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Japan defense chief, Okinawa governor remain apart over U.S. base

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Kishi adamantly repeats the same mantra that Henoko is "the only solution from the perspective of maintaining the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance and addressing the dangers (of having the base) in Futenma."

If the relocation of Futenma's function to Henoko is necessary to maintain deterrence, how does Kishi think why the most active units are to transfer from Okinawa to Guam, more than 2,000 km apart? 

The new air base, Futenma's replacement, is supposed to house M-22 Ospreys and transport Guam-deployed combat units, together with the amphibious assault ship Wasp, to emergency spots near Japanese waters.

Under such circumstance, can Kishi say Henoko is the only solution? LOL.

Or has the bilateral agreement to transfer 9,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam been scrapped?

Note, however, that he mentions the “deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance”, not simply the “deterrence”. Does this mean, unless Japan does as dictated by the U.S., the U.S. will not protect Japan, thus weakening the Japan-U.S. alliance?  LOL.

 

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-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If the relocation of Futenma's function to Henoko is necessary to maintain deterrence, how does Kishi think why the most active units are to transfer from Okinawa to Guam, more than 2,000 km apart? 

The majority of Okinawa based Marines are not leaving Okinawa. There will still be more than enough on Okinawa to fill out the amphibious ships normally stationed there.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I don't know why Denny the time thief is even being consulted, the guy has no contribution whatsoever to the process other than 'no'. This is a national defense responsibility, not local prefecture politics.

Perhaps it's time Suga punishes Okinawa for electing Denny.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Maybe the Japanese should restore the Ryukyu Kingdom and leave the Ryukyu's entirely? After all the Japanese took the kingdom by force. Since Japan lost WWII they no longer have any business occupying someone else's land. It's time for Japan to leave the Ryukyus.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Perhaps it's time Suga punishes Okinawa for electing Denny.

Petty political retribution. Straight out of the Donald Trump play book.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Desert Tortoise,

The majority of Okinawa based Marines are not leaving Okinawa. There will still be more than enough on Okinawa to fill out the amphibious ships normally stationed there.

The majority of Okinawa-based Marines after combat units transferred to Guam will be support and command units. They aren't active combat elements to actually grab arms to fight a war. They are only responsible for logistics (supplying food and equipment) and commanding, aren't they?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why do they say “Okinawa governor” and not “all of the people of Okinawa”?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If Okinawa-stationed Marines are only support and command units while the most active elements of the Marines are deployed to Guam, more than 2,000 km away from Okinawa, what’s the use of building Futenma’s replacement in Henoko?

I’ve raised this same question many a time on other threads of JT in the past, but no one has given me any satisfactory answer. Kishi says it’s for maintaining deterrence but this proved to be nonsense and shenanigans. If it were not for any reasonable rejoinder or counterargument, Futenma Air Station must be closed and the land returned immediately with no string attached.

,

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Blah blah blah blah blah. That is all this governor does. Where is all this action he promised. Blah blah blah. Just another politician. Yep, Okinawa got fooled again.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If Okinawa-stationed Marines are only support and command units while the most active elements of the Marines are deployed to Guam, more than 2,000 km away from Okinawa, what’s the use of building Futenma’s replacement in Henoko?

Because they get a free ride in Okinawa. They'd have to pay their way in Guam and they can't afford it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

To be fair to Okinawa politicians, I don't think it matters what their opinion is of US bases there. Those decisions come from Tokyo and are only very indirectly dependent on the opinions of local Okinawa politicians since they have no authority to over ride the decisions made by the MoD, Diet and the Japanese PM.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If Okinawa-stationed Marines are only support and command units while the most active elements of the Marines are deployed to Guam, more than 2,000 km away from Okinawa, what’s the use of building Futenma’s replacement in Henoko?

Marine Amphibious Brigades deploy to Okinawa from the US west coast on six month deployments. Those are in addition to the Marine ground and air units permanently stationed on Okinawa. These west coast based forces bring their ships and aircraft with them. If you close the airfields they have no place to train and if a war were to break out, operate from.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Maybe it’s time for the occupation force to leave

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Desert Tortoise,

*Marine Amphibious Brigades deploy to Okinawa from the US west coast on six month deployments. Those are in addition to the Marine ground and air units permanently stationed on Okinawa. These west coast based forces bring their ships and aircraft with them. If you close the airfields they have no place to train and if a war were to break out, operate from.*

So, in the future, not only the U.S. west coast-stationed Marine Amphibious Brigades but also Guam-deployed Marines would come to Okinawa on a six-month basis to train their combat skills in Okinawa. In other words, the Marine Okinawa's raison d'etre is for helping active Marine elements come and train their combat skills, and not necessarily for the defense of Japan in contingency.

