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Gov't overturns Okinawa's ban on U.S. base relocation work

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This was totally expected, and it was also covered on NHK's News 9 program last night. The government has the authority to overrule Onaga and it has taken that step and the next one is using the national governments authority to authorize the construction based upon national security needs.

“It is shocking that the government is failing to protect Japan’s endangered species and trampling over the wishes of so many Okinawans.”

Tell this to the humans that live in Ginowan around the airbase. Their lives mean more.

-16 ( +9 / -25 )

Don't distort facts Yubaru. The airbase grew around the Okinawan villages after they shooed the original inhabitants.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Means the national government has usurped the powers of the Okinawa government. Always with the security just like the old Imperial government.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Don't distort facts Yubaru. The airbase grew around the Okinawan villages after they shooed the original inhabitants.

Huh? You are way off base, no pun intended here, on your belief that the airbase "grew" around the villages. There are plenty of ignorant people who are making comments on this issue without knowing the reality of the situation.

The airbase was built on farmlands taken during the battle of Okinawa and the US kept the land after the war and developed the air base. There was a small village in the area but NOT located on the base.

The Ginowan and the surrounding communities built themselves up around the base after the base was already in use.

The municipality build an elementary school at the end of the runway, people built their houses, the schools, the university, the city office, their apartments, their stores, everything AFTER the base was built and operational.

Take your own advice.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

the government is failing to protect Japan’s endangered species

This is the first time I have seen this issue raised in reference to Henoko. I remember that 10 years or so back a dam in Nagano was cancelled because the intended area was the habitat of an endangered eagle. (or maybe it was just a convenient out).

The case of the Asia dugong is clear cut. It used to be widespread from Vietnam to Okinawa and over to the Chinese coast. Now it is under extreme stress.

From WIKI

Today, possibly the smallest and northernmost population of dugongs exists around the Nansei Shoto islands, and a population formerly existed off Taiwan.[5] An endangered population of 50 or fewer dugongs, possibly as few as only three individuals, survives.[35] around Okinawa.[36]

Why is this never mentioned by the Japanese media who regularlyy have programs about cute animals and how much Japanese are in tune with nature?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Yubaru..could response..keep it up...

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

This is the first time I have seen this issue raised in reference to Henoko.

Which tells me you have not been aware of, or following this story for any length of time. This "issue" has been at the forefront of the discussions for literally more than a decade. First with the dugong, a type of manatee, and then more recently about the coral reefs.

Why is this never mentioned by the Japanese media who regularlyy have programs about cute animals and how much Japanese are in tune with nature?

Yes it has been, and probably because YOU never saw it.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

I'm coming to Okinawa, soon, and as a travel writer will examine not only the 'issue', but what it means to locals and visitors. So, all I can say to this thread of conversationalists is keep up the vitriol. Makes for (not-so-good) journalism.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@TrevorPeace, I hope that you get the opportunity to discuss the issue with people on both sides of the issue. It is far easier to see the people who are protesting against the move than those that are in favor of it and those that are apathetic to the issue as well.

It continues to make the news daily here, particularly now with the government over-ruling Onaga.

I hope to see your article or what you write about it in the near future.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Wow! Fascism much?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"Means the national government has usurped the powers of the Okinawa government."

Only if you believe Okinawa isn't a prefecture of Japan. Like it or not, the national government has always had final say over every affair in every area of the country. And that includes Okinawa.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The approval for work was just a formality, only meant as a pretense. I hope everybody starts to understand the manipulations of those in power.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yubaru, the way Futenma was seized was not as innocuous as you would have people believe.

The land now occupied by the U.S. military as Futenma was seized in clear violation of Article 46 of The Hague Convention, which states: “Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.”

Futenma Air Base with a total land area of 4.806 square km, and with private land accounting for 93%, was constructed during the Battle of Okinawa and afterwards, while area residents were herded into concentration camps.

When they were finally freed and allowed to return home, they found that their villages and rich farmland had disappeared without a trace, incorporated within a vast air base. Reluctantly, they settled down outside the fenced-off compound in areas designated by the U.S. military as settlement areas with no regard to property rights of landowners.

Iha Yoichi, former Ginowan City Mayor and a native of Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City), writes in his book (Futenma Air Base is in Your Neighborhood -- Let's Remove It Together, p.15), that "when the war was over and people were allowed to go home, they found their villages had disappeared completely, the area transformed into a vast base."

