politics

Okinawa governor orders halt to work related to U.S. base relocation

72 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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72 Comments
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Good luck with THAT SpongBob. This was all "Sorted Out " over a DECADE ago. Now that they're trying to DO it, it's supposedly still up for a DEBATE.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Woe- this must be causing a shockwaves in the cabinet. What defiance in the face of Abe, Nakatani and Washington (who was expecting cooperation of the re-location efforts). Wonder what happens next.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Is somebody up for reelection soon?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This is great news for both Okinawa and Japan. Gov Takeshi Onaga is working to correct a bad decision.

Modern democratic governments which arbitrarily decide what's good for the country don't always make the correct decision. That is why there is an opposition and the freedom to speak out. When a large group of citizens (and taxpayers) speak up and feel an issue is wrong, the government has a responsibility to stop and listen -- and make the corrections.

We are not in the days of feudal Europe and Tokugawa Japan where the rulers do not listen to the people. It is the other way around in a democracy.

2 ( +18 / -16 )

Wise words of Mr. Suga: “I don’t see any reason why we should halt the operation,” Suga said. “This is a law-abiding nation. Japan is a law-abiding nation... yes, as long as everyone follows obediently...gotta keep harmony... most important.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Do Onaga and Okinawans want to keep Futenma there? Maybe, Onaga and Okinawans want all the U.S. Bases out of Okinawa but it is a tall order. Moving the base from Futenma to Henoko was a compromise decided. Be realistic!

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Onaga was the right choice.

Someone has to stand up to Abe.

Good on him!

2 ( +18 / -16 )

Sounds like Onega doesn't know which way the brown stuff rolls. Well, no skin off of the US's nose.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

It often has been said that Japanese prefectures have only "30 per cent autonomy" with the national government retaining 70 per cent - directly or indirectly - in determining prefectural government policies.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Gov Takeshi Onaga said that a concrete anchor thrown into the sea for a drilling survey at the site is believed have damaged coral.

I saw footage of the anchors on the local news last night, and I would love to know just who "threw" those anchors into the ocean.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is very understandable that most Okinawans don't want any more military bases there as almost all US bases in Japan have been in the small island Okinawa since the end of WW2. That seems very sad. Why not put them in Tokyo area or other prefectures?

0 ( +13 / -13 )

You cannot relicate a military base in the middle of a city, if that was the case then one would be in New York. Buildings, airspace availability lack of congested roadways and strategic location are the considerations taken into account not to mention costs. The closer to a city the more operation costs skyrocket, and simply speaking noise polution, logistical considerations etc make it a ridiculous option.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Time for the U.S. to pack up and leave Okinawa, which would be a win-win situation (for most).

Those in Okinawa who have been pushing to get rid of the bases would get their way, and many U.S. service members would get to go home back to their extended families.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

This newly elected person really needs his head examined, Stopping a million dollar operation for a company dropping an anchor of a ship, a drilling ship, lets tal about all the ships coming in from Japan how many times they drop an anchor destroying the ocean beds, does Americans Complain, I think this so called person Needs to get a life, this is not government working this is spitefulness in the bias of the American Base, and he should be made to pay the damages for every moment the work stops and he should be removed from government and put in Jail for no less then 10 years for his Bias actions,

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

We are not in the days of feudal Europe and Tokugawa Japan where the rulers do not listen to the people. It is the other way around in a democracy.

You either misunderstand the term "democracy" or misapply the term wrt Japan.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Well, at least this governor will soon have the perfect lesson on how powerful (or should I say powerless) a prefectural governor in Japan truly is. The fact that this guy chose to do this right as Abe is planning his historic visit to the United States will only expedite the national government's countermoves. As if a guy like Abe would let this newcomer to get away with this while he's trying to demonstrate to the world his own strong diplomatic relations with the country's closest and most important security ally!

It's time to give this governor, and everyone else against the relocation, a serious reality check. Watch and learn, folks...

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

It costs bunch of money to J Govt for relocation project. Secretly, Govt may be wanting Futema moves out from Okinawa? How much J Govt saves Omoiyari fund proportion of Futema a year? One base closed, Omoiyari fund reduces. US may not like to get out any bases in Japan as Omoiyari fund payment by Japan is big income for US.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abe has a history of running away from problems. Fukushima, the Sentakus and Okinawa are good examples.

He hasn't bought the US media as he has in Japan and so he's going to look the fool that he is when he tries to answer reporter's difficult questions.

He has known about Okinawan opposition to Henoko for several years and, instead of confronting the situation and using his powers of persuasion (he doesn't have any), he uses trickery in a secret meeting with Nakaima, omits several VITAL facts from the environmental assessment and tries to cover up the fact that there is an agreement with the USA for the construction of a superbase at Henoko and not the "heliport" as it was termed years ago, or the "replacement for Futenma" that is the current smokescreen.

Abe is a pathetic little coward. He doesn't even have the courage to meet with Onaga, even after Onaga made several visits to Tokyo to see him.

Time for him to step down.

And time for the US to build their bases - if they really must and their taxpayers can afford them - on their own land on their own dime and not Japan's.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Vox populi vox dei. He was elected because of his position, glad to see he's acting on it.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I haven't seen construction for a "super base", only a runway similar to what is going on at Naha airport.

I have no problems with Onaga or the protesters, I understand their view. But when will people realize the average military member or citizen has nothing to do with all this? Trying to hit someones car coming through the gate only pushes us further from understanding.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Who cares what Onaga said. The choice has been made by the central government after years of negotiations. In fact, that the choice has been made three times! Japan is already seen as a wishy-washy nation when it comes to promises and decision making, so what Onaga is doing is against the agreement between nations, and therefore illegal. They should just continue work. And the military and Japanese police can just say to those protesting noise at the current US base that, "You can thank Onaga for the noise, because as long as he delays work, the US stays put here", and the US shouldn't move.

Onaga gets a little credit for actually trying to implement what he promised to do, but it'll also see him gone before long, and the project to relocate all the more firmly cemented in the minds of the central government.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

I love the photos of the blocks, it shows them sitting on sand near scattered bits of long-dead coral, they are not sitting on "reefs" of any kind. But I suppose the governor never bothered to look at the photos.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

It seems that Iwojima must be the best place for military bases. There is no people and nothing there except maritime SDF base there. It seems much better than Henoko, Okinawa. Why not japan provide it to the US?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

You cannot relicate a military base in the middle of a city,

No one is suggesting any such thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I love the photos of the blocks, it shows them sitting on sand near scattered bits of long-dead coral, they are not sitting on "reefs" of any kind.

Pretty much this.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Wonder what happens next.* they accept what the previous governor agreed or see more funding cut to the Island. cant change the rules half way through the game. the base needs to go somewhere and Okinawans needs to live with the fact that its going to be in Okinawa. If they dont like it they could always declare independance and go it alone.
-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You either misunderstand the term "democracy" or misapply the term wrt Japan.

I would agree the "democracy" mentioned does not seem describe the current situation with the central government -- but how does one make a change? There are times when it is important to act against those in power and the Okinawa issue(s) is one of these times. When issues are racist, or persecute the powerless or endanger to the world what do you do. Standby? Gov. Onaga is doing what he was elected to do.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Why is it necessary for America to insist on continuing to keep a presence where they know they are not wanted?

The U.S. military was never welcome in Okinawa, never needed yet it will not leave.

Do the Japanese politicians forget the Treaty of San Francisco which was used as further punishment to a nation who had already lost a war - as if nuclear bombs and firebombing the civilians was not enough. In order for the USA to return Okinawa Japan had to give up the Kuril Islands which were the bargaining chip needed for a bargain with the USSR in order for the return of Sakhalin and ultimately is why they are still in the hands of Russia.

Of course the powers in Washington DC were well aware of this at the time.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

If they want the military base to be removed completely off the island, at least, I think, they should suggest where to relocate it. It'd be almost impossible to relocate it in another prefecture, so then the relocation site would be an uninhabited island. However, that makes it difficult to supply things to the militants. Okinawa seems to be the most appropriate place to locate the base after all, although I feel sorry for people in Okinawa.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Those inakamono down there on their little island just don't understand the bigger picture.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

other prefecture, so then the relocation site would be an uninhabited island. However, that makes it difficult to supply things to the " Militants ".

