politics

Okinawa governor lobbies U.N. body over U.S. base move

119 Comments
By JAMEY KEATEN

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119 Comments
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Gov. Onaga,

Stick it! All Okinawa is behind you. Let the world know that injustice can't prevail.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

With all due respect to the Governor and all of those fighting the U.S. bases in Okinawa, this move is an exercise in futility.

The UNHRC will generally never insert itself into a domestic matter, particularly one that does not involve a civil war and large scale human tragedy. Just as importantly, it has no ability to do anything. As the last sentence of the article states.

In the sense that it may make more people aware of the issue, supporters can argue that it has value. However, in the end, it really is an exercise in futility. With all due respect.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The governor of Okinawa has taken his effort to prevent the construction of a new U.S. military site in Japan to a key United Nations human rights body, arguing that democracy and self-determination are threatened because his constituents oppose it.

Onaga seems to think that Okinawa is an independent nation and deserves treatment as such. His "constituents" were not the majority, and prior to going to the UN he should have had a referendum taken to ensure accuracy in what he talks about when it comes to just who does and doesnt support him.

The council is a leading forum for scrutiny of member nations’ human rights records, but has no authority over the actions of any country.

Once again Onaga is wasting taxpayers money.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Yubaru.... You hit on some very important points. I don't disagree that the number of bases on Okinawa need to be reduced, but having said that, it is an astronomical disservice to the Okinawa people how the Okinawa government has been hijacked by those obsessed with kicking the Americans out. Okinawa ranks last in just about every statistic used to measure quality of life and the presence of bases has negligible impact on those. Unemployment, alcoholism, divorce, school test grades, wage level are all in the red, and the list goes on. Not one of these issues will be solved by moving the bases and yet that is 99% of what the current politicians focus on. In reality, the base removal issue should rate about 5-10% of the political footprint, and the real focus aimed at fixing the economical and social problems.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

zones2surf the people of Okinawa are behind Onaga-sanma! He won by a large margin and a voter turnout much higher than in the United States. To say his election is invalid because 100 percent of the voters did not vote would invalidate every election in America.

Droll Quarry the American military occupation is a reason for many of Okinawa's problems. Anyhow it is not the concern of the Americans or even the Japanese government. I remind you that the government and people of Okinawa were disrespected by the signing of an agreement in which both the American and Japanese government knew were against.

The waste of money is Abe's government forcing on Okinawa a new base. I think independence may be the only option for Okinawa to have a say in their affairs. The American military occupation of Okinawa must end. I think the United Nations needs to get involved because the Japanese ethnic majority are oppressing with the Americans help the Okinawa minority. I remind people that both the Americans and Japanese killed hundreds of thousands of Okinawa people during and after the Second World War.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

As much as I sympathize with Onaga and the Okinawans' plight remove the base off the island, I don't agree that this is a "human rights" issue more than it is a domestic/national political one.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I cannot think of any other Japanese politician who has gone as far and done as much to do what he was elected to do as Onaga.

He should be PM in place of Abe.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

While I have a position on the Camp Schwab issue, let’s leave that to the side for a moment and just look at this trip from one aspect – does it help or hinder the Governor’s efforts to stop the relocation of Futenma AS to Camp Schwab?

My view is that it clearly hinders his claimed desire to stop the FRF.

It’s an exercise in futility – the UN is not going to censor Japan for taking measures it deems it requires to ensure its security.

It potentially embarrasses the national government thereby hardening their position – making any compromise (or monetary support to Okinawa) that much more difficult.

It gives those small-minded Japanese who “look down” on the people of Okinawa and say they aren’t truly Japanese justification for their biased beliefs – in their view, real Japanese would not embarrass the country on the international stage.

So is this trip helpful or harmful to stopping the expansion at Henoko? In my view it’s clearly harmful.

Therefore, one has to ask, was that the intent all along – is Onaga saying one thing but doing another and was this trip just a political PR stunt? While he claims to wants the closure of Futenma and other US bases, in terms of actions, he’s halting and delaying all progress towards those reductions. Is the Governor publically decrying the number of US bases, but secretly working to stop all progress towards any reduction, so he can continue to leverage the anti-base narrative as an election strategy? One wonders……….

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Wow, the people of Okinawa have financed a nice European vacation for Onaga! No doubt he will visit all the important cities and sites on his "diplomatic" mission. I wonder if he is flying in economy class, and staying at a one-star hotel, but I doubt it. This clown is spending a lot of Okinawa's money battling windmills, and in the end, for all the money he spends, it will do no good. The base will go forward as planned, and the people will be all the poorer for the expense.

The UN has a lot on it's plate right now, war in the middle east, worldwide poverty, an immense refugee crisis. yet it must divert attention from these very important matters to speak to the governor of Japan's smallest prefecture. The UN has no authority to offer Onaga anything, and Abe-san would tell them to go stuff themselves if they dared make a suggestion.

I hope airport security makes Onaga remove his hairpiece, and then flushes it down the toilet, it looks absurd.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Governor Onaga has always acknowledged the importance of the existing US-Japan Alliance. He has never said all US bases in Japan should close. He is not anti-US or anti-American.

What the people of Okinawa and Governor Onaga (and his predecessors) who represents them have been pleading with Tokyo and Washington is for the responsibility and burden of hosting more than 70% of the existing US bases that are in Japan on such a tiny prefecture as Okinawa (0.6% of Japan) to be more equally shared by the rest of Japan. This is a most reasonable demand as ALL Japanese should equally shoulder the costs and responsibility associated with the defense of their own nation. Let other prefectures on the mainland Japan host what Okinawa has been hosting for so many years since WW2.

Lives of over 200,000 people of many different nationalities have perished during the Battle of Okinawa, of which more than 100,000 Okinawan civilians died, far outnumbering the overall military death toll. In Okinawa today, there is Peace Memorial Museum with a National War Dead Peace Mausoleum with many monuments dedicated to those of all nationalities who died in the horrors of the Battle of Okinawa. Engraved on the stone walls are the names of every precious person from every nation who fought and died. Okinawa prays for everyone of them that they might rest in peace now

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@YuriOtani,

zones2surf the people of Okinawa are behind Onaga-sanma! He won by a large margin and a voter turnout much higher than in the United States. To say his election is invalid because 100 percent of the voters did not vote would invalidate every election in America.

My apologies, but your comment to me is a little confusing, as my initial post made no mention of Onaga's election, the vote turnout or anything related to that topic.

Perhaps your comment was directed to someone else? To @Yubaru perhaps?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When the US Marines leave there will be NO re security protection for Okinawa & Japan. Perhaps the "good" governor would seek China's protection then, after all according to Chinese history Okinawa was a tributary state of Imperial China.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If I were a governor of Okinawa in place of Onaga, I would say to Abe. This is only between you and me. I understand the geopolitical importance of Okinawa for Japan. Eventually, we will accept Henoko but would like to ask the central government a special support for Okinawa and its people. It is true that U.S. bases on Okinawa are just too many and people of Okinawa feel it is unfair. We would like the bases be reduced gradually in peaceful and friendly manner. I also understand Americans on Okinawa. They are here in return for their bloods. They are not like Russians. They are thieves. Many Americans are good people and they have been a great help in rebuilding the Okinawa economy and modernizing the islands. Our relations are important and would like to deepen our friendships for long time. Then, Abe and the Japanese government as well as American government would be happy and gladly extend helping hands to Onaga and Okinawans.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It seems all other options have been tried, several times.

Time to do something new.

The sprawling U.S. bases need to be reduced in size and number. Okinawa cannot improve in any area until it gets some its land back so that it can be used in a productive manner instead of just producing grass to be viewed through a barbed-wire topped fence.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Onaga was given two time slots consisting of 2.5 minutes each to speak at the UN. The Okinawa TV stations showed him arriving at the airport with a few reporters, who were all Japanese. All this happened while the world was tuned in to the Volkswagen debacle. Really?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Onaga knows, and has always known, that he will not be able to stop any relocation or remove US forces from Okinawa. It simply cannot be done. He knows that no matter what he promises to the people, those promises cannot be kept. He knows that no matter how many miles he flies first class, no matter how many politicians and diplomats he meets in America or Europe, he will not be able to change anything.

But he also knows that people are stupid, and that if he promises he can stop the relocation of the bases, or promises to get US forces to leave Okinawa, he will have carte blanche to travel or spend as much as he likes. He knows that the best way to scam the people for as much money as possible is to promise to solve an unsolvable problem.

Because of his promises, and the work he has done, his supporters love him unquestionably. He is an incredible politician on this point. But being an incredible politician, his supporters don't for a moment realise that they are being taken to the cleaners, and that Onaga is emptying their pockets.

I have to hand it to Onaga, he would be very much at home as a senator or congressman from a place like Mississippi or Tennessee. He is the quintessential politician.

The worst thing for Onaga and the people is if he were actually to succeed. If he were to succeed, his chequebook would be taken away. And if US forces left Okinawa, there would be no money to cash the checks with anyway.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Okinawa governor lobbies U.N. body over U.S. base move

The man has a bit of iron in him - I admire that. Of course we saw how the level of esteem the U.S. held the UN in 2003

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Evil throws its weight about in matters of U.S. bases in Okinawa. So some posters here say nothing would change the status quo however hard Gov. Onaga may try to pry the door open. They may be right, but don't worry. We are not confronting an irresistible natural force but an evil, human nature that is called greed. We are fighting this battle, believing that justice will prevail someday.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

the people of Okinawa are behind Onaga-sanma! He won by a large margin and a voter turnout much higher than in the United States. To say his election is invalid because 100 percent of the voters did not vote would invalidate every election in America.

Yuri, Onaga won with only 64% of potential voters turning out for the election, meaning that roughly 1/3 had nothing to say, for or against. Next out of the number of people who DID actually vote Onaga won with roughly 51% of votes. Hardly a WIDE margin...here are the totals to refresh your memory.

Independent Mikio Shimoji 69,447 9.9% Independent1 Shōkichi Kina 7,821 1.1% Independent2 Takeshi Onaga 360,820 51.7%

Independent3 Hirokazu Nakaima (incumbent) 261,076 37.3% - 14.7%

Oh and quit making comparisons to "other" country's elections, it just weakens your own argument. This is about Okinawa, not America, but seeing as you are Japanese too it is a typical response to make comparisons when your own argument or point is weak.

I think independence may be the only option for Okinawa to have a say in their affairs.

This is foolish thinking. How are you going to differentiate between who is Okinawan and who is Japanese? Going to get racist here? What about the people who are both Okinawan and Japanese by blood? Do they get a vote?

Define WHO is Okinawan. And that goes for all the folks talking about Okinawa becoming independent. Pray tell, seeing as how Onaga tried to make this into a human rights issue, who is going to decide who is Japanese or who is Okinawan to determine whether or not to vote for independence.

People who know nothing about the island and the demographics I can forgive for their ignorance about the reality here. However those who know, should know better. Okinawan's are by nationality, JAPANESE, they carry JAPANESE passports, receive social welfare benefits from the JAPANESE government, pay taxes to the JAPANESE authorites, are protected by the JAPANESE self defense forces, use JAPANESE money, etc etc etc. Anyone who thinks Okinawa could replace that and more are barking up the wrong tree, in the wrong forest, on the wrong planet.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@Yubaru"People who know nothing about the island"

And westerner, of course, knows all specific details.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This is foolish thinking. How are you going to differentiate between who is Okinawan and who is Japanese? Going to get racist here? What about the people who are both Okinawan and Japanese by blood? Do they get a vote?

They could just do what happened last year in Scotland, and give all non-military residents of Okinawa the right to vote. Problem solved! I wish Mr Onaga all the best with his efforts.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Okinawa does not need independence but it does need a Japanese Government that does not just follow U.S. orders.There is a lot more cutting of U.S. Facilities, other than what the FRF plan specifies, that needs to be and could be done if the Japanese Govt. had the courage to negotiate tough with the U.S. and make them have facilities on Okinawa that are absolutely necessary and not just because the U.S. wants to keep their empire and playground on Okinawa intact.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Yubaru"People who know nothing about the island" ( and the demographics) And westerner, of course, knows all specific details.

If you are going to quote someone do it right and get the entire quote. Besides that what is it supposed to mean what you wrote here?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The waste of money is Abe's government forcing on Okinawa a new base. I think independence may be the only option for Okinawa to have a say in their affairs.

And you think the people of Okinawa could have a good life and you think that country would survive on its own? Okinawa would be a 3rd world country a couple of years.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

They could just do what happened last year in Scotland, and give all non-military residents of Okinawa the right to vote. Problem solved! I wish Mr Onaga all the best with his efforts.

You do realize that there is a huge difference between Scotland and Okinawa. Scotland is a separate country, Okinawa is not, so in all fairness it would have to be a vote by ALL of Japan.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

What a stomach ache for Abe. And McCain is lying through his teeth when he says it's a domestic matter. A sign of not wanting to take any responsibility. Although the environment is a serious issue, I'd like for Okinawans to use that reasoning with less focus. They should focus on the human impacts of those bases. I feel that their argument would be much better received in the UN Human Rights Council that way.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Yubaru

Scotland is a separate country, Okinawa is not, so in all fairness it would have to be a vote by ALL of Japan.

Fairness? You speak of fairness? All of Canada did not get a vote when Quebec voted for independence.

Your idea of fairness is like when the mafia says you can't quit once you join. As if Okinawa was asked nicely if they wanted to join Japan in the first place! Ha!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The man has a bit of iron in him - I admire that. he has no iron, he made a promise when he got elected, a promise that if broken would mean certain political suicide. Hes just trying to save his bacon, he has no choice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Droll Quarry.... You hit on some very important points. I don't disagree that the number of bases on Okinawa need to be reduced.

CrazyJoe........What the people of Okinawa and Governor Onaga (and his predecessors) who represents them have been pleading with Tokyo and Washington is for the responsibility and burden of hosting more than 70% of the existing US bases that are in Japan on such a tiny prefecture as Okinawa (0.6% of Japan) to be more equally shared by the rest of Japan. This is a most reasonable demand as ALL Japanese should equally shoulder the costs and responsibility associated with the defense of their own nation.

Schopenhauer……If I were a governor of Okinawa in place of Onaga, I would say to Abe. This is only between you and me. I understand the geopolitical importance of Okinawa for Japan. Eventually, we will accept Henoko but would like to ask the central government a special support for Okinawa and its people. It is true that U.S. bases on Okinawa are just too many and people of Okinawa feel it is unfair. We would like the bases be reduced gradually in peaceful and friendly manner.

Peace Out……It seems all other options have been tried, several times. Time to do something new. The sprawling U.S. bases need to be reduced in size and number.

japan4life………Okinawa does not need independence but it does need a Japanese Government that does not just follow U.S. orders.There is a lot more cutting of U.S. Facilities, other than what the FRF plan specifies, that needs to be and could be done if the Japanese Govt. had the courage to negotiate tough with the U.S.

I counted five posts above from folks who related that the US and Japan should reduce the number of and presence of US military facilities and personnel on Okinawa - I wholeheartedly agree - let's reduce both the number of bases and people by half, give back a majority of the bases closest to Naha, and those that are along Highway 58.

Now, allow me to introduce you to the 2006 Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement (ATARA) and accompanying Realignment Roadmap completed and signed by both governments (and updated in 2012). It contains a series of initiatives for restructuring the US military footprint in Japan – all are complete except for one – that one deals with Okinawa consolidation and is being help-up by the local government.

http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/security/scc/doc0605.html

The Okinawa portion as you can read will result in the closure and turnover of Futenma AS, the Makiminato Service complex (Camp Kinser), Naha Port, and major portions of Camp Foster along the lucrative Highway 58 corridor. Essentially, all US bases south of Kadena will be closed and returned except small portions of Camp Foster and the Naha port facility relocated to Urasoe. 8K Marines and 7K family members will move to Guam, Australia and Hawaii. Sound like a fair and significant reduction?

Well, what’s holding it up? Every local prefectural administration, except one, has tried to delay implementation of the agreement – and the current Onaga administration continues that effort.

The truth is that both Tokyo and Washington have been trying to close facilities and reduce the military footprint on Okinawa for years - but are continually stalled by the local government. So when you hear people complain that there’s no progress in reducing US military bases, let them know where the blame belongs........

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why do some posters here have their hackles raised when they hear someone talk about Okinawa's independence? What's that to do with them? There must be a lot of stakes involved here for them.

Bass4funk suggests that an independent Okinawa cannot survive on its own; that it will become a 3rd world country in a couple of years if it becomes independent. What does he fear so much?

He seems to fear seeing the U.S. lose everything it enjoys as a suzerain to Japan. Tokyo acts faithfully as it is told by Washington It doesn't mind whether part of its territory is used a permanent u.S. military colony.

Bass4funk seems to fear the U.S. may lose all its vested interests if Okinawa became independent.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

lincolnman what you wrote is not true. To close a US base a new base has to be made in the north. They do not close but relocate. Camp Lester should of been returned by now but is being delayed by the USA for another 10 years or more. There is no closure in sight for Camp Kinser and Naha port. Even golf courses have to be relocated at the expense of the Japanese government. The US government is holding up the relocation of the 8k Marines and their families.

Yubaru, you did not grow up under the thumb of the US military. There is no American respect for the people of Okinawa. Anytime anyplace they can and will take charge in the interest of US military security. I grew up hungry under the Americans. We were treated poorly and called racial slurs. This is a human rights issue! The Americans to this day treat Okinawa people like second class people. I am frightened of American Military Police carrying their guns off base. I remembered when the MP's attacked peaceful Okinawan protesters. It affects people in different ways but they are foes to the people of Okinawa not friends. Police work should be left up to the Japanese police.

zones2surf my apologies my message was for Yubaru

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I have to give a credit of the Gov of Okinawa is taking serious his promises, that's good on this times of political corruptions, I don't know the laws of Japan but he should be thinking to be a prime minister like Abe.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why do some posters here have their hackles raised when they hear someone talk about Okinawa's independence? What's that to do with them? There must be a lot of stakes involved here for them.

There is for me, and my family, and NONE of them want to see Okinawa independent. That goes for quite a few people I know as well. It's an academic discussion anyway as it will never happen. Bank in it!

Voice's comments get more ludicrous as time goes on......Bass is right, Okinawa would become a 3rd world country, dependent upon everyone around it for everything. Tourists wont come, because the airlines will quit flying here at the prices they charge now. Companies would pull up stakes and leave, because the taxes that the Okinawan government would charge for them to stay would be exorbitant, Okinawa would have to field it's own military......(yeah right.....what a joke) put together it's own police force, create their own laws.....Voice you are out of your league.

@peaceout; your comment is unworthy of any comment other than; forget it, it aint worth going there.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@lincolnman: I know you are a big supporter of ATARA but it does not go far enough. That portion of Camp Foster along Hwy 58 to be returned does not even put a dent in Camp Foster. Camp Foster is mainly located in Ginowan City but overlaps into Okinawa City, Chatan Town and Kitanakgusuku Village. It runs from Hwy 58 and crosses over Hwy 330. It houses the Headquarters of Marine Corps Base Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific and the Okinawa Field Office of United States Headquarters Japan. There are 3 dependent schools on the base, Zukeran and Killin elementary schools and Kubasaki High Schools.The base's housing units include Kishaba, Chatan, Futenma, Plaza and Sada. Camp Foster will remain a very large U.S. Military Facility. The U.S. is also demanding a new port be built in Urasoe City to replace Naha Port even though they already have White Beach and Tengan Pier and of course you have MCAS Futenma scheduled to be relocated inside Okinawa. The overall reduction of facilities even after ATARA will not be that much.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yubaru (Sep. 23, 2015 - 03:14PM JST),

Early American colonists must have been divided in opinion as to whether the 13 colonies should be independent of Great Britain. Independence is an internal issue per se relevant only to the people who live in a certain affected area. So it's quite all right for you and folks close to you to express opinions on the cons and pros of the issue.

But it's quite a different story if outsiders get their hackles raised and suggest people directly affected to do this or that.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Scotland is a separate country,

Actually it isn't. Like Okinawa it was once independent - before being unified with the UK in 1707, in a similar fashion to the way the Shimazu first acquired Okinawa in 1609, followed by the Meiji government in 1879. So at the end of the day, there are some similarities between the way Scotland was absorbed by England, and the way that Okinawa was "absorbed" by Japan

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I remembered when the MP's attacked peaceful Okinawan protesters. It affects people in different ways but they are foes to the people of Okinawa not friends. Police work should be left up to the Japanese police.

You make it seem like the MP are just lurking and waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce on some innocent protester because they seek joys and thrills out beating the crap out of innocent people for NO reason. That is pure lunacy thought.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Hello Mr. James Keaton, who did you interview to come up with such a ridiculous statement in your article?

"Anti-military sentiment is high on Okinawa" did you only survey demonstrators being paid to protest? Better get your facts straight. Your getting as bad as the tabloids.....

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So it's quite all right for you and folks close to you to express opinions on the cons and pros of the issue.

No matter the outcome I have always been an advocate of having a binding referendum regarding the base issues in Okinawa.

However, that being said, BOTH sides of the situation MUST be told, and not limited to the anti-base media alone.

Give ALL the information regarding the bases and why they are in Okinawa, and let the people who live there decide.

(My proposal is this, allow everyone who has residence in Okinawa, ethic Okinawan or not, a vote on the issue after serious public debate.....IF the referendum shows the majority against the bases, then I will acquiesce and fight with them.)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My proposal is this, allow everyone who has residence in Okinawa, ethic Okinawan or not

Which is what I suggested earlier. The people on the bases don't count though

0 ( +3 / -3 )

YuriOtani san, I'm very sorry abut the treatment you received years ago. But don't blame this group for their stupidity. They are trying to move. Okinawa receives a great deal of money to offset the cost of hosting the bases. Not everyone is getting this money, because it's being spent in Naha not North.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

They are trying to move. Okinawa receives a great deal of money to offset the cost of hosting the bases.

They are getting bribes. If the bases were removed, the land could be converted into tourism enterprises. This kind of "payment" system is just to make sure Okinawans stay dependant on Tokyo. Move the bases to mainland Japan, and let everyone else share the burden

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@lincolnman: I know you are a big supporter of ATARA but it does not go far enough. That portion of Camp Foster along Hwy 58 to be returned does not even put a dent in Camp Foster. Camp Foster is mainly located in Ginowan City but overlaps into Okinawa City, Chatan Town and Kitanakgusuku Village. It runs from Hwy 58 and crosses over Hwy 330. It houses the Headquarters of Marine Corps Base Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific and the Okinawa Field Office of United States Headquarters Japan. There are 3 dependent schools on the base, Zukeran and Killin elementary schools and Kubasaki High Schools.The base's housing units include Kishaba, Chatan, Futenma, Plaza and Sada. Camp Foster will remain a very large U.S. Military Facility. The U.S. is also demanding a new port be built in Urasoe City to replace Naha Port even though they already have White Beach and Tengan Pier and of course you have MCAS Futenma scheduled to be relocated inside Okinawa. The overall reduction of facilities even after ATARA will not be that much.

I am a big supporter of the ATARA agreement – because it’s measurable progress – it makes real reductions in the US military footprint – all the opponents offer is the status quo. And I would differ on your assessment of the scale of the reductions; Kinser is huge, the closest large base to Naha and will be returned in full. Futenma is also huge and once it is closed residents near the base will no longer have to worry about noise or accidents. Regarding Foster, a majority of the base between 58 and 330 will be returned along with most of the housing areas – the Marines will be in Guam and Hawaii and won’t need them. Re Naha Port, it’s a much different facility than White Beach or Tengan Pier – and those facilities can’t replicate its function.

Bottomline – implementation of the agreement would bring real progress and benefit for the local Okinawa people – that’s why I’m all for it. The Okinawa people deserve to see progress in reducing US military facilities, instead of stalling.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here's an old quote by a famous and successful southern Civil War general, Nathan Beford Forrest:

"Git thar fustest with the most mostest."

In other words, the opponent who reaches a strategic area of the battlefield first with the most men & resources holds a very strong position. Food for thought.