Then, you can't say Futenma's relocation to Henoko is necessary for deterrence. The relocation is just for the sake of the Marines' convenience and egoism, nothing more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In other words, the Marine Okinawa's raison d'etre is for helping active Marine elements come and train their combat skills, and not necessarily for the defense of Japan in contingency.

Then, you can't say Futenma's relocation to Henoko is necessary for deterrence. The relocation is just for the sake of the Marines' convenience and egoism, nothing more.

Where better to train than where you intend to fight? If you intend to defend a piece of land it is best to know that piece of land intimately, better than your enemy knows it. And in the event Okinawa is under attack, or about to be attacked, where are the Marines supposed to operate in Okinawa's defense if they don't have airfields and the other facilities now at Futenma and planned to move to Camp Schwab? Use public roads as runways and servicing areas like the Swedes do? Think that would go over with the locals?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Desert Tortoise, 

Suppose contingency occurs near Okinawa while the Marines' combat units are stationed thousands of miles away, what's the use of having a training base in Okinawa? You say an airfield is needed to transport them to Okinawa. But if that were the case, there’s already a bilateral agreement that says civilian airports could serve for that purpose.

There’s absolutely no need to reclaim pristine waters off the Henoko coast to build a new airfield.

I repeat. The Henoko new base is being built only for the sake of the Marines’ convenience and egoism, nothing more. The U.S. government and taxpayers feel no pain at all, only reaping the benefit as if it were a godsend, for all the financial and physical cost is borne by Japanese taxpayers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If the US military is going to really relocate from Futenma to Henoko, why is there a huge construction project underway in Futenma?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BertieWooster,

Is there a huge construction work underway in Futenma now? That's really a serious problem.  

It means both Tokyo and Washington have begun to think the Henoko relocation plan is impossible whereby new facilities that have been planned for the Henoko new base must be built at the current site. They can justify it because the SACO agreement says Futenma won’t be returned unless its replacement is completed at Henoko.

The situation is like a gang telling turf residents that they won't vacate or return the land they’re illegally occupying unless a replacement complete with utilities and furniture is provided, and for free at that. Seeing their demand is not met, they start refurbishing the present hideout building with money collected from the residents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Suppose contingency occurs near Okinawa while the Marines' combat units are stationed thousands of miles away, what's the use of having a training base in Okinawa? You say an airfield is needed to transport them to Okinawa. But if that were the case, there’s already a bilateral agreement that says civilian airports could serve for that purpose.

I reckon you didn't fully understand what I said earlier. Marine Amphibious Brigades from the US rotate through Okinawa on six month deployments. There is always a large contingent of combat ready Marines and their air wing present on Okinawa. In addition, not all of the current Marine combat force on Okinawa is leaving. The Marines on Guam are about three days away by sea or three hours away by air.

Civil airports do not have the necessary UHF communications and navigation equipment required by military aircraft. Civil aviation uses VHF and most military aircraft, certainly the ones I flew and especially helicopters, are not equipped with VHF comm/nav. To do so takes up weight and space not needed for military ops and adds a maintenance burden. All of that would have to be brought in, set up and qualified. Much smarter to simply have military equipped airfields with your people there and ready to fight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Civil airports also do not have the specific fuels used by the military. The Navy and Marine Corps use a special blend of jet fuel called JP5 that is less volatile (higher flash point) than the Jet A used by civilians. That is done for fire safety on ships. Once you fuel a Navy or Marine Corps aircraft (or Coast Guard too) with Jet A you can't return to the ship until you have burned through several full loads of JP-5 to ensure no Jet A is left in the fuel system. Military fuels also have additives not found in civil fuels to extend storage life and suppress bacterial growth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Desert Tortoise,

We've been always told by the U.S. side that 8,000 to 9,000 active elements of about 19,000 Marines in Okinawa would relocate to Guam, leaving support and command units only in Okinawa. In fact, the force realignment plan agreed between Japan and the U.S. in 2012 stipulated so.

But you say, "There is always a large contingent of combat ready Marines and their air wing present on Okinawa. In addition, not all of the current Marine combat force on Okinawa is leaving."

Taking your statement at face value, probably, 4,000 combat-ready Marines will remain in Okinawa. Was the 2012 agreement scrapped?

Even so, if contingency occurs in waters near Okinawa, it'll be Japan's Self Defense Forces that have primary responsibility to respond to it, that is, to defend Japan's territory. U.S. Marines will come to the aid of JSDF only when it's necessary.

Under such circumstances, what's the reason for the U.S. Marines to maintain Futenma's function either at the current site or at Henoko?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi,

Bases such as Kadena, Yokota and USMC Air Station Futenma are very dangerous not because they are planted in the middle of densely populated residential areas but because they are taken aim at by Chinese and probably by North Korean missiles.

Danger involved with USMC Air Station Futenma will never disappear whether it is relocated to Henoko or not. So please ask your counterpart in Washington to close Futenma and return the land to Okinawa's control immediately and with no string attached.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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