I love this term...lol.?.not BIASED in any way; are we ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@CGB Spender: The people of Okinawa that you refer to as those inakamono on their little island have made more sacrifices for the defense of Japan than any other prefecture in Japan. The Okinawan people understand the big picture very well, the big picture for them is always having to host massive U.S. bases to protect the Mainland Japanese while being the poorest prefecture inJapan.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Watch him shake his mighty 3-inch fist!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Okinawan people understand the big picture very well,

Actually I beg to differ with you. They for one do not see their place in being a part of a sovereign country and based upon their strategic location have a responsibility for the defense of Japan, whether it be the US on those bases or JSDF (soon to be Japanese military if Abe gets his way), the people protesting the bases are for the most part against the JSDF as well.

So it's actually a very narrow minded view that many have.

The Okinawan people understand the big picture very well, the big picture for them is always having to host massive U.S. bases to protect the Mainland Japanese while being the poorest prefecture inJapan.

Okinawan's protesting against the bases see only one small piece of a very big world puzzle. I for one think that it's great they are protesting, while I may disagree with their position as being misguided and misinformed it's a democracy in action.

Oh and Onaga better watch out, as he is going to force Abe's hand in this and he is not going to like the end results.

I've been through the throttling that Ota gave Okinawa because of his hardheadedness and Okinawa does not need to have it's economy damaged again because of narrow-minded views.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Do the Japanese politicians forget the Treaty of San Francisco which was used as further punishment to a nation who had already lost a war - as if nuclear bombs and firebombing the civilians was not enough. In order for the USA to return Okinawa Japan had to give up the Kuril Islands which were the bargaining chip needed for a bargain with the USSR in order for the return of Sakhalin and ultimately is why they are still in the hands of Russia.

You fail to mention that Japan started the war, and killed millions in the process, and had Japan not started the war, atomic bombs would not have been dropped, firebombing civilians would never have happened, and US troops would not be on Okinawa today. But Japan did start the war, and all those things happened. The US troops on Okinawa are a good reminder to everyone that there are consequences for actions.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Good on the governor, I say. The rest of the Japanese electorate is doing a pretty poor job of standing up to Mr Abe, so it's nice to know that Mr Onaga has done so

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@yubaru: I believe that most people in Okinawa understand that being a part of Japan requires them to share in the defense of Japan and they do not mind doing their fair share but there is nothing fair about the share that Okinawa currently contributes. Mainland Japanese must also recognize that Okinawa is an equal prefecture and the people must be treated as equals not the way that the bureaucrats and LDP politicians in Tokyo treat them.

The budgets from the Central Government should be based on the needs of the people of Okinawa and should not be used to blackmail and bribe the people of Okinawa to accept things that they do not want. The governor is elected by the people and is obliged to do what they elected him to do and if that means doing battle with the Central Govt. then so be it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I read Universal Studio (Not Universal Entertainment() has a proposal to create a ;large entertainment park in Okinawa, (JT business board) 1 wonder its plan include coral reef area viewing. Entertainment business in USA love warn climate, I also wonder if USA really wanr Futema relocated to Henoko even Japanese central Govt will pay. I just wonder because Onaga now says coral reef etc.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I would agree the "democracy" mentioned does not seem describe the current situation with the central government -- but how does one make a change? There are times when it is important to act against those in power and the Okinawa issue(s) is one of these times. When issues are racist, or persecute the powerless or endanger to the world what do you do. Standby? Gov. Onaga is doing what he was elected to do.

The only alternative is that the people "get what they deserve".This holds true across Nations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Onaga will probably not be able to stop the project because there is simply too much momentum and American and Japanese political clout behind the new facility. But Onaga was elected through a promise to oppose, and is think it honorable for him to carry through with that promise.

