politics

Okinawa governor frustrated with U.S. bases on 45th reversion anniversary

40 Comments

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

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
Login to comment

Tokyo and Washington agreed on the transfer in 1996, but the process has been delayed due to strong local opposition. The sea off Henoko has coral reefs and is home to the endangered dugong.

NO, this is obfuscating the issue and less than half-truth here! The agreement back in 96' came after a brutal rape of a young girl, and while that was the catalyst for the agreement, "local opposition" is a catch phrase for something that has only happened within the past 5 or 6 years.

Prior to that, the local politicians as well as the national government as well, could not come to any agreements between themselves about what to do. People liked to blame the US, but JAPAN is squarely to blame for keeping everything in limbo all these years.

Conveniently lost in all the BS, is the base at Futenma, and the people of Ginowan, who have been shoved aside and made to wait even more, to further the Gov.'s agenda.

No one cared about the coral reefs, the dugong, NOTHING, until activists from all over the country decided they wanted to get involved, locals, they could give a crap,

Onaga made his play, lost in the courts, and now is hypocritically going back on his word to agree by the courts decision. He too is a chameleon, changing sides from being PRO-base LDP, to anti-base independent, he is NOT against the US military, something he has publicly stated, but something never reported locally, so he is a LARGE reason nothing is being done, and the people of Ginowan just have to wait, and wait, and wait.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japan should build a base in Rhode Island that takes up 70% of the state.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

stop already, they are not leaving Okinawa.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Life in Okinawa is easier than any other prefectures in Japan except existences of U.S. bases there. If they put up with nuisances of the bases, other things are not so bad with the special financial assistance by the central government .

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The Okinawa people are getting frustrated with Onaga and his one trick pony show. You can see it in the mayoral elections around the prefecture. Okinawa does bear an unbalanced portion of US forces, but this is really at the bottom of the laundry list of bigger problems that face Okinawa. While Onaga and his shadow handlers are obsessing with getting rid of the Americans, Okinawa continues to flounder at the bottom of prefectural statistics such as education, income and employment while at the top of negative statistics for alcoholism, divorce and drunken driving etc. It's time to dump Onaga and elect a politician that will balance the base issue with Okinawa's more pressing needs.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

only Okinawans care about Okinawa, which is less than 5% of the whole population

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Okinawa is one of the most beautiful parts of Japan. Unlike much of this country, it has kept its unique culture. It has beautiful beaches, comfortable climate, great food and very friendly, laid back people. It is a perfect place for tourist development. So why on Earth is it infested with American military bases?

It doesn't make sense.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

The prefecture has been holding this up too....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The government maintains the relocation is not opposed by all in Okinawa,

Hold a referendum and see.

Despite only accounting for 0.6 percent of the country's land, Okinawa holds 70.6 percent of the total acreage of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

There is something inherently wrong with that. 

I think that an agreement can be reached if the rest of Japan agrees to help out more with the burden of hosting the US bases. Also lets not forget  that Japan has many islands that are uninhabited such as Gunkanjima which can be converted into military bases.  There are ways where Naga, Tokyo, and Washington can come to an agreement.  But this heavy handling by Tokyo is not productive and may eventually lead to a very strong independence movement from Japan.  Its not worth the headache.  Give diplomacy a chance.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Give it a rest dude. Tokyo will get its way. You are a one trick pony and its getting old.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

It's either a large US base or a large Chinese base. Even if Okinawa separated from Japan it would be the same choice. Therefore it's ridiculous to keep complaining about it regardless if it's good or bad. It's just the reality of living in that geographic area. Also the issue isn't with the base, but the refusal of other prefectures to have bases. Even if there were others, there would still be a base in Okinawa. The only way there isn't a base is if China drifts off into space. That's about it

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The US did not have to return Okinawa to Japan. Japan annexed Okinawa relatively recently and does not have a particularly strong claim to own it. Okinawa could have been been made an unincorporated territory of the US, like Guam, and all the moaning about bases would have been moot, or at least nothing to concern Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Build 50 nuclear ICBMs and kick americans from Japan

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

45th anniversary of reversion?! US bases have been there since 1945 actually. Let's see, 45 plus 27 makes 72!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Okinawa actually belongs to Taiwan.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Despite only accounting for 0.6 percent of the country's land, Okinawa holds 70.6 percent of the total acreage of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

There is something inherently wrong with that. 

Then again if you look at the land statistics of Okinawa, only 40% of the island is populated, which is to say the land is used for residences, farming AND the bases. Not exactly overcrowded is it?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

kiyoshiMukai: "Build 50 nuclear ICBMs and kick americans from Japan"

Says the guy very far away and who claims to care.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@droll you, as an american, can't just dump Onaga. He was elected by the people, most probably mainly because they don't want the Americans.

@bertie I went snorkelling a few years back at the new base site. I still remember the beauty. I remember Okinawa when i was one of the only tourists. Last time i went back, there were heaps. Okinawa could easily develop its tourist infrastructure, and even go further to become a banking tax free haven, right smack in the middle of Asia. Instead, it is one of the most important targets for attack in Japan after the 50 nuclear reactors.

Locals are sick of the no-go zones and having to go out to eat and drink at 11pm when the solders have returned to base.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The 1972 reversion of Okinawa to Japan was a stopgap measure by the U.S. to maintain the free-hand use of bases in Okinawa in the face of mounting anti-base movements during the occupation period. Washington was assured of it through overt and covert agreements whereby it decided to return the islands' administrative rights to Japan as if “generously”. But it was a stopgap measure all the same and Okinawa's struggles to win the genuine return of its sovereignty will certainly be continued.

The anti-base song, "Okinawa o kaese" (Return Okinawa) sung by Henoko demonstrators has this meaning behind it. Washington and the sycophantic Tokyo shouldn’t think they can play the farce forever.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Goodlucktoyou; "He was elected by the people..."

elected by a minority, but he and supporters, who LOVE the handouts from the central government, would have ou think it is the voice of Okinawa and EVERYONE. But if he held a referendum tomorrow, which he won't do of course, you'd see that's not the case.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Then again if you look at the land statistics of Okinawa, only 40% of the island is populated, which is to say the land is used for residences, farming AND the bases. Not exactly overcrowded is it?

Neither is Hokkaido.  The population density of Okinawa is 622/km2 (1,610/sq mi)

The population density of Hokkaido is 64.5 /km2 (167.1 /sq mi)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokkaido

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Prefecture

So by your logic Hokkaido should host those bases instead of Okinawa.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Droll Quarry

"Then again if you look at the land statistics of Okinawa, only 40% of the island is populated, which is to say the land is used for residences, farming AND the bases. Not exactly overcrowded is it?"

I also understand that only 10% of the land of Kadena is actually used by the Air Force. Maybe the Marine can share the base, instead of forcing a brand new base on a unwilling population.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@jwtnssn On paper sounds good, but Marines and AF hate each other. better to separate.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I went snorkelling a few years back at the new base site. I still remember the beauty. I remember Okinawa when i was one of the only tourists. 

More than a few years back, more like decades, and the ONLY way you could have snorkeled in that area was if you were military. So you are talking about pre-reversion era.

Locals are sick of the no-go zones and having to go out to eat and drink at 11pm when the solders have returned to base.

It's people like you who post things like this here that give people who really dont the the situation a TOTALLY wrong impression of what's going on here.

The catch phrase today is calling it "Alternative Facts" I believe, and I guess if you repeat the same BS enough people start to believe it's true.

It's not....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The military personnel here are some of the best and brightest minds from the USA. I don't understand why anyone would oppose having such an influx of talent.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@Goodlucktoyou

As a Submarine vet I understand this, every hates the marines, including the Navy. Maybe its time for them to respect the human rights of the Okinawan people and leave before they get the rest of the US Military kicked out of Japan over a base that isn't vital to regional security.
3 ( +5 / -2 )

Tony Sin,

Love the sarcasm :)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

SmithingJapan.

Its cheaper and safer to just Build some nuclear ICBMs, Just imagine a Nuclear bomb Falling in Japan from a Submarine, Would the United States attack China or Russia or North Korea?. NO!. But would anyone shoot Japan if they know that Japan is a Nuclear Capable country?.

And again, It's far cheaper and way more safe. How is the cost of a Nuclear ICBM with its Silo is worth about US$100 million, cheaper than an F-35 and gives you Respect.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How is the cost of a Nuclear ICBM with its Silo is worth about US$100 million, cheaper than an F-35 and gives you Respect.

You think people "respect" the US and Russia because they have ICBM's? Lol, I think you need to look up what the word means, it isnt respect, it's fear.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The beat goes on:

-A few Okinawans protest. Living off their 3 year old gubernatorial election high.

-The Media portrays it as the whole island

-The naive and ones who don't leave it suck it all up

-The government keeps building

and on it keeps going.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Live here not leave it*

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kiyoshiMukai,

An F-35 jet fighter costs $9.5 million and Japan is reported to buy 42 of them in the total amount of about $4 billion.

Now, you say an ICBM with a nuclear war head costs $100 million, far cheaper than a budget appropriated for the purchase of F-35's. Does this justify that Japan must go nuclear? I don't think so.

An eye-to-eye and teeth-to-teeth approach to international issues, that is, an arms buildup, won't solve international  problems at all as World War Two history has shown. So the purchase of F-35's from the U.S. to help iron out trade imbalance or going nuclearization is a pointless effort, either way.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Counter-argument against Sankei editorial

The May 16 Sankei Snimbun editorial says Okinawa hosts 70 percent of U.S. bases in Japan despite the fact that it's only 0.6 percent of Japan's total land mass, adding that Okinawa's base hosting burden is beyond endurance in anyone's eyes. 

One naturally expects then for the Sankei to sympathize with Okinawa's struggles against the new base construction in Henoko but, on the contrary, it suggests the construction must proceed as planned, saying the U.S. military presence in Okinawa contributes greatly to the peace and security of Japan and that their presence is deterrence against China trying to take over the Senkakus.       

The U.S. military presence in Okinawa cannot go for good. However, what Okinawa is asking for right now is to close the USMC Air Station Futenma and return it with no strings attached whereby there should be no construction of a replacement for Futenma in Henoko. In other words, Okinawa is not demanding all U.S. bases, including Kadena Air Base, be closed and all U.S. troops withdrawn immediately. One must not confuse the Futenma issue with the overall U.S. military presence issue.

Sankei's and pro-relocation camp's argument categorically falls in the strawman's fallacy.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Give it a rest already, man. Your voice is like the number of Okinawans who actually care about this low and unheard.

Let the rest of us get on with things that actually matter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CrucialS, you suggest:

Let the rest of us get on with things that actually matter.

Thanks for the response.

In your mind, what are "the things that actually matter"? Do you think it is necessary to build Futenma's replacement on reclaimed land in Henoko no matter how it may damage natural and cultural environment? Is the deployment of Marine units in Okinawa absolutely necessary for the defense and security of Japan?

Note that Japan and the U.S. agreed in April 2015 that primary responsibility for defending Japan's outlying islands rests with the JSDF, which may help explain why they are planting new bases on Yonaguni, Ishigaki and Miyako islands as if the U.S. military presence were not enough and why the U.S. Marines were teaching a JSDF detachment such practical know-hows as about amphibious warfare when they conducted joint maneuvers recently.

Note also that in April 1982 then DoD Secretary Casper W. Weinberger testified in a letter before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance that Marine units are stationed on Okinawa not to defend Japan but deployed with an eye on the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean (scoop article of the July 7, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo). Looking at what kind of training the marines have been engaged in Okinawa, one cannot help but surmise that Washington's strategic policy as Weinberger testified still lives on to this day. The marines are training combat skills in jungle warfare and their air wing units are engaged in midair refueling training to further extend Ospreys' cruising distance.

So why should Japan  squander so much money to maintain their deployment here and even build a new base in Henoko? Can you give a reasonable answer to these questions?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Here's my znswer: No one really cares.

Okinawa honto has 1.4 million residents with a couple hundred to a few thousand people who participate in anti Futenma relocation/anti US bases protest activities. 

Japan has a population of 128 million people with the largest number of people who participated in anti Futenma relocation/anti US bases protest activities around 60,000.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CrucialS:

Shame on you.

No one in mainland Japan cares about the suffering Okinawa has been forced under? If there were, the number would be only 60,000 out of the population of 128 million or 0.046%? In other words, only 0.046% of the Japanese people support Okinawa's cause, and that's why you say, "No one really cares"? 

It's really tragic and mind-boggling as well if what say is true, that is, if the far majority of mainlander Japanese (99.95%) don't care about Okinawa's plight as a U.S. military colony, which derives from Japan's war against the U.S. and ensuing treaties and agreements after the war, such as the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, etc..

You're as if saying that the mainlander Japanese don't care about Okinawa at all as far as they are happy and secure under the Japan-U.S. security treaty with Okinawa offered to the U.S. as a sacrifice.

Such mentality as yours is like that of Tohoku Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura, who made a big gaffe by saying, "It was fortunate that the disasters hit Tohoku and not here."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most Okinawans don't agree with any of what you said.

Outside a couple hundred activists most Okinawans are fine with the status quo. (If you try to use a Ryukyu Shimpo poll it's the least credible source for your arguement because they don't share how they build their sample population and they're as twisted as Brietbart).

Everyone outside of that minority wants to focus on things that matter; better infrastructure, schools, or higher paying jobs. The shame is on the focus on something insignificant like this

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CrucialS,

Most Okinawans don't agree with any of what you said.

Really? On what basis can you say so? Prove that the majority supports the central government's Henoko relocation plan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

CrucialS,

When you say, "Most Okinawans don't agree with any of what you said.," you probably also have in mind what I said in my post dated May 21 | 12:30 pm JST. Let me quote what I said there. I said:

Note that Japan and the U.S. agreed in April 2015 that primary responsibility for defending Japan's outlying islands rests with the JSDF, which may help explain why they are planting new bases on Yonaguni, Ishigaki and Miyako islands as if the U.S. military presence were not enough, and also why the U.S. Marines were teaching a JSDF detachment know-hows about amphibious warfare when they conducted joint maneuvers recently.

Note also that in April 1982 then DoD Secretary Casper W. Weinberger testified in a letter before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance that Marine units are stationed on Okinawa not to defend Japan but deployed with an eye on the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean (scoop article of the July 7, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo). Looking at what kind of training the marines have been engaged in Okinawa, one cannot help but surmise that Washington's strategic policy as Weinberger testified still lives on to this day. The marines are training combat skills in jungle warfare and their air wing units are engaged in midair refueling training to further extend Ospreys' cruising distance.

Refute my argument logically and concretely. Don't simply retort, "No one believes it."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

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

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites