politics

Noda arrives in Okinawa for first visit as PM

19 Comments

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda arrived in Okinawa on Sunday for a two-day visit to explain the revised plan to realign U.S. forces in Japan.

It is Noda's first visit to the prefecture since he became prime minister last September.

Noda will meet Okinawan Gov Hirokazu Nakaima on Monday and plans to visit the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Ginowan. Noda will also meet newly elected Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, 47, who has called for the Futenma base to be moved to another prefecture.

Noda said in the Diet on Friday that the government will do its best to make sure that the Futenma base is relocated, while at the same time maintaining a deterrence capability in Okinawa, NTV reported.

Currently, 74% of the U.S. bases are located in Okinawa. Noda said he wants to reduce the burden on Okinawa.

The central government and Okinawa have been locked in a stalemate over the relocation of the Futenma base to a less populated site at Nago.

The news that Tokyo and Washington have agreed to move 4,700 Marines from Okinawa to Guam in a bid to revive a stalled plan for the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, has left Okinawans wondering what is going to happen to the U.S. air base at Futenma.

Noda said last week that he was aware of growing anxiety in Okinawa that the Futenma base may end up being left where it is, but said that the government will do all it can to make sure the base is moved.

Noda said he also intends to apologize for the lack of communication as well as inappropriate remarks made by ministers and government officials.

© Japan Today/AP

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19 Comments
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hope he enjoys the trip, it is a waste of time

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Noda heads to Okinawa for first visit as PM

This sums up how important people skills are valued in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This sums up how important people skills are valued in Japan.

Yes, because the crisis at Fukushima, the assistance of the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami and the the horrible state of the economy, etc are not nearly as important as visiting Okinawa.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yes, because the crisis at Fukushima, the assistance of the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami and the the horrible state of the economy, etc are not nearly as important as visiting Okinawa.

There is more to running a country besides worrying about or dealing with the areas affected by last year's disaster. Life didn't stand still for everyone else and Noda has plenty of underlings that work for him.

Besides why would he want to miss out on a chance to eat some real goya champuru!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The central government does not care about the feelings of the Okinawans on this issue. They are more concerned about keeping a strong American military presence there with the rise of China and Japan's inability for constitutional and political reasons to do the job themselves.

Throw in the territorial disputes over the Senkakus and the ocean surrounding them and retaining as much of the status quo as possible is what they want in Tokyo. They'll do little more than relocate some thousands of marines to lessen the burden a bit, as long as they are moved in conjunction with U.S. long-term planning in the region.

The blame for Okinawa's problems lies in both Tokyo and Washington.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thank you Yubaru! Besides, how long has the guy been PM now? I'm pretty sure he's had enough time to take a day out of his plans to mingle with the Okinawan people! They need some support with the latest developments unfolding.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Noda doesn't need to EXPLAIN anything to the people who live in Okinawa, sacrifice their land and shoulder the burden of hosting a foreign military force.

He needs to LISTEN to them.

He is supposed to REPRESENT his people.

The only way he can represent them is by listening to their opinions.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

If you study the history of these bases you can argue this as both a occupation and a war crime. The okinawans should come to america and sue the us gov for race discrimination, forced assimilation and war crimes.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The only way he can represent them is by listening to their opinions.

And the only way to do this is to visit Okinawa? Is that it? To be PM he has to meet each Japanese person for meaninglless meetings that solve nothing? How many prefectures has he visited, then? Or, is the claim that Okinawa is somehow more special and more deserving of attention than other prefectures? There are a lot of people hurting all over Japan. This issue is not the most important thing facing the Japanese government no matter how much some in Okinawa say it is.

The okinawans should come to america and sue the us gov for race discrimination, forced assimilation and war crimes.

Ridiculous. The US is in Japan at the pleasure of the Japanese government. If not, ask them to leave.

I am sick of this rather non-issue constantly taking precedence over issues that are of dire concern to everyone living in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Grovel, bow, apologize, kow-tow, promise to do your best, wear a silly yellow shirt, do nothing. yawn

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Noda should have taken looney Hatoyama with him.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hope Noda-san gets to meet the citizens of Okinawa ... talks with them ... listens to them ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He should be consistent on his policy during the visit. Let's hope he will not make any mistake or any gaffes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What is special about Okinawa is that Okinawa is - against its wishes - hosting a foreign military force - that of the U.S.A. By doing this, it sacrifices huge income. If the land used by the US military were returned to Okinawa, it would provide a huge income.

Not only this, hosting the US military puts Okinawa at huge risk. If there were an attack from a foreign power, because of the US bases, Okinawa would be the primary target. Without the US bases, there would be no reason to attack Okinawa.

In addition to this, there is nothing that needs defense.

China is no threat.

North Korea is a joke.

Russia isn't interested.

And why on Earth the U.S.A. feels it has to have bases here beats me.

Why?

Out of a feeling of brotherhood toward the Japanese?

Another joke.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

And why on Earth the U.S.A. feels it has to have bases here beats me.

USA wants to have a base in every country of the world.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

When a Chinese sub goes by next week the issue will settle itself. The whiners in Okinawa -- and by that I mean the very small percentage of people who keep whining because the bases are too loud but make a living off them, etc. -- will suddenly realize the need for the US forces to be there. At least they will for a week... then they'll start whining again. Noda visiting to try and explain to people blindly lashing out will indeed accomplish nothing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gee, I wonder if Noda-san has been to Okinawa before? The article doesn't expound on that... I hope he likes it. Okinawa prefecture is really nice.. Have any of you been down there? Miyakojima, Ishigakijima, and of course the main island of Okinawa, itself.

Parts of it do remind me of Pearl Harbor, Punchbowl, Leilehua/Wahiawa, Ft. Derussy, Foster Village, Kaneohe Marine Base, Camp Erdman, Camp Smith, Barbers Point, Diamond Head Crater and even Makua Valley out past Makaha, too! Growing up on Oahu, resenting the military presence, even being an active participant in "Beat Up a Haole Day(s)" during high school, I can relate to the sentiment there.

But, Japan really can't afford to support Okinawa. It has no practical value other than a strategic presence and an expansion of the offshore sovereign perimeter of the country... But it is beautiful with beautiful people, too! With the lowest wages, youngest demographics, highest level of English competencies, and longest longevity in this archipelago, my vote is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

N'est pas?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I predict a lot of smiling and bowing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Noda said he also intends to apologize for the lack of communication as well as inappropriate remarks made by ministers and government officials.

In other words, he intends to apologize for the lack of communication by not communicating.

Fifty percent of communication is listening.

Noda hasn't done that.

Coming to Okinawa to "explain" the situation means that it's a foregone conclusion.

Noda knows best (sarcasm).

I wonder what the real reason is for not closing the US bases in Okinawa.

Hmmmm.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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