and the organizations that I mentioned above benefit quite a bit by having them as customers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@japan: thank you for info.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

japan4life that was before reversion and everything was cheap to the well paid Americans. I often went hungry during that time eating the disgusting American rice. Life was very hard before reversion and the Americans are like lords and ladies. Today Japan wants these bases on Okinawa and a Chinese strike can take them all out. If it is an atomic strike most of the people of Okinawa will be dead. I do not think the Americans will respond with atomics since only a million Okinawa people died. Then again it is close enough for them to use conventional weapons and flatten the American bases. The bases are part of the American Empire as their Republic died before WWII.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@YuriOtani: What I am describing about Okinawan people eating and drinking and also doing other activities inside the base which they pay money for is happening today and has been happening for many years. Okinawan people are an important source of revenue for some on-base facilities.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

YuriOtani: The islands would not be attacked because of the American presence. Quite the opposite -- the islands are SAFE because of the American presence. You can thank them next time you see them (when you go back to Japan from the US, that is), and know that you can still look up to the hinomaru instead of the PRC flag thanks to the US presence. As for complaining that they are in Futenma, thank your governors for the delays of the thrice agreed upon relocation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

japan4life ah very few Okinawa people are allowed on the bases. The food is so so and very American. Makes a person FAT to eat on base. Most Okinawa people never visit an American base outside of an open base. Then again as an Okinawa person do no hang out on base and we have the right ID cards. I say close the bases, all of them!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@YuriOtani: There are tens of thousands of Okinawans who are authorized to enter the bases for work related activities and then you have people who are brought on base by relatives or friends who have ID cards. A lot of these people choose to eat at on-base food facilities. My argument is against the people who say the bases are a benefit to the Okinawan economy by saying that when you add in the amount of money that the Japanese Govt. pays as host nation support to the money that Okinawans spend on base by eating, drinking, playing golf or playing the slot machines at the base clubs then the Military Bases take as much or more money from the Okinawan Economy as they contribute to the Okinawan Economy. A lot of people think these bases are just Military bases but these bases have businesses inside them that compete with local Okinawan businesses and siphon money from the Okinawan Economy. That is my point.

I first came to Okinawa as a 19 year old private in the Army in 1967 and I came back as a civilian in 1971 and have lived here ever since so I know a little about Okinawa pre-reversion. I am not in favor of all bases being removed as I believe that Kadena Air Base, White Beach, Torii Station, and Army Communication sites are needed and along with the JSDF air base at Naha and the JSDF Missile sites are all all that Okinawa needs. I am against the Henoko Relocation Plan and also believe that all Marine Bases should be removed from Okinawa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The money Jaoab oay to US Defense dept, Okinawan get nothing. As for base income, base keep, do not give to Okinawan Govt or people. Example: Slot machine, If it is leased by makers, base get 60 percent and mqker get 40 % of income. Then base income goes to Base Accounting Dept. Food concession, too. They are not given to Local Okinawan Govt or people. Host nation Japan pay to USA. Base business are not to give income to Okinawans. That is why Okinawa is the poorest prefecture in Japan. Not much revenue from slot machines anyway.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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