politics

Okinawan assembly votes to hold referendum on U.S. base move

28 Comments
By Toru Yamanaka

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But, they can live with noise and crimes commits by the local people. They carry on as if without the US base personnel there would be no crime in Okinawa.

Why should they accept more criminals, especially since Japanese government try to cover them, and local people don't have real profit from this situation. If they already have some level of crime in Okinawa doesn't mean they'd like to rise it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

YubaruToday  05:43 am JST

Many of the very people that protest the bases in rallies or outside of gates, or get their friends and others to vote against the bases, will be in line to go on base for the friendship festivals, eat the pizza, drink the beer, watch the concerts, and have a great time with their US military neighbors.

Thats because most people don't hate their neighbors simply because they're in the military, that's just silly to even suggest it! However, people are upset about countries that hide behind the lie that we are only here to protect you from China and NK.

Sounds as if you hate anyone who is against foreign militaries occupying foreign lands.

I showed fairly accurate numbers of countries who have military bases in foreign countries so anyone can plainly see how disporpotinate things really are. You and many other can continue claiming China is a threat, and I agree but the numbers clearly show which country is the biggest manipulator and threat. Also you can compare how many wars has each country been in since WW2 and no one even comes close to America.

I love America and most of its citizens but NOT the actions taken by its government. So you can't claim I hate America or people who serve in the military, I only loath those in politics and powerful government positions and their actions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Many of the very people that protest the bases in rallies or outside of gates, or get their friends and others to vote against the bases, will be in line to go on base for the friendship festivals, eat the pizza, drink the beer, watch the concerts, and have a great time with their US military neighbors.

That's Okinawa too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The catalyst for the promise to close Futenma was a vicious rape. What happened afterwards is being over exaggerated, because the people in their 20's and 30"s today, have ZERO memories of the events, and some will over exaggerate to scare others into believing that the military is the devil incarnate.

Believe me, the reality is far from different. The US military, on occasion, does cause some problems, compared to the local population though, it's minuscule. Intelligent folks know and understand this.

Intelligent folks here also know they are not getting the whole story, as what they read and see in the news is only 1/2 or less of reality.

Remember to back in the 50's the people in Okinawa rioted because THEN they were seething with anger like hell at the injustices they had to deal with, and the military ignored them. That never was even thought of nor an issue after the rape case.

NOW however the US military on Okinawa are light years different, yeah shite happens, but nothing like the "old" days which some would have you believe is still today! It's not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At the very least, a referendum will bring attention to the issue. Let's take a look at present, which countries have the most foreign military basses on the planet.

Despite recently closing hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, that doesn't include aircraft carries that can travel anywhere in the world.

38 of those US basses are in japan.

China has 38 foriegn military basses.

And Russia has 14.

Is this an example of an American democracy at work?

All the fear of other countries expanding their militaries and NO ONE even comes close to the US.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As regards the development of the Futenma issue:

My conjecture is the U.S. government had long been considering Futenma's relocation from the crowded urban area to the less populated Henoko area in Nago. The Marines already had designed in the 1960s blueprints to build an airfield on reclaimed land off Henoko, which they submitted to U.S. Congress for a budgetary approval. . 

Then the 1995 rape incident occurred and Okinawan society was seething with anger like hell about not only the incident but also U.S. military bases as the source of all evil.. Okinawa's anti-U.S. base feelings seemed to explode like a powder keg anytime soon. Washington's Japan hands must have had an acute sense of crisis over the future of U.S. bases at the time.

It was under such circumstances that Futenm's return was announced in 1996. Before long, the rape incident was forgotten and people's attention was focused only on the Futenma issue.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Unless you lived in Okinawa during the U.S. Military Occupation, you have no idea about how the people of Okinawa feel about the U.S. Military Bases

I guess that you are trying to say that includes you?

This is VERY misleading, as there are plenty of people here on this island that, in retrospect, those that lived through the occupation until 72 that is, feel that the island should never have been returned to Japan.

