politics

New Okinawan governor snubbed by Abe, Suga

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New Okinawan Gov Takeshi Onaga, who took office last month, left Tokyo on Friday night after a three-day visit to Tokyo during which he was unable to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Japanese media said Saturday that Abe and Suga had given Onaga, 64, the cold shoulder because of his opposition to the proposed plan to relocate a U.S. military base from Futenma to Henoko in Okinawa.

During his visit to Tokyo, the highest official whom Onaga met was Shunichi Yamaguchi, state minister in charge of Okinawa-related issues.

Before returning to Okinawa, Onaga said he had requested meetings with both Abe and Suga in advance to discuss his ideas for the base relocation, TV Asahi reported. He told reporters he was sorry the meetings could not be realized.

Japanese media also reported that Tokyo may cut its budget for Okinawa in fiscal 2015.

Last month, Onaga ousted incumbent Hirokazu Nakaima by 360,820 votes to 261,076. In his farewell speech, Nakaima, who had approved Tokyo's plan to relocate the base within Okinawa, urged Onaga to move ahead with the plan instead of just saying no, which wouldn't settle anything, he said.

Onaga has promised to veto the landfill work needed for a new base to be built.

Years of deadlock on the planned base relocation have frustrated the Americans and been a thorn in the side of successive Japanese governments.

Okinawa is home to more than half of the 47,000 U.S. service personnel stationed in Japan, and strategically key to the U.S.-Japan security alliance at a time of simmering tensions in East Asia.

But there is widespread local hostility to the military presence, with complaints over noise, the risk of accidents and a perception that the presence of so many young servicemen is a source of crime.

There have been plans for years to move the Futenma air base from a crowded urban area to a sparsely populated coastal district elsewhere on Okinawa -- some 50 kilometers to the north of the current location.

But opponents like Onaga say Okinawa already hosts a disproportionate share of the U.S. military presence in Japan, and the U.S. base should be moved outside the islands altogether.

After his election, Onaga said: "I'd like to convey the message to the governments of Japan and the United States... that the wishes of the people here are different from the administrative action in December last year," referring to his predecessor's about-face.

Onaga said he would "act with determination" toward retracting approval for the landfill work.

© Japan Today/AP

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The Ryukyu Shimpo, a local Okinawa newspaper, reports the scoop on the front page of its Jan. 4 edition that the U.S. had already examined construction of an airfield in 1943 roughly at the same site as Futenma sits now, citing a declassified U.S. document entitled "Taking control of Japan within one year after control of Germany." (Title translation mine)

U.S. war strategists at the time must have known the construction would violate Article 46 of the "Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land" because lands in the area were mostly privately-owned. Probably, they thought the lands would be returned when the war ended because the purpose of constructing the air field was to facilitate the air bombardment of mainland Japan.

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japan4life, thumbs up to you too!

True, the rape incident meant a turning point in the Futenma history.

While the majority of Okinawans often struggle to see behind the smoke screen of strategic political action from Tokyo and Washington they posses a strong sense of empathy for individual human suffering.

But I do believe that to many Okinawans the rape incident also bore an emblematic side that went beyond the individual tragedy as Okinawans apparently did feel completely helpless at the will of a post-war U.S. military regime that withheld basic human rights from them.

It was a straw that broke the camel's back and now we're observing how the Futenma relocation thing is becoming another straw, but this time hopefully one that will lead to a proper form of justice for Okinawans.

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Here's another expert on Japanese politics and also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Sheila Smith, who contends that the U.S. may reconsider the current relocation plan (The Ryukyu Shimpo: Jan. 3) due to the results of Nago mayoral election, Nago City councilors' election, prefectural governor's election and finally the House of Representatives' election. Anti-Henoko candidates all swept these elections.

There's a catch in her contention, though. She never fails to add a provision, "only if Tokyo is prepared to provide a realistic quid pro quo."

She seems to have forgotten why Tokyo is so eager to press ahead with the current plan, saying Henoko is the best and only solution. Why Henoko in Okinawa Prefecture? Because other prefectures in mainland Japan will never say "Yes" to the relocation of the base to their backyard (NIMBY).

Fresh in our memory is the brouhaha that occurred when the Hatoyama Administration announced a plan to move Futenma to Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture. Island-wide anti-relocation rallies were held there, at one of which, amazingly enough, Yuriko Koike, former Defense Minister, appeared and raised her clenched fist in concert with other protesters.

It's apparent that not only all prefectural governments in Japan but also the central government itself aren't willing to shoulder an additional burden of hosting a U.S. base in any part of the mainland. Let unwelcome U.S. bases be dumped into Okinawa, a prefecture of second-class citizens, they seem to argue.

Thus, Smith's proposal, if she ever proposes it, has no realistic value as far as we are concerned. After all, isn't it the tenant's duty and responsibility to find where to move when asked to move out of the place they rent, and not the householder's? What is wrong with Smith and her ilks is that they think otherwise.

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Because of the advancements in weaponry by China and N. Korea and any other belligerent players in the arena, having so many USMC assets exposed is foolish.

With North Korea you are looking at only 2 cities that even have electricity. => This has been sort of a running joke, and they do actually have a power grid. But, from the photos at night it does look like only 2 cities have electricity.

http://image.ohmynews.com/down/images/1/internews_242766_1%5B346680%5D.jpg http://www.nkeconwatch.com/nk-uploads/elite1.JPG Kim Jong 2 palace = most of the tech is here. http://www.nkeconwatch.com/

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Onaga was freely elected by the Okinawan people. That needs to be respected. Obviously those who elected him know what he stands for. Abe and Sugas behaviour has shown us what we already knew: the leadership of Japan is childish and corrupt

Please dont go and start thinking that the leadership in Okinawa is any different. Politicians are pretty much the same all over this country.

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Such is the politics of politicians. What is at stake though is a lot of humans lives first and foremost, secondly, a lot of money. All sides should take a step back and re-evaluate the best long term decision possible. I broke out my soapbox on this issue long ago, and 'long term' strategic planning is not in this current plan !! Presence must be maintained on Okinawa, but only in USAF,USN two main bases of Kadena and White Beach. Because of the advancements in weaponry by China and N. Korea and any other belligerent players in the arena, having so many USMC assets exposed is foolish.

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Onaga was freely elected by the Okinawan people. That needs to be respected. Obviously those who elected him know what he stands for. Abe and Sugas behaviour has shown us what we already knew: the leadership of Japan is childish and corrupt

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childish leadership, ignoring meetings? maybe the new governor of okinawa is more suited to being a Prime Minister than Abe! Majority of Okinawans spoke through elections by electing this governor with an overwhelming majority. Why can't he be recognized in Tokyo, with his new ideas and plans? Maybe Okinawans will be more comfortable and their wishes be recognized if they become part of the US rather than this childish, loony leadership we have here in Tokyo.

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heynong said:

"In fact, US bases are not only in Okinawa. Near by Philippines and Taiwan as well before. Subic and Clark air bases from Philippines have been shut down their shops back in 1990s. Life goes on for unemployed Filipinos back then. Reality is those bases were risky for Volcanic eruption and US left voluntarily. Not because of local protest and resentment. Now they are free as birds and some even prospered without US presence. Why not Okinawa can close some bases? It will be not end of the world as doom and gloom saying posters posted."

Actually, the U.S is in the process of moving back in to the old Subic Naval Base (http://www.smh.com.au/world/philippines-divided-over-us-return-to-subic-bay-20121119-29m4m.html) This was a place I've hated going to ; A place that I personally wanted shut down even when I was in the Navy. And now because of China . . .

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@Tak Alfred OishiJAN. 01, 2015 - 10:45AM JST to: toshiko My question strays a bit from the subject of discussion. May I ask you a very simple question? Do you think Japan needs to be allied with U.S.?

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Think by yourself. Don't ask me. Think which country Japan should be allied. Russia? S Korea? China? UK? Australia? Do Arabic countries hate Japan as much as they hate US?

When US forces landed to Okinawa, people went to welcome US forces. US Military misunderstood and killed Okinawans. This, you can read in old old Asahi, Mainichi. Japan surrendered later. Then lengthy Okinawa occupation. Finally returned. Total payment to let US Foces in Japan in 2013 was over 2 billion US dollars. We don;t know how much for 2014 yet. Japan has been paying every year. Those are to US not to Okinawan landlord owners whose propeties were seized. I wrote about crime comparison of Okinawa marines, Iwakuni, Camp Pendleton. Stars and Stripes have data/ For Iwakuni, It is in Yamaguchi ken so relible paper is Bocho Shimbun that critic Abe often, /Then Camp P, Santa Ana Register, LA Times cover more LA County. About Okinawan news, there are Okinawan newspapers/ Somehow, marines behave different than in Okinawa. Okinawan people do not benefit by having bases.

