politics

Japan to pay $3.1 bil to relocate U.S. Marines from Okinawa

111 Comments

The United States and Japan said Thursday Tokyo would pay a third of the cost of Washington pulling thousands of Marines out of Japan as it reduces its heavy military presence on Okinawa.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera signed the protocol amending the 2009 Guam International Agreement, as part of a meeting on the two countries' alliance.

Changes include "clarifying that Japan will contribute up to $3.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. dollars in direct cash contributions to develop facilities and infrastructure in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands", the state department said.

It accounts for 36% of the projected $8.6 billion cost of the relocation.

The protocol also affirmed the U.S. government "shall favorably consider requests by the government of Japan to use training areas in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands."

In a 2012 agreement, the United States said it would pull 9,000 Marines out of Okinawa -- 4,000 of whom would go to Guam and 5,000 to Hawaii and on rotations to Australia -- as it seeks to ease a long-running standoff over the future of its huge military presence in one of its top Asian allies.

Okinawa continues to be a source of tensions in a security relationship that both sides see as indispensable.

Around half of the 47,000 US service personnel in Japan are based on the strategically located island chain, which is nearer to Taiwan than it is to Tokyo.

The United States had agreed in 2006 to shift its Futenma air base -- a longtime source of grievance as it lies in a crowded urban area -- to a quiet stretch of seashore, with Marines leaving Okinawa.

The Futenma relocation has been stuck due to local opposition, but the two governments have agreed to treat the Marine relocation separately.

The planned Marine move, which is due to begin in the early 2020s, is part of a wider rebalancing of U.S. military assets in the region under President Barack Obama's trumpeted "pivot" to Asia.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

111 Comments
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Guam's economy is going to get a huge boost first from construction of housing and infrastructure then from having all those grunts with cash to burn in bars and clubs and shops, meanwhile Okinawa will be in decline and perhaps it will return to a quiet peaceful economic depressed island that the activists have protested for over the years.

Be careful what you wish for as you might just get it.

20 ( +28 / -8 )

I'm afraid StormR-san is correct in predicting an economic downturn for Okinawa. Okinawa is well used to the influx of cash from the troops and the resulting tourism that the troops bring along. When you are so focused on the bad it is difficult to see the good. I bet the people heavily dependent on those $, directly or indirectly, already fear this transition.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Due to begin in the early 2020s? Every single time they make these agreements opposition arises from one side or the other and dates get pushed back farther and farther. I can only imagine what other obstacles will come up in the following 6+ years to give them an excuse to push the date back to early 2030s, etc.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Be careful what you say as it may be nonsense, propaganda and a myth.

The truth is that every location in the world that has had a U.S. base move away has reaped an economic benefit and better quality of life.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

And even if they do end up in a weaker economy, they won't have invaders living on their land. This is alone has more value than any money the Military may be pumping into their economy. The 'be careful of what you wish for' is just an attempt at brainwashing the people into thinking their precence has necessity.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

The presence doesn't have necessity, but it has its plusses.

I guess nobody is too worried about the senkaku islands these days.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The gift that keeps on giving.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

i wonder if america will get its key money back?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Okinawa is well used to the influx of cash from the troops and the resulting tourism that the troops bring along

That was funny!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Same arguement as Tibet, those marines going into Guam will erode and polute the culture of Guam. Why is Guam a part of USA? Its in the middle of the pacific, these island claims are just rediculous...... the island next to China is not a part of China while the island in the pacific is part of USA.... ironic.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

The presence doesn't have necessity, but it has its plusses.

And one huge negative.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

invaders living on their land

It might be only words but I think there is a difference between invaders and occupiers. Japan invaded China, US occupies Japan. I think if you look at the initial reasons for both countries going into the war you will appreciate the difference. Nevertheless, it is certainly an occupation long past overdue.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

yup, squeeze it out of the japanese taxpayers.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why should Japan pay for the US to move troops to Guam?

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Its actually going to be better for Okinawa after the marines leave. Okinawa is a tropical paradice for many people in Japan and Asia. There are loads of Taiwan, Korea, China and Hong Kong tourist... it can really develop into Hawaii of the East. Lots of Japanese go to Guam but when the marines leave, they can all go to Okinawa.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I'm afraid StormR-san is correct in predicting an economic downturn for Okinawa.

Yup, the Shintoshin area that was built where the Makiminato Base was is an economic downfall all right. Hamby airfield? Yup...look at the slum that area turned out to be. Awase Golf Course area. Last time I looked, there was no costruction going on. This area must be heading towards a waste of land that will bring nothing economically to the island.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Excellent news for the poor people of Okinawa, and this is why the constitution needs a change. Boohyah out of here!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why is Guam a part of USA?

Because they want to be. (How the became part of the US is a different story.) Anytime they would like independence, it is simply a vote away. (That goes with Puerto Rico, too.)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

TheDevilsAssistant,

What you say is perfectly correct.

Shintoshin pulls in 20% more income now than when it was used by US military and Hamby town produces 15% more.

Okinawa needs its land.

The American bases waste space. Kadena is built as if it was in a rural district of the U.S.A. HUGE spaces between buildings.