The area where the Futenma Air Base sits was an important traffic junction connecting the north and south of Okinawa. Along a beautiful pine tree-lined highway five villages formed Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) with a total 1944 population of 12,994 -- Ginowan, Kamiyama, Aragusuku, Nakahara, Maehara and Aragusuku. Ginowan was the largest with numerous houses and stores, where public offices including a post office, a school (Ginowan Elementary School), the village hall, and family graves were located. They were all swallowed up into the 2,400-meter runway (later extended to 2,700 meters) and other facilities.

8 ( +14 / -7 )

You are correct Yubari.

I googled the issue and found many news references.

Gary

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

This will continue to get bigger. I've said it before. I'll say it again. This could be the spark from which serious calls for Okinawan Independence flare. Abe doesn't know what he's getting himself into.

Why can't they build a base on Gunkanjima Island. its called battleship island and is very conviently located close to Nagasaki while at the same time in a strategic position to help Japan against any Asian aggression. there's nothing but rubble there.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Yubaru, the way Futenma was seized was not as innocuous as you would have people believe.

It is that innocuous, it was during war, not to mention that anyone can copy and paste from wiki, next time please include the links.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Japanese government should reduce the large amount of US bases as many as possible because Okinawans have been suffering from many troubles and accidents related to the bases. It seems that the central government makes rather new bases there than reduce them. All prefectures should share proper roles of military bases for national security.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

And here it is once again the ugly face of a government that doesn't care about its citizens. The Abe government pretends to follow the rule of law, but this is just an odd suited fig-leaf to cover its arrogance of power.

Is this move constitutional? I don't believe so as the “We have decided to nullify (Okinawa’s) cancellation of the approval,” implies a view that doesn't care about due legal process.

Clearly it is easier for Abe and his cronies to harass Okinawans then to resolve the obvious structural injustice of the status quo.

To pretend that this is about the well-being of Ginowan citizens is a cynical pretense that not even Ginowan citizens will buy. The central government has completely ignored the fears and wishes of Okinawan citizens around US military bases for decades and the only reason to "care" about Futenma was immense pressure after the horrific rape incident perpetrated by US military personal in the 90ies.

Odd enough we have just witnessed the staged "special care" of the central government for three small hamlets around Henoko, whose leaders were invited to Tokyo to participate in another episode of the LDP's divide and rule farce.

Suga personally offered "subsidies" to the leaders of tiny hamlets "that support the Futenma relocation" and observers were stunned by this shameless display of LDP sanctioned official bribery. One can only guess what those hamlet leaders thought they were doing there, but they looked like a complete miscast in a charade they obviously didn't have the faintest idea about.

Yubaru OCT. 28, 2015 - 07:53AM JST

Your information is factually wrong Yubaru. There were five villages in the area that is now Futenma and the land was taken and the villages destroyed after the war was over. As BertieWooster has correctly pointed out a clear violation of the Hague convention.

This is a good article on the topic:

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Yoshio-SHIMOJI/3622/article.html

2 ( +9 / -7 )

With such a 'wonderful' attitude of Tokyo Okinawans have all rights to call for Referendum and gain Independence.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Yubaru: What good is a link when you already have justified those facts, because it happened during war time?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This issue is going to the courts where hopefully the Japanese Govt. will be forced to explain why this facility is so essential to the security of Japan and why this facility is absolutely necessary to be on Okinawa, something the J-Govt. has not been able to explain so far.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

"The U.S. says it will not close the Futenma until a replacement facility is ready."

Exactly! So, the whiners can point their anger at Onaga when they realize that it's taking way longer than expected for the base to be moved. As for "sharing the burden", it simply doesn't work that way because you think it's unfair. Okinawa is at a more strategic position; Okinawa was where the invasion of Japan occurred after Japan declared war. They should thank their lucky stars the land was given back at all. Then THEY chose to build around the bases, not vice-versa. Now the US protects them -- and now they could not protect themselves in the least -- and they have the lowest GDP of the nation, but still demand money.

Onaga is not supported by 100% of the people in Okinawa, and should stop saying, as some on here do, that he represents ALL of the people. He does not. Half, if even that. They are more vocal, to be sure -- but so are the Uyoku about issues. Doesn't make them right, and certainly doesn't mean they represent all of the people. Onaga was rightly overruled on this.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

So who will nullify this nullify order of nullified order?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's military bases remind me of E. Germany and Cuba. The USA leased Guantanamo Bay from Cuba which wants to kick the USA out without success. The W Germans were smarter, they bribed the Russians into leaving E Germany by building their barracks in Russia to smooth their return to Russia.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru (Oct. 28, 2015 - 07:15AM JST):

The government has the authority to overrule Onaga and it has taken that step and the next one is using the national governments authority to authorize the construction based upon national security needs.