That being said, I do think that the mainland Japanese are being NIMBY hypocrites for placing the biggest burden on one if the poorest prefectures. There are 52 existing airports in 47 prefectures in Japan, and many prefectures are being hollowed out. Surely a relocation of some of the little used facilities in population declined areas could work. I personally like Kobe Marine Air, built as an afterthought to KIX and in anticipation of the demise of Itami, which never occurred. Then it can simply be renamed Kobe Marine Corps Air.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

inakamons...they want the money from the central govt but not the burden. Japan building a regular army is a much better deal though a base in Okinawa is a must even for the gov't so either way a base must be built. And yes, only a few actually oppose the base, but they are the louder ones

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The budgets from the Central Government should be based on the needs of the people of Okinawa and should not be used to blackmail and bribe the people of Okinawa to accept things that they do not want. The governor is elected by the people and is obliged to do what they elected him to do and if that means doing battle with the Central Govt. then so be it.

If a candidate promised that he would get the prefecture to pay eveyone not to work, and won the election, do you think he would actually be able to keep his promise? The greatest inherent weakness in any democracy is that the majority is not always right. I don't agree with much (most) of what the central government says or does, but it is the central authority, and the reality is, the central authority has the last word. If Governor Onaga promised that he would stop the construction of the new base, contrary to the reality of the situation, then his campaign promise was a lie. And if people believed this lie, and the governor was elected on the basis of such a lie, then the people who elected him are going to be sorely disaoppointed.

The main US base is located on Okinawa for a reason, and that was to keep the heaviest US presence off the main islands. This may not seem fair to Okinawans, but once again, we are faced with another of democracy's inherent weaknesses, Okinawa has a tiny population, and therefore a tiny voice in the democratic system. In the end, regardless of who is governor, if Okinawans don't like the US bases, they will have to leave, because the US troops are certainly going to stay.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Last I checked, Japan has a unitary government, not a federal government. Even in the US and Canada, the federal government can overrule state or province. That being said, the prefectures and the local communities should have some say as they are the ones that have to put up with everything.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sangetsu03

if Okinawans don't like the US bases, they will have to leave, because the US troops are certainly going to stay.

This is an American thinking. On what legal ground can Americans say Japanese to leave from Japan?

Why don't US bases go to South Korea? They certainly has much less burden than Japanese, and has better relation with Obama, and has more danger they're facing.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

All things considered the best place to build US military bases is in the US!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

This is an American thinking. On what legal ground can Americans say Japanese to leave from Japan

The Americans aren't telling anyone to leave, but the bases have been there longer than most people on Okinawa have been alive. There is no legal ground for telling Japanese to leave, but there is legal ground for US forces to stay. Since America wrote Japan's consitution, America certainly knows what is and isn't legal.

Why don't US bases go to South Korea? They certainly has much less burden than Japanese, and has better relation with Obama, and has more danger they're facing.

Because Japan lost the war, and surrendered unconditionally (the Emperor himself surrendered the country), and therefore gave America the authority to put bases anywhere and everywhere America wanted. After the war, Japan, and everything in Japan belonged to America. America wrote Japan's constitution, and arranged the country as America saw fit. America chose Okinawa for two reasons, first, America conquered Okinawa after a long and bloody battle, whch cost many American lives, and many more Japanese lives, second, and quite nicely on America's part, forces were kept on Okinawa so as to minimize their presence in Japan.

Korea was not conquered by America, Korea is an ally which invited American forces into their country, and values their presence as a deterrent to North Korea and China. Korea would prefer US forces to stay on Okinawa not for strategic reasons, but as a reminder to Japan of the war.

Japan can continue to rewrite history books and previous apologies, but so long as US forces exist on Okinawa, Japan can never forget it's defeat, and the reasons for it. There must be consequences for causing the deaths of millions, and the displacement and enslavement of tens of millions, otherwise these things may be repeated, not necessarily by Japan, but by others whose ambitions might drive them to do conquer, kill, and rape. These are strong words, but they are nothing compared to the reality of the horrors of war, which must never be forgotten. For all the death and destruction Japan caused during the war, America was very frugal with it's vengeance, the presence of troops on Okinawa is a very slight price to pay for what many would consider an impossibly large debt to humanity.