They provided 3.5% of Okinawa's income the last time I looked and that's dropped now because of the strict drinking rules and US servicemen not allowed to drink off base.

With all that land given back to Okinawa, tourism and urban development will boom the Okinawan economy.

Provided that, after Abe has finished with it, Japan hasn't become a third world country by the 2020's.

Why do we have to wait so LONG?

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Okinawa could easily become a free trade zone for Japan. Its far enough from Japan to be safe for foriegn companies wanting to come to the Far East and Tokyos fear of gaijin and politics. There was talk of a Free Trade zone in Naha before, I dont know if it ever came about. Okinawa has decades of international exposure and a large English speaking community. Financials, Tourism, Logisitics, Data Centers...they could do it all. Importation of US and other made goods, duty free for the mainlanders. I think they have a deep water port in Naha. It could be a gateway into Japan for MNCs trying to access this market. The base presence has long been an issue for development. Allot of this will depend on Okinawas leaders; do they want to return to the old conservative agricultural ways or develop Okinawa? There is still a big military presence there, Im sure Kadena and many of the logistical support units are staying so perhaps this isnt what it really seems..

I disagree with putting the Marines on Guam. They should be moved to the mainland. Dependance on the gov is never a good thing. The only people benefiting from this in the long term is the Okinawans.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

If I recall history correctly, the U.S. Does not occupy Japan they are here to help protect this country per the post WWII agreement. Further more the economy gets about 28% of it's profit from the U.S. Troops not tourism. Also one more point every time a base is moved the country does suffer harsh economic problems because of the lack of money coming into the communities. Just ask the people of PR when the U.S. Closed 3 of the 4 bases located there because the local government did not want them there. PR was thrown into economic crisis that they still have not recovered from almost 25 years later. Those people wish that the bases would come back. Also if the U.S. Wanted the island of Okinawa they would have never returned it to the Japanese post WWII.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Mike - your dream has come true....

"The Okinawa Special Free Trade Zone (OSFTZ) is located in Japan on approximately 122 hectares of land. Out of 122 hectares, approximately 89.6 hectares is available for corporate use. The OSFTZ was established in March 1999 to promote industry and trade in Okinawa. The OSFTZ is regulated by Okinawa Promotional Special Measures Law.118"

Let the Marines go to Guam and Hawaii.... who cares, as long as they leave Okinawa.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This is a good deal as long as Japan can ultimately agree to collective defense and help us defend Guam. There's no doubt that Okinawa has shouldered too large a part of the burden. I suppose at least China will be less aggressive until after 2020.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Now China can finally move into taking over Okinawa. They may even claim it for their own and say that historical maps shown it was always theirs.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Great idea! Okinawa can then be returned to its rightful owner after the Americans are gone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are numerous benefits to this move with little risk. Those living in the Futenma area must be relieved.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The landlord has to pay for the tenant to move???

This makes me freaking angry! I am not Japanese but I am a Japanese taxpayer. If Japan wants you out, you just go. You don't demand a mint. Japan has already paid through the nose for the U.S. war machine to be here defending their own interests. And $3,000,000,000 U.S.? That is quite the friggen bill there. Who came up with that sum? How?

I am actually thinking of trying to find a job in this process just so I can take my own tax money back here to Japan. Insert explicatives!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Recall JT reported Las Vegas based three Casino Hotel corporations proposed Japan they wanted to make Casino Hotels in Japan? These three made their huge hotel casino systems in Macao, Hong Kong, Singaore and make a lot more money than their huge Las Vegas income. Tourists, not locals. What kind of suckers gamble? Chinese multi- millionaires and billionaires from Central and Southern China, My guess of their plan in Japan: some people thought in Tokyo but I thought Okinawa to lure Wealthy Northern Chinese, Those casinos were not interested in locals too well, even in Vegas. Just tourists. So, my guess is that Japan is ready to legalize casinos that will pay huge casino tax, Location? Okinawa, Just my guess. Local economy? Huge employment and sales . Okinawa is warm enough. OR, Japan Inc. will create their Manufacturing Divisions in Okinawa. Not just Okinawan people but many other people who want 'Yankee Go Home" because annual payment from Japan to USA for renting base to US military has been increasing rapidly.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yup, that explains the planned tax hike in April 2014. I'm an American paying Japanese taxes too, not happy about this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Pretty good deal for the United States to move their troops out of a country where they are hated and not wanted. Now the US could move them out with partial expenses paid by Japan. Couple of years ago, there were some talk in South Korea of having the US Marines from Okinawa moved to Jeju Island Korea. I guess that would make Korea's left wing radicals foam at their mouths. But it would be a great time right now since their popularity and influence has fallen off the cliff.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Hey Chucky, last I read the caption said Okinawa. I've yet to hear any news claiming that Japan wants the US out of the country.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Isn't Okinawa part of Japan? And I'm presuming if they leave Okinawa, there won't be too many US marines, if any, left in all of Japan?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Yes, But as any news has reported, it's removing troops from Okinawa, not Japan. Since when has the country as a whole state that the US is hated and not wanted?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan must have gotten sick and tired of paying more than 2 billion dollars a year to let US Military staying in Japan, Also, Japan might suspect Military from Afgan might be shiupped to Okinawa. Try tio prevent future marine crimes such as tresspassing, and rapes by US Military men in Okinawa? /Yankee Go Home voices of Okinawa _WHICH IS ONE OF JAPANESE PREFECTURES have been reported very often, Sooner or later, mainland folks will demand to get rid of all US Military men out of Japan which is not USA territory,

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

With all that land given back to Okinawa, tourism and urban development will boom the Okinawan economy.

