politics

Japan, U.S. discussing revised plan for relocating Marines from Okinawa

46 Comments

Japan and the U.S. are discussing a revised plan for the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam as part of a realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan.

But the relocation of the controversial U.S. air base at Futenma will be handled separately, Japanese defense officials said, NHK reported.

The revised plan, which is expected to be formally announced by the Obama administration in Washington around mid-February, would transfer about 4,700 of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, and rotate 4,000 more Marines through Darwin in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii. The plan would leave 10,000 Marines stationed in Okinawa, NHK said.

The current agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan was formulated by the two countries in 2006.

The U.S. Congress in December excluded funds to cover the planned transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam from its fiscal 2012 defense spending bill.

One of the reasons cited by the Armed Services committee of the Senate and House of Representatives for cutting the relocation funds was that it had become unclear if the Futenma air base will actually be relocated. It said local opposition to the relocation makes it difficult to approve the spending.

The committee said the $150 million allocated for construction projects on Guam to shift 8,000 Marines and their dependents from Futenma need not be allocated for fiscal 2012. It also said that the Pentagon should move the functions of the Futenma base to Kadena Air Base, instead of building a new facility at Nago.

© Japan Today/AP

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46 Comments
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Yawn.. same old same old

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A conservative estimate of speed for an F-15 is 1650 mph. NK is 2135 miles from Guam in a straight line. It may be just a guess, but probably the fighters that the USA stations in Guam will fly faster. The USA does not "put all its eggs in one basket, " as it did in 1941. The USA will move out of Japan in this century with or without the involvement of Japan. An 18 billion dollar airport has been built on some insignificant island in the Aleutians. It is empty, and no personnel are stationed there. It is not "pork" for Alaska. It has a purpose. What could it be?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't wait. Hope many more bases will be next and the pace will increase.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A conservative estimate of speed for an F-15 is 1650 mph. NK is 2135 miles from Guam in a straight line. It may be just a guess, but probably the fighters that the USA stations in Guam will fly faster.

Marines don't fly F-15's so it wouldn't matter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What is so puzzling is the absence of coverage of this issue in the U.S. press. The only story I have seen was in the Wall Street Journal. So the American people aren't aware that Okinawans don't want Futenma, have never wanted it, and apparently have no say.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan and the U.S. are discussing a revised plan for the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam as part of a realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan.

But the relocation of the controversial U.S. air base at Futenma will be handed separately, Japanse defense officials said, NHK reported.

Yup, remember when mama's boy Hatoyama -- he was two PM's ago -- told Obama to "trust me"? That he had the situation regarding Futenma under control. LOL. Now the whole plan is having to be re-done because Japan can't live up to its end of the bargain.

And, yubaru, don't confuse this issue with actual facts, it is easier for the anti-U.S. folks to just be able to say anything they want, whether it has any basis in reality or not.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

it is easier for the anti-U.S. folks to just be able to say anything they want, whether it has any basis in reality or not.

That cuts both ways.

And don't confuse anti-military, anti-base, anti-war, anti-American government sentiments with being anti-U.S. True American patriots are the first four antis while not at all the last. But like I said, this "say anything" business cuts both ways.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yankees go home! That seems to be the consensus of citizens/residents of the various nations with a significant US military presence. Transfer them to Guam, Alaska, or Anytown USA to defend the "homeland". If you look at the Philippines, they did the right thing for themselves by not renewing the SOFA. The US can no longer afford so many occupation bases in other countries, and they are generally unwelcome by the populations.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Yankees go home! That seems to be the consensus of citizens/residents of the various nations with a significant US military presence.

Jean -- really? Please site just ONE survey from all of Japan that supports your theory. Or, since your theory covers "the various nations with a significant US military presence", why don't you enlighten us all with the numbers from SK.

That cuts both ways.

And King, fair enough, so why don't you provide the facts to support the belief that Marines apparently now fly F-15's or Jean's rant? That's what your cohorts are stating as fact.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Mr. Obama, bring our people home, stop wasting my money and our peoples time that don;t want to be there anyway in other countries that can "afford" to take care of themselves

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We need to treat the Okinawans better, meaning immediate action on troop drawdown. Instead of punishing them for refusing to support an occupation that has done so much to hurt them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Please site just ONE survey from all of Japan that supports your theory.