China would love nothing more than to see all of the U.S. bases closed down on Okinawa. If this were to happen, it's highly possible that a large portion of the U.S. public would feel justified in demanding politicians to give up completely on the U.S. military defending Japan. As Gen. George S. Patton probably would have said it, "Who wants to pay for the same real estate twice?"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@lincolnman: According to Consolidation Plan for Facilities and Areas in Okinawa dated April 2013, the Naval Hospital, the Middle School and 375 Housing Units will be moved to Camp Foster (the new Hospital is already completed). 102 Family Housing Units will be relocated from Lower Plaza Housing Area to Camp Foster. 32 Family Housing Units will be relocated from Kishaba Terrace Housing to Camp Foster. Community support facilities, etc. will be relocated from along Hwy 58 to another location in Camp Foster. The areas of Camp Foster to be returned are West Futenma Housing area (already completed) , Lower Plaza Housing area, a part of Kishaba Housing area, The Industrial Corridor, Camp Foster. Although there will be land returned from Camp Foster, there will also be new facilities built at Camp Foster and I see nothing about the areas that include Kubasaki High School, Zukeran Elementary School and Killin Elementary school being returned. I agree that Camp Kinser, MCAS Futenma and Naha Port being removed will be very noticeable but it appears that Camp Foster will remain a very large facility and an important Marine Base on Okinawa for the foreseeable future. Even though ATARA is a step forward, there is still a lot of reducing of facilities that could still be done without affecting the Military Mission.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@lincolnman: According to Consolidation Plan for Facilities and Areas in Okinawa dated April 2013, the Naval Hospital, the Middle School and 375 Housing Units will be moved to Camp Foster (the new Hospital is already completed). 102 Family Housing Units will be relocated from Lower Plaza Housing Area to Camp Foster. 32 Family Housing Units will be relocated from Kishaba Terrace Housing to Camp Foster. Community support facilities, etc. will be relocated from along Hwy 58 to another location in Camp Foster. The areas of Camp Foster to be returned are West Futenma Housing area (already completed) , Lower Plaza Housing area, a part of Kishaba Housing area, The Industrial Corridor, Camp Foster. Although there will be land returned from Camp Foster, there will also be new facilities built at Camp Foster and I see nothing about the areas that include Kubasaki High School, Zukeran Elementary School and Killin Elementary school being returned. I agree that Camp Kinser, MCAS Futenma and Naha Port being removed will be very noticeable but it appears that Camp Foster will remain a very large facility and an important Marine Base on Okinawa for the foreseeable future. Even though ATARA is a step forward, there is still a lot of reducing of facilities that could still be done without affecting the Military Mission.

Well, I won't argue the details of Foster with you - the plans I've been shown show a major return all along Hwy 58 - however I think we both agree that returning in whole both Kinser and Futenma would result in a major return of extremely valuable land to local control, in addition to significantly increasing safety.

And we can argue about if the remaining bases are still too many or too few - but implementing the agreement gets something done - it starts the reduction process and once these returns are made can be used as a template for further reductions in the future.

Its'a all about progress vs status quo.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yubaru,

Scotland is NOT a separate country. That's what the referendum was about if you remember.

Scotland's position has similarities with Okinawa - another culture, language, cuisine. But perhaps the similarities with Eire (Ireland) are closer. Eire was bullied and used by the English for centuries as Okinawa has been by Honshu and Kyushu.

There should be a referendum for Okinawans on the new superbase planned for Henoko. Should be, and would be if Japan was a democratic country.

Sadly, it isn't.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@lincolnman: Progress is always good but I do not think you will find many Okinawans who think that destroying that beautiful ocean spot at Henoko is progress.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Bertie

Is Scotland really not a country? They have their own national parliament, legal system, education system, banknotes and life-expectancy (!)

True that foreign policy is controlled by Westminster, but they have the right to change that any time they choose by referendum.

Okinawa doesn't come close. Neither do Catalonia or Bavaria or Cornwall or Wales, despite their claims to be nations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@lincolnman: Progress is always good but I do not think you will find many Okinawans who think that destroying that beautiful ocean spot at Henoko is progress.

With the current disinformation campaign by anti-US and anti-base elements skewing and misinterpreting what the ATARA agreement accomplishes, I'd probably agree with you, but if presented by the politicians, media and academics in a truthful and factual manner, I think many Okinawa citizens would say that the major returns of land near Naha and reduction in noise and potential accidents near Futenma brings more benefits than costs.......

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Stick it! All Okinawa is behind you, actually only 32% of the Okinawa population voted for Onaga the rest didnt or could care less. If the US bases were such a hot issue i would have expected a much larger percentage to turn out to vote and vote for Onaga, but thats clearly not the case

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@lincolnman: Then why don`t the Japanese Government and the U.S. Military hold town hall meetings all over Okinawa and present their truth and facts directly to the people of Okinawa. The J-Govt. and U.S. Military have never made an attempt to talk directly to the people of Okinawa themselves but instead hold their meetings in secret, make their decisions and then tell Okinawa this is what we decided and you will accept it. If the local media, politicians and academics are distorting the facts, you would think that the Central Govt. and U.S. would want to present their facts and try to win the support of the people. It is funny that the Central Govt. is always saying that they want to gain the understanding of the people of Okinawa but they never communicate directly with the people.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Stick it! All Okinawa is behind you. Let the world know that injustice can't prevail.

"All?" So now you speak for every single Okinawan?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

wtfjapan & bass4funk,

Here are statistics on the Okinawa gubernatorial election held on November 16, 2014 and also recent poll results:

Number of eligible voters: 1,098,337 Number of voters who actually cast votes: 704,368 Voter turnout: 64.13% Number of candidates: 4

Number of votes Onaga garnered: 360,820 (51.2%) Number of votes Nakaima garnered: 261,076 (37%)

Now, according to the public opinion poll conducted jointly by both The Ryukyu Shimpo and OTV broadcasters on May 30/31, the number of respondents who supported Gov. Onaga's planned revoking of former governor's approval of landfill at Henoko was 77.2% and those who opposed the Henoko relocation plan itself accounted for 83%.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Most territory used by the US Marines in Okinawa is for jungle training. They are not deployed there to protect Japan or Okinawa, but to train, which they could do in Hawaii or Guam, were there the political will to do so. Henoko is utterly unnecessary. The functions of Futenma could easily fit into Kadena or be transferred to Iwakuni, perhaps, were there the political will to do so. The civilian population around Misawa is much more amenable to the US military presence, so the Marine planes could go there. The Marines would not be needed to defend the Senkakus. Air Force and Naval power could reduce an invader on those small rocks to the point that Japan's incipient Marine force or GSDF could retake them, were any invaders even to survive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

lincolnman, we Okinawa people don't want you tell what we do. We live in democracy, we decide what we want do self.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All interesting comments but some wrong facts. My father was involved in the talks during the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese control. The US did in fact poll the Okinawans on perhaps become more like a Hong Kong, part of Japan but self governing and the results were interesting. The older generation that had been under direct Japanese rule did not want to go back as a whole but the younger generation that had been raised after 1950 were strongly in favor of it. So there was a ray of hope and even a flag proposed but it was quickly shot down when the Okinawan people were so split. I was raised on Okinawa and I know that for years they were mistreated by the US but in fact were and are not much better treated by the mainland Japanese who see them much like the Einu of Hokkaido as second class citizens. The bases must and should be reduced. There is no reason for the Marine presence on the island they are not even a fully combat strength regiment and more of a supply depot than anything else. Move them to Hawaii, Guam , California their presence doesn't matter anymore. Kadena will most likely stay for a long while its still strategically important to the US and Japan to counter China's more belligerent stance. Realize however that with the closure of more of the bases and the moving of the personnel fewer Okinawans will work on the bases, receive stipends from the Japanese government of the land use, see less off base rent money, less money in the registers at local eateries, shops etc it will have an impact on business that don't and won't make up the difference from local or mainland tourists spending.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Scotland is NOT a separate country. That's what the referendum was about if you remember.

Geez if Scotland isn't a separate country then how in the world are the Japanese Rugby team playing them? The WC is for countries not states, and the referendum was about independence from the United Kingdom.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

okinawa people are pro-chinese ( netuuyou consider them communists christian ,,,, even the resident of hiroshima and nagasaki ( pro-shimin and chuukakuha) ,,,,american were stationing there for the japanese to promote anti-beichuu ,,,,but when american bases are gone the reason of stimulating hate nutrition is gone ,,,okinawa people will definitely side with the chinese who cares about them more than the japanese ,,,,, or be self-independent ( it will be most likely to side with china)

Tibet ,,,Hmmm when japan invaded china they did worse than the chinese do ,,, I heard that buddhist temple were burned along with the priest killed as well , Why japan don't want okinawa to be self-dependent ,,,,After all they want to lift the economic burden ,,, After all okinawa resort is the best sea resort in Asia Weird !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bases in okinawa enhance the money borrowed from USA , but why no bases in tokyo ,,, I don't think that 50K can defend okinawa from chinese at all if they want to attack japan ( they never had the intent to do so )

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@lincolnman: Then why don`t the Japanese Government and the U.S. Military hold town hall meetings all over Okinawa and present their truth and facts directly to the people of Okinawa. The J-Govt. and U.S. Military have never made an attempt to talk directly to the people of Okinawa themselves but instead hold their meetings in secret, make their decisions and then tell Okinawa this is what we decided and you will accept it. If the local media, politicians and academics are distorting the facts, you would think that the Central Govt. and U.S. would want to present their facts and try to win the support of the people. It is funny that the Central Govt. is always saying that they want to gain the understanding of the people of Okinawa but they never communicate directly with the people.

I don't know why the central government hasn't been more open in establishing a dialogue with Okinawa citizens - I would certainly encourage it. But arguing that point, even though it's valid, doesn't close any bases - the ATARA agreement does. I'd like to see Kinser turned in to a tourist area similar to American Village in Chatan, and maybe Futenma into a technical educational center or similar institution. That can happen if the local government stops it's opposition to the agreement.

Shimajin: incolnman, we Okinawa people don't want you tell what we do. We live in democracy, we decide what we want do self. You are not our governor, just some U.S. military guy helping steal our land.

Well, one thing is clear and that's you're not from Okinawa - all the Okinawa people I know wouldn't tolerate your small mined bigotry and arrogance. Perhaps you're sitting somewhere west of Okinawa?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lucabrasi,

I didn't say Scotland was not a country. I said that it was not a SEPARATE country, i.e. it doesn't have independence. The same applies to Wales. There are no real borders, no check points, just a sign that says "Croeso y Cymru" (welcome to Wales). I don't remember what it says at the Scottish "border," it's been a while since I've been up there and my Gaelic is worse than rusty.

Yubaru, if you are confused about this, check out the definition:

SEPARATE: "forming or viewed as a unit apart or by itself"

Scotland is part of the Union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is not a unit or by itself.

The people who want this to happen are called SEPARATISTS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yubaru" and the referendum was about independence"

Yubaru, people of Okinawa have a holy right to organize a referendum and rise questions about self-determination and even their total independence. Okinawans live on island and used to be an independent Kingdom. So, people have reasons and rights to do it irrespective of what Tokyo thinks about. Please, remember words of some poster above that some US guys like to lecture Okinawans but in reality they help to keep stolen land of Okinawa inhabitants.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@KubasakiRon71: Good post and I am glad to see someone who was here before reversion and who posts reasonably and takes basically the same position that I take that the bases must be reduced more than what is now proposed but that some bases will probably always be necessary. I was stationed on Okinawa in the Army from 1967 to 1968 and have lived here since 1971 as a civilian on the local economy so I have some knowledge of pre-reversion Okinawa. I have always thought that Okinawa being like Hong Kong would have been the best solution and I am surprised to hear that it was considered. I hope that you will continue to post on these Okinawa threads and share your knowledge with us.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

licolnman,

You can be a great believer or a visceral deceiver.

Japan and the United States agreed on a time line to return U.S. bases south of Kadena Air Base allegedly to reduce burdens on Okinawans. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently boasted: “It is extremely significant for our efforts to reduce burdens on Okinawa.”

But does it really reduce Okinawa's burdens?

According to the DoD-released document, "Consolidation Plan for Facilities and Areas in Okinawa," the total areas for return south of Kadena will be approximately 1,048 ha That's an impressive figure, no doubt, but I warn you: there's a catch in it. Areas promised for return are all strictly conditions-attached.

Take Camp Kinser (area: 274 ha), for example. The plots of land (a military road) leading to Gate 1 (2 ha) is what I call Category 1 area, that were already "returned" like off the cuff and with no conditions. An area that will be returned when its replacement is found somewhere within Okinawa is the portion of the base along National Highway No. 58 where warehouses are concentrated (area: 129 ha.).

The remaining area (143 ha.) faceing the East China Sea falls under what I call Category 3 and will not be returned because nobody knows when the Marine contingents will completely withdraw from Okinawa. So, of Camp Kinser’s total area of 274 ha, 143 ha (52 %) will not be returned in any foreseeable future.

No one knows for sure where Camp Kinser or the Makiminato Service Area's warehouses along Highway 58 will be relocated. Most probably, they will be moved to the remaining area (143 ha) of the base adjacent to a new port facility demanded by the U.S. side to build in return for Naha (Military) Port Facility.

The unconditional return of land south of Kadena Air Base is then West Futenma Residential Area only with an area of 51 ha. Since the total base area south of Kadena is 1,629 ha, the area which may be called a genuine return amounts to a minuscule 0.03 percent.

What else can one call this great deal except an off-the cuff "black magic"?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why I keep doing this when I say it's absolutely futile each time is beyond me - but here goes;

Areas promised for return are all strictly conditions-attached.