Provided that, after Abe has finished with it, Japan hasn't become a third world country by the 2020's.

Why do we have to wait so LONG?

No need to rush. You'll be just fine.

Quite the optimist, I doubt that the economy will get to China like status, there is a lot of money that will be lost, but there will be a much smaller presence of US military that will still be in Okinawa. I think you are hatching your chickens before you count them.

Why should Japan pay for the US to move troops to Guam?

Why not? Makes perfect sense to me.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

TheDevilsAssistant, those marines are not being deployed to mainland Japan. Why is that? Because they are not wanted in Japan.

What's Japan's loss will be someone else's gain. I hope South Korea get some of those US troops. I hope the planned redeployment to South Korea of some of those troops on a rotational basis, is still in the works. This article appeared last year.

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20120214/NEWS/202140322/More-Marines-may-deploy-South-Korea

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

those marines are not being deployed to mainland Japan. Why is that? Because they are not wanted in Japan.

Nice tap dance routine. According to THE ARTICLE, it clearly states that the money will be used to relocate Marines from Okinawa. Nothing is written that any of this money will be used to move Marines from mainland Japan

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The US military was on okinawa b/c the US and Japan have a defense pact - now that Japan is flexing its muscle militarily, the need for a US base there is diminishing. That being said, the US will probably never get rid of their naval base at Yokosuka however - its the HQ of their 7th fleet or all of their presence in Japan. Like it or not, some US military will be there for the forseable future

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No. The question was, why aren't the Marines in Okinawa being redeployed to the mainland Japan? Answer: because Japan doesn't want them in the mainland.

Nice tap dance routine. According to THE ARTICLE, it clearly states that the money will be used to relocate Marines from Okinawa. Nothing is written that any of this money will be used to move Marines from mainland Japan

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

During the time of cold war, Japan could keep stable and developing due to the exitance of the US force without doubt. Nowadays most people don't know the history and just say why Japan should pay for US force bla bla bla.... I suggest those who to go home asking their fathers why they became so rich but their grandpas so poor? I agree that today nobody would intrude JP even the US army leave but anyway I think JP should pay full instead of 1/3 cost ! You father spent his own money to built you a safe home and let u develop to be rich, don't you need to share some transportation cost for your father to go back his home? People can't always want to get but forget to give!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why does it take 7 years to move a few thousand marines? This could be done in two years.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Japan has already paid through the nose for the U.S. war machine"

Ha ha ha ha

Japan has benefited enormously from being kept out of trouble by the U.S. military for the past 68 years.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Sounds like the U.S. can't really afford (financially) to do anything anymore!

Hopefully they're slowly starting to learn (case in point: Syria) that starting pointless wars every few years is an expensive business and the bill has to be paid at some point.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hey serendipituous, what wars did the U.S. start ( excepting the Revolutionary War )? Can't include Iraq, that was started by Hussein when he invaded Kuwait, and, incredibly, was left in power. Can't include Afghanistan, that was started by terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people. Can't include Vietnam, that was started by France. Can't include Korea, that was started by the North Koreans. Can't include WW2, that was started by the Germans...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have said this on many, many occasions... Put some good quality casinos in Okinawa or Hokkaido and watch people in the region flock to them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Serrano - How about "getting too involved in pointless wars" then?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No, the question was, where does it say the money is being used to move marines from mainland japan? Wearing out those tap dance shoes yet?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan has benefited enormously from being kept out of trouble by the U.S. military for the past 68 years.

Exactly. Ever heard of the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security"?

Ask yourself: Is Japan ready to defend itself against aggression without support from the United States? Is Japan in any position to unilaterally exit agreements with the US on its presence of its fleet and marines in Japan? Does the Japanese constitution permit Japan to take military action in possible conflicts?

There can be no doubt that the presence of US military forces in the Asian Pacific provide a necessary balance of power and deterrent against provocation and aggression we have very much been aware of in recent times. NIMBY is understandable but could backfire, so fortunately transfer of troops creating a vacuum is not going to happen in a hurry.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ya! That's all fine and dandy until China screws up....! The very same people that bitch and moan about their presence are the bet same people (in a very two faced way) that would bend over and polish shoes in gratitude of the crap hit the fan ! Cake......Icing can't have one without the other !

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Very interesting. This hasn't hit the major U.S. news outlets yet.

Having lived on Guam for a couple of years, I can say without any hesitation that the Guamanians will not appreciate having an additional 4K U.S. Marines stationed there.

And, if I read the article correctly, having Japanese training centers on Guam and/or Tinian, Rota, or Saipan will not go down well at all. The people of Guam really, really, really don't like the Japanese.