Here again, you incorrigibly repeat the Henoko relocation is necessary for Japan's security needs. I asked you on another thread why you think so, despite the fact that the core elements of Okinawa-based Marines would move to Guam for some strategic reasons (Oct. 1 Marine Corps Times, "Marines identify units that will move from Japan to Guam"). In other words, the remaining Marines in Okinawa will not be on active duty to engage in tactical wars and cannot be a deterrence to dispel invading enemies. Under such circumstances, why do you still think Futenma's replacement must be built at Henoko? Probably, you need both Washington and Tokyo’s help to answer this question.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I wish Okinawa would declare independence. I'd move there.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Onaga is not supported by 100% of the people in Okinawa, exactly only 60% of the 55% of the voter turn out support him thats about 1/3 of the Okinawa population, hardly full support. A Referendum for Independence would require at least 2/3 to 3/4 support of the Okinawa population, id very much doubt they get that support or even have the stomach for it. face it Okinawa is part of Japan funded by Tokyo and the national governments in almost every democratic country has the last say on matters of national importance

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Gov't overturns Okinawa's ban on U.S. base relocation work

This tells me all I need to know about Tokyo's attitude: despicable, and servile

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Well Onaga will have to answer why he had neglected due process if they go to court since the government did not change any plans that was submitted in gain the original permit from the former Okinawa governor. Onaga required to provide reason why he revoked the permit. There was no referendum so the people demanded defense won't work either.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Here again, you incorrigibly repeat the Henoko relocation is necessary for Japan's security needs.

When you learn to read I will respond appropriately. In my post I wrote:

The government has the authority to overrule Onaga and it has taken that step and the next one is using the national government's authority to authorize the construction based upon national security needs.

This is not an opinion, it is a fact declared by Suga. You are barking up the wrong tree and seem to think that you know better what the security needs of Japan than the people who actually run the country. You can keep barking, but like all dogs who bark too much, they get annoying and ignored.

Moderator: The sentence "When you learn to read I will respond appropriately" is extremely arrogant and impolite. Perhaps it's time you found another discussion board because if you keep posting comments like that, you will be leaving us.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ smithinjapan

Onaga is not supported by 100% of the people in Okinawa, and should stop saying, as some on here do, that he represents ALL of the people.

Nobody here ever claimed that Onaga is supported by 100% of the Okinawan people. That would be an absurd claim.

What I and many others here claim is that as far as the Futenma relocation is concerned Onaga represents the will of a large majority of Okinawan people and this claim is based on a variety of objectifiable evidence.

Okinawans demand a drastic reduction of US military facilities without any new facility being built in Henoko and to pretend anything else is only possible if one ignores the obvious.

@ wtfjapan

face it Okinawa is part of Japan funded by Tokyo and the national governments in almost every democratic country has the last say on matters of national importance

Then please face it that no proper democratic country would ignore the clearly expressed will of the people of a whole prefecture, state, region in way that the Japanese central government does.

All well working democracies have provisions that prevent a majority from dictating a regionally defined minority policies that go contrary to the expressed will of that region. And even without legal provisions any such attempt for example in Europe or the US would lead to a national crises, calls for independence or even civil war and therefor no contemporary politician would even dare to act like the LDP does in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What ever possessed the U.S. to built an airfield in the middle of a crowded urban area?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Aly Rustom: Why can't they build a base on Gunkanjima Island. its called battleship island and is very conviently located close to Nagasaki while at the same time in a strategic position to help Japan against any Asian aggression. there's nothing but rubble there.

Battleship Island doesn't look big enough for a base or a runway. And there's already a US base close to Nagasaki, at Sasebo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashima_Island

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Fleet_Activities_Sasebo

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Servile is, as servile does. Tokyo's government brings new meaning to the term

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

What ever possessed the U.S. to built an airfield in the middle of a crowded urban area?

They didnt. The better question is why did the people of Okinawa choose to build an urban area around the base?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Ybaru (Oct. 28, 2015 - 01:55PM JST):

The point at issue is not whether the government has the legal authority to press ahead with the relocation plan. No, it is whether there's rationality, justice and democratic principles on the part of the government.

I'm not barking up the wrong tree. I'm just asking you to answer the question I posed above.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Kapuna: What ever possessed the U.S. to built an airfield in the middle of a crowded urban area?