Many who grew up during the occupation are extremely thankful for the support and help they personally received from the US military because it allowed them and their families to survive!

Unless you lived in Okinawa during WWII you have NO idea how the people of Okinawa feel about the military bases! And it's people of THAT age group that are the main protesters from within Okinawa!

One can not blame them blame them either really, as their memories of the war are often refreshed daily, at the sight of the military bases near their homes.

The people of today are a different story, most people here on Okinawa are totally apathetic to the bases being here and THAT is the reality of today in Okinawa!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Perhaps a smaller foot print can be negotiated with okinawans as that would still act as a deterrent and reduce the tensions with local people preference.

That's what IS being done with the relocation of MCAS Futenma to new facilities on Camp Schwab. All the bases south of Kadena, with the exception of a portion of Camp Foster WILL be returned.

Also please keep in mind that the anti-base coalition people NEVER discuss the need for a viable deterrent, NEVER. It's all or nothing, hence the problems with the government in Tokyo. We do not live in Utopia, the neighbors of Japan are not all dancing around the camp fire singing kumbaya either.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ah another diversion to distract the people in this prefecture from what's really the problem...

I'll tell you its not the bases that are hurting this prefecture.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okinawans have spoken consistently and the US being a democracy needs to fig out other options otherwise I am afraid that US wont have a moral right to dictate to other countries in similar situations. I am not sure if the base is as critical as it once used to be with the progress in technology and hypersonic missles coming into picture. It is an easy target for the current China if it comes to that point. I for one do not want to see US spending tons of money on maintaining overseas nuclear bases. Perhaps a smaller foot print can be negotiated with okinawans as that would still act as a deterrent and reduce the tensions with local people preference. The US currently does not have a very strong moral or ethical standing compared to cold war times to dictate to the rest of the world on freedom or democracy. As an American I would like to see a strong America with balanced economy (vs current financial pyramid and service based consumption economy) that has both strong production and consumption aspects and more efficient defense (vs the unsustainable foot print now).

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Throw them out. Japan can defend itself, especially from attacks and ridicule from POTUS.(trump)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

OK I Exit ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While the referendum has no legal standing

Then what's the point? Everyone already knows the Okinawan government doesn't want the base there, why waste time and money on this? It'll show that they really, really don't want the base there?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Unless you lived in Okinawa during the U.S. Military Occupation, you have no idea about how the people of Okinawa feel about the U.S. Military Bases. The people of Okinawa are against the relocation of MCAS Futenma because it is being built because of the rape of a 12 year old girl by 3 U.S. Servicemen and the Japanese Govt. and the U.S. Govt. are pretending that they care about the safety of the people of Ginowan City. If the Japanese Govt. and the U.S. Govt. cared about the people of Ginowan, they would have held high level talks to close MCAS Futenma right after Reversion of Okinawa to japan but they did not. The U.S. Marines are not necessary to be on Okinawa for the Defense of Japan, never have been and never will be.

It would be better for the JSDF to take over all of the U.S. Marine Bases on Okinawa because the JSDF do not need Military Family Housing, Dependent Schools, Golf Courses, Bowling Centers, Movie Theaters, PX, Commissaries, Fitness Centers, Tennis Courts, Private Beaches, etc. If the JSDF took over all of the U.S. Marine Bases on Okinawa, they would still be able to return over half of the land currently used by the U.S. Marines and perform the same function.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The referendum is useless. They don't need to hold a referendum because 90% of Okinawans want to see the US Military base move out of the Island.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's unfortunately an irrational proposition, as no matter what status Okinawa has, bases will be upon it in order to have capability against China.

Unless the referendum is to ask if they cede and join China? But then even China would want to add bases. There's really no chance of anything else because of its location and the sooner people understand that the better.