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Onaga garnered 360,820 votes out of 977,000 eligible voters, not out of 1.4 million as Yubaru says. How many did Nakaima garner? He garnered 261,076 votes. The difference was 99,744 or roughly 100 thousand. Compared with past gubernatorial elections, this result was almost epoch-making, an overwhelming victory for Onaga indeed.

Media polls have always shown that more than 80 percent of people polled are opposed to the government's Henoko relocation plan. Together with this figure, one can definitely say "the majority of people" chose Onaga.

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Well, the majority of Okinawans chose him because he represented their feelings best. So, yes, of course they stand behind him.

The "majority" did not vote him into office, he garnered roughly 370,000 votes out of a population of 1.4 million. You need to learn math to understand what a "majority" is.

True, but I don't think Okinawans have a problem with Tokyo. They have a problem with being used as a military dumping ground, by Washington, Tokyo, whoever. And prime amongst them is Abe. He is very unpopular here, as was his puppet, Nakaima.

If this is what you really think you really are out of touch with reality. Okinawa has all sorts of problems with Tokyo, and you are naive beyond belief if you think otherwise.

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Americanhonor,

Meanwhe Okinawans watching events are increasing their anti Abe stance and standing firmly behind their new Governor.

Well, the majority of Okinawans chose him because he represented their feelings best. So, yes, of course they stand behind him.

Cutting their budget will only further alienate okinawans from supporting anything Tokyo proposes.

True, but I don't think Okinawans have a problem with Tokyo. They have a problem with being used as a military dumping ground, by Washington, Tokyo, whoever. And prime amongst them is Abe. He is very unpopular here, as was his puppet, Nakaima.

But I wonder that other areas in Japan don't see the light in re Signor Abelini.

He is a mentally unstable fascist and a coward to boot. He couldn't even summon up the courage to meet Onaga in Tokyo.

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when I was in the Navy, I knew enough about the place to avoid it at all costs

In fact, US bases are not only in Okinawa. Near by Philippines and Taiwan as well before. Subic and Clark air bases from Philippines have been shut down their shops back in 1990s. Life goes on for unemployed Filipinos back then. Reality is those bases were risky for Volcanic eruption and US left voluntarily. Not because of local protest and resentment. Now they are free as birds and some even prospered without US presence. Why not Okinawa can close some bases? It will be not end of the world as doom and gloom saying posters posted.

To Hawaii? Guam? Yokosuka? The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands?

Ukraine, Poland, American Samoa or America Virgin Islands.

Get real.

When I was in Navy, I had realized that surface ships on the sea were nothing but shooting targets from subs underwater and bases from on shore.

Moreover, I doubt that the Japanese people as a whole will desire to spend billions of yen to build up their armed forces

Hosting US bases are wasting billions of yens for 70 years. That world is no longer in Saving Private Ryan era. For example, Israel Arm Forces have been reducing man power and installing more anti missiles and anti rocket system. Unlike Japan, they have more hostile terrain, flying rockets and neighbours.

Modern warfare does not need more boots and ships. More missiles and invisible computer viruses. If PRC wants, they could wipe out all the bases with missiles with a few minutes. Of course! US will retaliate it however it is too late for residents who have already been on the heaven. The base is not deterrence. It is the magnet for flying missiles for landing on Okinawa.

That will most assuredly happen if our forces leave Okinawa.

If you read every single post again, residents are not demanding all of US forces to leave from Okinawa. They only want to reduce the unbearable burden of hosting 74% of military facilities from the 0.6% land space of Japan national map for 70 years. It has been too long and time for change.

At the end, haters are not voters. Their opinions will not count in the election. It is Ryuku residents ancestor land. It is their choice for relocation of bases. The Sun will still rise and set when US troops leave from Okinawa. Beaches will be more beautiful without pollution, traffic congestion and air craft noise. Okinawa without US bases will be the paradise from bible.

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To be honest, I'm actually very torn when I read about stuff like this. Though I've never visited Okinawa or was stationed there when I was in the Navy, I knew enough about the place to avoid it at all costs when I was a sailor. Simply put, the people that live there have a good reason not to want American forces or SOFA personnel there. Our forces did some terrible, dumb things there between the end of WWII and today and nothing short of the elimination of the military bases will satiate them. The bad news is that where are those bases going to go? To Hawaii? Guam? Yokosuka? The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands?! Get real. Moreover, I doubt that the Japanese people as a whole will desire to spend billions of yen to build up their armed forces to placate China. A lot of them tend to underestimate them, but there is fairly strong opposition to turn those folks into a real, offensive army, navy, air force, etc. That will most assuredly happen if our forces leave Okinawa.

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to: toshiko My question strays a bit from the subject of discussion. May I ask you a very simple question? Do you think Japan needs to be allied with U.S.?

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Meanwhe Okinawans watching events are increasing their anti Abe stance and standing firmly behind their new Governor. Cutting their budget will only further alienate okinawans from supporting anything Tokyo proposes.

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hidingdout:

You say "Okinawa prefecture is forever going to be a military installation of some sort, its geographic location guarantees that."

There are many areas in the world that are strategically well located in the views of U.S. policy makers. Does that justify the U.S. can use them for its own sake and with impunity? If you think you can, then you are a 19th-century imperialist still feeding on the law of the jungle.

Joseph Nye, a former U.S. Defense Assistant Secretary and now an influential member on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board under the Obama administration, replied in an interview held by the Asahi Shimbun that "if Okinawan people support the Henoko relocation, I will support it myself. If they don't, we must reconsider it." (Asahi: December 8)

He had mentioned earlier that concentrated U.S. bases in Okinawa have become very vulnerable before China's newly-developed missile attacks so that they must be dispersed in wider outside areas also (The Ryukyu Shimpo: September 1, 2014).

I will return your words to you as they are: "You are winding yourself up into a fever over a cause that has already been lost."

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New Okinawan governor snubbed by Abe, Suga

Politics is a mother and if you are on the outside looking in it can be a very cold place.

Let's see how long his conviction will hold when he is forced to cut his budget and has to ask for more funds. Everyone who is in politics must dance to the music if he wishes to continue in politics. Gov Takeshi Onaga will be needing many thing from Tokyo and as long as he doesn't give a little he won't get squat.

Let's see how much support he will get from the Communist now........

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If Abe had wanted to do something guaranteed to further alienate Okinawans and pour gasoline on the fire, he could not have come up with a better plan than the childish hissy fit he showed by refusing to see Onaga when he visited Tokyo.

He is heading for yet another nervous breakdown.

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hidingout's talk about NIMBY, greed and selfishness are ridiculous and completely off the track.

Yeah, because you say so.

I think what's "completely off track" is a single prefecture attempting to hijack Tokyo's defense policy. And even more off track than that is that there are people who propagate these views in public with a straight face and not a hint of shame.

I urge you to move along sir. Okinawa prefecture is forever going to be a military installation of some sort, its geographic location guarantees that. You are winding yourself up into a fever over a cause that has already been lost.

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Serrano:

So in your logic, contemporary Okinawans are all thieves because they live on land bequeathed or "stolen" (in your opinion) from Ryukyu Kingdom? LOL.

Of course, I know you are talking about Meiji Japan's annexation of Ryukyu Kingdom in 1879. But the issue is on a completely different plane. And, mind you, that doesn't justify the U.S. military's stealing of private lands and continued pseudo-occupation of Okinawa.

Despite yourself, your argument betrays the very fact that the U.S. bases sit on stolen properties and that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is nothing but a facade to hide this reality.

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"Futenma sits on stolen land lots just like other U.S. bases on Okinawa"

Carrying that argument further, Okinawa sits on stolen land from the Ryukyu Kingdom...

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@bam boo; Excellent post, I wish I could give you more thumbs because you really gave a true picture of the situation. I would just like to add that in my opinion, the reason MCAS Futenma was decided to be closed is because of the Rape Incident and the desire by the US and Japan to put a lid on the outrage shown by the Okinawan people after it. If the US and Japan were so concerned about safety they would have closed it long before the rape incident but as far as I know there were no formal discussions to close it and I believe if the rape incident had not happened it would not be being closed. How can you be concerned about the safety of the people when you are willing to allow what Rumsfeld called the most dangerous base in the world to remain in place if you do not get your way?

I do not know where some people get the idea that people who oppose the bases always change their opposition whenever a Chinese boat comes close or a North Korean Missile gets fired and they run down to the nearest base, get on their knees and say forgive us for opposing you please stay and protect us. People who oppose the bases do so because that is what they truly believe in their heart.