You just joking with us, right?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Futenma_Air_Base_in_Okinawa,_Japan_circa_1945.jpg

This photograph is an overhead aerial photo of Futenma Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, taken circa 1945, right after the end of World War II and the liberation of the island from the Imperial Army of Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

in the name of world universal security than can put your military base everywhere on earth?crap!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The area where the Futenma Air Base sits was an important traffic junction connecting the north and south of Okinawa. Along a beautiful pine tree-lined highway five villages formed Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) with a total 1944 population of 12,994 -- Ginowan, Kamiyama, Aragusuku, Nakahara, Maehara and Aragusuku. Ginowan was the largest with numerous houses and stores, where public offices including a post office, a school (Ginowan Elementary School), the village hall, and family graves were located. They were all swallowed up into the 2,400-meter runway (later extended to 2,700 meters) and other facilities.

In rebuttal....look at the top picture and bottom picture in the link here. Consider that the war ended in June of 1945 and the base runway constructed during and towards the end of 45'. The information above is using post ww2 information.

There was no "major" road, the villages referred to here are and were spread out over an area that does not include the base either. The pictures tell the story.

http://netlog.jpn.org/r271-635/2010/05/futenma-1945.html

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Anyone interested in knowing how the area where the Futenma Air Station sits was before WW Two is recommended to visit Ginowan City Museum at Mashiki, Ginowan City, where there is exhibited a 3-D scale model of the area. He will see for himself how idyllic it was with neat villages standing along a highway (not in today’s sense).

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Listen to the people, you servile nitwits in Tokyo

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I understand this was expected and part of the process to get the issue into the courts.

Now the question is when will this move forward. I am looking forward to the discussion in the court since it will bring up the issue of representative government.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Yubaru OCT. 28, 2015 - 02:30PM JST

They didnt. The better question is why did the people of Okinawa choose to build an urban area around the base?

Absurd question. Okinawa is where the Okinawan people live, it is their land and they have all the rights in the world to decide on how to use and develop it. Obviously you seem to think that because the US defeated Japan it possesses some inherent rights in Okinawa that are above that of the local population.

The proper question is how did the US military justify that it kept occupying a prime piece of Okinawan land in the center of the island - in addition to 20% of the overall land area including other prime locations - for so long without considering the needs of a rapidly developing local population?

The only answer I can find is because it didn't care about the local population, or only in so far as its own interest were not compromised.

@ Yubaru OCT. 28, 2015 - 02:41PM JST

There was no "major" road, the villages referred to here are and were spread out over an area that does not include the base either. The pictures tell the story.

I beg your pardon, but the one picture you linked doesn't tell any story.

It shows an already constructed US military base in Ginowan, after the villagers were taken away and after the villages were destroyed.

If you want pictures to tell a story you will have to select pictures that really tell a story like for example the one at the link below:

http://blog.livedoor.jp/woodgate1313-sakaiappeal/archives/44615847.html

There you can see how Futenma looked like before the US military went berserk. While the foto is not of a very good quality you can clearly see the villages and also the tree lined road that the central connection between Futenma and Naha.

You can also just listen to elder Ginowan citizens who can tell you all the details of this really very unpleasant part of US military history, but I suppose that something you wont really want to hear.

I've heard plenty of those stories from Ginowan, but also from Naha, Iejima, Yomitan, etc., and any US citizen would have good reason to be truly ashamed about what those first hand accounts tell us.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Thank you bam_boo for posting this:

If you want pictures to tell a story you will have to select pictures that really tell a story like for example the one at the link below:

http://blog.livedoor.jp/woodgate1313-sakaiappeal/archives/44615847.html

There you can see how Futenma looked like before the US military went berserk. While the foto is not of a very good quality you can clearly see the villages and also the tree lined road that the central connection between Futenma and Naha.

It makes it very clear.

And the PR and "whitewash" attempts all the more "fuzzy."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

bam_boo: "Nobody here ever claimed that Onaga is supported by 100% of the Okinawan people. That would be an absurd claim."

You guys constantly claim that he speaks on behalf of Okinawa, without addressing the fact that half or more stand against him.

"What I and many others here claim is that as far as the Futenma relocation is concerned Onaga represents the will of a large majority of Okinawan people and this claim is based on a variety of objectifiable evidence."

Wrong. Not a large majority. Not even a majority.

" Okinawa is where the Okinawan people live, it is their land and they have all the rights in the world to decide on how to use and develop it."

And the Okinawan people live in Japan; it's not THEIR land to decide what to do with, it's Japan's. Japan has decided, so it's time for that minority to listen.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You guys constantly claim that he speaks on behalf of Okinawa, without addressing the fact that half or more stand against him.

He was elected by a majority on a platform of stopping the relocation within Okinawa. The people who didn't vote made the decision to leave the decision to those that voted. Therefore their opinion, whichever it may be, is irrelevant, as they left the decision in the hands of others.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ smithinjapan OCT. 28, 2015 - 07:50PM JST

You guys constantly claim that he speaks on behalf of Okinawa, without addressing the fact that half or more stand against him.