The only option is for Tokyo to force another prefecture to take a base. That will never happen

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Only thing that they can do is delay the inevitable.

the bases will remain due to the agreements made and the money given,everything else is just political games , too bad most people can’t see it for what it really is.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Nonbinding? What's the point?

Okinawa can not hold a binding referendum on the issue as it has no true say on the issue officially. Even if they said it was a binding referendum the bases wouldnt move an inch.

An off island anti-base group gathered the required number of signatures on a petition that forced the prefectural assembly to take this up in debate and decide to hold the referendum. That is conveniently left out of the article. Their hands were forced and now our taxes will pay for this.

It will cost billions of yen that could be better served elsewhere!

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

The referendum is a foregone conclusion, but If the numbers are low, it will prove the point of the apathy of the people here. The other point is just how the referendum will be worded and what questions will be asked. If it is a blanket "yes" /"no" the "no" will win

Unlike some, I WILL vote, but my vote will be based upon how the referendum is worded. Others will make all sorts of comments here, but they will have no vote, their comments and opinions in trying to influence anyone here who also may have a vote,

It took the power a a group of people, from outside the island, against the bases to bring this to a head, NOT Onaga nor anyone else, but folks from OUTSIDE of Okinawa who got the petition started and get the required signatures to get this to an official vote! If it was left to the people IN Okinawa, this would have never happened, and on that note I am disappointed, because this flies in the face of everyone who makes the claims that Okinawa should decide this issue,

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Nonbinding? What's the point?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If these bases are so benign, then why is it that nowhere else in Japan will take them?

Why not ask the people in Misawa, Iwakuni, Yokosuka, Yokota, Fuji, Sasebo and others in mainland Japan.

Remember this, Okinawa will NEVER be without a military presence of some country or another, be it one that flies the Stars and Stripes, or one that uses the Rising Sun, or together, like now.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Okinawa's consensus on this issue has already been shown very clearly by a series of elections, especially by the recently held gubernatorial election, and so there may be no need to have a referendum any longer. Nevertheless, let's hold it to make it the last straw for the government to give up that evil plan.

Some posters contend the issue (construction of the new base at Henoko) must be looked from a broader perspective. But, as I posted on another thread, international situations are always changing as new developments set in.  See:

”China, Japan seek warmer ties against backdrop of U.S. trade friction” run on Japan Today: Oct. 25.

Therefore, they cannot say, based on such volatile international situations, that the new base at Henoko, a facility with a service life suggested by the Marines to be for over 200 years, must be built at all costs and offered to them free of charge..

Allowing Futenma's function to be relocated to Henoko means Japan has officially sanctioned the permanent U.S. military presence in Okinawa, or more broadly in Japan, that is nothing different from permanent occupation or pseudo-occupation.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Provided the LDP doesn't interfere too much, a referendum will show how the Okinawans feel about the US bases. Good move.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why should the people of Okinawa have to accept a U.S. Military Facility that is being built because a 12 year old girl was forcibly abducted and brutally gang raped by 3 U.S. Servicemen. If that rape had not happened, then MCAS Futenma would not have been designated to be closed and the new facility would not be being built at Henoko.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

But, they can live with noise and crimes commits by the local people. They carry on as if without the US base personnel there would be no crime in Okinawa.

The noise and crimes are just a excuse. They just don't want US troops on their island. Who does? There's a reason why its in Okinawa, far away from where the real Japanese live. If it wasn't for mainland Japanese, Okinawa has no need for American "protection" in the first place.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Mayhap from a strategic viewpoint it is a better location?

Probably there is a valid case to move from the current location (though th Okinawa government created the problem by allowing development so close to the pe-existing base), the rest is political posturing.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

If these bases are so benign, then why is it that nowhere else in Japan will take them?

US bases are supposed to be good for local business, right?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Noise, accidents and crimes committed by military personnel and civilian base employees have long irritated local residents

But, they can live with noise and crimes commits by the local people. They carry on as if without the US base personnel there would be no crime in Okinawa.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

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