One survey from Japan would not support his contention about "various nations" would it?

Better yet, I would like you to cite one vote from the people of the cities and towns with a U.S. base. Not an opinion poll, but an actual VOTE. Lots of luck with that request.

I will go with democracy every time. And anything short of an actual vote on the specific issue is NOT democracy.

so why don't you provide the facts to support the belief that Marines apparently now fly F-15's or Jean's rant? That's what your cohorts are stating as fact.

First, he is not my cohort. Second, its nitpicking. Don't expect me to pick nits like you do. Its not worth my time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"an occupation that has done so much to hurt them"

OK, there's been a few rapes. The perpetrators have been jailed. Otherwise, how has keeping Japan out of trouble for the past 66 years hurt them? Sheesh.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@herefornow....

so why don't you provide the facts to support the belief that Marines apparently now fly F-15's or Jean's rant? That's what your cohorts are stating as fact.

Marines DONT fly F-15' not now or ever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_United_States_Marine_Corps_aircraft_squadrons

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Folks this is all about $$$, the US is trying to make better use of its $$, so they want to proceed along the lines of moving some marines to Guam at Japans expense, which will also score some brownie points, then the US will just continue to use Futenma as is because they have come realize the Japan is simply paralyzed when it comes to Okinawa, so rather that continue down a path that will continue to take more decades & likelyhood of any results being low they are sticking with the status quo.

So in summary a few marines will be moved out & Funtenma will continue to be ised as is for the time being & $$$ will be saved, end of story

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who cares what Marines fly? The point is they don't fly prop planes, which is the reason the USA kept control of Okinawa, Hokkaido, etc. Yanks are coming home, Japan, even if it is Guam, and definitely Alaska . The USA can't continue to be the economic stimulus in the world unless the world wants to let China do it. The USA is broke, bankrupt, and the economic game is going to change. It doesn't matter who wins the November election.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The real issue here is the environment. The U.S. Government needs to immediately end all plans to fill in a live coral reef with landfill destroying many forms of marine life. It is time to start putting the needs of the planet first. Stop the base!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@noriyosan......it would help your point if you were knowledgeable about what you are commenting about. The US does not CONTROL Okinawa or Hokkaido, they have bases in Japan, and those bases provide a valuable service for both the US and Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We don't want to spend any more money for crying baby Okinawa. We (Japan) are broke and bankrupt.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Northern Australia will be a good place for the marines, very suitable harsh place full of every dangerous, biting, eating, stinging critter known to man kind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love uniforms. Put a picture up for this story.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan needs the US Marines, easy to yell Yankee go home etc..but how about yelling, Oops, Chinese please do not roll over Japan?? Or how about them pesky Russians always sending their jet fighters real close to Japan to make the JSDF scramble their own jets?? Or how about the loose cannon of North Kore also known as the DPRK?? Just a few reasons to keep American troops here in Japan, which is really just a buffer zone for the USA from the above mentioned pesky countries, right??

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Without a US military force in Okinawa, there is no reason for anyone to attack Okinawa. The only reason anyone might possibly attack it would be to take out the US military. For this reason, the US military is actually creating a danger for Okinawan people.

China is not likely to attack because they would lose customers big time if they did that and they are and always have been a trading nation.

Why would Russia attack Okinawa? They would surely have no reason to. Hokkaido possibly, although that is very unlikely.

North Korea is a joke. It's much too small and much too poor to continue any aggression.

I think it's well past the time for the US military to pack up and go home.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think it's well past the time for the US military to pack up and go home.