As bam boo said the majority of Okinawan people are willing to accept some US Military facilities for defense purposes but these massive bases in their current configurations need to be reduced and consolidated so that the Okinawan peoples quality of life can improve.

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Area-wise, Okinawa, an insular prefecture occupying only 0.6 % of the total land mass of Japan, is forced to host 74% of all U.S. bases in Japan.

So we were thrilled when we watched then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale together announce in 1996 that Futenma would be returned in 7 to 8 years. Its facilities would be moved to Kadena Air Base, they said.

There's no doubt that Futenma is a very hazardous base because it sits in the middle of crowded residential areas. A plan had already been blueprinted by the Pentagon in the 1960's to build a colossal military complex on the eastern coast of Nago to which Futenma's facilities could be moved and integrated with.

The plan didn't materialize, though, because the U.S. Senate didn't approve the bill in the face of skyrocketing expenditures on the ongoing Vietnam War.

The long-dormant plan revived suddenly when the original Kadena relocation plan was scrapped in no time due to a strong opposition by the 18th Wing Kadena as well as local residents who complained they could not shoulder any more burden. The U.S. side must have pre-calculated this and had targeted Henoko from the beginning for a long shot.

Futenma sits on stolen land lots just like other U.S. bases on Okinawa. Naturally, the U.S. has no right to demand a cutting-edge replacement for its return.

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Fadamor, Yubaru, I don't think your last argument is appropriate.

This election has clearly shown that Okinawans are fed up with being badly knocked about. It was not about a bit more or less security in Futenma or Henoko, but about regaining basic democratic rights and equality within Japan.

Under the US military occupation Okinawans did experience how it is to be treated as 2nd class citizens in a "democratic" nation and unfortunately after the reversion to Japan this situation basically stayed the same, only that the central government tried to quiet Okinawans with more money and a filthy carrot and stick policy, which partly was quite effective.

But recently we are observing a change and it seems Okinawans are willing to sacrifice a part of their tiny wealth to get closer to their long term objectives as they knew very well that electing Onaga could mean major budget cuts and still made the choice.

Okinawans are a diverse crowd, but the majority has a sense of justice and they know well that they have been pressured and cheated into their current position and want to change this and get back their dignity.

The majority of Okinawans are realistic and probably could come to terms with hosting a small number of US military facilities if this is decided on in a democratic and transparent process in which they are equal to other prefectures, but did they ever come close to such an opportunity? No!

Considering that Okinawa hosts over 70% of the US base area of Japan and that 18% of their own main island are off limits for them and largely stolen land from them, that they have been victims to hideous pollution and have experienced numberless military related accidents, hidingout's talk about NIMBY, greed and selfishness are ridiculous and completely off the track.

The talk about the "Okinawans" taking all the money, or that "they want to have their cake and eat it too", is ridiculous as well. While there are a number of Okinawans that have profited quite a lot from Tokyo's carrot and stick policy (or shall we rather call it divide and rule policy?) the prefecture as a whole has only been kept in relative poverty and dependency, not despite but because of these seemingly big budgets from Tokyo. Budgets that in effect never were that big as a large part has always been directly redirected to mainland Japan or collected in the pockets of a few complacent and usually rich Okinawan families. And those Budgets were well designed in Tokyo to create dependency on cheap labour (or shall we say pouring concrete) and not provide better education, or other long-term meaningful objectives that could help create a more self-reliant prefecture.

I don't have a very romantic image of Okinawans, I know too many too well, but I have sense of justice and I admire not-corruptible people who have a sense for community, who stand up for their rights and their freedom and I know a number of Okinawans who are just like that.

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@Yubaru How is it possible to harass a small group of uninhabited islands? 'Keep China at bay'? You seem to to be imagine that China is a threat but I have yet to see the Chinese Navy anchored in Tokyo Bay or Chinese fighter planes on recon over Japan....

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Japan > Okinawa. Always has been and always will be. Okinawa does not dictate to Japan. They never have and never will. It's all well and good for Okinawans to elect someone who promises he will never let them move the base, but Okinawans need to realize they are going to pay the price in other ways. It occurs to me the original complaint about Futenma was that it is too close to the city and poses a safety risk to city residents. It ALSO occurs to me that had the move been allowed to move forward when it was originally supposed to, Futenma would be pretty much shut down right now and the city's safety would have already been improved. I guess the whole "safety" thing was just a strawman to justify all the outrage. It obviously wasn't the real reason or the base would have already been moved out of the city.

The original argument is correct, the issue is/was safety related. Everyone, however, seems to conveniently get amnesia when it comes to that point. Give it one more year and it will be 20 years since the return was agreed upon.

I agree with you here, take things little by little. If the base gets moved to Henoko, the busiest areas that are affected by bases would be returned. Naha Port, Camp Kinser, parts of Camp Foster, MCAS Futenma, and some other minor facilities. Those are major concessions, but Okinawa seems to think that they can dictate the foreign policy of the entire country of Japan without having to play any part in assisting to defend Japan.

The naysayers here were silent when China was harassing the Senkaku islands and were grateful for the US presence that keeps China at bay. But these folks have sort memories.

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Not surprising in the least. If you've declared you are not going to listen to any discussion unless it involves agreeing to only what you've decided on, it should come as no surprise that others have no interest in meeting with you. Why waste the time?

Japan > Okinawa. Always has been and always will be. Okinawa does not dictate to Japan. They never have and never will. It's all well and good for Okinawans to elect someone who promises he will never let them move the base, but Okinawans need to realize they are going to pay the price in other ways. It occurs to me the original complaint about Futenma was that it is too close to the city and poses a safety risk to city residents. It ALSO occurs to me that had the move been allowed to move forward when it was originally supposed to, Futenma would be pretty much shut down right now and the city's safety would have already been improved. I guess the whole "safety" thing was just a strawman to justify all the outrage. It obviously wasn't the real reason or the base would have already been moved out of the city.

Until Okinawa actually becomes an independent country, they need to stop acting like they're one.

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I don't think its "factually inaccurate" if it (being fairly compensated) applies to the majority of modern era cases, as you concede below. If you wish to go back to post-war times then I think you have to recognize that spoils of war is a legitimate doctrine. So that's not "stolen" either. You think there'd be any Japanese military bases in the US if the war had gone the other way? Sounds like you are complaining about history here; see references to ROK and PRC in my post above.

Excuse me? Let me give you a case in point, a man was taken to the hospital because he was ill, when he returned to his house it was gone along with his property, taken by the US Military. Compensation for the land came AFTER reversion. The US Military did as it pleased for nearly 30 years.

Using your, to me anyway, warped logic, the spoils of war has no deadline. Don't bring up an argument about Japanese bases on the US, that just weakens any point you are trying to make and just shows your ignorance of the actual situation. BTW you "think"? I think not.

Using your arguments against you here, the US didnt "steal" the land from the native American's either did they? Rather ignorant argument to justify your point I am sure you can see. I already hear your rebuttal so save your breathe or fingers I should say.

No need to research as I'm not that interested in Japanese law.

The world does not revolve around the US. If you are going to make an intelligent argument please understand just where you are talking about. Making comparisons means nothing either, this ain't Kansas my boy.

You can't say that the "people of Okinawa prefecture weren't consulted" when it was their aggressive protesting (flying kites at an airport, lol) over more than a decade that led to the government decision to move Futenma in the first place. If the people of Okinawa prefecture don't like where its getting moved to then perhaps they should have just lived with the status quo instead of demanding this and that. Sometimes the devil you end up with is worse than the one that you had before you started complaining.

Talking to a wall here....I have forgotten more about what has happened here on Okinawa than you have ever learned. You obviously have a thimble full, if that, of knowledge of the actual situation but choose to toss around and show your ignorance for everyone to see. Be my guest, you do not want to LEARN, you just want to complain.

Have at it son.

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Actually your assumption is factually inaccurate. Many of the landowners actually DID have their lands taken away from them without any warning nor due compensation either. It fell under the spoils of war during the American military's administration of the islands after WWII until 1972.

I don't think its "factually inaccurate" if it (being fairly compensated) applies to the majority of modern era cases, as you concede below. If you wish to go back to post-war times then I think you have to recognize that spoils of war is a legitimate doctrine. So that's not "stolen" either. You think there'd be any Japanese military bases in the US if the war had gone the other way? Sounds like you are complaining about history here; see references to ROK and PRC in my post above.

Do a little research and you will realize that while eminent domain exists here, it is a last resort measure of the government and rarely used.

No need to research as I'm not that interested in Japanese law. My only point in mentioning eminent domain was to explain to bamboo that citizens in many free nations are familiar with the idea that sometimes land needs to be used for the common good. In the case where a landowner wishes to resist the common good, the law can be brought to bear. Normal people realize and accept this.

the Japanese national government chose to keep the Okinawa prefectural government and the people in the dark about the details until the latter half of this year when it recently came to light

Yeah, because they are a bunch of NIMBYs who are beyond reasonable discourse. You and bamboo can't seem to read my point even though I've typed it up already twice now. You can't say that the "people of Okinawa prefecture weren't consulted" when it was their aggressive protesting (flying kites at an airport, lol) over more than a decade that led to the government decision to move Futenma in the first place. If the people of Okinawa prefecture don't like where its getting moved to then perhaps they should have just lived with the status quo instead of demanding this and that. Sometimes the devil you end up with is worse than the one that you had before you started complaining.

it seems to me that you are trying to make the case for saying that all Okinawa benefited

Said that nowhere. All I said is they took the money, and the infrastructure, and the spin-off dollars, and the transfer payments from central government. And they still complained.

Look I'm not going to waste any more time on this topic. Okinawa is not some glorious kingdom. It is not a special case. All the people wishing for the removal of American military bases from Japan are certain to be disappointed. America needs to be here and Japan needs America here. 360000 NIMBYs from Okinawa prefecture had their votes duly recorded. Now they are going to be ignored in favor of the wishes of the majority of Japan's citizens. That's how life works. I truly hope the base haters in Okinawa prefecture wake up and realize that before they waste their lives away tilting at windmills.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

not many people will understand "socialist" the way you are using it, as a swear word

It's definitely an American thing. I don't think anywhere else in the world sees the word with the same negative imagery that the US does.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Thanks, Yubaru, for clarifying some points.

It is clear, hidingout, that you know very few about the Okinawans situation and didn't even bother to research before commenting. As your comments are so off track I would recommend to get some background Information at japanfocus.org a website and forum for independent Japan-related research.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Gavan-McCormack/3532

The above article by McCormack is a good place to start with.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-makishi-yoshikazu/1819

Is more in detail about the Henoko history.

And, hidingout, not many people will understand "socialist" the way you are using it, as a swear word. Other then in the U.S. in most countries around the world it is just a normal part of the democratic political spectrum.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Surely a one-sided telling of the events. Without even investigating I can assume that any landowners were given fair warning and most likely an opportunity to sell at (or better than) market value. That would almost certainly go double in Japan where they give you a two month written notice before they repave your parking lot, and hand out free towels in the neighborhood six months before ground is broken on a new building. So "stolen"? I think not.

Actually your assumption is factually inaccurate. Many of the landowners actually DID have their lands taken away from them without any warning nor due compensation either. It fell under the spoils of war during the American military's administration of the islands after WWII until 1972.

Some families were forcibly removed from their properties during that time as well and were not compensated for their property either. Compensation started for the most part after the reversion. There was some compensation prior to that but it was a pittance.

Their land WAS stolen.

You may be familiar with the concept of eminent domain. It means a country has the right to take over private property to exercise functions of the public good so long as landowners are properly compensated. And looky looky, just below you concede that they were properly compensated. Its no different than someone in another prefecture having his/her land appropriated to build a train line, or an Olympic village, or a highway or whatever. If you are a sensible person you simply take the money and move. Period.

You have no idea how things work here in Japan if you are making comments like this. Ever hear of the problems with the 2nd runway at Narita? Just how many years did it take to build? Do a little research and you will realize that while eminent domain exists here, it is a last resort measure of the government and rarely used.

heir concerns were heard and the Japanese government prepared a plan. I'm sure leaders of Okinawa prefecture were included in the discussions

Again false assumption, no Okinawa was not consulted, in fact if you do a little research there is also information out there that states that the national government did not inform the Okinawa government about the actual extent of the construction planned for the base in Hennoko BECAUSE of fears of local opposition which btw was against what the US government had wanted. The US wanted the Japanese to be open about all it's plans but the Japanese national government chose to keep the Okinawa prefectural government and the people in the dark about the details until the latter half of this year when it recently came to light.

Yeah they took the money all right. For decades. And the jobs and the spin-off dollars and the infrastructure etc etc.

Do you know what the population of Okinawa is today? With comments like this it seems to me that you are trying to make the case for saying that all Okinawa benefited, this along with the rest of your comments. That is not true. Including the "one-tsubo" owners there are roughly 10,000 or so actual landowners, with base property, out of a population of 1.4 million. A small percentage no doubt. Also do not forget that people who own land that house Japanese JSDF bases also are compensated as well.

Okinawa is unique in a way because the majority of land that houses the Military installations are privately owned, unlike in mainland where the bases are already on government owned land. Hence part of the problem here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Either you never had a place that you called your home, or you are a thoroughbred cynic.

I've lived on four continents. I have several homes. So maybe that makes me someone who likes to move around. Why the speculation on my personal life?

Please note that Okinawa is an archipelago with its own millenniums-old history and culture.

Which distinguishes it from thousand of other teeny tiny archipelagos around the world, each with their own history and culture, how exactly? This tendency for some residents of Okinawa prefecture to self-aggrandizement is quite perplexing. I'm not interested in your stories of millennia gone by, we are now living in the 21st century. And in this reality Okinawa is a prefecture of Japan - a minor prefecture that would be nothing but a drain on the central government were it not fortuitously located in a position of some strategic significance.

You might expect a small number of people to leave their home to pursue a better life somewhere else, but if a majority of citizens is not happy with the decisions of their central government to say they should leave their ancestral homeland is an absurd and anti-democratic idea of a "free country".

What majority are you talking about? It matters very little what the majority of Okinawa residents want. They can elect whatever radical they wish. In the end they will do as told. Now if you were suggesting that the majority of Japanese citizens would like the bases out of Okinawa - or indeed out of Japan altogether as Onaga has stated he wishes - then I would hope the central government would heed that wish and begin negotiating such a departure with the US government. Wouldn't hold my breath on that ever happening though.

Further to your idea that "leaving ones ancestral homeland is absurd" ... I think we all know if everyone before us had always thought like that there would be no Texan for you to mock in stereotype.

There are so many misconceptions in your statement that I don't know where to start.

It would have been nice of you then to at least point out one of them instead of addressing nothing I said.

First of all the majority of Okinawan landowners never had a choice in leasing their land, it was just stolen from them.

Surely a one-sided telling of the events. Without even investigating I can assume that any landowners were given fair warning and most likely an opportunity to sell at (or better than) market value. That would almost certainly go double in Japan where they give you a two month written notice before they repave your parking lot, and hand out free towels in the neighborhood six months before ground is broken on a new building. So "stolen"? I think not.

You may be familiar with the concept of eminent domain. It means a country has the right to take over private property to exercise functions of the public good so long as landowners are properly compensated. And looky looky, just below you concede that they were properly compensated. Its no different than someone in another prefecture having his/her land appropriated to build a train line, or an Olympic village, or a highway or whatever. If you are a sensible person you simply take the money and move. Period.

Of course many (not all though) took the compensation money, but what would you do being a farmer who had all his land taken away?

Yeah they took the money all right. For decades. And the jobs and the spin-off dollars and the infrastructure etc etc.

Then the Okinawans had absolutely no say in the relocation discussion, it was anything but their idea and if anybody had asked them the Okinawan people would have said no, Period.

"Absolutely no say". How ridiculous. I've been in Japan a long time, and I've seen very little but Okinawa prefecture having her say. The constant bellyaching emanating from Okinawa is perhaps surmounted only by the complaining of PRC and ROK. So its false for you to say "they had no say". They wanted Futenma moved, and agitated long and hard toward that end. Their concerns were heard and the Japanese government prepared a plan. I'm sure leaders of Okinawa prefecture were included in the discussions. I'm also sure that their ideas for relocation amounted to one ... NIMBY. Very little point continuing a discussion with a NIMBY.

Wow, hidingout, the way you talk about the large majority of Okinawans speaks for itself. Sounds a bit like the "all indians are lazy and good-for-nothing" talk that we know from the darker side of US history.

My post specifically references the "anti-base" folks. It says nothing about "the large majority of Okinawans" and certainly makes no mention of Indians (we prefer Native American, thanks). But I appreciate that sometimes when folks have nothing but emotion and impotent frustration with which to buttress their stance, they sometimes lash out with inappropriate references. So no offense taken.

Not to mention McCarthy..

Without checking, I'm willing to bet Okinawa is one of the most socialist prefectures in Japan. And you don't need to be an expert on commies to figure that out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tinawatanabe: "Yes, I agree. Okinawans are the last people who are selfish and greedy."

Not at all. Many have make their living off the bases and the US military, and will lose their living if the bases are gone or even relocate.

YuriOtani: "Yubaru no service to SOFA people. Make it that water and electric is not available to the bases. Close roads leading to bases etc."