They STILL remember the treatment by the Japanese occupational forces during WWII and this will definitely stick in their craw.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Historically you invade a country for 2 things: 1) natural resources and 2) Huge available young workforce.

Japan does not enter into this category. Thus please stop this fear mongering that Japan could be invaded!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't think I'm the one with tap dance shoes. There are no marines in mainland Japan, what are you talking about? Once the marines get out of Okinawa, there will be no more marines in Japan.

No, the question was, where does it say the money is being used to move marines from mainland japan? Wearing out those tap dance shoes yet?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Cold War time: GHQ had to release Mr. Kishi from Sugamo Prison and Kishi made a new political party to quash increasing Japan Communist party. USA was not the one who prevented Japanese Communist Party became helpless. Mr, Kishi, Grand father of Abe did. So Kishi received UN Peace Prize. Now, it is not Cold War time. The reason USA keep military base is to receive huge money annually from Japan. The War USA began? Korean War and Vietnam War. It is huge money Japan will pay but don;t worry. USA owes Japan more than 1 trillion dollars. Japan can pay these huge money by small amount of US Bonds Japan hold. Still USA will owe balance of loans = more than 1 trillian dollars., July 2013, USA owed Japan 1.1334 trillion dollars

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" meanwhile Okinawa will be in decline"

Are you kidding??? Okinawa is already the poorest prefeture in Japan. This is FACT. They rank #47. Pulling out all that American cash. Amazing to think it will probably sink EVEN lower. I hope Okinawa enjoys it's "victory" Last time I was there 30% of the all store, movies, combinis, reseruatnts, malls, caiter to USA intrests. Take that away, who is going buy sprite and eat at all those American resturants?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

Its actually going to be better for Okinawa after the marines leave. Okinawa is a tropical paradice for many people in Japan and Asia. There are loads of Taiwan, Korea, China and Hong Kong tourist... it can really develop into Hawaii of the East. Lots of Japanese go to Guam but when the marines leave, they can all go to Okinawa.

Hahahaha! Japanese could go to Okinawa now and they do! But many choose Guam over Okinawa because it is cheaper to vacation there. You make it sound like people will just shift to all start going to Okinawa because Marine are now guarding the shoreline not letting the tourists in. Ha!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

^ I agree.. people were still going to Okinawa before, during and will be after the Base is gone.

If there was one thing that really piqued my interest there was the first time I went.. it seemed like a little American enclave with all the shops and restaurants

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

chucky3176Oct. 03, 2013 - 08:49PM JST Pretty good deal for the United States to move their troops out of a country where they are hated and not wanted

A very good argument for pulling our 28,000 troops out of South Korea.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

Lots of Japanese go to Guam but when the marines leave, they can all go to Okinawa.

Seriously, if a Japanese family of 3 flew to Okinawa they would look to spend about $2400 or more. If they flew to Guam it would be around $1500. So, right there they would save $900 in airfare. I believe you'd find the other costs (hotel, food, etc.) more expensive, too, in Okinawa. But, maybe prices may change minus troops but maybe not for the good. I dunno. :)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

inakaRob,

Last time I was there 30% of the all store, movies, combinis, reseruatnts, malls, caiter to USA intrests.

Around the bases yes.

I take it you never got to Naha, Nago, Itoman, Nanjo, or any of the rest of the prefecture?

Around the bases, the stores cater to US interests.

malfupete

it seemed like a little American enclave with all the shops and restaurants

Ah another seasoned Okinawa explorer (sarcasm).

No, malfupete, the bit that looked like an American enclave with shops and restaurants was just outside a base, right?

US Servicemen very rarely shop in Okinawa. They get most of what they want on base.

Understandable.

For the price of ONE can of US beer, you can buy a six pack on base.

And the vast majority of US servicemen don't go much further than the "happy ending" massage parlours outside Gate 2 at Kadena. And if those places lose money when the marines leave, not a lot of people will be crying.

You got one thing right.

Okinawa is the poorest prefecture.

US occupation since 1945 hasn't done much to change this, has it?

The US military doesn't bring money to Okinawa.

Nobody will be inconvenienced when they leave.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

A very good argument for pulling our 28,000 troops out of South Korea.

That's something Americans should decide, not a Japanese pretending to be American. Too bad but that won't happen. S.Korea will pay $9 billion or half the cost to move the US troops out of Seoul into southern end of the country, while the real level of the US troops in Korea has actually increased by 10,000 more over the years, quietly.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

>if a Japanese family of 3 flew to Okinawa they would look to spend about $2400 or more. If they flew to Guam it would be around $1500. So, right there they would save $900 in airfare.

JTB is offering 5 days in Okinawa this month for between around ¥40000 and ¥80000 per person; 5 days in Guam for around ¥45000 and ¥90000. That's airfare and hotel included. Not that much difference, but for the average Japanese tourist out for a few days of relaxation, a place where they speak the same language and don't drive on the wrong side of the road would be the destination of choice.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@chucky3176 - re-read the article.

47000 US military personnel in Japan, with about half (23,500) located in Okinawa. 9000 Marines will be pulled out, leaving 14500 US personnel on the islands, and 23500 in other parts of Japan.

This is not a complete military withdrawal from Okinawa, and even after these Marines are gone the US will still have more personnel stationed in Japan than the ROK.