Shame of defeat is one thing, but Japan lost well, and should take some consolation from that fact. But trying to erase or rewrite history to lessen that shame is a still greater shame. The US troops are not stationed on Okinawa for strategic reaons only, they also serve as a reminder, just like the US troops who remain stationed in Germany to this very day. For the sake of all those murdered, they should always remain.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

they want the money from the central govt but not the burden.

No, this is another American thinking. It is US that want the money from Japan. Isn't it obvious?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

There are bases in S. Korea. But the bases on Okinawa give us quicker access to the pond.

On what legal ground could Japan insist the US must leave? Change article 9, thats what. Too bad the silent majority accepts the politics as is. An unchanging mentality.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

tinawatanabe: "No, this is another American thinking."

No, THAT is a 'tina' way of thinking. Sangetsu is 100% correct in that the Okinawans want the money from the central government but not the cost of getting it. That's FACT, tina, and hence they are upset at some of the money being taken away when they put up a fuss and delay the relocation. Okinawans need to ask themselves: do they want the money and for the base to be relocated, as has been agreed upon and signed, and is therefore law? or do they want the current base to stay exactly where it is in Futenma and have their money taken away? They can choose one of the two, and thank themselves for the losses incurred while delaying.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

tinawatanabe: Why don't US bases go to South Korea? They certainly has much less burden than Japanese, and has better relation with Obama, and has more danger they're facing.

Too close to the enemy. Advantageous to keep them where they are. Protected by water, and politically palatable to most Japanese (if not most Okinawans).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

!sangetsu: If a candidate promised that he would get the prefecture to pay eveyone not to work, and won the election

??? Who promised to pay???

@tinawatanabeMAR. 24, 2015 - 11:58PM JST they want the money from the central govt but not the burden. No, this is another American thinking.

No it is not any American thinking. It is sangetsu guessing

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Yubaru MAR. 24, 2015 - 04:21PM JST

So it's actually a very narrow minded view that many have.

Narrow minded? What? Okinawans have experienced at first hand what it means to "protect the mainland" in WW2. It was an absolut disaster for them and they suffered more then any other region in Japan.

That Okinawans are so unified against military bases is perfectly reasonable as they know very well what horrible things military on their small islands can do to them. Why should they once again carry the heaviest burden of all prefectures in case of a military conflict?

Abe like most former Japanese PM see Okinawa as a commodity to protect the mainland and Okinawans would be well advised to distance themselves from Japan as far as possible and gain some kind of autonomy, like say Sardinia or Corsica.

I've been through the throttling that Ota gave Okinawa because of his hardheadedness and Okinawa does not need to have it's economy damaged again because of narrow-minded views.

Luckily to humans there sometimes are more important things then money. And it was not Ota who damaged the Okinawan economy, it was Tokyo who withdrew budgets because Ota refused to be their poodle.

@ sangetsu03 MAR. 24, 2015 - 10:09PM JST

if Okinawans don't like the US bases, they will have to leave, because the US troops are certainly going to stay.

What a cynical view! Okinawans have been inhabiting those islands for millenniums and have all the rights to fight for getting US bases off their islands. And your logic that Okinawans have to endure because Japan lost the war is twisted. Okinawans have already suffered more then anybody else in Japan and why should they suffer even 70 later for a horrible war that was not in their responsibility? They didn't choose to be part of Japan and are the most peaceful of people I know of.

@ smithinjapan MAR. 25, 2015 - 12:55AM JST

Sangetsu is 100% correct in that the Okinawans want the money from the central government but not the cost of getting it.

It was not the idea of Okinawans to ask Tokyo for money! It was Tokyo in the first place that tried to "comfort" Okinawans with money. Tokyo had cheated on Okinawans during the reversion negotiations in the 1960ies and had made secret agreements with the US behind their back. Tokyo knew well that this was against any democratic principles and thought it could soften things with money. Since the reversion in 1972 Tokyo tried to establish a money based carrot and stick policy to bring Okinawans to heel and was partly successful in corrupting some Okinawan politicians like notorious Nakaima and many more before him. Because some sleazy Okinawan politicians got used to engage in backroom business with Tokyo to say all Okinawans are asking for money is simply rude.