What evidence do you base that wired claims on? Just because they didn't vote for him doesn't mean that they stand against him.

Anyway, the way you try to reason here just shows that you have not the slightest respect for the Okinawan democratic process.

Wrong. Not a large majority. Not even a majority.

Yes a very clear and easy to verify majority of somewhere between 70% and 80% of Okinawan oppose the Henoko relocation.

On several occasions have I and others here provided ample and fact-based evidence from various sources for such claims whereas you have yet to provide one objectifiable piece of evidence for such an absurd claim.

It seems you are making up your very personal story about Okinawa, but it is completely out of tune with the reality in the prefecture.

And the Okinawan people live in Japan; it's not THEIR land to decide what to do with, it's Japan's. Japan has decided, so it's time for that minority to listen.

What exactly is that legal subject "Japan" you are talking about? And how does that "Japan" own Okinawan land, e.g. when exactly has Japan decided to expropriate Okinawans?

I believe you are mixing up quite some things here, smithinjapan. Obviously you don't know much about the Japanese constitution as there is nothing even remotely hinting at a legal subject called "Japan" in possession of all Okinawan land.

Please note that in the current constitution the subject is "the people" who are guaranteed liberty, the pursuit of happiness and local self-government.

Okinawans are the people and if there's any kind of common "subject" that can limit the freedom of the individual it is "the people", who in Okinawa happen to be Okinawans. If the majority of Japanese would want to force something onto the majority of Okinawans (note that this is not happening at the moment, at least not yet) it would very likely interfere with the constitutional right to local self-government, but then looking at your posts here I suppose trying to engage you in such a discussion wouldn't make much sense...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What shocks me is the surprise expressed by people here that the national government would override the wishes of a prefectural government over something related to national security. As Yubaru said, this was totally expected.

With regards to damaging a coral reef, Okinawa's plan to increase tourism is going to do much more damage and over a much longer time than a construction project EVER would now that scientists have proven the chemicals in sunscreen are highly toxic to coral polyps: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/20/us-usa-coral-sunscreen-idUSKCN0SE2VE20151020

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan should just be friends with China (biggest trading partner). This posturing to profit the military industrial complex needs to end. All death toys should be melted down from destroyers to bayonets, and boy scouts of bedlam uniforms burned. We should have Starbucks on Mars by now. Come on, people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fadamor,

Apparently, you agree with Yubaru in that Henoko relocation is necessary for Japan's security needs. You can then answer my question I asked him: Why must Futenma's replacement be built at Henoko and only at Henoko, despite the fact that the core elements of Okinawa-based Marines would move to Guam for some strategic reasons (Oct. 1 Marine Corps Times, "Marines identify units that will move from Japan to Guam"). The remaining Marines in Okinawa are defanged, so to speak, and cannot work as a deterrence against invading enemies. Under such circumstances, why do you think Futenma's replacement must be built at Henoko?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Under such circumstances, why do you think Futenma's replacement must be built at Henoko?

Dear "voiceofokinawa", What I think is completely irrelevant. It's not my job to ensure the security of the nation named "Japan". That job rightfully belongs to the Japanese government. They have determined that a U.S. Marine base is needed in Okinawa to help with the security of the region. What you think or what I think doesn't matter.

The fact that a bunch of Okinawans can't see the need for the base is not surprising considering Okinawans have absolutely ZERO interest in the security of Japan and usually object to even being called Japanese. Couple that with the Okinawans' experience in defending their islands (a.k.a. NONE), and I don't find it odd in the least that the Japanese government has overridden the Okinawan governor.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@ Fadamor OCT. 29, 2015 - 12:18AM JST

It's not my job to ensure the security of the nation named "Japan". That job rightfully belongs to the Japanese government. They have determined that a U.S. Marine base is needed in Okinawa to help with the security of the region. What you think or what I think doesn't matter.

This sounds like the nation you come from is not a democracy. In a democracy it is the people who have the final say on all national matters, including national security, and the government ought to listen closely to what the people want.

In a democracy national defense is there to protect the people, not to take away their freedom and in a democracy the burden each region bears has to be somehow balanced on a rational basis, which is clearly not the case in Okinawa.

The fact that a bunch of Okinawans can't see the need for the base

It is not "a bunch of Okinawans" who oppose the new military base in Henoko, but the large majority.

I believe voiceofokinawa is Okinawan and he is just asking the same questions that this large majority has been asking for more then a decade: why does it have to be Okinawa who has to suffer once again?

Neither voiceofokinawa nor the Okinawan people have gotten a remotely satisfying answer to such questions and obviously neither Tokyo nor Washington thought they would need to seriously answer such questions. It seems they are so used to harassing Okinawans and forcing things upon to them that they never really considered seriously consulting Okinawans.