You'd be cutting off those services to a LOT of Japanese people as well, but my guess is you think less of them for making their living off the US bases, or just deny that's the reality for many. As has been said: if the new Governor wants to scrap the building permits for the new base, then keep them permanently at Futenma, and if people complain let the US military point them to the Governor because it will be HIS fault, and the whiners'.

Yubaru: "Rather easy for Tokyo to think that even Okinawa doesnt know what it wants."

Exactly! I always think it's funny when a Chinese sub or navy ships come close to the islands claimed by Japan and Yuri and others suddenly stop objecting to the bases being there and say the US "must defend Japan!", etc. etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yubaru no service to SOFA people. Make it that water and electric is not available to the bases. Close roads leading to bases etc.

This solution sounds just like a kid playing in the sandbox and taking all the toys home crying to mommy because she can't get her way.

Okinawa is to blame as well for the situation it is in, all the cities and towns vote against the bases and the the prefecture elects governors who are for the bases, with the exception of two now, Ohta and Onaga. Rather easy for Tokyo to think that even Okinawa doesnt know what it wants.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru no service to SOFA people. Make it that water and electric is not available to the bases. Close roads leading to bases etc. This is not about foreign people but the American occupation. Abe is a fool and a tool of the Americans which let him get away with his chicken hawk noises.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

U.S. is pressuring on Japan’s military to build or buy more weapons, increase troop levels, expand missions, and to increasingly adopt an offensive, rather than defensive capability. Never considered is a substantial reduction in U.S. forces or bases in Japan. With the U.S. support, the only choice is between more and deadlier armaments and offensive reach. The rise of China is putting stress on U.S. and it needs its allies to work cooperatively. The majority of the Japanese public is against collective self-defense. U.S. policies may succeed in getting the constitutional “reinterpretation” if Abe wants to permit “collective defense” with the U.S.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They have a host nation that is willing to spend massive amounts of money on them.

Japan is not willing to spend this massive amouts. Japan is in the weaker position, and US is in the stronger.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ hidingout

The great thing about living in a free country is that you can move somewhere else if you can't put up with whatever inconvenience the central government foists on you.

Either you never had a place that you called your home, or you are a thoroughbred cynic. Please note that Okinawa is an archipelago with its own millenniums-old history and culture. You might expect a small number of people to leave their home to pursue a better life somewhere else, but if a majority of citizens is not happy with the decisions of their central government to say they should leave their ancestral homeland is an absurd and anti-democratic idea of a "free country".

Just imagine talking to a Texan like that... you might want to have bullet proof vest on.

What would you call it when people make fortunes leasing land to the central government or the US military, and take huge transfer payments from the central government to ease their sufferings, and succeed in negotiating the relocation of the biggest, noisiest base that everyone hated the most .... and still weren't satisfied. Maybe "greedy" is the more appropriate word?

There are so many misconceptions in your statement that I don't know where to start. First of all the majority of Okinawan landowners never had a choice in leasing their land, it was just stolen from them. Of course many (not all though) took the compensation money, but what would you do being a farmer who had all his land taken away? Then the Okinawans had absolutely no say in the relocation discussion, it was anything but their idea and if anybody had asked them the Okinawan people would have said no, Period.

I suspect the anti base folks are motivated by something beyond money though. I suspect they are mostly socialists who just hate America and have some misty notion of a future paradise where the central government supports them with welfare payments and all foreigners are cleansed from "their" land.

Wow, hidingout, the way you talk about the large majority of Okinawans speaks for itself. Sounds a bit like the "all indians are lazy and good-for-nothing" talk that we know from the darker side of US history. Not to mention McCarthy...

@ Serrano

For most Okinawans (include me here) the threat China poses is much less real then the one created by having their small islands packed with US military. I'm not mainly talking about the crime committed by US military personal here, but rather about the pollution, the threat of accidents, of being a target and the threat of becoming a place for military action once again.

There are many posters here that bring up the Chinese threat, but I don't think that it bears any reality and even given the fact that China is increasingly belligerent in aspiring its strategic targets those alleged doom and gloom scenarios wouldn't withstand any serious geopolitical analysis.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

When Okinawa reverted to Japan the Okinawan people had a lot of expectations about the bases based on promises made to them by the Japanese Govt. but now they realize that all they did was trade one colonial master the US for another colonial master the Japanese. No matter how much money Japan gives Okinawa they will never be able to repay them for the sacrifices they have made for Mainland Japan. It is the Mainland Japanese who are selfish by demanding that Okinawa bear the burden for their defense. It is the Mainland Japanese who are afraid of China and North Korea because of the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army. The Okinawan people were victims of the IJA just like the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos and others. In closing I am re-posting the following from another thread and for all of you Okinawan haters you should be thanking the Okinawan people for their sacrifices instead of making moronic comments.

Okinawa is the US Military`s last overseas empire and they do not want to give it up. It is a place where they have a lot of massive facilities representing all 4 branches of services located close together. It is probably one of the few overseas locations left where the Military can bring their families and not worry about crime, drugs, gangs and terrorist attacks. They have excellent housing for single personnel and Military Families, the dependent schools (2-high schools, 2- junior high schools, 6-elementary schools) are some of the best in the world. They have excellent leisure facilities including two-18 hole golf courses, two-9 hole golf courses, tennis courts, football fields, baseball fields, swimming pools, fitness gyms, 5-private beaches and even a Boat Marina. They have a host nation that is willing to spend massive amounts of money on them. In my opinion it would be hard to find another place outside of the US where the US Military has it any better than Okinawa.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@toshiko

You misunderstand. I said IF Futenma was a Chinese base ( it isn't ) ( and IF Okinawa was under control of the Chinese ( it isn't ) ( due in large part to the presence of U.S. bases in Okinawa and other areas of Japan ), there wouldn't be any local opposition. I do NOT insult Okinawa residents.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@SerranoDEC. 29, 2014 - 08:55PM JST Amazing how if Futenma was a Chinese base ( and Okinawa was under control of the Chinese ), there wouldn't be any vocal opposition to the base or the Chinese government.

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??? When Futema was Chinese base] ??? You wrote was so write historic fact instead of insulting Okinawan residents.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Amazing how if Futenma was a Chinese base ( and Okinawa was under control of the Chinese ), there wouldn't be any vocal opposition to the base or the Chinese government.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@tak: . So my conclusion is so far as we are allies, we definitely need to engage in surveillance missions over China and North Korea. And the US military presence in Japan, whether it is Okinawa or wherever, is extremely important. I know there is a price that we have to pay. I would like ask people who oppose to this relocation plan on where the best relocation site instead of Henoko, Okinawa. I would be pleased to receive any criticism and opinion.

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You worte what we discussed many many times in past, You did not find past USA plan to relocate to Guam and Hawaii, etc? compare Military crime rate in Okinawa and Iwakuni Marin base marines in Iwakubi residence, Or Camp Pwendleton marines crime in orange County CA. Don't blame Okinawan people do not want US servicemen in their neighborhood. Do reserach why Guan and Hawaii refused to have US Military bases on their places. BTW, check Atlas. N Korea is not near Okinawa .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I would like ask people who oppose to this relocation plan on where the best relocation site instead of Henoko, Okinawa

Well, how about expanding Iwakuni Air Station? Prime Minister Abe is from Yamaguchi. See how people from his prefecture would like hosting thousands of U.S. Marines in the name of Japan's peace and security.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

it's the U.S. side that is way selfish and greedy.

Yes, I agree. Okinawans are the last people who are selfish and greedy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unfortunately much of the problem has been the actions of US servicemen in attacks on civilians and other behavior that is unacceptable. If they had behaved over the years there would not have risen this problem as much as it is. It is true the alliance between Japan and the US helps both, and helps us all. I hope that this situation can be worked out but it is imiportant to remember the source of the friction, and to respect those concerns. Abe is doing his beast and I am sure everyone involved in this situation understood what was going on, sometimes things need to be said without words and with gestures and non action. I hope it can work out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is a shameful matter for Abe as Okinawa is a part of Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

People tend to think Japan and the U.S. are allies on an equal footing. But the two nations are not allies in a usual sense of the word. They are more like boss-henchmen relations or suzerain-vassal relations.

There are 88 U.S. bases in Japan, of which 33 are in Okinawa. But, area-wise, these 33 in Okinawa account for 74 percent of all U.S. bases in Japan. Okinawa occupies 0.6 percent of the total land mass of Japan and yet hosts 74 percent of them.

Can one call this abnormal state of affairs natural relations between allies? And, therefore, Futenma's relocation site must be looked for also in Okinawa? Just think about it.