Okinawa is still the poorest prefecture and this not despite but due to the big budgets from Tokyo. Tokyo does everything to keep Okinawans dependent and money is the best tool to do so.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Those who are for the relocation and the US bases staying in Okinawa need to do some studying(or more studying if you have already) and understand that after that horrible battle on Okinawa during WW2 the Okinawan people have every right to decide how their land should be used. The Okinawan people had nothing to do with that war, but yet got caught in the battle and was killed by their own country men(Japanese soldiers). Then after agreeing to be part of Japan and made a deal that the bases would leave, but Okinawa met with a broken promise that last to this day. If you are for human rights then you should agree with what the majority of Okinawan people want and that is to send the US base and their troops packing. So it is that simple...the Okinawan people have the right to decide what to do with their land. And please stop making these excuses about that Okinawa is a convenient location and protecting it from China and N.Korea because it is all a bunch of hot air to scare people into agreeing to keep the bases their. You think the US bases should stay? Then live through WW2 like the Okinawans did many years ago first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Suggestion: Please stop calling Okinawan as inakamon, inakamono.

BTW Japan created WW II along with Germany and Italy. Okinawan people did not..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Okinawans had a chance back in the 1970s when they could have become an independent country again but they voted to rejoin Japan, a country that always treated them as second class citizens. If you talk with old time Japanese, Okinawans are not seen as Japanese. Okinawa was an independent country until the last 1800s when Japan took them over. So by rejoining Japan in the 1970s, Okinawans have lost all right to Japan. So if you don't like the base, you only have yourself to blame.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@ka-chan So by rejoining Japan in the 1970s, Okinawans have lost all right to Japan. So if you don't like the base, you only have yourself to blame.

??? According to you, Okinawan lost all rights. How come there are elecetions and sports are free. Karates are popular and they have schools. They have right to attend schools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No it is not any American thinking. It is sangetsu guessing

sangetsu mentality explains US action toward Japan. In short, what sangetsu is saying is Japan is a US colony.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

People are strange, they seem to know little about history when this history does not agree with their beliefs or opinions. Things nowadays may not be perfect for Japanese people, or people in Okinawa, but relative to what might have been, things are quite good.

America could have done things very differently after the war. Schoolchildren in Japan and Okinawa today might have had to give the pledge of allegiance to the American flag before class every morning. America could very well have made Japan a US territory, like the Philippines was, and like Guam and Saipan are to this day. After the war, Japan and everything in it was the de-facto property of America.

In 1946 the American flag flew over the capitol, and over government buildings in Japan. Signs all around Japan were repainted into English. American machines, cars, and people came to Japan, there were radio stations in English only. The intrusion on Japan and Japanese culture was total, and complete. Yet the people did not complain. They knew they had lost the war, and that the occupation was the price for that defeat.

But America's occupation was peaceful, and surprisingly short, and people got along well. If you happen to meet any Japanese who remember those days, you will find they have little bad to say about America, or Americans. The end of the war meant a new beginning for Japan, and of a prosperity to the common people which had never been equalled before.

Had Russia or China conquered Japan (and Russia very badly wanted to), they would have been far less kind rulers, they were, and are, not the kind who forgive and forget. They would have exacted a far higher price from Japan to pay for the war.

But once again, people don't know history. They look at the tall foreigners walking around "their" prefecture, and listen to the planes and helicopters flying in and out of the base. But they don't know how lucky they are that things are not worse. They have been able to keep their homes, their language, and their cultural identity, all of which could have been taken away, and which might have been taken away had they been conquered by another enemy.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@tina In short, what sangetsu is saying is Japan is a US colony.

And he has his image of 1946 Japan. American flags flew in Japan and Japanese children said I allege ..... Like everybody spoke only English in Japan. Not my memory of Japan of that time. You write well here. Is your history same as Sangetsu's? GM and ford began selling cars in Japan in 1950. At that time, there was only cotton and silk with jinken (imitation clothes and so no American flag. Nylon was not invented yet. English was taught in middle school and up. 5 hours a week. But not kindergarten nor elementary school. English are not used on signs. Kanjis and katakana or hirakanas, /Because English was defined as enemy language that most of people did not know English and so no I Pledge allegeance ,,,,,, You are right sangetsu was telling Japan s a US colony.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sangetu

You are absolutely wrong. Japan is completely an independent country now though Japan was historically conquered by the US in 1945, but Japan is no longer colony of the US. You said It sounds like the US is still conquering Japan and it still belongs to the US and hence the US can do everything whatever it wants in Japan. Not any more. If you think that way, America seems soooo arrogant as to make more enemies and wars like ISIL happening, That's why US can't stop always making and joining new wars all over the world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Okinawans have already suffered more then anybody else in Japan and why should they suffer even 70 later for a horrible war that was not in their responsibility? They didn't choose to be part of Japan and are the most peaceful of people I know of.

Okinawa remains part of Japan, and so long as they remain part of Japan, then they have to deal with what the central government requires of them. Rather than vote for a new governor who cannot defy or overrule the central government, they should instead vote to secede. But if they do, then they have to pay their own way. They can't have their cake and eat it too. But, they will never vote to secede, regardless of their comments to the contrary, they want and need the money they get from the central government.

The US base in Okinawa is like many other social issues, is something that most people have no real opinion about one way or the other, but which can be used by politicians and activists to foment a crisis, and fool voters into supporting them. Onaga could not, can not, and will not be able to do anything about the base in Okinawa, he knows this quite well. But of course he would never share this fact with the voters. The people got duped, as they always do, and they will be disappointed when nothing changes. But people for the most part are not very smart when it comes to politics, most will actually believe that Onaga tried to do something to stop the base (though he in fact failed), and he will probably be reelected. He has a great issue to use to fool the voters, and it will keep him in office for a long time. Politics as usual, played the same in Okinawa as anywhere else.

You are absolutely wrong. Japan is completely an independent country now though Japan was historically conquered by the US in 1945, but Japan is no longer colony of the US. You said It sounds like the US is still conquering Japan and it still belongs to the US and hence the US can do everything whatever it wants in Japan. Not any more. If you think that way, America seems soooo arrogant as to make more enemies and wars like ISIL happening, That's why US can't stop always making and joining new wars all over the world.

You are right, to an extent. Japan is an independent country, but not fully so. Japan still relies heavily on America for it's national defense. But Japan's independence comes at a price, and that price was negotiated in the treaty which allows American troops to remain in Japan, right? As for America starting wars and making enemies, that is nothing new. War is just a more physical form of diplomacy. Of course America has enemies, so does Japan, and every other country.

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Sangetsu

As to US-Japan security treaty, Japan is depending on American deterrent now, so that is why there have been very heavy military bases in Okinawa for decades. However it hopefully seems that Japan would have to protect it own country by itself someday after it built up much stronger SDF. It seems to be on the way. The most of military bases would be no need for Japan at that time. Abe thinks that Japan could not count on the US in the future when the US got exhausted to fight all over world. I personally think America is very arrogant about military. I remember some posters said America loves wars because fighting all the time.

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The budgets from the Central Government should be based on the needs of the people of Okinawa and should not be used to blackmail and bribe the people of Okinawa to accept things that they do not want. The governor is elected by the people and is obliged to do what they elected him to do and if that means doing battle with the Central Govt. then so be it.

Hey Onaga can beat his head against a wall all he wants, he's a politician. The "central"government of any sovereign nation does things that "locals" don't like, even when it's in their best interests. I could give examples from countless different countries that have done things that "locals" don't like but that doesnt change the fact that a nations needs at times outweigh the needs of one "state".

??? Who promised to pay???

Please try to learn how to read between the lines. Japanese people typically are quite adept at nuances but I do believe that you have a hard time doing so.

Okinawa remains part of Japan, and so long as they remain part of Japan, then they have to deal with what the central government requires of them.

Yup...but too many folks here live in a utopian world, or behind their keyboards and fail to look at reality.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yubaru ??? Who promised to pay??? Please try to learn how to read between the lines. Japanese people typically are quite adept at nuances but I do believe that you have a hard time doing so.

I did not know you read between lines before you criticize about every comment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The "central"government of any sovereign nation does things that "locals" don't like, even when it's in their best interests. I could give examples from countless different countries that have done things that "locals" don't like but that doesnt change the fact that a nations needs at times outweigh the needs of one "state".

So, Yubaru, then please give us one example of a truly democratic nation forcing a whole region - not a place or locality, but a region with its own history, culture, language - to swallow decisions made by the central government.

In another thread I have mentioned Corsica and Sardinia in Europe which could be compared, both are now autonomous regions, after a struggle for democracy comparable to that of Okinawa.

Or just try to imagine Washington forcing Hawaii to accept building a new military base on say Kauai against the large majority of Hawaiian voters and the Hawaiian State. Impossible.

I believe your definition of "locals" is absolutely not appropriate here. We're not talking about some village or neighborhood!

I would go so far as to say that your use of "locals" here is even discriminating as you are denying the independent cultural identity of Okinawans. Maybe that is why you put locals in quotation marks?

Yup...but too many folks here live in a utopian world, or behind their keyboards and fail to look at reality.

The reality is that Okinawans have expressed their will as clear as a region possibly could and what is now at stake is not whether a new military facility is built in Henoko or not, but whether Tokyo respects the will of it's people. So to be even more clear, this is is about whether democracy in Japan succeeds or not.

It is about whether Tokyo respects the rights of the Okawan people to freedom, dignity and "pursuit of happiness" as guaranteed in the constitution.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@sangetsu03 "But America's occupation was peaceful, and surprisingly short, and people got along well. If you happen to meet any Japanese who remember those days, you will find they have little bad to say about America, or Americans."

Yes, when the American soldiers were occupying Okinawa at that time the Americans were kind, but the American government was not! From my father's view when he was stationed in Okinawa at that time he said the American government did nothing to help Okinawa develop and it was like a 3rd work country. Food, clean water and shelter was still scarce because of the damage from the war. So, it may have been peaceful, but there seemed to be no plans for improvement or rebuilding and the American government didn't seem to care and just left there base there for the sake of having it there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would just like for someone to answer the following questions; Why does the United States need so many large bases on Okinawa to defend Japan? Why does the U.S. Military need so many dependents to be on Okinawa and why is so much of the base land used for Military Family Housing, Dependent Schools, Golf Courses and other leisure facilities that have nothing to do with any Military Mission. Why does the Japanese Govt. use the taxpayers money to build on-base facilities that are not Mission Essential Facilities but are just to provide an American Style quality of life for the Military and their dependents at the expense of the quality of life for the people of Okinawa?

The truth is that Okinawa is the U.S. Military's last overseas empire. The last place where they can do whatever they want and they have a host government who will give them whatever they want and never question why they need it.

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The truth is that Okinawa is the U.S. Military's last overseas empire. The last place where they can do whatever they want and they have a host government who will give them whatever they want and never question why they need it.

There is a certain amount of truth in that. The plain fact is, the mainland islands should be shouldering more of the burden - but the very reason that the US alliance appears to have such widespread support is because the US military presence is generally "out of sight". And I very much doubt that China has any plans to invade Okinawa

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japan4life

It is one of many bullyings US is doing to Japan.

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It is one of many bullyings US is doing to Japan

I don't know about that. The US gave Japan an excessively generous deal after WW2, letting the Emperor and all those war criminals off the hook. I do agree though, that the wishes of the Okinawan people need to be taken into account

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Chris, You can't talk about anything without WW2, can you? I used the present participle.

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@Christopher Glen

And I very much doubt that China has any plans to invade Okinawa

Yes, China or N.Korea have no plans to invade Okinawa. It's just propaganda used to scare people into deciding to keep the base in Okinawa. N.Korea is full of B.S. and China is in no position to start a war.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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