No they're not - read the agreement and stop posting false information.

An area that will be returned when its replacement is found somewhere within Okinawa is the portion of the base along National Highway No. 58 where warehouses are concentrated (area: 129 ha.).

Incorrect - only Futenma and Naha Port are being relocated - all others will be returned to the local government - if a key facility or building is needed for forces remaining, then it will be built in an existing base - either Kadena or one of the bases north of there. No new facilities will be built south of Kadena except the relocated port at Urasoe - and Kinser and Futemna will be returned in full, along with major portions of Camp Foster.

The remaining area (143 ha.) faceing the East China Sea falls under what I call Category 3 and will not be returned because nobody knows when the Marine contingents will completely withdraw from Okinawa

We don't know because the Prefectural government is delaying and stalling ATARA implementation.

No one knows for sure where Camp Kinser or the Makiminato Service Area's warehouses along Highway 58 will be relocated.

Yes we do - Guam and Hawaii - read the agreement.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, many of the vehement anti-US posters here will try to mischaracterize and misconstrue the ATARA agreement - they do so only to fit their own personal agendas.

It all boils down to actions - helping the local Okinawa people achieve real progress in reducing the US military footprint or maintaining the status quo.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yubaru, people of Okinawa have a holy right to organize a referendum and rise questions about self-determination and even their total independence. Okinawans live on island and used to be an independent Kingdom. So, people have reasons and rights to do it irrespective of what Tokyo thinks about. Please, remember words of some poster above that some US guys like to lecture Okinawans but in reality they help to keep stolen land of Okinawa inhabitants.

Guess what, I am a citizen of Japan, and I live in Okinawa, so I know when I speak about the issues regarding this island.

You come across as if the independence that Okinawa (Ryukyu's btw) had was something recent, it's not. For all intents and purposes it was back in the early 1600's that the Ryukyu's "lost" their independence. The arguments people make about the history of independence would be like folks clamoring to be reunited with England for the US or Texas becoming a country of it's own.

Do you fight so hard for the native peoples of other countries that had their land confiscated too? Think about what that means for a moment.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I am an outsider. I visited Okinawa once and I learnt their history. I understand their will to become independent. Though it's not realistic. Look at all the situation in Asia. Russia and China are ready for war. Okinawa is the right place to manage everything in the area. So if Okinawa will become independent there are high possibilities that china will claim the islands. And Okinawa will be too weak to fight. If I remember it right, Okinawa people lost their freedom because they decided to drop their weapons. the biggest strategists of the world always proved to us that if you want peace you must prepare war.

If Okinawa desire to become independent so much, first create your army and second be ready to fight for it no matter what. No one will come out of nowhere and sacrifice for you. You must be ready to fight any intruder any time. sorry to be so harsh but it's the reality of this world made by our ancestors.

As for the US bases, I agree that those bases are useless to defend Japan. If those bases were made to defend Japan, they should have been located near Tokyo, on the main island. The bases are in Okinawa because of the strategic position of Okinawa in the east sea. Okinawa is linked to Japan, China and South Korea.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

lincolnman,

Incorrect - only Futenma and Naha Port are being relocated - all others will be returned to the local government - if a key facility or building is needed for forces remaining, then it will be built in an existing base - either Kadena or one of the bases north of there. No new facilities will be built south of Kadena except the relocated port at Urasoe - and Kinser and Futemna will be returned in full, along with major portions of Camp Foster.

You misread my statement. I meant to say, with regard to Camp Kinser, the area that will be returned (in the first installment) when its replacement is found somewhere within Okinawa is a portion of the base along National Highway No. 58 where warehouses are concentrated (area: 129 ha.). Torii Station was named as a candidate site for the relocation, but was it just a rumor? You must be thinking only about barracks where Marines stay but what about warehouses, very important facilities for logistics. Will they be relocated to Kadena or some bases north of it?

You say Camp Kinser will be returned in full. But I suspect that that promise will be broken for sure in light of the fact that the U.S. side has demanded a replacement of Naha Port Facility be built on the Urasoe shore adjacent to Camp Kinser. Unless Kinser or any part of it remains at the current site, it will be meaningless that Naha Port Facility must be s moved to Urasoe. The U.S. side must clear us of this suspicion of ours.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"here will also be new facilities built at Camp Foster and I see nothing about the areas that include Kubasaki High School, Zukeran Elementary School and Killin Elementary school being returned. I agree that Camp Kinser, MCAS Futenma and Naha Port being removed will be very noticeable but it appears that Camp Foster will remain a very large facility and an important Marine Base on Okinawa for the foreseeable future"

Uhmm, when I was a young man, there was no such thing for us as an accompanied tour on Oki with dependants in tow. Perhaps I was of lower rank and did not rate, but rest assured, such "hardships" didnt damage any of us, if anything it made us more cohesive. There is no need for such waste, and it should go. Im ashamed to see such wastefulness and ridiculous excuses to protect it. Land reclamation and ships docked off of leased ports could house allot of those people. If they cant live without it and you cant get people to reinlist without such spoilage, then put them in kyushu. DOD civilians vacationing in Oki and all that should be relocated with a hardened USMC/USA presence off the coast on reclaimed land or ships to serve as a deterent to China. Let the Okinawa people have their paradise and deterrmine their own future. If I want to enjoy it, I should come there as a tourist, just like an Okinawan person would to the U.S. It does not belong to me or some tax money siphoning gov employee who doesnt want to leave and make it their paradise. .

4 ( +5 / -1 )

You misread my statement. I meant to say, with regard to Camp Kinser, the area that will be returned (in the first installment) when its replacement is found somewhere within Okinawa is a portion of the base along National Highway No. 58 where warehouses are concentrated (area: 129 ha.). Torii Station was named as a candidate site for the relocation, but was it just a rumor? You must be thinking only about barracks where Marines stay but what about warehouses, very important facilities for logistics. Will they be relocated to Kadena or some bases north of it?

As I've said before, the warehousing and logistics functions are all moving to Guam - they are not being relocated within Okinawa.

You say Camp Kinser will be returned in full. But I suspect that that promise will be broken for sure in light of the fact that the U.S. side has demanded a replacement of Naha Port Facility be built on the Urasoe shore adjacent to Camp Kinser. Unless Kinser or any part of it remains at the current site, it will be meaningless that Naha Port Facility must be s moved to Urasoe. The U.S. side must clear us of this suspicion of ours.

The Urasoe port will replace Naha port so that key valuable land in Naha can be returned to the local government and used by local businesses. The Urasoe port will be used by all services on island, mostly the Army and Air Force to move equipment and cargo. For example, as I mentioned earlier, the Army PAC 3 missiles arrived in Okinawa at Naha port in 2006. And the Japanese government selected the Urasoe location, not the US - the US actually preferred a location farther up north.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@5petals: The Japanese Govt. is also at fault for all of the dependents being on Okinawa. They have spent a lot of Japanese Tax Money on building Housing, Schools and Leisure Facilities for them. If you take a look at the facilities constructed inside the bases by the J-Govt., you will find most of them have nothing to do with the Military Mission but were built just to give the military and their families an American Lifestyle. All of these dependents on Okinawa is why so much land is required.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Should end all that cat chasin its tail goofy speak and give you 3 options. Since you been living in Oki and enjoying the good life and sucking up all sorts of benies that most civilians could only dream about, send you back stateside or to a hardship unaccompanied tour in korea or severance. Since you have been disconnected from any real skill applicable to the private sector, perhaps loan you some money to get skilled. Welcome to the real world. Use all that money spent on you for next generation weapons and research. That stuff is out of hand and ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lincolnman most people living in Okinawa are not anti American but anti base. This is our Island home and we want it back! We have underwent many hardships in the past. The money I get as "rental" for my farm breaks wind. I will not see it in my lifetime and my families graves have been destroyed by the Americans. I suffer health problems from poor nourishment as a child and from my dads radiation exposure. So tell me again of all of the fruits of the American bases.

Camp Kinser will remain as both Guam and Hawaii have rejected the new bases. So it is all an American lie as always.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

.

I suffer health problems from poor nourishment as a child and from my dads radiation exposure. So tell me again of all of the fruits of the American bases.

Now you go over board with claims Yuri, you want to play the feel sorry for me game, you should stop. You have made many stories about your life when posting here, and it's wrong to now start saying that you father was exposed to radiation, you gave other stories in the past, and writing that here makes people think that he was around either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Camp Kinser will remain as both Guam and Hawaii have rejected the new bases. So it is all an American lie as always.

Really and when it does get returned what lie are you going to share? Like the one about your father?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

lincolnman,

If all the facilities and function that Camp Kinser has are moved to Guam and Hawaii as you say (Is it your opinion? If not, please substantiate it concretely, citing evidence.), what's the meaning of the Marines to be stationed here, occupying so much land and even demanding a new one be built at Henoko? Can't the facilities and function that Futenma Air station has be moved to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can't the facilities and function that Futenma Air station has be moved to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland?

You KNOW the answer to this question and are just baiting lincolman into replying. No they can't and you know why as well.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

No they can't and you know why as well.

No we don't. Enlighten us with your wisdom

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No we don't. Enlighten us with your wisdom

Ask voice, he knows, and he just baits people into responding. He knows better, but plays devils advocate through ignorance.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yubaru,

Ask voice, he knows, and he just baits people into responding. He knows better, but plays devils advocate through ignorance

You really make me laugh.

Let me repeat what I wrote in my post of Sep. 23: 11:03AM. I wrote:

Evil throws its weight about in matters of U.S. bases in Okinawa. So some posters here say nothing would change the status quo however hard Gov. Onaga may try to pry the door open. They may be right, but don't worry. We are not confronting an irresistible natural force but an evil, human nature that is called greed. We are fighting this battle, believing that justice will prevail someday.

From what you suggest, "Ask voice, he knows," I must surmise that you agree with me about what I know.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some posters here are limited in their ability to see the world – they are locked in a zero-sum view – you either agree with their views, or you are labeled as “evil”. Though you may have the same overall objective, the reduction of US military facilities on Okinawa, if you down ascribe to their specific anti-US and anti central government narrative, then you are personally insulted and demeaned. It is never, "I respect your opinion but disagree with your views" – you are attacked personally and your character questioned.

Being unable to view issues from a broad perspective limits their ability to understand the issue, so they frequently skew, exaggerate and even fabricate “facts” to fit this very narrow agenda.

Ironically, their perspective on US military reductions on Okinawa mirrors the George W. Bush view of the war on terrorism – “you are either with us or against us” – an overly-simplistic and divisive way to try to solve a very complex issue - and no doubt will ultimately be as unsuccessful.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Some posters here are limited in their ability to see the world

To argue in such a way is rather a display of arrogance then of a balanced view of things.

Naturally we are all limited in our views. What makes you believe you could be different?

Though you may have the same overall objective, the reduction of US military facilities on Okinawa,

No, the overall objective for Okinawans is to gain back a healthy degree of freedom, self-determination and justice. Henoko and the reduction of the US military in Okinawa is just the focal point and symbol of this fight.

During the post-war occupation the US has taken Okinawan land in an unlawful way and has treated Okinawans like second class citizens. Against this backdrop for Okinawans the way the ATARA agreement and the Futenma relocation has been handled means a continuation of a nightmare of not being able to gain justice and decide on their own future.

Is this so difficult to understand?

How can you suggest that Okinawans have a narrow agenda when they are fighting for the very basics of freedom, democracy and justice?

You, just like Tokyo and Washington, are saying, swallow this decision because even it's not yours it will be best for you.

Okinawans are saying, no we don't believe this is the best for us, we want a different future for our island.

Either you believe in democracy and talk to Okinawans in an open and unbiased way until you gain their basic understanding, or you choose the autocratic path and decide over the heads of the Okinawan people and force them to comply like it is happening now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

lincolnman,

The point at issue is how you see this exorbitant footprint of the U.S. Marines on Okinawa. The Henoko relocation plan reveals itself that the U.S. side wants to maintain their firm presence here indefinitely, regardless of how international affairs may revolve.

The same thing can be said about the issue of Naha Military Port relocation. This port, historically an important gateway to Ryukyu Kingdom, has remained idle since the end of the Vietnam War. Naturally, Naha City demanded its early return. A bilateral agreement was reached in 1976 for its return but on the strict condition that its replacement be provided in Urasoe.

You cannot dare say that we must see the world from a broader perspective, because it is you who see the world from a U.S.-centered, narrow perspective. Glad that you are critical of George W. Bush about his Iraq War, a typical example that shows the U.S.-centered narrow-mindedness of American conservatives. As I see it, the current turmoil in the Middle East -- the IS phenomenon with hordes of refugees -- is the end result of that war.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How can you suggest that Okinawans have a narrow agenda when they are fighting for the very basics of freedom, democracy and justice? You, just like Tokyo and Washington, are saying, swallow this decision because even it's not yours it will be best for you.

