politics

Hatoyama says Nago mayoral result shows will of the people

47 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

47 Comments
Login to comment

This was expected, but it still is significant as it shows Okinawans are leaning toward the view that the benefits of the bases are outweighed by their problems. There is no way the LDP-jiggered agreement is going to be carried out. Best to move Futenma's facilities to Guam.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What this shows is that nearly 50% of the people are in favor of the bases. Let's not take this thing out of perspective...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Funny that crime is mentioned as a factor....The Japanese police have a higher crime rate than the US military...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

take the bases out and watch the local economy plunge into the toilet. the bases are like college towns in the US, locals hate the college students but they provide almost half of the jobs in the city.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the number of US military members with criminal records increased by 54% from 2004 to 2005 (Oct 1, 2006: Nick Turse). i applaud the people of nago for rejecting those criminals from their fair town.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

52.3% represents "the will of the people"? Hardly a mandate. In fact, if my math is correct, if about 800 folks had voted for the other candidate, Hataoyama would have to be singing a different tune. 800 folks in one tiny little town dictate defense/foreign policy. No wonder this country is so screwed up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If 52.3 percent of the population supports a politician with an expressly stated point of view, I agree, that is hardly an overwhelming mandate ... but this is how things work in democratic societies, so I think we all have to accept the voters' opinion for what it is.

Having said that, I still find it astonishing that the national government would let the election results dictate national policy. As U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Keith J. Stalder was quoted as saying last week, "National security policy cannot be made in towns and villages." That seems like an all-too-obvious truism to most people, and yet the Hatoyama government (whatever its true inclinations) seems willing to hide behind the convenient excuse of election results in a town the same size as Flagstaff, Arizona.

If the Hatoyama government lets this verdict dictate national security policy, and if this leads to a chain of events that culminates in disaster for millions of Japanese people, I hope everyone will not hold the good people of Nago accountable. They were merely expressing their opinions. The responsibility will be on the short-sighted cowards in the government who accepted the voters' verdict without thinking through a credible defense for the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the other 48% probably voted for the other guy because they have always voted that way following party lines...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is funny because the incumbent wanted the base only if it was moved out further to sea and angles of the runways changed.This was considered a no deal by the US since they wanted to be hard asses in negotiation. They considered any compromise a sign of weakness even though they weren't going to pay for it. About 47% of the Okinawans would have went along with destroying their natural beauty along the coastline during this time of Global economic recession... now it backfired on the "Robert Gates" of the world.. and won't get done. Nago forced with at "take it or leave it" attitude of the US, said we don't want it! They reject the base and reject the Amercians with their "you have to love me" mentality.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Newsman, the Nago election was just an excuse.. Hatoyama and the DPJ always wanted to decrease the presence of the US military, the US military with their hardline approach turned off the Nago voters and made it easier for Hatoyama and the DPJ to harden their demand... I don't think Hatoyama (PhD from Stanford) cars what any General says..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The responsibility will be on the short-sighted cowards in the government who accepted the voters' verdict without thinking through a credible defense for the country.

Quite the opposite Newsman... it is Hatoyama that is showing bravery, something the lapdogs in the LDP couldn't do.. the LDP were the yes men or cowards as you say.. There is more than one "credible" defense for the country. I think the Japanese should beef up their defense.. why spill blood for another race that wouldn't spill it for thier own?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hatoyama for years has advocated the removal of US forces from Japan - so this whole ongoing saga doesn't come as a surprise. What DOES come as a surprise is that Hatoyama is so unprepared and doesn't seem to have a strategic plan for Japan.

The only "decision" you will see by May is that Futenma will not be located in the prefecture of Okinawa, there won't be much of a "plan" beyond that. Look how long it took to negotiate the original one and tell me how everyting will be resolved by May?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i just wanted to add:

One thing that has amazed me for a long time about Japanese politics is that no one from the press seems to ask hard questions here. J politicians come up with vacuous or empty platitudes like "I'm going to work really heard for our country" but no one ever seems to say "ok, that's really nice but how do you propose to do that specifically?"