FYI: on Honshu, the Marines have an Airbase at Iwakuni (Yamaguchi Pref), and Camp Fuji (Shizuoka Pref), named after the famous mountain it is located near.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

chucky3176Oct. 04, 2013 - 12:43AM JST "A very good argument for pulling our 28,000 troops out of South Korea. That's something Americans should decide, not a Japanese pretending to be American.

Wake up and smell the boshingtang chucky, Japan does't recognize dual nationality so a "Japanese" can't pretend to be an "American". And US troops and Okinawa is an issue for Japan and the U.S. Not for Koreans.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The Okinawa issue aside, Guam is a very small island within reach of *** land and submarine based missiles. Not an expert but concerned about putting too many eggs in that tiny basket in this day and age of bunker busting mega bombs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are no marines in mainland Japan, what are you talking about?

LoL! I see how edumacated you are on the subject matter. As SecularBeast has already clarified, Iwakuni and Camp Fuji has Marines there. Keep on tapping...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

hey bertie, never said I was a seasoned okinawa explorer, this was back in 2005 and I think the place I was at was Mihama American Village... and for the record, I did manage a trip around Naha, the himeyuri school memorial and to Nago and made it to the Churaumi Aquarium, along with various small restaurants and sampling Habushu

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Regardless of the move, Okinawa remains the poorest prefecture in Japan, with one of the highest unemployment rates, despite the economic benefits that the American personnel and their families bring. During many decades of U.S. occupation, while Japan was enjoying an industrial boom, Okinawa was left behind. It’s hard to see how Okinawans won’t interpret thisarrangement, whatever it turns out to be, as another deal made with the mainland’s interests at heart. How can you trust Tokyo goverment agreement?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@slip330: Hope Japan Inc. make their branches in Okinawa. instead of exploiting Southern Asia or Middle East. Just wish.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even if Japan has to foot 1/8 of the cost, I as an American feel disgraced Japan has to foot a third to move our troops.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

but for the average Japanese tourist out for a few days of relaxation, a place where they speak the same language and don't drive on the wrong side of the road would be the destination of choice.

Wrong side of the road??? that's too funny, got it the other way around. Anyway, But the fact is that, Okinawa without the US will NEVER without tourism be that shining jewel of a getaway in Japan. Sure, you will have people come here on vacation, but the money coming in will never be enough to keep it from becoming a semi-poor region of Japan.

They rank #47. Pulling out all that American cash. Amazing to think it will probably sink EVEN lower. I hope Okinawa enjoys it's "victory" Last time I was there 30% of the all store, movies, combinis, reseruatnts, malls, caiter to USA intrests. Take that away, who is going buy sprite and eat at all those American resturants?

You will never have the kind of flow and foot traffic of the locals coming here to support Okinawa. Sfjp330 is 110% correct.

US occupation since 1945 hasn't done much to change this, has it?

Which makes my point, even if that were entirely true, once the US leaves, Okinawa will be in an even poorer condition, but hey, I too, wish for a Ferrari.

The US military doesn't bring money to Okinawa.

Okinawa will never get that kind of tourism to even bring a lot of money to the Islands, it would have to go through a radical transformation and Japan doesn't have that kind of money, especially after they help the US to relocate paying the 3.5 billion for the move and prepare for the Olympics and try to create a stronger more independent Self-defense force. Japan has other more serious priorities that it, must attend to first and rebuilding Okinawa is not a top priority.

Nobody will be inconvenienced when they leave.

Maybe you perhaps, but don't speak for the entire Okinawa people.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The protocol also affirmed the U.S. government “shall favorably consider requests by the government of Japan to use training areas in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.” .............................................

This means the facility constructed with these money will be used as training area together. Go there to get trained in new area than old bases in Okinawa ? Maybe cheaper to make training center there than make in Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many Japanese choose to go to Guam because of the duty free and US products they can get there. Guam has lots of corruption and is underdeveloped. I dont see how adding a US miltiary presence to the mix will help, but if its what the Guam people want and its the only money coming into the island besides tourism, then its a good option for the U.S. It is US teritory, so Im sure that helps things legally (no need for continued SOFA agreements etc), but I agree, the Marines could be moved to the mainland. Nobody wants it here. Instead they would rather keep the sleepy, mostly civilian bases with their long nostalgic history in Japan here. Moving more US military to the mainland would keep japan nationalism in check, and make north korea/china think twice. I dont see the logic in moving Marines to guam where there are many bases in the mainland that could easily absorb them.

Outside the bases in Okinawa, many of the clubs are run by organized crime and all that goes with that. The bases in Okinawa are not the same as here,I cant see how trading such busineses for legit investment and growth is a bad thing. Anybody who would defend such dependance is ignorant of the situation. Most of the employment in Okinawa is US gov and Japan gov; tax money for base employees; not much incentive for growth and fosters a dependance on the government. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture in Japan for a reason.

If the Okinawa people align with China, I wont be suprised. Many of them are already of Chinese heritage anyhow and resent the mainland invading their country (Satsuma clan) and the Japanese screwing them over time after time Its close proximity to Tawain and history with China might bring in allot of investment as well as from Korea.

I hope the Okinawans take their future and make it big like a Hong Kong or Singapore.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"But the fact is that, Okinawa without the US will NEVER without tourism be that shining jewel of a getaway in Japan. Sure, you will have people come here on vacation, but the money coming in will never be enough to keep it from becoming a semi-poor region of Japan"

@ bass4funk- you sound like somebody who is defending their job. You got it all wrong, Okinawa will be something without the bases. They can finally start to develop. Not only mainland Japanese, but Koreans and Chinese as well. All the doom and gloom about PI is wrong. There is still a mess there, but the new gov is cleaning up corruption and the economy is growing. Okinawa as it is will never be anything, but with their long history of being used, I forsee them breaking away and doing things on their own. That place has allot of potential, with the right investment climate, it will take off.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Can a tenant demand $3.1 billion from a householder when he evacuates the rented house, which some of his family members keep occupying even after his moving out? That's a preposterous deal indeed. It's the same story all over again as in the case of the Futenma to Henoko relocation plan. "We will return Futenma, but you must provide us with its replacement at Henoko. Otherwise, we'll keep going on a noisy spree day and night."

Washington's explanation for demanding the money is that the number of troops stationed in Okinawa will be reduced. Note, however, that no one knows exactly how many troops are actually stationed in Okinawa because the number fluctuates constantly. A troop reduction on one day may be countermanded by a troop increase on another day.

Another bait Washington dangles before Tokyo's eyes is that it may favorably consider Tokyo's requests to use the new facilities to be built or refurbished on Guam and Tinian. LOL. For what purpose will the JSDF use bases on Guam and Tinian even by paying $3.1 billion?

Nonsense piled upon nonsense. That's what the strengthening of the Japan-US. military alliance is all about.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

chucky3176Oct. 04, 2013 - 12:43AM JST "A very good argument for pulling our 28,000 troops out of South Korea. That's something Americans should decide, not a Japanese pretending to be American

And US Marines in or out of Okinawa is something for Japanese and Americans to decide not Koreans.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow, dick move by the US getting Japan to foot a third of the bill..

Good riddance.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

you sound like somebody who is defending their job. You got it all wrong, Okinawa will be something without the bases.

Without money coming from abroad, it won't be much, been there many times.

They can finally start to develop. Not only mainland Japanese, but Koreans and Chinese as well.

Are you serious? At this point and time, I don't see that happening for a very, very, very long.

All the doom and gloom about PI is wrong.

Not so sure about that.

There is still a mess there, but the new gov is cleaning up corruption and the economy is growing. Okinawa as it is will never be anything, but with their long history of being used, I forsee them breaking away and doing things on their own.

Look, I like Okinawa, nice place! I usually go to do some Scuba diving, enjoy going there, but as with most islands, there is so much you can do and so much people are willing to invest.

That place has allot of potential, with the right investment climate, it will take off.

Yes, but if the investor doesn't see a huge return on that investment or if it's not lucrative enough, that will only go so far.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

When two parties are benefiting from a mutually agreed situation, it is normal for both of them to continue investment in its development. This fits everyday situations in business, dinning and human relationships. So, it is no wonder that Japan is contributing 1/3 the relocation cost for this fraction of the US troops.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

7solace9,

What's "dinning"?

You wrote:

This fits everyday situations in business, dinning and human relationships.

Just curious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

big mistake, japan is still a loose cannon and unpredictable as hell since the right wing nationalist are at the helm.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

tokyodoumoOct. 05, 2013 - 02:40AM JST big mistake, japan is still a loose cannon and unpredictable as hell since the right wing nationalist are at the helm.

China is the biggest threat to Asia and as a militant one-party dictatorship the whole country is "right-wing".

1 ( +3 / -2 )

China is the biggest threat to Asia and as a militant one-party dictatorship the whole country is "right-wing".

Couldn't have said it better myself. Regardless if China does trade with Japan, they are still unpredictable.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I hope the Okinawans take their future and make it big like a Hong Kong or Singapore.

Hong Kong and Singapore are unique and prosperous. They are small and lack the natural resources like Okinawa. They are also strategically located as trading and financial hub like Okinawa. Their enviable strength is they have commerce friendly British legal system, efficient modern infrastructure and Southern Chinese business skills.

If Okinawa wants to become like HK and Singapore. They have to be independent and transforming as trading hub like them. The initial step is referendum for independence like Scotland in 2014. Okinawa is closer to Taiwan therefore they have to do more trade with Taiwan rather than Japan. Okinawa future belongs to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. Not with the struggling economies of Japan and US. Otherwise it will be still poor as 1945 to 2013.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@ Octagon,

Agreed, but we know Okinawa will never be independant. What could and might happen is that some in Tokyo and leadership in Okinawa make Okinawa a unique prefecture in Japan, a semi autonomous region like HK is to the PRC where free trade zones thrive and sticky buearacracy is not applicable, even a lower corporate tax. . Its already been dumped on as a place to keep all the bases and ugliness down there. They can get rid of the bases, but keep the "gai" outside image to allow for outside investment because its far from the mainland and pure uniqueness of Japan. We all know Tokyo and most of the mainland would rather keep all things Japanese, but Okinawa is not considered Japan by many here. America could get behind this as it would help balance the trade as most U.S. companies cannot enter Japan with the exception of joint ventures. It could be part of an exit plan to put pressure on Tokyo to conform.