Well as I said above, some closed minded folks who have no facts to support their views have to fall back on insults and character attacks - if you "don't tow their line", then you're against justice and democracy. They attempt to demonize those who don't share their radical views - zero-sum thinking. I your know it wasn't your intent but thank you for providing the example for my assertion.

The Henoko relocation plan reveals itself that the U.S. side wants to maintain their firm presence here indefinitely, regardless of how international affairs may revolve.

The Henoko plan reveals the US and central government care enough about the local Okinawa people to try to close Futenma and give back Kinser and parts of Foster. You and others who oppose the plan have nothing - no action plan, no vision for the future - except the status quo. And when supporters of the plan like myself try to help other posters here understand that this will bring real measurable reductions in the US military footprint, you call us "evil", say we're against justice and undemocratic.

As I've said before, when some people lack facts to support their view, they do two things, invoke amorphous religious imagery (good vs evil, justice vs injustice), and try to demonize those that a have different view. It''s never "I respect your intentions but disagree with your opinion". And that's why I no longer care to respond to their posts.

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As I've said before, when some people lack facts to support their view, they do two things, invoke amorphous religious imagery (good vs evil, justice vs injustice), and try to demonize those that a have different view. It''s never "I respect your intentions but disagree with your opinion". And that's why I no longer care to respond to their posts

more nonsense. Its simple; remove all non essential mission critical facility and personal, give the Okinawans back their Island and since they have been crushed with a boot on their neck for so long, incentives to build their Island into an economic powerhouse with U.S. and japanese interest, priority for Okinawan business and hiring. Once it turns into a HK or SG with lesson learned and improvements, then you can go there and visit as a tourist and not as a homesteader, contributing to their economy with your tourist or investment currency, not using them or tax money for your exisitance.

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lincolnman,

Let me repeat. The point at issue is the Henoko relocation plan. Never go off the track. We are opposed to it, demanding instead that Futenma be returned unconditionally or moved at least outside Okinawa. To which you responded: "Some posters here are limited in their ability to see the world."

That means that, if you accept the relocation plan, your ability to see the world can be said to be broad and unlimited. On what specific ground do you claim you have a more broad and unlimited ability than we?

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This has been a soap box item of mine for over a decade. Strategically, the US needs to move the Marines off of Okinawa. Kadena and White Beach are the only two places that need to be kept open. Building a 'floating base' would be stupid, to put it in layman's terms. One good Typhoon-Hurricane, is going to take it out or even one good suicidal Commie submarine is going to take it out. From every conceptional idea I've seen online leaves the 'airfield concepts' very vulnerable to both. As the World witnessed to Fukashima, the sea has it's own way of overcoming man's obstacles.

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Well as I said above, some closed minded folks who have no facts to support their views have to fall back on insults and character attacks

lincolnman, are you addressing me? If so please specify where did I insult you or engage in character attacks.

My argument is surely not meant to be an attack on your character, but on what you are saying here. I don't know and can not judge your character, but what I can judge is your position on the Henoko and US military base issue and to me that position is anti-democratic.

I have on several occasions argued in depth why I think so. Here once again in a nutshell:

… During and after the war the US military has forcefully and against international law taken away more then one-fourth of Okinawan land, it has destroyed villages, farms, schools, temples, shrines and a large part of the livelihood of the Okinawan people.

… On the occasion of the return to Japan in 1972 the US, against all democratic rules, has made the Japanese government promise, behind closed doors and secretly, that it can keep using Okinawa as its military playground.

… This unjust situation has never been properly addressed and there has never been any kind of democratic legitimization involving the Okinawan (or Japanese) people.

… Since the reversion to Japan Tokyo has constantly pressured, threatened and bribed Okinawans in order to keep the status quo, or to be precise: the massive concentration of US military on Okinawa.

So it is obvious why Okinawans feel their citizens rights were not properly obeyed and keep fighting for regaining justice, freedom and dignity.

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So it is obvious why Okinawans feel their citizens rights were not properly obeyed and keep fighting for regaining justice, freedom and dignity.

No, the overall objective for Okinawans is to gain back a healthy degree of freedom, self-determination and justice

Okinawans are saying, no we don't believe this is the best for us, we want a different future for our island.

One last point, as you'll see mentioned frequently in their posts, besides zero-sum, two dimensional thinking and demonizing those who they disagree with, you will also see these posters refer to their views as speaking for "all Okinawans" - when it is obvious that their views are shared with only a distinct, small fraction of the population. As with most individuals who believe they are pursuing a "righteous" cause, they display an underlying arrogance.

Ans while it is a minor point, it is a telling one - in their posts they often refer to the people of Okinawa as "Okinawans" - there is no such word - the correct term is the "people" or the "citizens" of Okinawa. Telling in that they say they speak for all the local citizens, yet don't know how to correctly or respectfully address them.

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lincolnman,

these posters refer to their views as speaking for "all Okinawans" - when it is obvious that their views are shared with only a distinct, small fraction of the population. As with most individuals who believe they are pursuing a "righteous" cause, they display an underlying arrogance.

As far as the Henoko relocation issue is concerned, I'm sure my view is shared by the majority of Okinawans and not by "a distinct, small fraction of the population." NEVER. (You may call us by whatever name you like. "Okinawans" or Uchinanchu is a vulgar name referring to the "people" or the "citizens" of Okinawa just like "New Yorkers" is of New York State.) Go back to the statistics I posted on Sep. 23, 2015 addressed to wtfjapan & bass4funk to see if I'm speaking irresponsibly based on no facts.

But, before you respond to this, there's an obligation on your part to clarify why you think the people opposing the Henoko plan are "limited in their ability to see the world broadly." What's your reason to claim thatt?

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you will also see these posters refer to their views as speaking for "all Okinawans" - when it is obvious that their views are shared with only a distinct, small fraction of the population.

lincolnman, nobody here claims to speak for "all Okinawans". What I and others here are saying is that a vast majority of the people of Okinawa (thanks schoolmaster for helping us with our english language development) oppose the Henoko relocation and demand a drastic reduction of US military.

It is a large and clear enough majority to speak of the Okinawan peoples opinion or the Okinawan public opinion. "The will of the people" is a well established concept and in democracies it refers to the will of a clear majority of citizens.

If you believe you are right and the above well substantiated claims are wrong please provide us with some sort of objectifiable evidence that could back up your claims that Okinawans are not clear about what they want.

And lincolnman, your claim that someone who points out "injustice" is calling people who support such injustice "evil" to me is simply beyond comprehension. Neither I nor the majority of anti-base activists I have met believe in the concept of "evil", still can we believe in the concept of "injustice" and fight for justice.

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One last point, as you'll see mentioned frequently in their posts, besides zero-sum, two dimensional thinking and demonizing those who they disagree with, you

I dont quite get your zero sum status quo statement as it applies to your arguement. It seems to me your using the same logic that you use to describe your opponent. You always quote some memorandum or agreement like agreement ABCDEFG mumbo jumbo then next year its a different agreement, different name like GFEDCBA but basically it amounts to the same thing, thus maintaining the same status quo, amounting to basically nothing but a zero sum. Anyone who disagrees with it is demonizng your position. Very undemocratic process to me, but what do I know.

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I keep trying to close my comments out on this thread but several other posters are kind enough to keep providing examples that support my views.

You always quote some memorandum or agreement like agreement ABCDEFG mumbo jumbo then next year its a different agreement, different name like GFEDCBA but basically it amounts to the same thing,

Close mindedness is defined as an unwillingness to consider new ideas and to belittle or ridicule those that don’t fit within a person’s narrow self-defined opinion. Here it is clear that this poster has not even taken the time to read and assess the ATARA agreement, and merely made a weak attempt to ridicule it without even understanding what it contains. Close mindedness.

thanks schoolmaster for helping us with our english language development

Another example – when provided with information that their term for referring to the local Okinawa people is incorrect and could be offensive, they result to sarcasm (again, a rather weak attempt), showing their real scorn for the citizens of the island.

Thank you for providing these examples, but really, my point has been made sufficiently – no need to offer any additional support.

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lincolnman,

... my point has been made sufficiently – no need to offer any additional support.

You haven't responded to my questions I raised in my post of Sep. 27, 2015 - 12:11PM JST as yet. How could you say "my point has been made sufficiently" when in fact you haven't touched on them at all?

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I keep trying to close my comments out on this thread but several other posters are kind enough to keep providing examples that support my views

Seems to me your the one closing your mind to others views and are stuck on defending one dimensional view. Your next paragraph starts off with the same continued logic

*Here it is clear that this poster has not even taken the time to read and assess the ATARA agreement, and merely made a weak attempt to ridicule it without even understanding what it contains

*

Here we go with the ATARA. Whats next, the ARATA spelled backwards, well I see its almost the same thing spelled backwards. Anybody who starts quoting that stuff is code speak and circle logic for I dont really have a real job and I want to make you think I do as to protect my privilage using the golf course and other benefits. As you didnt write the ARATA or any other ratta tat tat sounding agreement, there is no need for you to even quote it or share your "deep" knowlege" of it. The need is for you to realize that Okinawa is not your island.

I read allot about "its been 70 years since Japan lost the war, so they can now remilitarize" Ok great. But what about applying the same logic to Okinawa. Its been 70 years since their occupation, but wait, a new excuse and circle logic. I have no dog in this race, but if I was Okinawan, Id be rather confused. I think the U.S. military can increase their presence in that region, and should, without increasing a foot print on the island. I think it can be done, and help with the economic transistion, benefiting the U.S. Id like to see a new acronymn for that.

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Really, I do appreciate all the examples that support my views, but we have plenty already – no more are really needed....

Here we go with the ATARA. Whats next, the ARATA spelled backwards, well I see its almost the same thing spelled backwards. Anybody who starts quoting that stuff is code speak and circle logic for I dont really have a real job and I want to make you think I do as to protect my privilage using the golf course and other benefits. As you didnt write the ARATA or any other ratta tat tat sounding agreement, there is no need for you to even quote it or share your "deep" knowlege" of it. The need is for you to realize that Okinawa is not your island.

One poster again offers ridicule of a bilaterally agreed to agreement that makes significant, real reductions in US military facilities and personnel – without even reading or understanding it – how more close minded can you get. And as with most of these posters, he again descends to using insults and innuendo - Ad hominem responses form the bulk of their posts, as they lack any facts with which to support their views.

You haven't responded to my questions I raised in my post of Sep. 27, 2015 - 12:11PM JST as yet. How could you say "my point has been made sufficiently" when in fact you haven't touched on them at all?

Another poster here provides a surplus of examples in arrogance - calling those who disagree with him “evil”, “undemocratic”, “visceral deceivers” and engaging in “black magic” – and that’s just on this thread – on others he’s used “selfish”, “anti-democratic”, and “criminals”. Yet even after proffering all this invective, he has the gall to “demand” those he insults reply to his dubious questions. Arrogance. I would refer him to my earlier post of 26 Sep, 0326, last paragraph.

Once again – thank you for providing all these examples – but we have more than enough……

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You are not exactly handling the topic with kids gloves so don't be surprised about people here engaging in a bold discourse with you, lincolnman.

One poster again offers ridicule of a bilaterally agreed to agreement that makes significant, real reductions in US military facilities and personnel – without even reading or understanding it –

I understand the ATARA agreement and that's why I'm criticizing it.

To pretend the ATARA would address Okinawan expectations is simply arrogant as there was absolute no democratic involvement of the Okinawan public in its drafting and decision-making process.

To reduce the US military footprint by some percent more or less is not my point and not the main point of the Okinawan people.

The Okinawan people, and it is this argument that you stubbornly keep ignoring lincolnman, want to regain a healthy degree of self-determination and want to be directly and democratically involved in critical decisions concerning their future. Where is such an issue even hinted at in ATARA?

While this might look like an inner Japanese problem it is not as the status quo the ATARA agreement refers to is one brought about by illegal and inhuman practices of the US military since 1945 and by the undemocratic and devious conditions that accompanied Okinawas reversion to Japan in 1972. Even US diplomats at the time were horrified by what was happening in Okinawa during the 1950ies and 60ies and referred to it as a narrow-minded "military dictatorship" by the US.

For Okinawans to agree (in reality nobody ever asked Okinawans to agree) to such an arrogant and anti-democratic agreement like ATARA would mean to promote injustice.

