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New Okinawa governor wants U.S. to rethink Marine base relocation

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By Mari Yamaguchi

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Tamaki told Abe that he supports the Japan-U.S. security alliance, but that Okinawa should not be the only one sacrificed. "Everyone in Japan should think about it," he said.

True, it should be a Japan-wide burden.. However, he fails to see the linchpin in reducing the US Bases in Okinawa is allowing for the relocation of Futenma to the extension being built on Camp Schwab. Once this is complete is will allow for the return of Camp Kinser and Camp Lester. Look at the bigger picture Gov Tamaki!

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Achieving those goals would be difficult because the central government takes precedence over the local government in Japan-U.S. alliance issues.

This is something that many people who post here keep conveniently forgetting. The past gov went all over the world pleading his case to people who had no authority to do anything, and just politely listened and showed him the door. Even when he went to Washington, same thing, never met anyone of any importance or anyone who could do anything.

Denny is trying to make a good point, get the US involved, but neither the US nor Tokyo are going to fall into that trap, because it would open a hornets nest of problems, not just here in Japan, but all over the world where there are US bases...."Hey if Okinawa can get the US to directly negotiate, so can we"

If Tokyo consults with the US that's one thing, but otherwise, Denny is out of luck on this one, and will have to deal with Abe and Tokyo.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Once this is complete is will allow for the return of Camp Kinser and Camp Lester. Look at the bigger picture Gov Tamaki!

Lester is already scheduled for return, that's why the new hospital was built on Foster?

Everything south of Kadena, excluding a portion of Foster, and possibly Fort Buckner, is supposed to be returned, including Kinser, and once Naha Military port moves too, that opens a HUGE swath of property, in the most congested locations on the island, for development.

The (former) Chatan Housing area on Foster has already been returned and the Ryukyu University Hospital is scheduled to move into that area, along with Nishihara High School as well.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Lester is already scheduled for return, that's why the new hospital was built on Foster?

From the military guys I've talked to I understand it's scheduled but they've been delaying due to the need for Lester's family housing to house personnel stationed on Futenma and Kinser. Once Futenma is relocated and the Marines can begin shifting units to Guam they'll begin to close the southern bases.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

" residents have long complained about the base related noise pollution and crime" but the noise pollution and crime related to local residents is okay even though there's a lot more of it

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I can tell by the look on Abe's face that he'll get right on it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

At the center of contention is a decades-old plan to relocate the Marine Corps air station from the densely populated area of Futenma in southern Okinawa to less-crowded Henoko on the east coast.

It's not simply the relocation of the Marine Corps air station from the current site to another in Henoko. It's the construction of a new base in the name of a base return. The new base will become the hub of the Marines’ base complex in northern Okinawa without any doubt. That's the reason why the U.S. side is so hectic about Futenma’s relocation.

Why isn't it the simple relocation of an old base? Because the new base will house port facilities for large transport ships to berth and ramps for LCACs to use. The annual operating costs for the new base are estimated by GAO to amount to $200 million, that is 70 times more than the current operating costs of Futenma.  

It's very interesting that PM Abe replied to new Gov. Tamaki, saying "that their land is still occupied by a heavy U.S. military presence more than 70 years after World War II," as if it was someone else's problem and Okinawa was not part of Japan. If Okinawa is an integral part of Japan, then this heavy U.S. military presence, aka pseudo-occupation, must be Japan's own problem and the prime minister should protest the U.S. against this together with Okinawans.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Why isn't it the simple relocation of an old base? Because the new base will house port facilities for large transport ships to berth and ramps for LCACs to use. The annual operating costs for the new base are estimated by GAO to amount to $200 million, that is 70 times more than the current operating costs of Futenma.  

Looks like you found your new schtick... what happened to the whole Futenma occupies stolen land... violation of the Geneva Convention etc. etc. argument? Have you realized it has no accuracy?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Would Denny feel so adamant about this issue if had any relationship with his American father?

I would like to see him first tackle some immediate issues to show his competence for the job. There are surely other issues that can be handled in the short term.

There is alot that can be done for the Okinawan people.

"Don't miss the forest for the trees!"

5 ( +8 / -3 )

must be Japan's own problem and the prime minister should protest the U.S. against this together with Okinawans.