I don't find it odd in the least that the Japanese government has overridden the Okinawan governor.

The Japanese government has not only overridden the Okinawan governor, but is attempting to force something onto the Okinawan people that they clearly don't wan't and this is odd, at least in a proper democracy.

If you think this is business as usual then please show us anything comparable (where the central government has forced a policy onto a whole prefecture, a state or a region, against the democratically expressed will of the clear majority of that region) from another established democracy. I don't know any such example and I don't think it exists as it would contradict the very basis on which modern democracies are built on.

considering Okinawans have absolutely ZERO interest in the security of Japan

Okinawans over the past 70 years have provided more then 20% of their main island for the "security of Japan" so what you say just sounds quite impertinent and totally amiss.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Face it: Because of the US-Japan alliance, Tokyo wants the bases; many, though not most, in Okinawa do not. When Japan wants to dump the bases, it will suddenly feel the need to meet the demand of the Okinawans -- which will, of course, be preceding by a propaganda campaign to move public opinion against the bases, both in Okinawa and mainland Japan.

In short, until Japan wants to move away from the US and towards a more neutral position between China and the US, the bases will stay. Or, alternatively or most likely concurrently, until the US wants to draw down from its commitment - or is forced to because of lack of money -- to contain China, the bases will stay.

We are still decades away from either of these.

All else is commentary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As an American citizen and taxpayer I have long advocated the closure of all American military installations in Japan. Indeed all over the world.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This sounds like the nation you come from is not a democracy. In a democracy it is the people who have the final say on all national matters, including national security, and the government ought to listen closely to what the people want.

Not quite correct. The country I hail from is a democracy using a representative form of government. "The People" have never had the final say because we have delegated representatives to speak for us. They are elected by a majority vote and so each individual who didn't vote for that representative is disenfranchised from having an effect on the government of the country. Those people ALSO constitute part of "The People" you are going on about, yet have zip-point-squat ability to affect the government... until the next election cycle rolls around. And yet - it is STILL a democracy.

why does it have to be Okinawa who has to suffer once again?

Again, I have to point out the apparent cluelessness of Okinawans when it comes to global strategic maneuvering. They can stick their head in the sand all they want but the truth is their island is a prime location for controlling access to the South China Sea from the south. All the denials in the world will not change that fact. So yes, Okinawa is chosen to host bases by Japan and always WILL be chosen to host bases by Japan. As for "suffer"... LOL. An air base is being built away from the city, like the locals wanted, because it was noisy and the danger of falling aircraft made the city residents uneasy. How exactly is this base built away from the cities causing Okinawans to "suffer"?

Okinawans over the past 70 years have provided more then 20% of their main island for the "security of Japan" so what you say just sounds quite impertinent and totally amiss.

What's "amiss" is that you claim Okinawans provided the land. The land was provided by the nation of Japan, of which the main island of Okinawa is but a small part. The treaties and agreements that allowed the bases to be established on Japanese soil were signed by the two respective sovereign nations. Okinawa, being a mere prefecture, wasn't asked to join in.

This is the amazing disconnect I keep hearing from Okinawa. They can't seem to get it into their skulls that matters of national security are not decided on at the prefectural level. They act like they should be the only ones to decide what gets placed in their prefecture. I challenge you to provide any instance where a prefecture (or state) dictates to their nation what will and will not be established for national security. The nation always trumps the prefecture/state when it comes to what they feel is needed for the security of the nation - which takes me back to my statement that this override wasn't surprising in the least.

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Fadamor,

It's not my job to ensure the security of the nation named "Japan". That job rightfully belongs to the Japanese government.

Of course, an assumedly private citizen, you are not in a position to say anything about the security of Japan. Security exclusively belongs to government.

But who suffers most under this arrangement agreed on between the U.S. and Japan over their heads? And they don't have any say about the relocation issue when there are so many foibles in it?

If you insist that locals must do as the government says, you are already deeply involved in the issue in spite of yourself. Otherwise, you can't post any opinion on this thread.

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@Fadamor "They have determined that a U.S. marine base is needed in Okinawa to help with the security of the region".

The real security of the region has nothing to do with your Marines and their bases, deployed on Okinawa. Your marines tend to drink alcohol, molesting local girls instead of supporting a suitable level of discipline and combat skills. Further, due to utterly aggressive and plain boorish political course of U.S. administration towards to other nations those bases pose a clear and present danger to Okinawans. They are obliged to live in potential target zones for Chinese and Russian missiles. It is a shame that Tokyo authorities play a vassal role for Washington's seniors but it's a matter of real life. The best solution for Okinawans is to call for Independence, cutting military ties both with Tokyo and Washington. China is not interested to invade Okinawa. Chinese never did it in the past centiries. People from all parts of SE Asia would be happy to have rest there. Even Russians would be happy to visit sea resorts, spending money for alcohol drinks and rest on sea coast.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We are in agreement

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The country I hail from is a democracy ... "The People" have never had the final say because we have delegated representatives to speak for us

Geez, Fadamor, that sounds scary. How come the people never had the final say even it's supposed to be a democracy? So then in your country the representatives don't care about the peoples mandate?

Could it be that you're from a country like Azerbaijan or maybe Kazakhstan?

So yes, Okinawa is chosen to host bases by Japan and always WILL be chosen to host bases by Japan.

May be you missed the point of this discussion here which is not about whether there should be any US military bases in Okinawa, but whether so many are needed and especially whether a new military facility is so desperately needed that it is opportune to override basic democratic rights.

It speaks volumes though that you shied away from providing any comparable example from other established democracies.

As for "suffer"... LOL.

OK, we get your mindset. Apparently you only endorse "suffering" that you define as such. That makes it quite meaningless to discuss this topic with you.

Just to clarify it for the record: Okinawans are suffering for a variety of reasons.

There are concrete reasons like noise, fear of accidents, fear of becoming a victim to the dangers that a military in your backyard poses (like the recent agent orange pollution scandal), further the inability to access the land and the graves of ones ancestors, the inability to plan ones cities in a meaningful way, etc. etc.

But the main point here is that Okinawans are deprived of the ability to determine the future of their island themselves.

Because the Japanese government and the US military are forcing a military occupation onto Okinawans, that in size and proportion is complete out of any rational balance, Okinawans apparently feel that their very "pursuit of happiness" is endangered.

I believe the most real and scary of all fears that Okinawans bear comes from their very own horrifying experience, that of having been the battlefield where Japan was defended at all costs.

It is the experience of having lost one quarter of the civilian population for the "defense" of "ones nation", because military doesn't care a rotten nut for the people.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It seems that both sides of this argument are talking past eachother. I believe this is because of the difference of opinion on what makes this decision legitimate. If the Okinawans want independence so badly as some on this board seem to claim, they are going to have to fight for it. Nobody is going to give you the power to make any decisions. The world just doesn't work like that. Even democracy in its purest form is a thinly concealed veil of what is the truest point in nature: the strong and powerful will always control the weak. Right and fair has nothing to do with it. Of course there have always been cases in history where the weak stood up to oppression such as Ghandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. And even they did not go without great conflict, sacrifice, and fighting (albeit nonviolently). The difference is that it was a large group of people standing in unison with a "voice" saying no more. In Okinawa it seems there is a division in the voice, not a unison.

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Voting participation of 2014 Okinawa governor was 64% in which Onaga obtained 51.7% of the votes placing him as the present governor but that is a far cry from being the majority of the entire Okinawa people.

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He was elected by a majority on a platform of stopping the relocation within Okinawa. The people who didn't vote made the decision to leave the decision to those that voted. Therefore their opinion, whichever it may be, is irrelevant, as they left the decision in the hands of others.

You really do not understand Okinawan politics if you think that the reason he was elected was only because of the base issue, on that you are wrong. Plus you assume too much about the majority who did not vote, many as I have stated countless numbers of times here, are apathetic to the issues of the base and are tired of all the negativity regarding them.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

In Okinawa it seems there is a division in the voice, not a unison.

I can not really follow your argument as neither in Gandhis India nor in Martin Luther King Jr.'s US was there an "unisono voice", at the beginning of their respective fights they weren't even able to represent a clear majority. The only real power they had on their side was truth and the very human sense for justice.

In Okinawa the voice is as clear as it can possibly get in a pluralist democracy: somewhere between 70% to 80 % are clear about their demand to stop the Henoko relocation and to have the US military footprint on the island drastically reduced. And please note that the large anti-Henoko, anti-US military demonstrations in Okinawa are by proportion of the population manyfold larger then any single demonstration that has ever happened in India or the US, even if you take the lowest official estimates.

Now anybody with a sense of justice (and without a clear bias) should be able to see that the status quo in regard to US military in Japan is not fair and that the history, which led to this apparent injustice, is defined by the violation of the human rights of the Okinawan people.

Even democracy in its purest form is a thinly concealed veil of what is the truest point in nature: the strong and powerful will always control the weak.

I believe that the best contemporary democracies are very successful at appointing exactly that problem by making sure, through various provisions, that there is no force beside the people that is able to control the people and by taking care that minority rights are respected by the majority.

Unfortunately the Japanese democratic system is comparably weak and as you say often the strong control the weak, but Okinawans are doing their best to change this.

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bam_boo

I guess you can't read since I posted the result of the recent result for the election of governor of Okinawa in which 60% overall participation to the election where 51.7% voted for Onaga which means a rough amount of 30% of the entire population. No there is really not a clear voice. A clear voice would had been a referendum which was required as due process to revoke a permit that was signed by the former governor. If anyone with a sense of justice would reach this conclusion called DUE PROCESS under law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The following study reveals Okinawan's attitudes towards the bases.

https://www.nhk.or.jp/bunken/english/reports/pdf/report_13040101.pdf

The abstract is only a few pages. Worth a read.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

voiceofokinawa: Anyone interested in knowing how the area where the Futenma Air Station sits was before WW Two is recommended to visit Ginowan City Museum at Mashiki, Ginowan City

Anyone wanting to whine over the USA paving over a few villages on a little island before the war was even over needs to study on Japan's battlefields and Japan's scorched-earth policy and Japan's 18 February 1938 to 23 August 1943 terror bombing of Chongqing. Could probably find a few museums in China describing those.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Alls_Policy

The Three Alls Policy was a Japanese scorched earth policy adopted in China during World War II, the three "alls" being "kill all, burn all, loot all". This policy was designed as retaliation against the Chinese for the Communist-led Hundred Regiments Offensive in December 1940. Contemporary Japanese documents referred to the policy as "The Burn to Ash Strategy".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Chongqing

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@ turbotsat OCT. 30, 2015 - 01:21PM JST

Absolutely off topic post.

Anyway, it is hard to believe that there are still people in this world who think it makes sense to offset human rights violations against human rights violations. Absurd worldview, but we know it well from the Japanese Uyoku right-wingers crowd who is constantly pointing fingers to all kinds of human rights violations committed by everyone except Japan.

@ Black Sabbath OCT. 30, 2015 - 02:06AM JST

Thanks for the link, which supports what I and others here are saying: that clearly more then 70% of the Okinawan people demand a clear reduction of the U.S. military bases and oppose the current Futenma relocation scheme within the prefecture.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

bam_boo: @ turbotsat: Absolutely off topic post.

Not off-topic at all. If all the complaints posters are making over a few houses being paved over, at a time directly contemporary to the massive actions Japan undertook that I posted above, are not off-topic, then neither is pointing out the ridiculousness of their claims in comparison to the much greater claims other peoples in the region have against them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gov't overturns Okinawa's ban on U.S. base relocation work

Pathetic

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

turbotsat,

your arguments are so twisted that it makes sense to look at them a bit more in detail.

If all the complaints posters are making over a few houses being paved over,

OK, we understand that this is not about houses related to you or any of your kin.

at a time directly contemporary to the massive actions Japan undertook that I posted above, then neither is pointing out the ridiculousness of their claims in comparison to the much greater claims other peoples in the region have against them.

What do you mean by "the much greater claims other peoples in the region have against them."? Whose claims against who are you talking about here?

The claims of Chinese human rights victims against Okinawan civilians? Or possibly the claims of those victims against the people here (including me?) who claim that the human rights of Okinawans were violated?

It seems impossible to get your point here, but it sounds like you are talking about some kind of trading venue for claims stemming from human rights violations.

Could it be that you are trying to say: because the Japanese military violated the human rights of Chinese (and other nations) civilians the US military is entitled violate the human rights of Okinawan civilians?

If so may I ask which concept of justice this weird argument is based on? Sounds a bit like from the Hundred Years' War out of the Middle Ages.

Have you ever heard of the Hague or the Geneva Conventions?

It is a fact that the rights of the Okinawan people were violated, at least according to the Hague convention, which was ratified by the US.

And it is a fact that how the Okinawan people are treated by the central government wouldn't be possible in any other proper democracy I know of. It is an unfair, unbalanced, unjust and discriminatory.

Okinawans have truth and justice on their side and that's why we can only hope they will succeed in their struggle.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

turbotsat Oct. 30, 2015 - 01:21PM JST,

I've intentionally kept mum about your post of Oct. 30, 2015 - 01:21PM JST because any comment on it must touch on off-topic issues such as atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, indiscriminate air raids on more than 60 Japanese cities including the Great Tokyo Air Raid, atrocities committed by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

This much said, I say I still believe the Futenma Air Station sits on stolen private property and, therefore, the U.S. side has no inherent right to demand a replacement for its return. Deterrence has nothing to do with the Futenma relocation issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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