And I repeat it once again, to tell Okinawans they'd better put up with ATARA or else... is anti-democratic and would be highly arrogant if stated by someone involved in one or another way in the ATARA decision-making process.

And to Your Information the term "Okinawans" is commonly used by academics and by Okinawans themselves and it is not in the slightest way discriminatory.

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nobody is ridiculing you or demonizing you, they are challenging your position, and its what democracy is all about, and their right. It seems you got it all backwards; you think its your right to stay on Okinawa, and their really not Okinawans anyhow. Thats arrogant, and thats what happens when you pay somebody whether they do any work or not, they get an unrealistic view of reality. Let me introduce you to a biz acronymn: ROI... return on investment. somebody both Japan and U.S. is working and some of their pay is removed to be sent to an agency to another agency etc to be sent to you, to house feed provide climate control make you comfie, school your kids, service your car ship your unique foods etc so you dont endure hardships. The return on investment is supposedly creating an enviroment that provides for security and promotes interest that build on this. i dont see how vast expenditures on recreation and other 'moral" is doing that; perhaps you can share. And I dont agree with many of the posters here who think the USMC is the problem. There was a time when we all lived in squad bays with no A/C and it was the suck. If there is any branch that knows how to be frugal and do with less its the USMC. So instead of hiding behind some buzzword of the year acronymn, why dont you explain that

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For Okinawans to agree (in reality nobody ever asked Okinawans to agree) to such an arrogant and anti-democratic agreement like ATARA would mean to promote injustice

Well, I think you may have encapsulated the fundamental differences between your view and mine.

For you (and don’t think this view is shared by a majority of the Okinawa people) the primary issue is “injustice”. However true those injustices were or are (and I agree with you that the local government should have been consulted more closely on the ATARA agreement), that’s subjective and looking at the past.

For me (and I think quite few Okinawa citizens) the primary issue is reducing the number and impact of US bases now - what actionable plan can we implement that will result in real progress in reducing the impact and burden of US bases and return scarce land to local control. That’s objective and looking towards the future.

The other fundamental difference is I don’t question your motives. You say you haven’t referred to those that support the ATARA as “evil” but it’s in black and white here that other posters have - and they’ve said even worse. Why can’t you acknowledge that while we may disagree on the process, those that don’t share your views are not “bad people” – their motives can also be a sincere desire to improve the daily lives of the local Okinawa residents.

My personal hope is that a child born in Urasoe or Ginowan today won’t have to walk by a US base fence line in 10 years to get to their Elementary school – they can attend school (or even live) on land that used to be called Camp Kinser, Camp Foster or Futenma Air Station.

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For me (and I think quite few Okinawa citizens) the primary issue is reducing the number and impact of US bases now - what actionable plan can we implement that will result in real progress in reducing the impact and burden of US bases and return scarce land to local control. That’s objective and looking towards the future.

That kind of happy speak has been going on for years. What they need is a plan that involves economic benefits and transistion towards a sustainable economy. It would require allot of effort by Okinawan leadership and business leaders in the U.S. to engineer it, but it can be done. While I dont want to see anyone loose their job, when you start off with "now let me introduce to you the ATARA.." bull crap, it comes across as an arrogant disconnected from the real issue and then you buffer it with "My personal hope is that a child born in Urasoe or Ginowan today won’t have to walk by a US base fence line in 10 years to get to their Elementary school " I guess to make us all feel good. yeah right.

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That kind of happy speak has been going on for years. What they need is a plan that involves economic benefits and transistion towards a sustainable economy. It would require allot of effort by Okinawan leadership and business leaders in the U.S. to engineer it, but it can be done. While I dont want to see anyone loose their job, when you start off with "now let me introduce to you the ATARA.." bull crap, it comes across as an arrogant disconnected from the real issue and then you buffer it with "My personal hope is that a child born in Urasoe or Ginowan today won’t have to walk by a US base fence line in 10 years to get to their Elementary school " I guess to make us all feel good. yeah right.

I haven't responded to any of your posts because frankly, I couldn't understand them, but if you read them you get a sense that you're in a very cynical, dark place - I hope you get some help with that.

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Yeah that about sums it up; you cant understand them. And frankly I cant understand where your coming from, and I dont think anybody else can as your disconnected from the reality that most of us live in. Keep quoting your agreements and all that if it makes you feel good about your positon.

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@ lincolnman SEP. 30, 2015 - 02:10PM JST

For you (and don’t think this view is shared by a majority of the Okinawa people) the primary issue is “injustice”.

Not exactly. The primary issue is self-determination.

But the ongoing experience of injustice is the reason that Okinawa are so determined not to give in this time.

And injustice is not only referring to the stolen land and the being pushed around, but to the appallingly unfair fact that one tiny island hosts the bulk of the US military burden in Japan.

However true those injustices were or are, ... that’s subjective and looking at the past.

For most Okinawans the injustice is not past but very present. Their struggle now is not a struggle about the past, but one to win the future.

Okinawans are completely fed up with Tokyo and Washington deciding over their heads on matters that profoundly shape the future of their prefecture and want to have a say.

In my eyes the current movement against Henoko is one deeply rooted in the desire of the Okinawan people to leave behind the demons of the past and take back their fate into their own hands.

(and I agree with you that the local government should have been consulted more closely on the ATARA agreement)

I'm glad to hear that we are at least closing the gap in regard to one point here.

But you say "should have been consulted more closely", which seems to indicate that the local government has been properly consulted. When and how has that happened?

My personal hope is that a child born in Urasoe or Ginowan today won’t have to walk by a US base fence line in 10 years to get to their Elementary school

If you are really interested in the future of Okinawan children I think listening closely to what their parents demand would be a really great first step.

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Not exactly. The primary issue is self-determination.

Well, I’m not sure I’d would agree with that, unless you are advocating Okinawa secede from Japan. No prefecture in Japan has “self-determination”. I do think better collaboration and cooperation are needed.

And injustice is not only referring to the stolen land and the being pushed around, but to the appallingly unfair fact that one tiny island hosts the bulk of the US military burden in Japan.

I agree, lets implement a plan that will reduce that burden.

For most Okinawans the injustice is not past but very present. Their struggle now is not a struggle about the past, but one to win the future.

Again, I don’t agree that this is what most people on Okinawa want, but given that, what’s your objective, actionable plan to make that happen?

But you say "should have been consulted more closely", which seems to indicate that the local government has been properly consulted. When and how has that happened?

Oh yes, there was consultation with local prefectural officials during the ATARA negotiations, not to the extent that I would have advocated but there were discussions. As I’m sure you are aware, there are elements, small but influential, in the government on Okinawa that have a vested interest in keeping the number of bases at the current level – they use the issue to rally political support, so they can remain if office. They constantly will stall or fight any real reduction.

If you are really interested in the future of Okinawan children I think listening closely to what their parents demand would be a really great first step.

I think the parents in Urasoe, and Ginowan would say give us back that land...the sooner the better. But again, you question my motives, a topic you decided not to address in your post. – well I do care, I just disagree with you on the process for making it better. You say you don’t demonize, yet ascribing or questioning the motives of those you disagree with is doing just that. As I mentioned before, if you want to have a discussion on the issues in a courteous, non-insulting manner, I’m all for it. If not, then it’s just a waste of my time.

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lincolnman,

From what you've been saying on this thread and others and how you react to my and other's criticism of the issue, thinking as if it were personally directed at you, I must surmise that you were deeply involved in this ATARA agreement process.

Let's see how and in what contexts these adjectives you say were used as character attacks on you were used in my posts.

Evil:

"Evil throws its weight about in matters of U.S. bases in Okinawa (Sep. 23 - 11:03AM)." I firmly believe what I said is still true to describe the U.S. military presence in Okinawa. Evidence is abundant to support this claim.

Undemocratic or anti-democratic:

Nowhere did I utter these words on this thread. But, wait, you are not putting them in my mouth because I certainly believe the way things are done by both governments are done undemocratically because bilateral negotiations and consequent agreements are done secretly and undemocratically over our heads behind the closed doors. Remember the local people are the most important party concerned when the base issues are concerned because bilateral agreements determine our fate and plight for generations to come.

Visceral deceivers:

In the early days of occupation, the U.S. occupation forces behaved as if they were liberators of Okinawa from Japanese imperialism. There are many older Okinawans who attest to this: American soldiers treated them nice. But it soon turned out that U.S. forces were worse imperialists themselves. Land was encroached upon with impunity to build spacious bases while captured people were herded in refugee camps.

In the 1950's additional land was confiscated at bayonet point and by bulldozer to enlarge existing bases. The last such confiscation was to take place at the Kombu district of Gushikawa City (now Uruma City) to expand the function of Tengan Pier but the plan was abandoned after years of local people's physical resistance against it.

Similar anti-base struggles are going on for 8 years now at Takae District in Higashi Village, where Washington obliges Tokyo to build 6 landing and take-off facilities for Ospreys in forests surrounding the village, and also at Henoko for more than 11 years to prevent the central government from reclaiming land from pristine coastal waters off Henoko.

All this was done, and is being done, on the pretext to defend freedom and democracy of Japan.

Black magic:

The U.S. side ballyhoos more than 70% of the military land south of Kadena Air Base would be returned if Futenma were to relocate to Henoko. The catch is that the returns of land are all strings-attached except two cases.

The genuine returns of land south of Kadena Air Base are the West Futenma Residential Area with an area of 51 ha and a military road connecting Camp Kinser's Gate 1 and Highway No. 58 (2 ha), that were already returned with pomp and circumstance. Note the returned military road was not closed but remained there as before. It only became an Urasoe municipal road which the U.S. military has every legal right to use just like other civilian roads anywhere in Japan.

Since the total base area south of Kadena is 1,629 ha, the areas which may be called genuine returns amounts to a minuscule 0.03 percent. What else can one call this great deal except an off-the cuff "black magic"?

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@ lincolnman OCT. 01, 2015 - 08:51AM JST

Well, I’m not sure I’d would agree with that, unless you are advocating Okinawa secede from Japan. No prefecture in Japan has “self-determination”.

No, I don't think more self-determination requires independence. Actually "self-determination", or to be more precise "local and regional autonomy" is already part of the current Japanese democratic system and is guaranteed in chapter 8 of the constitution.

In Japanese it is called "自治" or to be more precise "地方自治" (Chiho Jichi) and puts prefectural governors in certain issues on par with the central government. The fact that the Okinawan governor has the power to authorize or reject for example land reclamation is one such example of regional-autonomy.

What is clear to me is that injustice and inhumane practices after the war have created a situation in which Okinawans have been deprived of their right to proper self-determination and they are now fighting to get it back.

As I’m sure you are aware, there are elements, small but influential, in the government on Okinawa that have a vested interest in keeping the number of bases at the current level – they use the issue to rally political support, so they can remain if office. They constantly will stall or fight any real reduction.

No, I'm not aware of this and, except you provide us with credible and objectifiable evidence for your claims, I'd call it a pure myth.

I do know of course that some Okinawans got so used to live with, or lets rather say: live from the US bases that they'd like to keep them the way they are, but from my knowledge those are a small minority and not in any way at the center of any popular or political movements in Okinawa.

I think the parents in Urasoe, and Ginowan would say give us back that land...the sooner the better.

While there surely are such parents I was rather surprised to observe how the atmosphere around Futenma has changed some years ago and there is absolutely no perceptible rift between "return Futenma" and "stop Henoko".

I'm sure it was part of Tokyos strategy to divide and rule within Okinawa by instigating animosities between Futenma citizens and the anti-Henoko movement, but it absolutely didn't work out and that really speaks for the Okinawan people.

You say you don’t demonize, yet ascribing or questioning the motives

I'm not questioning your motives. I simply don't know your motives, but what I'm fiercely questioning is the validity of your arguments.

I believe you are deceiving yourself if you say it is not clear what Okinawans want. It is crystal clear what they want and that's without doubt different from what you're trying to suggest to us.

Okinawans want a drastic reduction of US military and no new facility in Henoko, and that amounts to "we want to have a say on the future of our islands".

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I thought you had given up on this thread – no such luck I see……

The U.S. side ballyhoos more than 70% of the military land south of Kadena Air Base would be returned if Futenma were to relocate to Henoko. The catch is that the returns of land are all strings-attached except two cases.

That is completely false and inaccurate and no matter how many threads you post it in it will not make it true. The fact that you've been shown it's inaccurate with actual words from the agreement yet continue to post it undercuts your credibility completely.

No, I'm not aware of this and, except you provide us with credible and objectifiable evidence for your claims, I'd call it a pure myth.