Why? It's not Japan's problem, Japan wants the base there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Voiceofokinawa: “Why isn't it the simple relocation of an old base?”

because if hypocrisy of the local government which, while gladly accepting monetary handouts to house the bases, won’t live up to their promises and don’t care about the environment whatsoever until It’s about a new base.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Mr. Denny Tamaki is the right governor of Okinawa 100 times more than Mr. Abe to a prime minister of Japan. One of the best reason is to find Trump policy wants Japan of Abe to pay the US military bases for all the expenses as much as Trump think US military is protecting Japan. If Mr. Abe wants to increase the JSDF in Okinawa US military bases should be reduced and the expenses will go more for JSDF, what it can be much fair to tax payers understand how the budget was used. So, who is the person who can franky speak to US military? Isn't Mr. Denny who can fluently express the US military how it should be done? LDP politicians or former Okinawa governors couldn't express with rhetoric Japanese (ways of round about) to Americans understand were what unfortunately occurred for many years. I support Mr. Denny ability to overpass the policies of both sides, standinding in the name of Okinawa.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Agree with Mr. Tamaki.... the American Marines should be relocated. Here is the problem right now that Japan has. How.... how, with Japan's shrinking population and extremely tight labor market where foreign workers are needed, is Japan going to find enough actual Japanese Citizens willing or wanting to join the military to make up for the possible relocation or even return of US Military members? With tensions in Asia on the rise.... sure the U.S. has a lot to do with that but they are mainly responding to Chinese expansion and many Asian countries are behind the U.S. including Japan. We all know Okinawa is important strategically. Sure it would be nice if Okinawa totally rid themselves of any U.S. Forces but guess what... that would mean the Japan would have to increase their presence there to make up for it. I'm mainly a liberal pacifist.... but reality and history dictates that "liberal pacifists" would all be working in labor camps if it were not for a strong domestic military.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"I want to appeal to America, where the people have a clear sense of democracy,

Buwahahaha!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How many acondoments does a PM need on his lapels? It's impressive. Personally love the red feather.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL, never going to happen. It moving to Camp Schwab or staying were it is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CrucialS (Today 08:14 am JST):

what happened to the whole Futenma occupies stolen land... violation of the Geneva Convention etc. etc. argument?

Thanks for pointing that out.

In case no one should misunderstand, let me recapitulate what I argued for on other threads. The Futenma air station sits mostly on the private land that was requisitioned with impunity by the U.S. occupation army while area residents were gathered in camps like POWs for over two years after the end of the war.

No doubt, it was a flagrant violation of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Article 46), which states: "Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated."

In other words, the land on which the Futenma air station sits is no other than a stolen property. Therefore, the U.S. side has no right from the beginning to demand a replacement be provided in exchange for the return of  the land.  

Here on this thread, I'm saying the planned facility to be built at Henoko is simply not a replacement for Futenma. It's a NEW base they are demanding to be built.  What a preposterous world it is, that such an absurdity should go unpunished and with impunity.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Now for the real story that doesn't get printed.

Re: forcing a relocation of a U.S. Marine base that residents want removed from the southern Japanese island."

The above means the rebuilding of Camp Hansen. But the picture is who is the puppeteer pulling the strings, for that follow the money. This goes to Ozawa, Hatayome, Kan, and other major groups who own the northern lands and want more resorts and hotels like Hawaii. It will get so overpriced that its the same idiots who voted for the morons, who will end up paying huge costs and the rest of the populace. Younger folks will end up paying 1.3 Million and above for a simple 2 bedroom home, and rents much like Hawaii will be in the 3K or above, wait that already is happing, so the new price will be 7K plus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No doubt, it was a flagrant violation of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Article 46), which states: "Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated."

No one, and I mean no one, has ever used this argument, nor have any lawsuits ever been brought up to challenge this, by anyone, why...because it's a non-issue plain and simple.

In other words, the land on which the Futenma air station sits is no other than a stolen property. Therefore, the U.S. side has no right from the beginning to demand a replacement be provided in exchange for the return of the land.  

You are pulling at straws, and making leaps of imagination and logic that do not exist. Nearly ALL the land on ALL the bases on Okinawa are owned privately.

You, once again, cherry-pick Futenma, and your opinions mean ZERO in the bigger picture. It's that simple.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I guess he doesn't realize I'm making fun of him... sighhhhhhhhhhh

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Okinawa should not be the only one sacrificed

Sacrificed? Is he serious? How many millions of people did Japan ‘sacrifice’ in the first half of last century during their ‘attempted’ imperial rule of Asia? I agree the base should be moved to a less populated area due to noise and safety concerns. However, the US military is in Japan to stay and the Okinawans and the rest of Japan should get used to it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Okinawa should not be the only one sacrificed

Sacrificed? Is he serious?

The idea that Okinawa is sacrificed is ridiculous.. I enjoy it here.. base or no base, we're not left to the wolves in constant fear of life, limb, and security. Honestly, Okinawa is a great place to live and the negatives we do experience tend to be the failings of the prefecture.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I hope Danny-san knows what he is doing. Ruling Okinawa is a lot harder that just saying "US Military get out". I think he is out of touch with Okinawa people.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It is very understandable that Okinawans feel being very sacrificed by there heavy US military bases for more than 70 years. The biggest problem for Okinawans seems only US Marines base there, as never heard big problems of US Forces or US Navy bases. If all Marines move to Guam or others, Okinawans will not protest against US bases there. Anyway Japan needs US Forces and Navy as big deterrence, but not Marines. Marines seem a starter of war.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agreed. Marines go to Guam. Problem is I'm sure the locals there wouldn't accept them. Same reasons.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If the Henoko schedule goes according to plan it will be done in 2030 something, if they delay it with local opposition...

Denny fails to realize that the government of Japan to include Okinawa and the US made deals before even he was born and they have no plans to change them regardless of what a kiddy table politician believes.

denny needs to focus on more important issues affecting the local populace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tamaki also told Abe that many Okinawans want a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement with the United States, which gives American military personnel certain legal privileges.

What kind or type revision's are we talking about here for SOFA?

Anyone have any insight?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let me briefly review the development of Futenma’s relocation issue.

The announcement in 1996 of Futenma’s return hit us like a bolt from the blue. We were so rejoiced that we didn’t notice there was a string attached to Futenma’s return because initially a relocation site was announced to be in Kadena Air Base. But the Kadena townspeople opposed to it, voicing they cannot shoulder any more burden. Then, Kadena’s 18 Air Wing announced they couldn’t accept Kadena/Futenma integration plan. Had the U.S. government already discounted such opposition would take place?  So they floated the option that deciding on relocation sites was up to Okinawa, attaching conditions that the site must be on the east coast of Okinawa Island.

A host of proposals were made thereof by readers of newspapers. Shipbuilders on the mainland also took interest in it.

One plan was to build a 2,000-meter mega-float off “the eastern coast” of Okinawa Island. We thought at first that since it was a floating structure, it could be moved away easily when the time came. But could such a floating behemoth withstand high winds and waves caused by typhoons that hit Okinawa frequently every year? Is today's technology advanced enough to deal with these problems? So this mega-float idea disappeared before long without anyone noticing it. 

Then an unknown construction company based in Nago suggested an idea of land reclamation off the coast of Henoko. Since then the Henoko relocation had been talked about by either Japanese or U.S. governments as if it were a fixed policy already. And the Henoko relocation was officially decided on in April, 2006.

But note that in the 1960s the U.S. Marines had already designed blueprints to build an airfield off the coast of Henoko and make the Oura Bay area a huge military complex. They submitted bills to U.S Congress for a budgetary approval but the bills were repealed twice probably because, it's said, of the skyrocketing costs to carry out the Vietnam War at the time.

Today, it may be the Japanese government -- the Abe cabinet -- that is more intent on implementing the Henoko plan than the U.S. government, as extanker suggests. But the Abe government is acting, mistakenly believing that retaining Futenma's function intact in Okinawa is necessary for the defense of Okinawa and broader Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I want a red BMW but wanting and getting are two different things.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The announcement in 1996 of Futenma’s return hit us like a bolt from the blue.

It never hit you nor any other American's like a "bolt from the blue". It's getting rather tiring.

But note that in the 1960s the U.S. Marines had already designed blueprints to build an airfield off the coast of Henoko and make the Oura Bay area a huge military complex. They submitted bills to U.S Congress for a budgetary approval but the bills were repealed twice probably because, it's said, of the skyrocketing costs to carry out the Vietnam War at the time.

It was 1968, and the US military made the request for funding from the JAPANESE government , but seeing as how the island was still under US control, the Japanese government refused.

Not to mention that it was basically the same project that is being built at Camp Schwab today.

The rest is just hearsay, and conjecture for the most part, not worth commenting any further.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Reducing the Americans, Chinese are cheering

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The U.S. Marines took advantage of the abduction and brutal gang rape of a 12 year old girl by a U.S. Navy Seaman and 2 Marines stationed at Camp Hansen to get the Japanese Govt. to build them a new state of the art facility to replace an old unimportant to the defense of Japan base called MCAS Futenma. After such a horrific crime was committed by U.S. Marines, that the Marines would demand that the Japanese Govt. build such a facility for them and the fact that the Japanese Govt. agreed to build such a facility for them just shows how little both the Marines and the Japanese Govt. respect the people of Okinawa.