Demanding to reduce this massive footprint of the U.S. military is not a selfish nor a greedy act as some poster (hidingout Dec. 28, 2014 - 10:35AM JST) remarks erratically. His comment on Okinawa's appeal is completely off the mark. It's the way around. Mind you, it's the U.S. side that is way selfish and greedy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Tak Alfred Oishi; There are 3 locations on Okinawa that I think would be suitable locations and would not require as much taxpayer money as the Henoko Location.

Kadena Air Base; Already has 2 runways one of which is used by the U.S. Navy, they even have their own control tower. This location was supported by some key US Senators including Carl Levin and I believe John McCain but the Air Force do not like the Marines either and would not agree to accept the facility.

Camp Hansen; About 30 minutes by car from Camp Schwab where Henoko is located. Camp Hansen is a Marine Base with a lot of vacant land. This base along with Schwab are where the Marine grunts are stationed at. I have heard that there used to be a runway there at one time.

Ie-shima; A small island located off of Motobu Peninsula that Has a Military Facility with a runway that is used sometimes for parachute training and the Harrier Aircraft also used it.
0 ( +1 / -1 )

Before discussing the Futenma Issue, I have checked why and how relocation plan problem came from. I have gotten some articles from Mainichi and other sources for reference and summarized as follows:

The 1995 Okinawa rape incident happened. 3 US servicemen raped 12 year old Japanese girl which led to debate over the continued presence of US forces in Japan. Then Okinawa Governor, Inamine and then mayor of Nago City agreed to relocate to Henoko seacoast area in November, 1999. So at this point, where to relocate issue was once settled on the premise to limit the period of use for 15 years. But US was reluctant to accept this. 1n 2004, 1 US helicopter crashed at Okinawa International University which heightened calls among local residents for the close of the Air Station. In July, 2008 Okinawa prefectural assembly adopted a resolution on an opposition to Henoko relocation plan. In September, 2009 Democratic Party of Japan after taking office from LDP proposed to move the base outside Okinawa. In May, 2010 then prime minster Hatoyama retracted the idea of transfer of the base to outside Okinawa, which was nothing but about-face. After all of these of pros and cons, Nakaima, then governor of Okinawa finally agreed to relocation plan. So my conclusion is so far as we are allies, we definitely need to engage in surveillance missions over China and North Korea. And the US military presence in Japan, whether it is Okinawa or wherever, is extremely important. I know there is a price that we have to pay. I would like ask people who oppose to this relocation plan on where the best relocation site instead of Henoko, Okinawa. I would be pleased to receive any criticism and opinion.
0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Yubaru: The only thing Onaga can do right now is veto the land acquisition needed for basing supplies and materials that adjoin the current project location. He has stated that he would review the assessment that Nakaima made and look for areas that he could find "wrong".....nothing.

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Sounds Onaga began on right truck. I have one question to you. The people who live near where I live often ask about snow in Okinawa as we don;t have snow. Tourists come to our area all ywE around from all over the world and they want to be tourists but they don;t want cold place as we live in summer all year around climate. Do you think Onaga will create tourists friendlu climate in Okinawa?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

HAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHHAA This is funny. Good maybe the Okinawan will shut his mouth and just start doing the right things. Too many people against him.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Okinawans are everything but selfish

Okinawan people are nothing more than anyone in any other country around the world. They have their strong points and weak points, we all do. Romanticizing them is not going to do any good either.

However, while they may have the image to the casual viewer of not being selfish they are and can be oh so very selfish in many ways.

They are just the the rest of Japan, "omoteinashi" (hospitality) lives in their hearts just as long as it doesnt become an inconvenience.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They want to continue to be defended by the US and be rescued if there is an attack, citing the necessity of the US to do so under the current pact; they want to continue joint drills and joint R&D, and most of them don't want to change the constitution. In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it too. They cry about housing the bases, but want everything the bases provide except their physical presence, forgetting as well that the pact is BASED ON THE BASES BEING THERE! Can't have it both ways, and Okinawa could certainly not defend itself from China or other threats (and of course the same Okinawans on this thread who say "Japan could defend itself" refer to the nations overall military, belonging to the central government, whom they also turn around and hate when it suits them).

Smith.

Who's 'they'?

The problem with the above is that you assume the Okinawan population who voted for Onaga wants all that when the reality is that they don't.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Onaga was elected because Okinawans hope that he can change the pawn role and make Okinawas voice heard in Tokyo and Washington, but seeing this repeated expression of Abe's arrogance and carelessness towards the people of Okinawa he surely will have a hard time realizing this wish.

I have no idea why people try and romanticize the situation of Okinawa prefecture. Its a minor, poor, rural part of Japan. You seriously speak of the "Okinawan voice" reaching Tokyo and Washington? Like the article says 360 000 people voted for Onaga. I know you realize how insignificant that number is in a country with 130 million. Obviously the government is going to want to situate bases in strategic areas which have low populations. That's Okinawa prefecture. Some prefectures have to put up with heavy industry and pollution. Some prefectures have (had) to put up with nuclear reactors. Some prefectures have to put up with congestion and over crowding. The great thing about living in a free country is that you can move somewhere else if you can't put up with whatever inconvenience the central government foists on you.

Okinawans are everything but selfish

Maybe selfish was the wrong choice of words. What would you call it when people make fortunes leasing land to the central government or the US military, and take huge transfer payments from the central government to ease their sufferings, and succeed in negotiating the relocation of the biggest, noisiest base that everyone hated the most .... and still weren't satisfied. Maybe "greedy" is the more appropriate word?

I suspect the anti base folks are motivated by something beyond money though. I suspect they are mostly socialists who just hate America and have some misty notion of a future paradise where the central government supports them with welfare payments and all foreigners are cleansed from "their" land. Perhaps this is why Onaga is quoted in the Western press as follows.

“I will do everything possible to prevent the construction of a new base in Henoko. Futenma needs to be moved out of the nation and out of the prefecture.”

Not just out of the prefecture, out of the nation. This insignificant little pipsqueak is trying to dictate national defense policy. Talk about delusional.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If anybody is selfish or naive, it is the other Japanese, not Okinawans.

All though we have dissagreed repeatedly on another topic I give you thumbs up here. Okinawans are everything but selfish, though they might exhibit a certain degree of naiveness from time to time.

To call Okinawans, who have suffered tremendously and host the largest portion of US military facilities in Asia, selfish because they want to prevent a new military facility that destroys their environment is completely ridiculous.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So 360 000 people think their wishes are more important than the overall well-being of the country. Not sure if the best way to describe that is incredibly selfish or incredibly naive.

If anybody is selfish or naive, it is the other Japanese, not Okinawans.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"But there is widespread local hostility to the military presence"

Hey, there was widespread local hostility to the construction of Narita Airport, but it was constructed and opened anyway for the good of the country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Please don't come in here rushing in with your comments like you "know" the situation.

I know it well enough to comment on it ;)

Really? Before you start commenting about things here please stop and understand that there is no "new" base being built.

Henoko is about building a completely new facility (or shall we say two as it about an airport and a harbor), even though it is built by "extending" an existing facility. As it would add two completely new functions to Camp Schwab, while destroying an unique ecosystem, to call it extension would be an euphemism.

But does it really matter in this discussion how you label it?

It is an extension of an existing facility that the US Military initially proposed in 1968 or so.

Good that you mention the old plan to extend Camp Schwab, because that is one of the crucial points in the discussion.

Why did the US military draw up this plan in the 60ies even there was plenty of space for Marines all over the island then and no need for a replacement?

With over 30 facilities, more then 18% of the land area and Kadena, the largest US military installation in Asia, there are so many options to facilitate a reduction of the military footprint, so why is the US military (and the Japanese Government) not willing to find a compromise that could satisfy the Okinawan people, but insist on the new facilities in Henoko?

Could it be that we're dealing with some kind of ideal scheme that the US military was planning to realize all along and is just using the Futenma return to finally realize it?

The US military and the LDP both don't give a jot about what Okinawans want or what is good for them. They just use Okinawa as a convenient commodity and do everything they can to prevent Okinawans from developing a strong and independent voice.

...and it seems as if Yubaru is lending a helping hand here in the english language media.

Onaga was elected because Okinawans hope that he can change the pawn role and make Okinawas voice heard in Tokyo and Washington, but seeing this repeated expression of Abe's arrogance and carelessness towards the people of Okinawa he surely will have a hard time realizing this wish.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"All of this hatred and prejudice against the people of Okinawa by people who have probably never even been inside a US Military base in Okinawa. Because if you had you would realize that the Okinawan people have some legitimate complaints. These bases are not your normal military bases, they are more like US cities with American style housing, dependent schools, golf courses, tennis courts, football fields, baseball fields, private beaches and they even have their own Boat Marina"

Can Americans help it if they know how to design and build good military bases? lol

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It is disgusting the way the Japanese government uses money diplomacy, both internationally and domestically. Pay off the farmers to shut up and accept TPP, use coupons to stimulate the economy--never mind structural reform--etc.,etc. Now, they are going to use the money "stick" to get their way in Okinawa. The island was sacrificed during the war and so it goes today. Let Japan protect itself; it's a rich country. Japan should do what the Philippines did, close all U.S. bases and send the U.S. military packing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, if you base your comments upon what you read here, you need to jump on a airplane and find out for yourself what is actually happening.

Yes. When I comment on an article my comments are usually based on the content of the article. Novel concept isn't it? The article clearly suggests, and common sense would concur, that Onaga won the election because he was willing to sell himself to the anti-base crowd.

So, if you base your comments upon what you read here, you need to jump on a airplane and find out for yourself what is actually happening.

No thanks. I've been to Okinawa twice. That's plenty for me. I also don't really care because I know that the base will be relocated according to the agreements that have already been stipulated to by Tokyo. Onaga and his cronies can weep and wail all they like. It will ultimately be useless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good mayor for Naha. Please. The article states that Onaga has declared he will "veto" landfill work required to start the project. And you think that didn't factor into the election. And you call me naive.

Yes I call you naive. The landfill project has already started and has been under construction for a number of months now.

So, if you base your comments upon what you read here, you need to jump on a airplane and find out for yourself what is actually happening.

The only thing Onaga can do right now is veto the land acquisition needed for basing supplies and materials that adjoin the current project location. He has stated that he would review the assessment that Nakaima made and look for areas that he could find "wrong".....nothing.
-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The new governor is snubbed by Abe and Suga? No big deal. Why on earth do they collude with Washington to keep Okinawa as an eternal U.S. military colony, blatantly disregarding the wishes of the Okinawan electorates and thus a democratic principle? If they think Okinawa is a sovereign territory of Japan, they would never take part in such conspiracy.

Territorial rows may come and go, but the U.S. military presence or colonial domination by the U.S. over not only Okinawa but also entire Japan may go on forever. This is what the Henoko relocation does really mean.

Elder statesmen in the days of the Meiji Restoration struggled to evade the occupation and colonization of Japan by Western imperial powers, which they and the following generation believed they had accomplished, but after all it ended up with this sad state of affairs, that is, occupation and colonization, in 1945 and thereafter.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is a rather naive view of the election results. The people voted for Onaga basically because he was a good mayor for Naha and is popular with folks because he represents a known and stable factor.

Good mayor for Naha. Please. The article states that Onaga has declared he will "veto" landfill work required to start the project. And you think that didn't factor into the election. And you call me naive.

I would certainly like to see relations with other nations upgraded during this new Onaga administration. Why depend on handouts from Tokyo? In the long run Okinawa loses out so what's to lose?

Indeed. I mean what's the price of dignity in the end anyway? Why not suck up to the communists and create further friction in the area just because well ... NIMBY.

They want to continue to be defended by the US and be rescued if there is an attack, citing the necessity of the US to do so under the current pact; they want to continue joint drills and joint R&D, and most of them don't want to change the constitution. In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it too. They cry about housing the bases, but want everything the bases provide except their physical presence, forgetting as well that the pact is BASED ON THE BASES BEING THERE! Can't have it both ways, and Okinawa could certainly not defend itself from China or other threats (and of course the same Okinawans on this thread who say "Japan could defend itself" refer to the nations overall military, belonging to the central government, whom they also turn around and hate when it suits them).

Nails it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru, you are mixing things up here. Okinawans are fed up with being "pawns" and that's exactly why they are so determined to prevent a new base being built in their prefecture this time.

Really? Before you start commenting about things here please stop and understand that there is no "new" base being built. It is an extension of an existing facility that the US Military initially proposed in 1968 or so.

Please don't come in here rushing in with your comments like you "know" the situation. Okinawan's don't feel like "pawns" far from it. They just want their cake and want to eat it too.

On one hand they complain about the bases but on the other hand they complain too when the national government doesnt give them more money for their communities BECAUSE they host a base...go figure huh.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

All of this hatred and prejudice against the people of Okinawa by people who have probably never even been inside a US Military base in Okinawa. Because if you had you would realize that the Okinawan people have some legitimate complaints. These bases are not your normal military bases, they are more like US cities with American style housing, dependent schools, golf courses, tennis courts, football fields, baseball fields, private beaches and they even have their own Boat Marina. So before you start calling Okinawans evil, ungrateful whiners, come to Okinawa and see for yourself. And finally, the Okinawan people are not calling for the removal of all of the bases they just do not want MCAS Futenma to be relocated to Henoko.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If the presence of U.S. citizens, military and civilian are a cause for concern there is a simple solution. Put your places of business OFF LIMITS, NO service to foreigners, period.

This is a response that comes from ignorance. No service to foreigners? Currently there are roughly 1 MILLION foreign tourists that come to Okinawa yearly. So your recommendation is to deny service to those tourists that are being counted upon to replace the income that the military formerly brought to the local economy.

Bite the hand that feeds them comes to mind.

Oh and how would you implement this in the first place? Going to get racist here and force people to show their ID's, passports, or residence cards before providing goods and services?

Your solution is not a solution at all, it exacerbates the problem. Roughly 10% of the tourism traffic to Okinawa comes from foreigners. Time to rethink your solutions I do believe.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Isn't this just typical of the Abe regime? If they don't like it, they ignore it -- just like their refusal to admit that Abenomics is the obvious failure it is.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

Only thing wrong with your argument is Onaga and the whiners want Futenma closed and not relocated in Okinawa. They wouldn't care if it was relocated where the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is, though, lol.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's interesting how Onaga can not see the forest for the trees. The base relocation is going to happen. This is a done deal in advance. All that he is accomplishing is the hold up of thousands of jobs and contracts, and vitalization plans. That is why he got the snub. The rub will come when his term becomes irrelevant, and his budget is cut. Nakaima understood this, that is why he approved in the end. Forest for the trees Onaga, forest for the trees.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Funny(not) how history repeats itself. Okinawan's of all people should know the value of negotiations as throughout their history they have been pawns in the hands of other more powerful overlords. They are forgetting their roots here.

Yubaru, you are mixing things up here. Okinawans are fed up with being "pawns" and that's exactly why they are so determined to prevent a new base being built in their prefecture this time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I say let Onaga and the whiners have their way already -- don't relocate the base, and keep it at Futenma for good. When they whine and cry about the noise or how crimes are okay if they commit them but not American military personnel, said personnel can just say, "Talk to Onaga."

They want to continue to be defended by the US and be rescued if there is an attack, citing the necessity of the US to do so under the current pact; they want to continue joint drills and joint R&D, and most of them don't want to change the constitution. In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it too. They cry about housing the bases, but want everything the bases provide except their physical presence, forgetting as well that the pact is BASED ON THE BASES BEING THERE! Can't have it both ways, and Okinawa could certainly not defend itself from China or other threats (and of course the same Okinawans on this thread who say "Japan could defend itself" refer to the nations overall military, belonging to the central government, whom they also turn around and hate when it suits them).

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"It is interesting to see the increase in the number of flights to Naha from China, Taiwan, HongKong. I can see tourists (and accompanying high tech businesses) from outside Japan will provide the economic opportunities Tokyo fails to recognize in Okinawa."

Ohh you're so right, Doug. But think back, Satsuma invaded Okinawa in 1609 due to the richness we had accumulated by trading with the Southeast nations that in turn traded with Europe. Japan being the hermit kingdom just like North Korea today began to look with envy on Okinawa's richness and cultural advancement while they had to cope with the petty skirmishes within. Now Okinawa should understand that both can play this game. I would certainly like to see relations with other nations upgraded during this new Onaga administration. Why depend on handouts from Tokyo? In the long run Okinawa loses out so what's to lose?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Acting like children isn't going to get anything sorted, so babyish of Abe!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So if Tokyo is going to renege on the budget agreement they made with Nakaima to get him to sign the Landfill Agreement should not Onaga have the right to invalidate that Landfill Agreement? If Tokyo will not live up to their agreement why should Okinawa have too?

japan4life you should re-read the article. Onaga is the one who wants to renege on the agreement Tokyo made with Nakaima. A news source stated that Tokyo MAY cut the budjet not, WILL cut the budjet. If the presence of U.S. citizens, military and civilian are a cause for concern there is a simple solution. Put your places of business OFF LIMITS, NO service to foreigners, period.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is interesting to see the increase in the number of flights to Naha from China, Taiwan, HongKong. I can see tourists (and accompanying high tech businesses) from outside Japan will provide the economic opportunities Tokyo fails to recognize in Okinawa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So 360 000 people think their wishes are more important than the overall well-being of the country. Not sure if the best way to describe that is incredibly selfish or incredibly naive.

This is a rather naive view of the election results. The people voted for Onaga basically because he was a good mayor for Naha and is popular with folks because he represents a known and stable factor. Nakaima showed his age, rather poorly I will say in the televised debate, he seemed blind (literally) and stumbled quite a bit. He took a huge hit on that.

It is pretty bad when a Central Govt. uses bully tactics, threats and blackmail on the poorest Prefecture in Japan to try and force them to accept something they do not want. I wonder why Tokyo does not use those same tactics on other Prefectures to get them to accept some of Okinawa`s bases.

Isnt the answer obvious? Abe has a bigger partner in the equation that would be (and is) rather frustrated at the events and does not want to tolerate any more BS. They just happen to live pretty much due east of Japan across the Pacific.

THEIR opinion and wants is what is playing into the question here. Okinawa will get steamrolled in the process.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So if Tokyo is going to renege on the budget agreement they made with Nakaima to get him to sign the Landfill Agreement should not Onaga have the right to invalidate that Landfill Agreement? If Tokyo will not live up to their agreement why should Okinawa have too?

I think Tokyo will be reluctant to change that budget agreement because most of the money will go to big Mainland Companies. Take a look at the list of Prime Contractors involved in those national projects and tell me how many Okinawan companies you see. Those companies are big contributors to the LDP and will not be too happy about that loss of revenue.

It is pretty bad when a Central Govt. uses bully tactics, threats and blackmail on the poorest Prefecture in Japan to try and force them to accept something they do not want. I wonder why Tokyo does not use those same tactics on other Prefectures to get them to accept some of Okinawa`s bases.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

For Okinawan's it's the proverbial rock and hard place scenario, a missed opportunity for Abe san and Suga san to find a solution and if not take a more pragmatically tolerant approach to local concerns expressed on the poll. The perceived snug shows remarkable priggery in so far as a adult would clip a errant child around the ear for picking it's nose in public.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

360,820 votes to 261,076

So 360 000 people think their wishes are more important than the overall well-being of the country. Not sure if the best way to describe that is incredibly selfish or incredibly naive.

This base will be built. Mr Onaga will either knuckle under and do what he's told or he will be bypassed in the courts and the position of Okinawa governor will be left even more ceremonial than it already is. If he, or any of his supporters, doubts that perhaps he should go and ask Mr Hatoyama how taking a big stand against national policy on behalf of a handful of disgruntled wingnuts worked out for him.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

RE: Mitokomo "In Hong Kong the young ones rebel. At Henoko, the protestors are old and feeble. There are no young and middle aged protestors."

That may be perhaps the younger people those younger than old and feeble have bills, family and homes to support along with many of them have cush base jobs that come with many benefits of having a job hard to be fired from so job security. What's the point of rebelling against the cash cow that gives you milk as the Chinese would put it. Better eat pork than grass. Besides what else do the old people have to do out there as many have already made their profits on home and land leases. It's the mainland agitators causing all the rucus, don't 'be blindsided by the those internal snakes infected and bought with Chinese money.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It will be up to the people of Okinawa if they wish to remain dependent on the Gov hand-outs or not

Actually no it won't, not in reality. The national government distributes the budget money as it sees fit and the way of thinking in Tokyo is that if you don't want to cooperate with the national government then don't expect to get the funding you want for whatever.

Okinawa has numerous national projects currently underway that need the national governments funding to complete, to lose the funding now in the middle of some major projects would be a huge blow to the infrastructure development that is necessary for the prefecture to meet it's goals of having over 10 million tourists per year by 2021.

The money made through tourism now is not even close enough to being able to cover the shortfalls as other social welfare projects take precedence so the folks who were or are currently working on these projects will more than likely leave Okinawa to work in other places putting these current one's on the back burner for only God knows how long.

The damage to the economy WILL be severe, particularly in the private sector.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Class act as the nation's leader eh? What a joke these LDP guys are...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It will be up to the people of Okinawa if they wish to remain dependent on the Gov hand-outs or not. Getting politically steam-rolled by Abe really doesn't matter. We will see when it comes time to vote. I would expect lots of foreign money at voting time to get someone that is base positive in ==> the politics and $$$ are already against Onaga.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Nothing new but at least hear the newly-elected governor out for his plans and ideas. It should be protocol especially since this is such a big deal and he will have veto-power and will be in office for the near foreseeable future.

Here's some news for you. Onaga has nothing new to bring to the table, nothing, nada, zero. Currently the landfill project and base construction will go on as scheduled until they need to get Onaga's signature on allowing the defense ministry's contractors to lease yard space facilities on a beach adjoining the construction site.

Onaga is running the risk of having Abe outright overrule him and change the laws requiring the prefectural governor's signature. If Abe takes that route he runs the risk of having the rest of the country's prefectural governors get pissed off at him for over stepping his authority. But as we have seen in the past Abe cares little for what other's care or think about.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This clearly shows the Tokyo (national) government's disdain for the Okinawans' wishes for a more equitable distribution of the military base burden.

Nothing new but at least hear the newly-elected governor out for his plans and ideas. It should be protocol especially since this is such a big deal and he will have veto-power and will be in office for the near foreseeable future.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japanese media also reported that Tokyo may cut its budget for Okinawa in fiscal 2015.

Hey, you get what you ask for, sadly the electorate here is blind to the realities of the world today and are easily fooled by elderly politicians who promise the world and deliver nothing.

Okinawa suffered greatly under a former governor who also refused to cooperate with Tokyo on the military base issues and it took well over a decade to start coming out from under the setbacks.

Funny(not) how history repeats itself. Okinawan's of all people should know the value of negotiations as throughout their history they have been pawns in the hands of other more powerful overlords. They are forgetting their roots here.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

This childiish snubbing from Abe and his cronies remind me when the Ryukyu Islands run by by US generals in the 50's prior to reversion had the mayor of Naha City, Senega Kamijiro, behind bars for refusing to obey directives from the high commissioner, a US 3 star general. Cutting off electricity and water to Naha did the trick and the people kicked him out of the office.

This situation reminds me of that era. 65 years later Okinawa is still ruled by those they consider "outsiders". I predict that the same thing will happen to Onaga. He will cave in to Tokyo's demands and only then will they grant him audience. Onaga will cave in because Okinawans are in no situation to tighten their belts and fight. They have lived off of the ridiculous/incredible budgets fixed by Tokyo since 1972 (reversion day) to fatten them up and Okinawans are not going to sacrifice their good life and rebel.

In Henoko, the protestors there when compared with recent Hong Kong protestors there is an absolute contrast. In Hong Kong the young ones rebel. At Henoko, the protestors are old and feeble. There are no young and middle aged protestors.

History is in the making on Okinawa but unfortunately it's only a repeat.

There is no Mahatma Ghandi in the Okinawans, no more Senega Kamijiros. The tradition there is more Chinese and they call it "munchuu" and that means "all for our clan". The last time the Okinawans tried to repel the invaders was in 1609 when samurais from Satsuma invaded the island. The island fell in a matter of days as the king had taken away all weapons from all the clans to insure his continued reign.

Onaga will cave in and try to come up with an excuse for kowtowing to Tokyo. After all Onaga is a wolf dressed in sheep skin. He came up the ranks piggybacking on the LDP and up to a year ago he was a ranking LDP. He's no Senega Kamijiro.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

his farewell speech, Nakaima, who had approved Tokyo’s plan to relocate the base within Okinawa, urged Onaga to move ahead with the plan instead of just saying no, which wouldn’t settle anything, he said.

Onaga has promised to veto the landfill

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

It seems that Nakaima is very experienced in Tokyo attitude toward Okinawan wish. No matter what Okinawan want, Japanese Govt will not listens to. Well relocation suggestion to Hawaii was refused by Hawaii a while ago. Onaga has to face reality, Japanese Govt will never meet you. You need to present approvable plan instead of No only. Learn how to fool Japanese Govt and US Military Occupied forces.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This wasn't unexpected at all.

When Okinawa elects a governor unfavorable to it, Tokyo never fails to take steps to cut budgets and strangle the economy. A typical example was the era of former Governor Masahide Ota, who braved to reject the Henoko relocation plan across the board.

The resultant economic doldrums were attributed to Ota entirely and he lost governorship for the third term to a candidate more favorable to Tokyo.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is not leadership, this is hissy fit cowardice.

Abe's approach to a problem is to run away from it.

If he carries on like this he's going to have another nervous breakdown and have to quit yet politics yet again.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Better prepare those budget cuts. I don't know why Abe and Co. would think this Tatemae BS would amount to anything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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