Hatoyama specializes in these kind of pronouncements, and no one calls him on it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree that Japan should figure out its own defense policy and what sort of commitments and alliances it wishes to make. The problem is that it takes moral courage to make hard choices, and those choices are inevitably going to offend someone. Here, however, the government is making an easy, popular choice now without considering the inevitable, negative results of that choice -- and that is the choice of cowards. If Japan doesn't want the U.S. military based within its own borders, it is going to have to offer a long-range alternative. Where are the think tanks putting out papers outlining future defense priorities? Where are the government initiatives stating a new framework for peace in East Asia with Japan as its linchpin? Where is the serious effort to amend Article 9 of Japan's constitution? I haven't seen any of them, and I'm going to guess that's because no one in the government is doing his homework. All they've managed to do is vex their closest ally, in an attempt to appease their coalition ally, at the expense of Japan's security.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't wait until they are complaing of no jobs after the US bails. Japan, again, going back on agreements...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agreed, hardly a mandate when you consider that those who voted don't make up a majority of residents anyway. Plus what will happen to the economy?

You say the number of crimes went up by 54% but if one year had one crime and the next had two, then you have double the crime. Percentages don't tell the real story here. What are the actual numbers? What is the nature of the crimes committed? And are they out of line with the local crime rate?

The answers to these questions will give you data that has some validity. Percentages in this case mean nothing without the supporting data.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Big noises of military aircrafts are intentional to frighten enemies? Build quiet aircrafts!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just goes to show that through the power of biased local reporting, that a few people can be manipulated...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the number of US military members with criminal records increased by 54% from 2004 to 2005 (Oct 1, 2006: Nick Turse). i applaud the people of nago for rejecting those criminals from their fair town

True, but the total percentage of crime committed by military members and SOFA civilians was 1.5% compared to local crime during this period. “Okinawa Prefectural Police records.”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually Camp Schwab is on the other side of the Island from Nago, they should have had the folks from only the Schwab area vote.. residents of Nago doubtfully ever drive over to that side of the Island even 2-3 times a year. If they go anywhere it is down the west coast of the Island down Hwy 58 toward Okinawa city or Naha... why they had a say in it is only because maybe Nago encompasses that land area.

Regardless, this is a fun thing to watch as we get to see what Hatoyama does and it is funny to see the "hardline attitude" of the military on such a trivial issue of moving the runway further off shore and changing the angle of runway design.. basically backfire on the marines.. the US wasn't going to pay for the runway construction anyway but wanted to "over dictate" the issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The people have spoken. They could care less about American crime rates. They want the Marines GONE. Okinawa belongs to the people of Okinawa. Americans say they respect the rights of the local population but it is a lie. The insisting of building this base is proof of the lie. Right now it is MCAS Futenma and some of the Marines. This could easily change to ALL of the bases. Listen up Americans this is a wake up call. The people of Okinawa will just be fine. it is time for the government of Japan to abide by the Constitution regarding land rights. In America the government can take your land for a "worthwhile" reason. That is not a part of Japanese culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NIMBYism. Of course they don't want the base there. But is that really the point? Japan needs the US to prop up it's defence, or it has to spend billions upgrading to provide a credible deterrent in Asia. Clear choice really.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yuri, you don't seem to understand that Nago does not decide national policy. At the end of the day, if Hatoyama is even still in office in May, the Marines will move to Futenma, and Hatoyama will blame the enormous pressure of the US for his indecision on the issue. Overall, business as usual...So just get used to understanding that this is part of the world you live in on Okinawa (as a direct result of Japanese agression in WWII), and hug a gaijin, you'll enjoy it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Listen up Americans this is a wake up call.

To do what?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yuri, also understand that you are misreading the article. The stance is of the elected candidate's premise of not abiding by the relocation of Marines in Okinawa. He did what every single politician does worldwide, told the people anything they wanted to hear. If it's a "hot topic", jump on the band wagon. He will change his tune once he undersatnds the amount of money that is envolved with these bases, and costly construction projects with the parties involved.. ;) In other words, he will have a change of heart in the future, I assure you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For an eye opener go to this site. http://nihon.awardspace.com/okinawa_sofa_crime.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

... but not the perminate foreign residents (at least yet).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

forged after a helicopter from the base crashed into a nearby university

Slightly misleading. It grazed a builing and crashed on the university grounds.

"Witnesses said that the CH-53 helicopter grazed had one of the university buildings before crashing into the ground and catching fire, according to Atsuhiko Kawano, a spokesman for Japan's Defense Facilities Administration Agency."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is funny because the incumbent wanted the base only if it was moved out further to sea and angles of the runways changed.This was considered a no deal by the US since they wanted to be hard asses in negotiation. They considered any compromise a sign of weakness even though they weren't going to pay for it.