And for all of you people who believe the BS that the Japanese Govt. and the U.S. Marines are closing MCAS Futenma because of safety concerns for the people of Ginowan City, the Japanese Govt. had 23 years from the reversion of Japan until the rape incident happened to hold discussions with the U.S. Military to relocate MCAS Futenma because it was dangerous but neither the Japanese Govt. or the U.S. Marine Corps took any action to close MCAS Futenma until the rape incident happened.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

After such a horrific crime was committed by U.S. Marines, that the Marines would demand that the Japanese Govt. build such a facility for them and the fact that the Japanese Govt. agreed to build such a facility for them just shows how little both the Marines and the Japanese Govt. respect the people of Okinawa.

I guess international treaties and agreements get tossed aside at a whim.

Yeah it was a horrific crime, and yes it was the catalyst for the agreement to return Futenma, BUT the US and Japan have a security treaty, not Okinawa and the US. Marines never "demanded" anything. THey are just following the terms set in the security agreement.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't consider abducting a 12 year old girl, bounding and gagging her, putting her in a vehicle and driving her to a remote location and gang raping her to be a whim.

I guess it is just a coincidence that the facility that the Japanese Govt. decided to build for the U.S. Marines in order to close MCAS Futenma just happened to be exactly what the U.S. Marines wanted. The U.S. Marines told the Japanese Govt. exactly what they wanted and the Japanese Govt. agreed to give it to them.

So a 12 year old girl gets gang raped by 3 U.S. Military personnel, the U.S. Marines get a brand new state of the art facility paid for by the Japanese Taxpayers and a beautiful ocean spot on Okinawa gets destroyed. I thought that crime didn't pay!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

73 years passed after the end of the war. Time has changed. It seems about time for US and Japan to consider the revision of SOFA because this agreement is unfair for Japan, or the US should let JSDF take more roles of US military to protect own country. Most of US soldiers would be much happy to go home than stationed in Okinawa by order.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He knows, it won't happen. The US base will remain in Okinawa anyway.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So a 12 year old girl gets gang raped by 3 U.S. Military personnel, the U.S. Marines get a brand new state of the art facility paid for by the Japanese Taxpayers and a beautiful ocean spot on Okinawa gets destroyed. I thought that crime didn't pay!

Like how the naysayers like to take everything out of context to make their opinions sound, oh how should I say this, more believable or valid.

I don't consider abducting a 12 year old girl, bounding and gagging her, putting her in a vehicle and driving her to a remote location and gang raping her to be a whim.

Nice try, never said it was, and it's a poor argument you make when you have to stoop to the level of attempting to put words into someone else's mouth.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Okinawan society was boiling with anger like hell over that rape incident. So the U.S. apparently had concern about the future of its military presence and the secure maintenance of bases.

It was under such circumstances the return of Futenma was announced. And you know the rest of the story.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Okinawan society was boiling with anger like hell over that rape incident. So the U.S. apparently had concern about the future of its military presence and the secure maintenance of bases.

No need to over exaggerate again. The people were definitely not "boiling with anger", I was at the rally, the people were angry and upset, not just at what happened, but ever more so at the Japanese government in Tokyo for not doing anything to change the situation!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yubaru,

I was at the rally

You were at the rally for what purpose? The rally was held on October 20, 1995, organized by the action committee of the Prefectural Assembly that was composed across party lines to protest against the rape incident and at the same time to demand the revision of SOFA (the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement). In other words, it was a rally to say No to the U.S. military presence under the current terms. 

And you say you participated in the protest rally. What for? To endorse it or spy it as an agent of some kind?  I noticed there were  some seemingly U.S. intelligence people busily taking pictures with video cameras.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I noticed there were some seemingly U.S. intelligence people busily taking pictures with video cameras.

A rally is held to protest something involving US assets and you find it strange that members of the US government might be there to observe? Sorry, that's not the conspiracy you're looking for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That rape incident was shocking not only to the people of Okinawa but, no doubt, also to the U.S. government They took it very seriously partly because it could be a catalysis for spreading anti-U.S. base feelings all at once. So Washington must have been watchful of the trend of Okinawa's public opinion and taken every chance to gauge it.

It was under such circumstances that the return of Futenma was announced. Read my post above (Oct. 13 04:39 pm JST) for the rest of the story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about this nonsense:

To endorse it or spy it as an agent of some kind? I noticed there were some seemingly U.S. intelligence people busily taking pictures with video cameras.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

extanker,

Before you say my post is nonsense, you have to prove why it is so. Simply declaring the other side's raising a matter is nonsense without giving any reasons is nothing but nonsense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But it's also ridiculous to think there's no U.S. intelligence here closely watching anti-U.S.bases. Don't you know Okinawa was like a surveylance society before 1972 with the CIC's eyes always felt in every nook and crany, even on a university campus?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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