Well you can call it a myth – I’d call it an open secret. I have been briefed from someone in the room that the US and central government wanted to give back a significant portion of the northern training area, at the northern tip of Okinawa, several years ago – when they approached the prefectural officials they surprisingly said they didn’t want it, and begged the US/CG not to give it back (or publicize they wanted to give it back). Why? They had no plan for its development and they knew that the local citizens would hold them responsible and accountable for coming up with one. Much easier to say its a US facility and we can't do anything.

I'm sure it was part of Tokyos strategy to divide and rule within Okinawa by instigating animosities between Futenma citizens and the anti-Henoko movement, but it absolutely didn't work out and that really speaks for the Okinawan people

Let me provide you a familiar quote - No, I'm not aware of this and, except (sp) you provide us with credible and objectifiable (sp) evidence for your claims, I'd call it a pure myth.

I'm not questioning your motives. I simply don't know your motives, but what I'm fiercely questioning is the validity of your arguments.

No you’re not – you said; "If you are really interested in the future of Okinawan children……" inferring I wasn’t.

I assure you, I’m very much interested in them, and all the local Okinawa people – so let's knock off the "low road" personal attacks and stick to just the issues.

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@bamboo and others,

with this lincoln guy, your just wasting your tmie; he is lost in the tall weeds, still back there quoting his SOFA, ATARA, and all sorts of other letter combinations in every thread Ive seen him comment on. I used to be like that, talking my alpha bravo charlie, but you move on, expand your career etc. The alpha bravo charlie is good stuff, but its not the whole picturre. He likes it back there, his comfie zone, but he cant emphasize or connect you with you due to his disconnect.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

lincolnman,

I thought you had given up on this thread – no such luck I see……

You may think my reticence means I yielded to your opinion. No, you are wrong.

That is completely false and inaccurate and no matter how many threads you post it in it will not make it true.

If you think my post of Oct. 01, 2015 - 11:32AM JST "is completely false and inaccurate," you must explain why you think so, concretely and logically. Simply saying words as you do is like a man shouting a parting shot or like a dog barking meaningless bow wows.

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@ lincolnman OCT. 01, 2015 - 03:20PM JST

Let me provide you a familiar quote - No, I'm not aware of this and, except (sp) you provide us with credible and objectifiable (sp) evidence for your claims, I'd call it a pure myth.

Tokyos divide and conquer strategy (you might also call it "carrot and stick" policy) is not a myth, but a very apparent reality you can view all over Okinawa. It is particularly visible in Henoko where you can find a surreal number of oversized central government funded projects, amongst others the Okinawa National College of Technology, the Global Oceanographic DAta Center, the Politech Center Okinawa, a completely over-dimensioned community centre, etc.

The only reason those huge projects constructed over the last 15 to 20 years since the Henoko relocation was decided on are concentrated in that small remote village Henoko is that they were designed to corrupt and divide the village people.

Further there are plenty of documented cases of threats and "incentives" to lure local politicians and citizens, most prominently the repeated and open threats to Okinawans before gubernatorial elections of the kind: If you don't vote for our pro-base LDP candidate we will cut your budgets. It has happened before Inamine was elected in 1998 and it happened again now before Onaga was elected.

Several Okinawan politicians (including the notorious former pro-base Nago mayor) have had well documented "ties" to the LDP in Tokyo and as a result were facilitating meaningless and costly projects to buddies in their districts. Okinawan US base hosting towns usually have a number of such sleazy and corrupt politicians that cooperate with Tokyo, but even non-corrupt Okinawan politicians are always tempted to take central government money as they have to reduce unemployment.

While I can not prove that Tokyo attempted the same in Futenma, the divide and conquer strategy is anything but a myth in Okinawa.

I have been briefed from someone in the room that the US and central government wanted to give back a significant portion of the northern training area,

I have been told... I have heard... I know someone who said... Anything remotely verifiable?

As mentioned above I do believe that there are a number of Okinawan local politicians who profit from the US military, and the case you mention could be one of those, but please not that the Okinawan public opinion has changed quite a lot over the past years and it is getting quite difficult for local politicians to subserve the central government even if short term-economic interests are at stake. Luckily those kind of politicians are not leading any public movements in Okiawa and I haven't seen one piece of evidence pointing to your claim that those people are pulling any strings in Okinawan politics.

To me the most perfidious thing about Tokyos carrot and stick policy is that the actual money Okinawa gets from the central government is not more then the amount other underdeveloped and remote prefectures get, just that Tokyo labels the money as "comfort" or "compensation" money for the US bases and thus tries to make Okinawans believe that they only are entitled to get Japanese such tax money if they endure the US bases. In a different context one would call such a conduct "Powerhara" (power harassment) in Japan

No you’re not – you said; "If you are really interested in the future of Okinawan children……" inferring I wasn’t.

True, in this case I do question your motives as you are talking about other peoples children and please note that those "other people" by large have already decided on what they find indispensable for the future of their children: no US base in Futenma and no new US military facilities in Henoko.

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Tokyos divide and conquer strategy (you might also call it "carrot and stick" policy) is not a myth, but a very apparent reality you can view all over Okinawa. It is particularly visible in Henoko where you can find a surreal number of oversized central government funded projects, amongst others the Okinawa National College of Technology, the Global Oceanographic DAta Center, the Politech Center Okinawa, a completely over-dimensioned community centre, etc. The only reason those huge projects constructed over the last 15 to 20 years since the Henoko relocation was decided on are concentrated in that small remote village Henoko is that they were designed to corrupt and divide the village people.

Well two things. First, while I would agree with you that the central government uses in your term “carrots and sticks” to influence local governments, that’s something they do throughout Japan, it is certainly not unique to Okinawa. One just has to look at the nuclear power plant issue to see how incentives are provided to local governments to accept things they don’t necessarily want.

Second, I don’t follow your logic or timeline – these projects as you say are all 15-20 years old – the SACO agreements were not concluded identifying Futenma for closure until 1996. Then, the option being looked at was to build a heliport within Kadena and move other functions to Iwakuni – Henoko wasn’t even considered. In the interim, other options such as IeJima and building an off-shore “island” like the New Kansai AP were reviewed. Camp Schwab (Henoko) wasn’t identified as a replacement site until the ATARA agreement 2006.

As mentioned above I do believe that there are a number of Okinawan local politicians who profit from the US military, and the case you mention could be one of those, but please not that the Okinawan public opinion has changed quite a lot over the past years and it is getting quite difficult for local politicians to subserve the central government even if short term-economic interests are at stake. Luckily those kind of politicians are not leading any public movements in Okiawa and I haven't seen one piece of evidence pointing to your claim that those people are pulling any strings in Okinawan politics.

Well, they hide it very well. But they give themselves away because their rhetoric doesn’t match their actions. They say they want a reduction in the US military presence, but they block and stall any progress towards that reduction.

True, in this case I do question your motives as you are talking about other peoples children and please note that those "other people" by large have already decided on what they find indispensable for the future of their children: no US base in Futenma and no new US military facilities in Henoko.

Thank you for being honest. I’ll elect to take the “high road” and not question your motives. But I have to call you out again for claiming that you speak for a majority of residents in Urasoe and Ginowan regarding closing Futenma and Kinser, and what’s best for their children – you’ve provided no objective evidence or references showing they in fact hold that view.

One last point, I've asked this a couple times, and I'm am genuinely curious, and am not asking to just provoke or argue - what is your (or more accurately people that share your view) actionable plan with a set timeline/milestones to achieve your goal of moving the FRF off Okinawa and closing a majority of bases south of Kadena - a plan that the central government will agree with that can be implemented?

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lincolnman,

In a response to bam_boo, you say before the Henoko plan popped in, other options were examined such as Kadena, Iejima and building of a man-made island like the New Kansai AP. You go on to say, "Camp Schwab (Henoko) wasn't identified as a replacement site until the ATARA agreement 2006."

But you know the Marines already had a blueprint prepared in the 1960's to build a new base-complex by reclaiming waters off the coast of Henoko, which they submitted twice to U.S. Congress for approval. From a military standpoint, Henoko is an ideal place to build a base. It has a less population unlike Futenma but adjacent to Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen with a sprawling training area and the Northern Training Area. Functionally integrated with them and also with new port facilities added on the Oura Bay side, the new base-complex has no-parallel anywhere else in Japan or even the U.S. mainland.

It's quite imaginable then that the U.S. side had Henoko as Futenma's relocation site from the very beginning. They say all other options were examined but determined not suitable for the relocation. Well, you could give or concoct any reasons when you wanted other options to be deleted.

That much said, I'm waiting for you to respond to my questions above. Also explain why you think the Marines' presence is needed in Okinawa to deal with a rising China.

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@ lincolnman

Second, I don’t follow your logic or timeline – these projects as you say are all 15-20 years old – the SACO agreements were not concluded identifying Futenma for closure until 1996.

I don't think that your timeline is correct. Henoko was clearly identified in December 1996 as the location for a Futenma off-shore replacement facility and all the projects I refer to were initiated built well after that.

Further what voiceofokinawa said is true as well, that a stunningly similar plan with V shaped runways and an adjacent military harbor for Henoko was drawn up in the 60ies by the US military. While we normal civilians have absolutely no idea how to judge such weird coherences, it makes the whole Henoko story look like a well planned scam.

But I have to call you out again for claiming that you speak for a majority of residents in Urasoe and Ginowan regarding closing Futenma and Kinser, and what’s best for their children

From what I know all recent mayors as well as the clear majority of municipal representatives of Ginowan and Urasoe have stated that they favor moving Futenma out of the prefecture.

Further I haven't heard of any vocal public demands by Ginowan or Urasoe citizens requesting an immediate relocation of Futenma to Henoko.

While there surely are plenty "the earlier the better" voices in those municipalities from what I know non are pushing openly for a Henoko relocation, but rather take care that there's one clearly audible Okinawan voice. And that voice says: we are fed up with being pushed around and we are united in our demand that Tokyo and Washington start seriously listening to us.

But then I don't live in Ginowan and have only lived in Urasoe for some time many years ago, so maybe you can give us your take of what the majority of Ginowan and Urasoe citizens really want?

what is your (or more accurately people that share your view) actionable plan with a set timeline/milestones to achieve your goal of moving the FRF off Okinawa and closing a majority of bases south of Kadena - a plan that the central government will agree with that can be implemented?

It seems clear that the prerequisite for Okinawans to actively engage in any kind of talks about reducing the US military footprint in Okinawa is the cancelation of Henoko and a concrete timeline for returning Futenma.

If those two requirements are met I do believe Okinawans would be willing to constructively discuss how their contribution to Japanese defense could look like.

To actually meet those two requirements is not a big deal as we know through voices from within the US military as well as from US defense experts like the three powerful senators, Carl Levin, John McCain and Jim Webb. The only thing required here seems to be good will.

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I don't think that your timeline is correct. Henoko was clearly identified in December 1996 as the location for a Futenma off-shore replacement facility and all the projects I refer to were initiated built well after that. Further what voiceofokinawa said is true as well, that a stunningly similar plan with V shaped runways and an adjacent military harbor for Henoko was drawn up in the 60ies by the US military. While we normal civilians have absolutely no idea how to judge such weird coherences, it makes the whole Henoko story look like a well planned scam.

Yes, I’m aware of plans for an expansion at Camp Schwab in the 60s but in those pre-reversion days, almost all the bases on Okinawa had plans for expansion – post-reversion, those plans were all set aside. And I can’t see the central government and US going to all the trouble and expense of evaluating all these other options if they already had decided on Henoko. One last point, the US preferred (and still prefers) one single runway which allows for more flexible operations - the V shaped option was developed and advocated by the Japan side as it routes all inbound and outbound air corridors over unpopulated areas.

From what I know all recent mayors as well as the clear majority of municipal representatives of Ginowan and Urasoe have stated that they favor moving Futenma out of the prefecture. Further I haven't heard of any vocal public demands by Ginowan or Urasoe citizens requesting an immediate relocation of Futenma to Henoko.

Yes, that’s the point – there has never been an objective poll of what the local residents around Futenma and Kinser desire. Given the leanings of the political officials, one can assume that’s because they assess the results would not be what they want. I certainly can't speak for these residents, but I have several local Okinawa friends who reside outside Futenma – their view is that Futenma should be closed immediately, with Henoko being a much safer location.

It seems clear that the prerequisite for Okinawans to actively engage in any kind of talks about reducing the US military footprint in Okinawa is the cancelation of Henoko and a concrete timeline for returning Futenma. If those two requirements are met I do believe Okinawans would be willing to constructively discuss how their contribution to Japanese defense could look like.

To me, that sounds like a goal, not a plan. A plan is actionable – it is ready to be implemented and start bringing progress to the issue to be corrected. I still see that as the main difference between those that support and oppose the 2006 agreement on reducing US facilities - the former have a plan that’s ready to go, those that oppose have a goal but no concrete plan to get there. And if you don’t have a plan, then what results is that you by default support the status quo. I think the Okinawa people deserve to see real, near-term progress in reducing the number of US military facilities..

Again, I won't question your motives, and I'll stipulate that you genuinely seek a reduction in US bases (there are other posters here who I would not make that stipulation) - I just don't think you have a tangible plan to achieve that.

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I appreciate that reasoning is apparently getting us closer to some kind of common base here, lincolnman.

To me, that sounds like a goal, not a plan.

Again, I would call it a democratic "prerequisite" to enter into discussions about a plan, but it definitely is not the goal of the Okinawan public.

The goal, as is understand it, is at least a drastic reduction of the US military in Okinawa and the direct and democratic involvement of the Okinawan people in all major future decisions, including defense and military, concerning their islands.

I still see that as the main difference between those that support and oppose the 2006 agreement on reducing US facilities - the former have a plan that’s ready to go, those that oppose have a goal but no concrete plan to get there.

As the US military, in intimate togetherness with Japanese bureaucrats and governments, has always kept crucial considerations in regard to US military deployment in Okinawa a secret how could any not privy civilian draw up a concrete plan for the US military?

We know from apparently not well suppressed voices out of the US military that there are various realistic and feasible alternatives to the Henoko relocation plan.

Some experts even go so far as to say that under current geopolitical circumstances in east Asia the alternatives are superior to the Henoko plan, but how could civilians judge such matters or even develop concrete plans on the basis of such conflicting and sparse informations when there's discord even in the military?

National defense of a democratic nation can only function in a clearly defined democratic framework. So if the people say we don't need an army, them the government has to organize national defense without an army, and there are enough cases where this works fairly well.

Civilians don't have to know about all the details (of course also a requirement of defense to not disclose important information to a potential enemy) but have to set the frame in which the military can develop their strategies.

And a military that is not able to facilitate various complex factors, including the democratic frame set by the citizens, is not combat-ready and not up-to-date.

Again from all what I know, the Henoko conflict is about military convenience and about the weakness of the Japanese democratic system. It is not about the mandatory provisions of national defense.

Or to put it in a bit more punchy:

If the US military would only be able to help defending Japan with a Henoko base as planned forget about the US military.

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I appreciate that reasoning is apparently getting us closer to some kind of common base here, lincolnman.

Yes, I agree – and I appreciate the business-like and respectful tone of your recent series of posts. Let me reply to several of your comments then sum up.

Again, I would call it a democratic "prerequisite" to enter into discussions about a plan, but it definitely is not the goal of the Okinawan public. The goal, as is understand it, is at least a drastic reduction of the US military in Okinawa and the direct and democratic involvement of the Okinawan people in all major future decisions, including defense and military, concerning their islands.

I would agree with and support both elements of that goal.

As the US military, in intimate togetherness with Japanese bureaucrats and governments, has always kept crucial considerations in regard to US military deployment in Okinawa a secret how could any not privy civilian draw up a concrete plan for the US military?

I agree with the view that the central government has been negligent in not collaborating with the local prefectural government and having more transparency with the US base consolidation process.

We know from apparently not well suppressed voices out of the US military that there are various realistic and feasible alternatives to the Henoko relocation plan. Some experts even go so far as to say that under current geopolitical circumstances in east Asia the alternatives are superior to the Henoko plan, but how could civilians judge such matters or even develop concrete plans on the basis of such conflicting and sparse informations when there's discord even in the military?

Well, I know a little about the process that resulted in Henoko being selected – and again, I agree with you that the central government failed to coordinate with the local govt and even worse, made no attempt to explain why Henoko was chosen. It would take pages and pages to explain all the details but it basically boiled down to operational and flight safety concerns – what hasn’t been explained to the local public at all is the extent that flight safety factors played in the decision. There were two final options that met all the ops and flt safety concerns – an off-shore addition to Camp Schwab or a made-made island similar to Kansai AP built near White Beach. The central govt decided on the Henoko option because it was significantly less expensive and as you know, Kansai has been sinking, so they weren’t fully confident with the island option.

National defense of a democratic nation can only function in a clearly defined democratic framework. So if the people say we don't need an army, them the government has to organize national defense without an army, and there are enough cases where this works fairly well. Civilians don't have to know about all the details (of course also a requirement of defense to not disclose important information to a potential enemy) but have to set the frame in which the military can develop their strategies. And a military that is not able to facilitate various complex factors, including the democratic frame set by the citizens, is not combat-ready and not up-to-date. Again from all what I know, the Henoko conflict is about military convenience and about the weakness of the Japanese democratic system. It is not about the mandatory provisions of national defense. Or to put it in a bit more punchy: If the US military would only be able to help defending Japan with a Henoko base as planned forget about the US military.

I’m not sure if I understand completely but I think what you are saying is that many Okinawa people think the addition at Camp Schwab is only for the convenience of the US military and that there are no sound military or defense related reasons for it. Again, it would take longer than this threat to explain but looking at the threats that Japan faces and the military options for dealing with those threats, the airfield function at Camp Schwab is crucial and definitely needed. Perhaps on another thread I can outline several of these reasons.

So, I think this discussion has been beneficial and maybe we agree on the following;

The central government and the US govt have treated Okinawa unfairly and not paid sufficient attention to its concerns

US facilities on Okinawa should be reduced immediately and valuable land returned to the local people

The central government, and to a lesser extent the US govt, should seek more collaboration and engagement with the local govt on closure of US bases on Okinawa, and provide detailed explanations of its plans to the local citizens.

On the way to best method or way to reduce US bases, I think we’ll respectfully agree to disagree.

Thank you for the discussion.

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I want to refer posters and readers concerned on this thread to Marine Corps Time's Oct. 1 article titled "Marines identify units that will move from Japan to Guam."

Posters,

From this article one can surmise that 15,000 Marines are currently deployed in Okinawa, of whom operational units' 5,000 troops will be relocated to Guam. They are 4th Marine Regiment and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade located at Camp Hansen, Camp Schwab and Futenma.

The article also says that construction of aircraft facilities on Guam is going on to accommodate the Marine Corps' aviation combat element. A parking ramp that can hold 25 aircraft (Ospreys?) has been completed, it says.

If the article tells the truth, a question naturally arises. What will the remaining 10,000 non-core, non-operational Marines in Okinawa do with vast training bases such as Camp Hansen, Camp Schwab, Northern Trainig Area as well as the new V-shaped airfiled to be built at Henoko?

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Good to know that we largely agree on the status quo and the basic notions of democratic rules.

I’m not sure if I understand completely but I think what you are saying is that many Okinawa people think the addition at Camp Schwab is only for the convenience of the US military and that there are no sound military or defense related reasons for it.

I surely believe that there are "sound military or defense related reasons for (a relocation to Henoko)", but I doubt that this means there are no feasible alternatives outside of Okinawa.

What I meant to say is that military and defense strategies have to respect the framework set by democracy, but they don't do so in Okinawa.

I would go so far as to say that the impudence to request a relocation within Okinawa can only be understood against the backdrop of habitual discrimination against Okinawan people, first by the US and then by Tokyo, and the appallingly unequal status quo this has forced onto Okinawans.

The central government, and to a lesser extent the US govt, should seek more collaboration and engagement with the local govt on closure of US bases on Okinawa, and provide detailed explanations of its plans to the local citizens.

If you believe it is a problem of explanation I think you are putting the cart before the horse, or to put it more concretely "military convenience" before "democratic legitimization".

I'd appreciate if you could honestly consider an answer to the following question:

Would it be possible in the US (or any other truly democratic nation) that the central government decides on major defense related issues concerning one state directly against the outspoken and democratically manifest will of that whole state (or prefecture)?

I believe such would be unthinkable in the US and for very good reasons, but then if you as a US citizen know about any remotely comparable case I would be curious to hear about it.

I'm absolutely sure that US military strategists would have been able to draw up a feasible and satisfying relocation plan for Futenma outside of Okinawa if this would have been the frame given to them. But apparently the politically motivated frame given to them was "relocation within Okinawa".

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I surely believe that there are "sound military or defense related reasons for (a relocation to Henoko)", but I doubt that this means there are no feasible alternatives outside of Okinawa.

Well, it depends on how you define feasible – the metric the US military like to use is risk – there are other alternatives outside Okinawa, but they entail significantly more risk (risk being able to swiftly respond to an external threat).

But more importantly, as I mentioned in my last post, the central and US govt have mentioned nothing about the flight safety requirements that were key to the Henoko decision. Basically, as long as Kadena is present, there will need to be another US airfield on Okinawa – because of flight safety reasons. US military (and Japanese) flight safety require a divert or alternate airfield in case of a problem during take off or if the airfield is closed on landing. While this is not a problem for mainland bases as there are many local airfields, it is always a problem on smaller islands. Futenma was the divert airfield for Kadena and vice versa. Naha is controlled by the Japanese govt and has too much commercial traffic to be a safe divert location. There were also operational reasons but flight safety played a large part.

What I meant to say is that military and defense strategies have to respect the framework set by democracy, but they don't do so in Okinawa. I would go so far as to say that the impudence to request a relocation within Okinawa can only be understood against the backdrop of habitual discrimination against Okinawan people, first by the US and then by Tokyo, and the appallingly unequal status quo this has forced onto Okinawans

Well, I would agree but perhaps not to the degree you do. I do think there has been historical discrimination by both the US and Japanese govts, but I also know there have been sound reasons for some decisions that were made – again, both govts have done a terrible job explaining the elements of those decisions to the local people.

If you believe it is a problem of explanation I think you are putting the cart before the horse, or to put it more concretely "military convenience" before "democratic legitimization".

No, I agree collaboration must come first, then detailed explanations.

I'd appreciate if you could honestly consider an answer to the following question: Would it be possible in the US (or any other truly democratic nation) that the central government decides on major defense related issues concerning one state directly against the outspoken and democratically manifest will of that whole state (or prefecture)?

Well I can only speak to the US political system that I am familiar with. The US Constitution has what is called a Supremacy Claus which states: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. This essentially states that federal law and decisions made by the federal government have primacy over local laws or decisions made that are counter those at the federal level.

Comparing the US to Okinawa with regards to military bases – it is really “day and night”. In the US, local officials welcome and protect US bases in their areas as they create significant local jobs. In fact, there is a significant problem in the US with too many bases – the military would like to close quite a few, but local politicians and their congressional representatives create funding roadblocks that slow down and stall the process – it’s directly opposite the situation in Okinawa. If you’re interested in this issue, just Google “Base Realignment and Closure Commission”

I'm absolutely sure that US military strategists would have been able to draw up a feasible and satisfying relocation plan for Futenma outside of Okinawa if this would have been the frame given to them. But apparently the politically motivated frame given to them was "relocation within Okinawa".

This is another one we may agree to disagree on. I really don't think there were any political variables that went in to the Henoko decision - again, it was driven by operational and flight safety priorities.

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lincolnman,

In your post of Oct. 03, 2015 - 06:23PM JST, you say: "There were two final options that met all the ops and flt safety concerns." The other option beside Henoko you write about is "a man-made island similar to Kansai AP built near White Beach."

This another plan you refer to was initially proposed in an op-ed article by a local businessman and supported by a former Osaka University academic of U.S. nationality. If this was rejected by the Tokyo government for budgetary reasons, why was Tsuken Island plan was also rejected despite the fact it wouldn't cost too much for base construction for the island's topography is as flat as plains and requires no major construction work. And how about Iejima, where there is an airstrip left unused for years beside an actively used one?

You also say the Henoko option was decided on for flight safety reasons because Futenma is located in the middle of densely populated residential areas. Safety concerns were the most important factor to relocate Futenma to Henoko, you say. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga keeps saying that.

If safety concerns were the key reason why Futenma must be relocated to Henoko, then Kadena Air Base must be moved to somewhere else first of all because Kadena Air Base has worse safety records with serious aircraft accidents occurring more frequently than Futenma. If you insist on your claim, then for the same reasons Yokota Air Base and Atsugi Naval Air Base in the Tokyo metropolitan area must go somewhere else because they are also hazardously located in very densely populated residential areas.

As I conjectured above, the U.S. aide must have had Henoko in mind from the very beginning, and all other options were eliminated from the list one by one to target at Henoko.

Perhaps,you can answer another relevant question of mine I raised in my post of Oct. 04, 2015 - 07:48AM JST:

What will the remaining 10,000 non-core and non-operational Marines in Okinawa do with vast training bases such as Camp Hansen, Camp Schwab, Northern Training Area as well as the new V-shaped airfield to be built at Henoko?

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