politics

Hatoyama apologizes for plan to move Futenma base within Okinawa

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The fresh agreement is effectively on par with an existing relocation plan under a 2006 Japan-U.S. accord.

The people of Okinawa lost big and they were strung along. There was 0% of Futenma base moving outside of Okinawa from the beginning.

But the failure to appease the people of Okinawa is likely to be Hatoyama’s biggest problem as Japan heads into nationwide elections, which must be held sometime in July or close to that time.

Hatoyama have proven to the people that he have no power and credibility to change the lives of the Okinawa people much less the rest of the Japanese people lives. He will be voted out.

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American soldiers is really needed for Japanese ?

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Me thinks that Okinawa and the municipalities involved just got a whole lot more money from the central govt. May look similar to the 2006 plan, but the prefecture is a lot richer for all the fuss they put up.

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The people of Okinawa lost big and they were strung along. There was 0% of Futenma base moving outside of Okinawa from the beginning.

exactly.

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Well, it certainly looks like it. Political posturing in front of the Okinawan electorate. They have been strung along for many years now from what I've been reading. The Okinawan authorities and the central government could have saved everybody a lot of time by just saying 'we do this for that amount of money'.

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For all the nay-sayers, at least Hatoyama is trying to do something about the problem, unlike the previous administration. I'm not saying he did a good job, but at least he's trying. This could be said for some of the other changes he promised. He is trying, but the old LDP policies are so entrenched, change, if there is any, will be slow and painful. Really hope they do a good environmental impact study on the area they are planning to use. I still don't think they should fill in the sea. It's just not right.

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Heck, the previous administration forged an agreement with the U.S. to move Futenma from crowded Ginowan to less populated Nago 4 years ago.

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seeker1 at 06:06 PM JST - 23rd May

For all the nay-sayers, at least Hatoyama is trying to do something about the problem, unlike the previous administration. I'm not saying he did a good job, but at least he's trying. This could be said for some of the other changes he promised. He is trying, but the old LDP policies are so entrenched, change, if there is any, will be slow and painful. Really hope they do a good environmental impact study on the area they are planning to use. I still don't think they should fill in the sea. It's just not right . . . . . . .. . .

Fair enough. However, Japan is a sovereign nation, and can just show the American the door. Sayonara !!! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

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"I still don't think they should fill in the sea. It's just not right."

Gosh, I guess they'd better return Koto Ward in Tokyo to Tokyo Bay then.

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. . . besides US bases in Okinawa are hardly a deterrent! US's milk -toast response to the recent sinking of the South Korean ship by NK is clearly a reflection of the kind of help Japan can expect : blustering and rhetoric.

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Enough said. Japan cannot exist without the USA.

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****"I still don't think they should fill in the sea. It's just not right."

Most of the sea has already been filled in on Okinawa!

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Unfortunate but Japan will be torn apart without US support.Declining population makes them more rely on 'export'(where US & EU play vital roles!).

It is hightime that Japanese give up their claims on Okinawa.Okinawa is Americans' and good for Japanese too,to secure their sea from enemies surrounded.

No more Kamikaze!!

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Enough said. Japan cannot exist without the USA.

Of course it can't. Nowhere could possibly exist without the USA, could it? Shame on all of us for ever thinking otherwise.

...not American, are you by chance?

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Triple888: Enough said. Japan cannot exist without the USA.

Japan do not have their military all over the world whereas the U.S. does. What does that say about the U.S.?

It's the U.S. that cannot live without being on Japan. The bottom line is about national interests and security for both the U.S. and Japan.

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@showmenbiswas : Ask Chinese and NK.

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If Hatoyama actually believed he could move the base out of Okinawa he's truly loopy. If he didn't truly believe it, and was likely making a typical campaign pledge, which is probably what happened, the citizens of Japan are loopy for believing him.

The U.S. has it's military all over the world because it can. Japan would have liked to, and tried, but failed. Having foreign armies occupy your nation for generations is one of the drawbacks to losing a war.

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I think japan should make strong their defense. Why japan are dependent on American soldier for their defense ?

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@showmenbiswas: It was the question before WWII,not anymore. I'd love to check the facts on the war pact documents ;)

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"...and apologized for his failure to make good on his earlier vow to move the military facility outside the prefecture."

But just last week he was saying he never vowed that at all, when it was clear that he would never be able to live up to his promise.

Anyway, anyone with a brain knew this was going to be the outcome, more or less. I'm curious how vulcan is going to react to Hatoyama, whom s/he has supported throughout this debacle.

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I hate to say I told you so but..........

Now where's yuri when you need her?

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Hatoyama's career is finished - he has been shown to be incredibly weak over this situation. He will be gone after the DPJ is massacred in the upper house elections.

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This is all nonsense and makes Uncle Sam look like the bad guy.

If Japan doesn't want the bases, end SOFA.

They won't end SOFA because nobody on the other side of the Sea of Japan forgot what Japan did 1910 to 1945.

America is just being used, and the American sellouts within Japan aren't speaking up enough.

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Prime Minister Hatoyama made a big deal about changing the previously agreed upon base relocation agreement during the election campaign. However, it turns out that he promised more than he was willing to deliver. He is a weak leader and will be seen as such come the next election cycle. If the Phillipines were able to ask the American military to completely remove bases from their territory there is no reason why Japan could not make some changes to the agreement. Hatoyama could not find an alternate base location that he could find domestic support for. This exposes not only a weakness on his part with respect to Japanese relations with the US but also shows that he is a weak leader doemstically.

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Well, that was an interesting 8 months or so. Final conclusion: what we spent years negotiating for was actually the best answer. What a surprise!!

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Actually the answer to this whole thorny issue has been staring us in the face for years in the form of a most informative book by Robert Eldrige "The Origins of the Bilateral Problem - Okinawa Postwar U.S.- Japan Relations 1945 -- 1952Read the book and know of the "Secret Deals" that both the USA and Japan cover up. Frankly, is is Okinawa that should be made privy to what is being done to their island. This is why I continually end my posting with these words- "Lo the poor Ryukyuans"

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The government actually never "promised" anything to Okinawa. It has stressed over and over that it was keeping all options on the table, including the reaffirmation of the 2006 agreement as it stands. Hatoyama et al may have just mistakenly read Obama (not the only ones !!!) as being willing to offer a few concessions early on and contain the dispute before mobilizing public opinion, months ago. And the Japanese side may genuinely believe relocation is their best national security option. Now to convince Ozawa and the coalition. ;-)

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It never went anywhere in four years.. under the LDP. How will "the same ole plan" move any faster?

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marion..

This is why I continually end my posting with these words- "Lo the poor Ryukyuans"

I watched a movie called "instinct" with Anthony Perkins. In it he was a PhD who studied gorilla's. He was at a zoo and pointed out to some person that the gorilla has developed depression and was without spirit. Freedom was only over the fence but even if the cage was opened, the gorilla would probably not leave the cage and jump the fence.

The Okinawans in a sense have been "caged with occupation" for so long, a lot of them think fighting and voting is futile. Even when there is a chance now.. after never knowing life without the cage (the cage in this case being one they cannot enter--the bases) many have just lost spirit to do much but bystand and silently hope.

This attitude has been translated by some Americans as "they don't care one way or another"... but it is a bad translation, a translation made by those not in the know.

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Vulcan: Your likening the Ryukyuan as being "caged withoccupation" is excellent. Still, I feel we should be helping the Ryukyuan to independent thinking. I love these people!

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I should have wrote 260 billion a year.

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Lizz: "The government actually never "promised" anything to Okinawa. It has stressed over and over that it was keeping all options on the table, including the reaffirmation of the 2006 agreement as it stands. "

True, but then why is Hatoyama apologizing for not keeping his vow?

vulcan: "I watched a movie called "instinct" with Anthony Perkins."

Ummm... the guy from the Psycho movies? My guess is that as usual you've just slipped up when trying to make some grand allegory and you meant Sir Anthony Hopkins, but hey, wouldn't be the first time you've blundered.

As for the actual allegory, it's as ridiculous as your mistake. I have a lot of Okinawan friends, and love to visit the place. Most don't fall into your 10% or so radical group that wants the American bases out and makes a huge fuss. Most don't care either way. I love Okinawa, and I love the people that I have met and that I know there; they have a strong spirit, a more laid back and natural approach to life (generalization, but there you go), and a beautiful culture. If you want to vilify someone, vilify the Japanese who basically stole this from them, took all the good parts, and then let the Okinawans rot in war and its follow-up. Okinawa should not be a part of Japan.

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vulcan: Forgot again! Sorry... I wanted you to address my comment earlier about what you now think of Hatoyama. Is he still your hero? Are you surprised it took him 8 months to make Japan a laughing stock in the world community, and then just go back to the original agreement?

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Yeah, I think I'll pass on that book....heh.

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TOUCHEE ! ! ! . . skipabeat . . the article is Right ON ! . . . American foreign policy: "stealth imperialism" AND "economic colonialism." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .and what's a little bit of 'blowback" . . . the rapes , murders, exploitative damage of indigenous folk by crazed American Marines ? ? ? Necessary collatoral damage, that's all ! ! ! ! ?

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Lizz: "The government actually never "promised" anything to Okinawa. It has stressed over and over that it was keeping all options on the table, including the reaffirmation of the 2006 agreement as it stands. "

True, but then why is Hatoyama apologizing for not keeping his vow?

The Hatoyama "promise" was that "as much as possible would be moved out." For obvious reasons he never came out in "good faith" to directly proclaim the facilities had been negotiated away. And hence an apology for causing confusion that more was not able to be accomplished. I'm more perplexed by the fact that the PM would even consider running on such a stance of "good faith" without any consultation with the United States.

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I don't see this episode about Futenma as being a "waste". The negotiations was an incredible peek into US/Japan relations, and the DPJ is now up to speed on the base issue - 2006 Agreement is very important to the US Govt. DPJ did not know how important these bases are to the US, but do now.

For the Okinawans, this is a good time to take stock of the situation, and move aggressively on securing an industry that provides jobs. Futenma may be relocated, but the economy must be developed/modernized. The goal is to somehow meet the standards on the main islands even w/ the presence of noisy bases - manufacturing? Typhoon EuroFighter - it may be a refreshing change to deal w/ European industries for a change. A refreshing change is needed.

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You see, PM Hatoyama could not deliver on his promise, so he may be very inclined to make a fighter purchase so that Okinawans would have a chance to better their economic situation by procuring YuriOtani's Typhoon EuroFighter.

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It was a mystifying waste of political capital. The DPJ was elected on a manifesto very short on foreign policy and entirely concerned with fixing Japan's economy and society. They have been mortally wounded on an issue that has very little resonance with the Japanese people outside of Okinawa. A quick resolution most certainly will not be worth the election results this summer.

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Yes Okinawans have been given the raw end of the deal by both Japan and the US throughout history. But gimme a break about "Ryukyuans" - the vast majority of Okinawans consider themselves Japanese. The few that don't should certainly be given a voice and their own representation, but let's not get carried away here.

I agree Okinawa should be made aware of what's happening and why. That said, a lot of them act like children. There's a good reason why the Ryukyuans were conquered - the same reason they brutally conquered other peoples and existed in the first place as a kingdom.

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