My point is exploit the whole gaijin outsider image that holds everthing back in the mainland. Okinawa is already considered to be an outsider; they should use it to their advantage, not somebody elses.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Civilian employees of US Military bases has been payed (pay check) by Japanese Govt. Japanese Govt has been paying US more than 2 billion dollars a year to let them stay. Chuckie wish marines will be sent to Korea but even Korea can afford to pay more than 2 billion dollars a year to pay USA, iGuam, and Har=waii will have priority. Guam has been terriyoty of Spain, then USA . There was a terrible fight between Japan and USA in Guam until USA defeated Japan,. It is back to US territory. I don;t think US will deploy its force to S. Korea because S. Korea is not US territory. After WW II, Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi ken became US Marine base right away.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan should start building their own defense now because China is ready to conquer countries in Asia. Removing US bases in Okinawa would not only affect their local economy but it will also give direct impacts on the national security.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I agree with OssanAmerica and Bass4funk,

The USA is the biggest threat to Asia and as a militant one-party dictatorship with a hidden dictator, the whole country is "right-wing".

1 ( +4 / -3 )

TokyoGasOct. 03, 2013 - 10:40PM JST stated

I have said this on many, many occasions... Put some good quality casinos in Okinawa or Hokkaido and watch people in the region flock to them. --------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry to inform you that Hokkaido has snow and cold weather, so casino hotels which are itchy to have Japan legalize casinos in Japan will choose Okinawa to lure Chinese multi millionaires and billionaires from China. But my hunch is that Japan Inc want to make their factories in Okinawa instead of trying to negotiate with IIndia or Middle East. Safe and no suicide bomg attacks by Japanese people in Okinawa.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The planned Marine move, which is due to begin in the early 2020s,

Have you ever seen the protesters? Most are so old that the early 2020s or 2010s will be the day of death on their tombstones.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@toshiko,

I think Okinawa will go in either three directions:

As you said, Japan inc. will try to exploit Okinawa for its benefit but face resistance from the locals; limited growth and economic progress might follow but Okinawa people once again find themselves dependant on outsiders. This might be the seeds for something new, however as the economy grows outside investment might start taking place then the locals might reclaim the island with influence from China Tawain and Korea coming. Some of the youth in Okinawa, educated abroad, will colaborate, form new political groups, and start new movements Okinawa will return to its agricultural culture and embrace a communist/socialist party system, enforcing the slow lazy sterotype that mainlanders have of Okinawa Okinawa will become a tourist trap for rich Chinese Japanese Filipinos and Koreans who want to gamble and vacation, learn English etc. Kind of a sin city like Macau or Bangkok. There will be little development in other areas.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Am not sure why it takes one million dollars per marine to get rid of them. Talk about sodai gomi! The economy is not the concern of the Americans and Okinawa belongs to the people of Okinawa. Yes some people will lose their jobs but the streets of Okinawa will lose armed foreign troops. Get in a traffic accident with a Sofa American and an armed American policemen will soon arrive. They intimidate the Okinawa person into not asserting their rights. The Americans say get rid of the American troops and the Chinese will invade. Utter nonsense as not all of Okinawa has American troops and they have not been invaded. The truth is the Americans on Okinawa can not prevent Chinese invasion. I point out China has never invaded Okinawa unlike the Americans or Japanese, I want my land back! I want to raise rice turning unproductive base land to land that feeds people. To the American guest there is a saying that guests and fish begin to smell after 3 days. You have been here 68 years, time to go home.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Mike45: I completely agree with you. Well analysis, I forgot to think about agriculture. Okinawa weather and climate, it will have plenty of rice field and vegetable farms, Once upon a time, during WW II, Japan promoted (forced?), Vietnam to make short grain rice to feed Japanese military men, it worked well but Vietnam War destroyed these rice fields as USA had to fight there. However, Vietnam recovered now as rice fields are restored gradually. like Vietnam, Okinawa weather is very good with enough rain and enough streams, Farms will be element of economic developments, When Japan Inc create their divisions, brainy and educated locals will have chance to create and invent new products and create own industry, just like Niissan, Toyota, Hpnda founders, Because they don;t copy, they never were sued for making cars. Sin City? Vegas nickname has been Sin City. Vegas people complain Tokyo and Osaka weather in September is our Winter. I believe Okinawa will prosper once it gets rid of old old bases.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, since Japan will sink the PLA Navy and down the PLA Air Force in 2017 during the Battle of the Senkakus, the American marines will no longer be needed in Okinawa by 2020.

Sounds like good reasoning and a win-win for us all.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Mike45: Japan has been importing northern Calif grown short grain rice in a large white bags, Calrose, and Botan are two of their brands. Okinawa produce rice, mainland Japanese people will be able to buy rice cheaper than Californian rice. Also, vegetables. In Okinawa, not once a year growing, I;d bet twice a year growth. Not l;ile Northern Japan. Okinawa farms will benefit So will mainland Japanese, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lachance,

Well, since Japan will sink the PLA Navy and down the PLA Air Force in 2017 during the Battle of the Senkakus

I don't think China would be so stupid.

I wish I could say the same for the U.S.A. and Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

BertieWoosterOct. 05, 2013 - 11:11PM JST I agree with OssanAmerica and Bass4funk, The USA is the biggest threat to Asia and as a militant one-party dictatorship with a hidden dictator, the whole country >is "right-wing".

No Bertie Woo, it is CHINA that is the biggest threat to Asia. All the Asian nations say so.

"China's PLA to Troops: Prepare for War " http://www.voanews.com/content/chinas-peoples-liberation-army-pla-prepare-for-war/1585348.html

0 ( +3 / -3 )

And the vast majority of US servicemen don't go much further than the "happy ending" massage parlours outside Gate 2 at Kadena. And if those places lose money when the marines leave, not a lot of people will be crying.

Absurd. The "vast majority"? Propagandize much?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There must be some reasons by Japanese Government that suddenly decided to pay 3.1 billion dollars to get US Marines out of Okinawa. This is my guess. Maybe US Military in Okinawa will vacate some bases and combine other military forces to remaining military bases? 'Mike 45 has a very good idea to make Okinawa agriculture society but I wonder if landlords of these bases want to make farms from scratch and make farms. They have to find people who want to learn farming from scratch to become farmers. Meanwhile Japan Inc. factories will try to expand to Okinawa making factories. I doubt very much Okinawa's trained and educated people willl create own industry because its need a lot of capital money to make factories. They will use Japan Inc. Maybe landlords will promote tourism industry? Like Macao, Singapore, and Hong Kong? Phillipine, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian Countries are succeeding. Okinawa weather work better than Honshu in Japan. Korea is trying now. Just my guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@toshiko,

I didnt state that it was a good idea to make Okinawa an agricultural society; I dont think that is in Okinawas best interest. I said that its one of the directions they might take. I think it would be best for them to look at their cultural make up and long exposure to foriegners and become the "go to" place for international firms/financials looking to penetrate Japan. They could easily transistion to a foriegner friendly enviroment that attracts investment. The northern part of Okinawa could remain agricultural. I dont think agriculture itself would sustain Okinawa. Most of the economy as of now depends on the military, tourism and agriculture. Once the military leaves, the vaccum could be filled with investment from abroad by offering FTZ and tax breaks with the Okinawans in charge of real estate, politics etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mike45Oct. 09, 2013 - 07:55AM JST Once the military leaves, the vaccum could be filled with investment from abroad by offering FTZ and tax breaks with the Okinawans in charge of real estate, politics etc.

Due to budget contraints, U.S. will have some reductions in forces, but they are not leaving. The U.S military will continue for many decades to occupy almost a quarter of the landmass of Okinawa with their bases. Nothing will change.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan can stand on its own feet. America doesn't have the wealth to maintain its 1000+ military bases.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@jeff198527

If U.S. military leaves Japan, can Japan afford to spend ten percent increase in defense budget to upgrade their equipment for many decades? Japan should declare their independence and be like the Philippines. This will be great savings for the American taxpayers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

USA military force will not leave Japan. Not because it will protect Japan from China, but it can not afford more than 2 billion dollars a year Japan pay them to let them stay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's a good deal for Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@sfjp

Unfortuanetly, you are correct. There will always be a U.S. base presence in Okinawa.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@sfjp

Unfortuanetly, you are correct. There will always be a U.S. base presence in Okinawa.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@sfjp

Unfortuanetly, you are correct. There will always be a U.S. base presence in Okinawa.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

sfjp330Oct. 09, 2013 - 08:32AM JST @jeff198527 If U.S. military leaves Japan, can Japan afford to spend ten percent increase in defense budget to upgrade their equipment for many decades? Japan should declare their independence and be like the Philippines. This will be great savings for the American taxpayers.

At present Japan pays for base costs (building, maintenance, upgrades, ... everything), Japan pays fuel costs up to a certain amount (ever wonder why the U.S. just loves holding training missions in Japan?), it pays some civilian base personnel, .... the list of what it pays is very, very long.

What does the U.S. pay? The salaries of its troops. That's pretty much it.

After the U.S. leaves Japan they'll make back the 3 billion they paid for them to move in about 2 years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Frungy,

Your right, but it wasnt always this way. The U.S. once paid the Japanese civilians salary who worked on the bases but gradually this responsibility became Japans. Its one area the budget cutting minister Rena I think her name is (of Tawaineses decent) was going after. The Japanese base civilians get lifetime employment with many benefits.The J gov pays for all the utilities, as you said and many other benefits to the U.S. It explains why so many U.S. civilians work/stay in Japan. If there is ever a major drawdown in Japan, you can expect to hear lots of complaining from them.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My son is a U.S. Marine in Okinawa and I don't appreciate a lot of comments on here. I get that everyone is entitled to an opinion but don't forget about the parents who have Marines over there!! They are only doing what they are told, whether we agree with it or not. I am proud of my son and I will support him in every way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's like you're getting paid to rent and relocate an apartment. Everything is backwards in the land of Japan,

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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