Source? Or is this just speculation?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What this situation needs is some mutual respect. Perhaps the Americans should start behaving to gain respect from the locals?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am sorry that I must take this attitude, but I am tired of the petty whining by both sides. I think that if Japan wants to scrap the current agreement, fine. That means that all the concessions made by the Americans (reduced flight hours, flight paths, plans to reduce bases and personnel) should be scrapped as well. Begin FULL flight operations at Futenma immediately. Place signs on all the gates notifying the Okinawan people that due to the Japanese gov't and recent elections, negotiations must start again from scratch. They also need to increase the base housing available and move all military on base. Restrict them to base and limit their off base access. Remove all local nationals from base access and give the US dependents jobs on base. Once the people start feeling the pain because of the loss of the jobs and spending by the Americans, their tune will change and the silent majority will be heard.

The plan would have reduced Okinawa's "burden" by closing Kinser, Futenma and Lester while increasing the presence inside of an already established base. The "beaches" that would be bulldozed were inside the current base and not accessible to any except those on the base.

Again, I hate to take this stance because I love Okinawa and have lived here in harmony with the Okinawan people for almost 12 years associated with the military. But when the people are swayed by smooth talking politicians and liberal media (like the US was recently), the silent majority must be prodded to wake up and speak up. Look at what is happening with the US and its' smooth talking politicians and see what is in store for the DPJ in future elections.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can imagine it hurts the feelings of a lot of Americans that think they "fit in" at the local snack bar even though they sit there like an idiot not speaking the language. A lot of Americans in Japan/Okinawa suffer from the "I want to be accepted" syndrome. You can tell by the way they attack Japan on these threads when they dont' know this whole thing is just a game of Geopolitics.. Read "War is a Racket" by Gen. Smedly Butler USMC..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But when the people are swayed by smooth talking politicians and liberal media (like the US was recently), the silent majority must be prodded to wake up and speak up. Look at what is happening with the US and its' smooth talking politicians and see what is in store for the DPJ in future elections.

Obama was elected because 90% of Blacks voted for him, wanting a free handout, about 70% of Mexican decent voted for him hoping he would nationalized their type (Okay that's about 20% of the population right there) the other 35% were white liberal democrats that wanted to prove they were not racist so they would have voted for anyone as long as he wasn't white.. gives them a good feeling inside, kind of like Madonna adopting a black child in Africa rather than a white kid from the states...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

vulcan, I think your statements regarding African Americans and voting for President Obama for a "free handout" is an extremely offensive statement. What "handout" are you referring to? I imagine he was elected because he was the best candidate for the job. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder regarding minorities. Or perhaps your screenname says it all...that would explain your complete lack of human emotion and understanding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Or it could mean I am not "phased" by political correctness like you and speak with truth and "logic"..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

fussagainjin.. the hand out was a house.. back during the election a lot of people were having problems paying their morgage. Obama was promising some outlandish scheme making some, no doubt, think he was going to give them something towards the home. It didn't happen and won't, as Obama could care less about them people but wanted to fool them for their vote, then forget about them. Even the NAACP is pissed at Obama right now. You're stretching it if you think he was elected because he was the best candidate..he had the best speech writer, but had no experience and it is showing big time.. he has been a miserable failure these last 12 months and his approval ratings are lower than any president in the last 100 yrs after the first year in office.. you must not follow the election stuff in America. He was marketed like Avatar or any other hit movie, the hype got him elected and two weeks later, he is on the cheap DVD shelf.. Mitt Romney would have been much better... long answer to a short question. they'll delete since it's off topic..hope you get to read it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gokuh73, do this and the demonstrations will be very large. Americans will find themselves cut off on their bases. Not all of them have helicopter pads. I am not sure if the JP will step in to remove them from the gates. What will America do? Send in the American military to remove them? Japan would give America 6 months to close all of the bases and cancel the security agreement. As well as charging them rent, electric, etc. The free lunch will be over. fussagaijin, while off subject who says I never hug a gaijin? I use to do this daily until claps hands life is so sad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Am I the only person who has continually brought to the attention of those who cry for reduction of the U.S. Troops on Okinawa that every day Self Defense Troops and their dependents move unto every Base on Okinawa It amounts to about a thousand a week for the past year. I can't say it any plainer "It is time for our military to come home!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although 20% of Okinawa's main Island is occupied by bases, only 8300 MLC workers (and IHA) are employed on base. Their wages are paid by the GOJ, not the US govt.