Thankfully what you think is not the reality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan needs a US presence, it's Defense is based on the assumption of support. But where? Crimes have been committed and prosecuted that is not the story, Japan can not defend itself alone. Where do you base the Ace? Okinawa has become awkward, Guam looks good, perhaps build a garbage island in Tokyo bay? America needs a base, Japan needs an Ace..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Besides helicopters, Marines fly C-130s out of Futenma. My own brother was a pilot there for 3 yrs.; 4 engine propellor cargo airplanes. Marine fighter aircraft are at Iwakuni & Atsugi. The main issue with Futenma's relocation is that helicopters need to be near the troops they train with & support.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@herefornow Your request for numbers is duly noted. Why don't you take that survey for action yourself. Start by asking those who are directly affected by the bases in question. Pretty sure the Okinawans wouldn't mind bending your ear. The Philippines made it clear years ago, and they haven't been overrun by the Chinese. While you're at it, ask the Iraqis and the Afgans. Why doesn't the US have a base in Israel to defend them? Isn't Israel under threat of attack? My main point is that the US can't afford the global empire. In addition, the action is unnecessary. Each nation is responsible for their own defense. The Soviets were bankrupted by their occupations, as were numerous empires before them. If it's your desire that the US empire should go the way of the other empires, then just continue as is. When I say "Yankees go home ", don't think it's hateful because it's quite the opposite. I hope the US turns itself around and is restored to its former greatness, the Land of Liberty, as intended by the Founders. I'm pro-American as the original Patriots were, not as the recent administrations(since at least Wilson) have "searching abroad for monsters to destroy". Restore Liberty.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

JeanValJean

Brilliant!

Well stated!

Total agreeement!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thanks John. Glad someone agrees.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hahahahahaha !!!! let's stall the plans for another 200 years

0 ( +0 / -0 )

quite giving money to Okinawa!! Money for farmers who don't farm etc...let them try life on their own and see how soon they turn to China..then it'll be China's turn to deal with the welfare state.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Philippines still have the US come and support them, constantly. China claims their Islands and now have air craft carriers capable of inflicting their power across Asia. Funds lost by moving repair and base facilities to other countries hurt the Philippines. In Japan that could be the same. I think a lot of the uproar is a political stage to get more money down in Okinawa without the Us military forward position what does Okinawa have....a little resort Island encroaching all the bases there. Military strategists see the entire region better than most laptop geniuses without top secret clearances. Cobra Gold is a joint exercise that is happening now in Thailand, guess where the Marines come from to train and assist other countries? Remember that tsunami and March /11 ? US armed forces from Japan did a major effort in humanitarian assistance there....not many F-15s either.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kadena has plenty of room for anything the Marines fly. Or they could move to Misawa. But then they couldn't play golf year-round.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kadena has plenty of room for anything the Marines fly. Or they could move to Misawa. But then they couldn't play golf year-round.

I bet Misawa is on the chopping block..wouldn't be surprised to see it gone in a few years

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't get me wrong, I totally get that the US has a way of overstaying their welcome...but, it's not like main land Japanese are all that nice to the people of Okinawa, either. And, I do seem to recall humanitarian effort being made by the US after 3/11. Kristen, I totally agree that a Coral Reef should NOT be filled in. However, the lovely gifts from Fukushima really aren't helping the cause...just saying.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Opps, Kirsten...spellcheck

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kick those army amerikans out of okinawa and rest of japan! i don't like it that they are there -_-#

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It’s rather quite simple, if Japan wants the US out of Okinawa all they have to do is say so. The central government of Japan has invited the US to be there. The US are not at fault, in fact one could say that Japan is lucky to have Okinawa after such a high price the US paid in taking the island back in WWII. That being said, I keep hearing a lot of squawking about how the Philippians have done the right thing and asked the US to go home. Well, in the news this last week was a nice story about how the Philippians Government has started to make inquires to have a bit more US presence. Its seems that China’s grab for territory in the South China Sea has made many of those who saw the US as destabilizing factor in SE Asia do a retake.

< http://www.newser.com/story/138292/philippines-to-us-military-come-on-back.html>

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Without a US military force in Okinawa, there is no reason for anyone to attack Okinawa.

Actually this is not true, in fact it's way off base, no pun intended. The strategic location of Okinawa, it sits pretty much right in the middle of any ship or submarine paths between China and the Pacific ocean and would be a linchpin in any defense policy for the country that holds the island.

People need to remember this when talking about the bases in Okinawa. Oh and btw, the JSDF have a rather large presence in Okinawa as well, which would be just as much a reason to try to take the island too.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It’s rather quite simple, if Japan wants the US out of Okinawa all they have to do is say so. The central government of Japan has invited the US to be there. The US are not at fault, in fact one could say that Japan is lucky to have Okinawa after such a high price the US paid in taking the island back in WWII.

I agree with the first part here, Japan wants the presence of the military here, it's mutually beneficial.

However I disagree with your premise on the second part. The US is partially at fault for not consolidating their presence in Okinawa prior to it's return to Japanese control. Hindsight is 20/20 and that needs to be taken into consideration as well. Yet your saying that Japan is "lucky" though I do believe is off track.

Using your logic here then the US should have taken and kept Normandy, Sicily, Pelileu, (sp?), Iwo Jima, PI, etc etc etc. It wasnt just America that paid a high price for the island the Japanese did as well and more-so the Okinawan people themselves. This shouldn't be a part of the consideration in any way shape or form, it's close to ancient history.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great news for Okinawa! Finally the central and super powers are acknowledging reality in Okinawa!

Not that anyone in Tokyo or Washington was really empathizing with Okinawans, but at least they got the message and apparently are afraid of wasting money on an unpredictable cause.

If what started as a budgetary consideration turns out to be a sustainable position (not clear yet as the Japanese government is trying to get by with a head-in-the-sand policy), Okinawan's democratic movement will see a huge boost. To experience that a citizens grass-roots-movement can get somewhere against all the odds should be truly inspiring!

The reduced footprint of US military in Okinawa will not create even the slightest geopolitical insecurity in the region. We're not living in an era where some dozen more or less fighter jets or some 10.000 more or less troops will make a difference in protecting any piece of land, at least regarding conflicts between super powers.

Of course the commitment of the US to protect Japan makes a difference (like with Taiwan), but regarding Okinawa the Chinese conduct would have to change drastically to have to resort to any kind of power display from the side of the US. The conflict around the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands is about rather obvious interests and not as scary as some want to make it look like. Though it is rather unpleasant, there's nothing unusual about a China that is displaying its growing military power in its own geopolitical region. No reason to hide under the table, at least for the time being, but of course geopolitical situations can change.

In any case what ever kind of military conflict centering on Okinawa would be disastrous for the island, as 2WW has shown us in such a horrifying way, and should be avoided at any cost. Or to be more bold, it would still be 100 times better for Okinawa to become a part of China then to see the island eradicated in military action.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan needs to step up to the plate to provide its own autonomous self-defense again. Time to wean off the US teat. The fact remains that the US can ill-afford its current obligations, not to mention the pending war with Iran. The phrase "not worth a Continental" will make a resurgence .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

KingBasil: "I will go with democracy every time."

Good, then you know that the government of Japan, which was chosen by the people, should live up to its promises, right? Right!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru and others the Marines Fly Noisy F-18s. Big deal the Air Force flies F-15 aircraft. Smithinjapan, am getting tired of repeating this but the Government of Okinawa never has made an agreement with the Americans. So the question is how will the Tokyo government force itself upon the people of Okinawa? Everywhere else in the world the Americans would be first to defend local rights except of course when it is counterproductive to its interests.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

About 8000 Marines and another 9000 dependents are supposed to be leaving Okinawa. That's a LOT of local revenue that just went bye-bye. I guarantee the bar and restaraunt owners in Guam Darwin are more than happy to host the Marines. They'll welcome the economic infusion of money.

I have to wonder if the Okinawans factored in all the money they are going to lose on this deal. Hope they find it worth it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Asia remains volatile as well as nuclear armed, and China reshaping regional power balances. It would be a poor time to signal any weakening of U.S. resolve there. But there are less expensive ways to do it. If Japanese domestic politics and military force U.S. to relocate many functions of the airbase in Okinawa and scale back troop numbers there, U.S. can retain capacity for rapid deployment to East Asian contingencies in other ways. The Marines could stay in Hawaii or California. But duplicate equipment could be stored on ships, based perhaps in Sasebo, Japan, where the Marines already have ships. This approach would actually improve U.S. military responsiveness for most key contingencies in Asia and at lower cost of Okinawa airbase and Marine Corps relocation plan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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