Also, with the population of Okinawa at 1.3 million, and 8300 GOJ employees working on the bases. I figure 830,000 are of working age, so this works out to about 1% of the Okinawan adult population being put to work on 20% of Okinawas best land areas! I don't call this good for the Okinawan economy..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can imagine it hurts the feelings of a lot of Americans that think they "fit in" at the local snack bar even though they sit there like an idiot not speaking the language. A lot of Americans in Japan/Okinawa suffer from the "I want to be accepted" syndrome.

Where do you get this idea from? You keep saying this but do you really speak at all to your average soldier/airman/marine stationed here? Most of the young kids here could give a damn if they're stationed here or not, you certainly don't see them crying when they PCS out, do you? To most of these young fellas Japan is easy duty, a place to party with a lot of willing young girls. They go where their branch orders them to go and move on at the end of their tour. When I was a young guy in the Army, I was stationed once in Germany, and several times in Korea. I enjoyed my tours immensely, had a great time, saw a lot of the local sites, and, except for friends I made, didn't give a rat's ass if the locals really liked me or not.

Perhaps it would be a different matter if you are wanting to stay in Japan long-term as a permanent resident w/o SOFA status and not affiliated with the military, but for most SOFA status Americans that come here this is just a two or three year tour they have to get through.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What Hatoyama said is very understandable and reasonable. The will of Okinawans should be respected. Japan does not need to decide it in a big hurry during peace time. Japan wants to have the US bases in Okinawa to prevent the potential war but the US wants to put bases in Okinawa to make new wars in the future because the US marines always go to foreign countries to fight there. It seems Okinawa is a convenient place for military like convenient store for the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think its an interesting time to debate the use of these bases in japan. As a gaikokujin myself [and Asian, but not from this region], I see some logic to the argument proposed in favor of the will of the Okinawans

Why have the bases. Is it to protect Japan from a Chinese attack? [But China is the bigger trading partner with Japan nowadays-previously used to be the USA]. And China can put in a stern word to North Korea if things are going out of control.

In anycase, with an East Asian Community forum coming up, silly wars being fought in the region would be unlikely [unlike the the case for countries like India and Pakistan, who possess resources and lack wisdom]. If I recall correctly, the last time their was a possibility of war the USA and UK did their best to escalate the situation, while also stating thy were trying to help. The British Prime Minister, Toy Blair flew to India and Pakistan to sell weapons to both countries on the same visit!! [the utter insult of it all]

I think the Japanese should better beware of situations where arms will be sold to Japan and South Korea, to start a war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Vulcan says that removing the bases would be bad for the Okinawan economy. So, presently, the Japanese government is pumping around more than 200 billion yen a year towards the upkeep of the bases [the Japanese government is undergoing a review towards trimming these expenses]. It is not under a contractual agreement to give this money but as a matter of goodwill.

It is also important to consider the financial responsibilities of the Japanese towards these bases, if the Americans are insistent on keeping the bases within Okinawa. Moreover, I also think the Japanese need to be careful of not being dragged into wars the US will intend to fight in the future. Japan as slowly built up a reputation of being a peaceful country recently, and should be careful that the reputation is not damaged again. I also think it was a good thing to stop refueling these military ships sent out by the US [other countries] with Japanese tax payers money.

Instead of wasting money on such activities, should encourage more funds being available for helping people wanting to have children and start a family.

[good that YuriOtani spoke up in defense of his views]

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zman12..I said the exact opposite. I said it wouldn't effect it more than 5%.. and I posted the website from the prefecture to back my figures.. that's all...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zman12:

Pleases read my comment again: Although 20% of Okinawa's main Island is occupied by bases, only 8300 MLC workers (and IHA) are employed on base. Their wages are paid by the GOJ, not the US govt.

Also, with the population of Okinawa at 1.3 million, and 8300 GOJ employees working on the bases. I figure 830,000 are of working age, so this works out to about 1% of the Okinawan adult population being put to work on 20% of Okinawas best land areas! I don't call this good for the Okinawan economy..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

alphawolf; sorry-my mistake I really didnt read carefully. I stand corrected

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yeah.. I was making up the figure on the 830,000 being working age.. but it seems about right given a pop of 1.3 million.

Your right about money being used unwisely. I think it is common that when money can be spent..it will be spent and misused especially when handed over without oversight. Now the govt of Haiti wants to be in charge of something.. not the rescue efforts..but the rebuilding and "distribution" of the money/aid they will receive over the next 10 yrs to rebuild their country.. we're fools if we allow this to happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites