politics

Okinawa rally mourns governor, opposes U.S. base relocation

49 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

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I think the Japanese government and Abe, at the bottom of their heart, support anti-base movement of Okinawa and they will welcome if U.S. Forces decide withdraw from Okinawa and Japan. At that time the post-war Japan will end for the first time and Japan become a sovereign country. It is necessary to open a new era for Japan.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

About 70,000 people gathered at park in the state capital of Naha under pouring rain ahead of an approaching typhoon and observed a moment of silence for Okinawa's governor, Takeshi Onaga, who died Wednesday of cancer.

If anyone has ever been to Onoyama Park, specifically the section where the rally was held, at the walled and fenced in track and field area, you are going to understand that it's next to impossible to fit this many people in that space.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

How many rallies of this scale have been held in Okinawa in the recent past to appeal its opposition to the Henoko relocation plan? And yet this voice would go in one ear and out the other for the powers that be in Washington and Tokyo. 

For Washington, it's like monks making pure profits. They don't feel any pain by simply waiting, even for years, and so they wait until the new base is completed. 

For a subservient Tokyo, how not to anger Washington is its most sublime U.S. policy. So, they don't mind ignoring a democratic, grassroots voice in the nation as far as Washington is pleased.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Japan should have a national referendum on US troops in the country. If the people decide that Japan can defend itself against China and North Korea then the Americans can finally go home. This also gives the people of Okinawa a chance to make their case to the rest of Japan. The Philippines made this decision back in the 1990’s and it has improved relations. Should the people of Japan decide the US should stay then it would reset the relationship on more even terms.

I personnally would prefer the US leave but maintain its defense relationship without permanently stationed military forces. Smaller short term rotational deployments can maintain readiness and training without causing as much friction between the two countries.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Well, Wolfpack. They sent the Americans home. Now they are completely unable to resist China.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Up untill now all of the U.S. Military bases on Okinawa have been built with the idea that someday the base would no longer be needed and all the facilities would be removed and the land would be restored to as close to what it was originally and returned to the landowners. I believe that is actually stipulated in the land lease agreement with the landowners. But this facility that they are proposing in Henoko goes against this idea of a temporary facility that would eventually be retuned someday because once this landfill at Henoko is completed, it cannot be reversed and that Ocean area cannot be returned to what it is right now. That facility will be truely a permanent facility. So if this is just an extension of Camp Schwab, why would you put a truly permanent facility inside a base that is actually a temporary base? If it is deemed someday that Camp Schwab is no longer needed and can be returned, then all of those facilities on land at Schwab will be removed and the land will be restored and returned to the landowners but that facility on the Ocean will always be there. Why doesn't the Japanese Govt. have to explain why they are building the first truly permanent U.S. Military facility on Okinawa and what would the plans for that facility be if Schwab is ever returned to the landowners? Also I wonder that if this facility is an extension of Camp Schwab, does the land lease agreement with the landowners of Schwab apply to it?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

As someone who was stationed at Yokosuka Naval base from 91 to 94. Let the Japanese people decide if they still want US personnel on the ground. It's a awesome country to live in and love visiting every chance i get. If they still want us their but down size the number of bases that should be considered too...

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The dispute over the Futenma relocation reflects centuries-old tensions between Okinawa and the Japanese mainland, which annexed the islands, formerly the independent kingdom of the Ryukus, in 1878. Okinawa was Japan's only home battleground in the final days of World War II, and the island remained under U.S. rule for 20 years longer than the rest of Japan.

First off, it was 1879, but it was already under the control of Satsuma far back as 1609.

Whomever wrote this article put this cherry-picked information in to drum up support for the anti-base protesters. There is only "tension" between those who protest the base and Tokyo, it's a lie to group everyone together and the poor journalist who makes over generalizations to make their point.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Why doesn't the Japanese Govt. have to explain why they are building the first truly permanent U.S. Military facility on Okinawa and what would the plans for that facility be if Schwab is ever returned to the landowners? Also I wonder that if this facility is an extension of Camp Schwab, does the land lease agreement with the landowners of Schwab apply to it?

There will be no need for any lease agreement on the landfill as it is the property of the national government.

The lease agreement law was changed in 97 when the original leases, signed in 52, were scheduled to expire.

Dont forget that the overwhelming majority of landowners , with the exception of the "1 tsubo" folks who only purchased land to protest the bases, do not want their land back.

Especially in Henoko, Kin, and other out of the way places. THe compensation they receive is more than they could get working a normal job.

It bothers me that people want to force the landowners to take their land back, and not give them the right to choose themselves.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

"Alright people, the bus ride has come to an end, here is your 1000 yen and this mass printed sign. Please hold it up in front of the staged cameras. You may cover your face if you choose to do so. The bus leaves back to the city in 30 minutes. Wait until the pictures have been taken, please."

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

U.S. Forces are staying in Japan as dividends of winning the war against Japan.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

I hope Mr. Onaga's successor continues his fight, but with a nod to preserving the unique environment of Okinawa.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

"Alright people, the bus ride has come to an end, here is your 1000 yen and this mass printed sign. Please hold it up in front of the staged cameras. You may cover your face if you choose to do so. The bus leaves back to the city in 30 minutes. Wait until the pictures have been taken, please."

It was a stormy day in Okinawa. People drove to the park early morning and parked on side streets as parking lots were overfilled.

This was not one of those hire-a-crowd this obviously American commenter is used to back home.

Most knew at the same time, the body of the beloved governor was being cremated that very day. These people are proud. No one wore masks or were hiding their faces.

Here's a better shot of the event. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/08/11/national/politics-diplomacy/70000-protest-u-s-base-plan-honor-late-okinawa-governor/#.W2-FWegzaM8

To other other commenter who stated:

If anyone has ever been to Onoyama Park, specifically the section where the rally was held, at the walled and fenced in track and field area, you are going to understand that it's next to impossible to fit this many people in that space.

What a load of baloney. Onoyama is a modern park with solar lighting and a public speaker system. It can easily hold over 250,000 people. And yes, I witnessed the event. As well as attended the cremation ceremony.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

I hope Mr. Onaga's successor continues his fight, but with a nod to preserving the unique environment of Okinawa.

And everyone else hopes otherwise. There is a hell of a lot more going on down here besides the base issue and THAT is one big black mark against the memory of Onaga and others who did the same!

We need a Gov who knows how to negotiate, not dictate. We need a Gov that helps ALL the people, and not just one faction. We need a Gov that will focus on more than just one issue!

Okinawa's future depends upon leaders who dont lead with blinders on!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

What a load of baloney. Onoyama is a modern park with solar lighting and a public speaker system. It can easily hold over 250,000 people. And yes, I witnessed the event. As well as attended the cremation ceremony.

You like others have a hard time reading and understanding what they read. Read again what I wrote, the location of the rally way where? Notice what else I wrote? And it's a fact, there would be a hard time fitting 70,000 people in where the rally was held inside the park.

WOW solar lighting! A public speaker system! ...SO, nothing to do with the point, and typical of too may, obfuscate and deflect.

And btw, Onoyama doesn't have enough parking, and parking on side streets is illegal and there are few side-streets close enough to hand any over flow parking.

Typically for large events they open the Naha Military port, like they did last week for the International Karate Tournament, and use shuttle buses. That's a link to the park and surrounding streets, use street view....you'll get the picture and realize THIS posters over exaggeration!

https://www.google.co.jp/maps/place/%E5%A5%A5%E6%AD%A6%E5%B1%B1%E5%85%AC%E5%9C%92/@26.2035946,127.6748121,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x9a3fa546b3af422f!8m2!3d26.2035946!4d127.6748121

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Japan should have a national referendum on US troops in the country.

The majority of people would vote to keep US troops since they are already used to having them and removing them would cause a power vacuum and the uncertainty that comes with it. The Japanese are big fans of convention and tradition. Unless something is making their lives unbearable, they will not vote to change it.

I personnally would prefer the US leave but maintain its defense relationship without permanently stationed military forces. Smaller short term rotational deployments can maintain readiness and training without causing as much friction between the two countries.

That would in only increase cost and decrease mission readiness. It would do nothing to serve Japan or the US. And yes, I can see the friction eveytime tens of thousands of Japanese go on base to work and attend open base events. And every so often on the weekend when there is a anti base protest consisting of less than ten people. The communities that host these bases having been doing for the better part of a century. They accept the bases as part of the community and benefit from their presense. Anyone who thinks the Japanese are living in constant agony and oppression thinking about the bases are living in a fantasy world.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

so Nago voted in a pro base mayor yet the so called rest of Okinawa want the US out, isnt that Okinawa Government inflicting its will on the people of Nago!? If people say this is totally acceptable then so is Tokyos legal control over Okinawa in matters of the US military in Okinawa

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

And if the Americans actually left and China threatened all these signs would be saying yes, and people would be demanding the government protect their children.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

compared to the seating capacity of the Okinawa Cellular Stadium Naha 30,000 people, so basically more than twice the stadums capacity was in the park, and where is all these surround street for all these illegally parked cars!? I BS detector meter is beeping like crazy.

https://www.google.co.jp/maps/place/Onoyama+Park/@26.2034644,127.6744823,586m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!1m2!2m1!1zb2tpbmF3YSBzdGFkaXVt5aWl5q2m5bGx5YWs5ZyS!3m4!1s0x0:0x9a3fa546b3af422f!8m2!3d26.2035948!4d127.6748121

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Well, Wolfpack. They sent the Americans home. Now they are completely unable to resist China.

True - but that was their choice. The Philippines could invite America back if they they thought it was a mistake. But then America has a choice in the matter as well and could choose not to go back. The people and their leaders are responsible for their own country and must live with their choices. For Japan the debate that would be caused by putting forth a referendum on the American defense alliance would force the people to really think seriously about their options and make a choice that they are willing to live with. The Okinawans would probably make the decision much harder but at least the people could say they made the decision. As it is the American alliance is considered an artifact of a war that few people alive today can remember.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Joe: As someone who was stationed at Yokosuka Naval base from 91 to 94. Let the Japanese people decide if they still want US personnel on the ground. It's a awesome country to live in and love visiting every chance i get. If they still want us their but down size the number of bases that should be considered too...

I was stationed there from 86 to 89. I am proud of the stability that the US - Japan alliance has created in the region up through the Cold War. But things have changed and it would be beneficial for both sides to recommit with full public support or move on to some other more acceptable defense arrangement.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

And if the Americans actually left and China threatened all these signs would be saying yes, and people would be demanding the government protect their children.

The JSDF is very capable.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If the Okinawans are so rejecting the base, why don’t they use the landfill and money to build a man made island elsewhere just like the Chinese did. Why they just had to insist on building the base in Okinawa where the locals are strongly objecting. Baffled me.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Onoyama park capacity: 9,000

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Anti-base signs in Okinawa are often written in Japanese, English and the language of a neighboring peninsula country.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Everyone forgets that Onaga made the bulk of his wealth due to the bases, but too clear his conscious went the other way at the end. He knew his time was limited but it was by no means for the people but for his own guilt. Seriously these idot's don't 'know how to count, there aren't that many bases left with the numbers like in the past, most has been turned back to the landowners or some faction within the GOJ.  This is about business by the greedy landowners pure and simple. The rest are just peasants and ignorant fools. If Japan really wanted to make a difference in Okinawa, then show the world that this country has a pair, and put the Marines on the Senkakus, that way they will first to fight. If China can build bases out of rock tips why can't Japan...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki (Today 08:25 am JST),

The bulk of U.S. bases in Okinawa are Marine bases. In terms of personnel percentage, the Marines account for about 60 percent of all U.S. service members based in Okinawa.

It's often pointed out, however, that the Marines should not necessarily be stationed in Okinawa. This argument is borne out convincingly enough by the fact the most active elements of Okinawa-deployed Marines are slated to move to Guam in the near future. They come to Okinawa on a regular rotation basis and stay here for a short period of time in order to train their combat skills in amphibious, jungle and urban warfare.

Besides, Tokyo and Washington have struck a deal that it's the SDF, and not the U.S. Marines, that are to have primary responsibility for defending Japan's territory. Don't you think then that those Marine bases in Okinawa, let alone the new base at Henoko, are nothing but white elephants after all for maintaining the security of Japan?

So I wonder how your comment above will sit snugly under such circumstances.  Note that the rally was against the Henoko relocation of the marine air station and for its immediate return with no strings attached.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Time to protest

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't understand how some people are always confusing the protests against the relocation of MCAS Futenma to Henoko as a sign that the people of Okinawa want all of the U.S. Bases closed. Show me a sign in that picture that says Close all of the U.S. Bases. Most of the people of Okinawa support a limited U.S. Military presence but it is this forcing of a facility that some experts say will have an environmental impact on the island of Okinawa without a full explanation of why this facility and the U.S. Marines themselves are so critical to the defense of Japan and why they are necessary to be on Okinawa that has the people of Okinawa angry. The U.S. Marines have more bases on Okinawa and take up more land space than any other branch of service but yet have nothing on Okinawa that would deter or prevent an attack on Okinawa. The U.S. Air Force on Kadena Air Base and the JSDF at Naha Air Base along with the various JSDF Missile sites on Okinawa are the ones who would be doing the responding to any enemy threats to Okinawa.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Watermelon (Today 01:09 pm JST),

Where did you pick up that false figure? The official capacity for spectators of the Onoyama Athletics Stadium is 2,5000 seats, according to its home page.

Note, however, that the protestors on Saturday weren't all seated but they filled in the field. There were also hordes of people who were shut out of the gate and had to "participate" in the rally outside of the stadium.

In alliance with Okinawa's rally, rallies against the Henoko relocation were also held in various cities on the mainland. It's quite natural that the concerned mainlander Japanese take the Henoko relocation issue as Japan’s national issue, never a local Okinawan issue.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

so Nago voted in a pro base mayor yet the so called rest of Okinawa want the US out, isnt that Okinawa Government inflicting its will on the people of Nago!? If people say this is totally acceptable then so is Tokyos legal control over Okinawa in matters of the US military in Okinawa

Actually the guy who won was NOT pro-base, he won because the people are counting on him to fulfill his campaign promises and do more than just protest the base like his predecessor.

Same thing with Ota, when he won the prefectural Gov he was all anti-base, and his policies plunged Okinawa into a more than decade long depression, he successors won because they knew the value of negotiation and that there is more to Okinawan politics than the bases.

Onaga was the same, he lost election after election of candidates he personally supported because he was a one issue candidate. He picks lost all over the place and he lost the support of the All Okinawa coalition as well for failing to keep promises, AND because he only focused on the base.

The GDP of Okinawa is over 4.5 TRILLION yen or roughly $40 BILLION (US), there is a hell of a lot more to Okinawa that needs management besides the military.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Where did you pick up that false figure? The official capacity for spectators of the Onoyama Athletics Stadium is 2,5000 seats, according to its home page.

Note, however, that the protestors on Saturday weren't all seated but they filled in the field. There were also hordes of people who were shut out of the gate and had to "participate" in the rally outside of the stadium.

But not 70,000 and, that the figures get over exaggerated to make claims that make things seem more than they actually are.

And using the word "hordes" is once again showing your condescending attitude to the people of Okinawa.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The PBot

The NSDF is very capable.

LOL dude its only a defense force by their own constistution. You can’t win a war with only defense. What kinda logic is that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The protests against the US Marines is the first step. When removal of the Marines is successful, then it can protest for removal of ALL US Bases.

Okinawa is a Japan prefecture and as a prefecture does not have the authority to remove the US military forces and their bases because the defense deal (which implicitly includes the US Marines) is between Japan Central Government and USA.

Therefore, Okinawa needs to (1) hold a referendum to secede as a Japanese prefecture and establish its own sovereign government; (2) Once independence sovereignty is established, it can claim that there is no legal agreement between the "Ryukyu Government of Okinawa" and the U.S., and the US forces and bases are illegal. (3) When the US forces and bases are determined to be on illegal occupation, Okinawa can demand the removal of the US forces, closure of the military bases and reclaim the land as they deem fit.

So long as Okinawa remains a Japanese prefecture, its people can protest as long and loudly as they want, and the American bases will remain....as Japan Central Government deems necessary.

On the other hand, Abe must change the Constitution, remove the Article 9 limitation and be allowed to expand and build up its military capabilities beyond current levels. Then it can increase and expand its military force presence on Okinawa and allow the US military forces to withdraw.

I believe that's the preferred solution rather than a secession of Okinawa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why are the wingers who want the US out so scared to have a referendum??

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yubaru,

If you don't like the word "hordes", change it to "many" or "a lot of". Satisfied? But you're simply nitpicking in wording, not dealing with the issue to its core.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Why are the wingers who want the US out so scared to have a referendum??

Because they know they'll lose their US meal ticket and support. US base employment pays better than local merchants and tourism; the landowners of the land where the bases reside will lose their lease monies; the bars and tattoo shops near the bases will lose business, and so forth. Look what happened to the Philippines after they kicked the US out. The Philippine economy never really recovered after the base closures and US withdrawal.

I hope a referendum will be held and the base issues settled once and for all. IF the people of Okinawa are truly unhappy with Japan and US presence (as many posters here seems to indicate), then there should be a new referendum for independence. Then Okinawa can be free of the "Japanese and American imperialism occupation".....if that's what they truly want.

Its been said that Okinawa cannot sustain itself as a sovereign nation as it doesn't have viable industry to support itself after Japan and US withdraws its economic support. Well...that's where China and its One Belt One Road program comes in; China will more than happily invest in Okinawa and establish a presence there......if that's what the Okinawa government and people are willing to accept. And there are many here who would argue that Okinawa doesn't really consider China to be an enemy and prior to the Japanese annexation, Ryukyu and China enjoyed a mutual trading relationship and can do so again.

Time will tell what will happen.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Causing trouble trouble under the guise of "mourning"? These pathetic attempts at getting the US out of Okinawa are getting lower and lower.

The base is staying, people. Okinawa needs it, Japan needs it. It's ironic how if the tensions in Asia escalate and war breaks out, these are the same people who will be begging the US for help

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Vince Black,

Apparently, you haven't read my post (Today | 01:22 pm JST) addressed to Kazuaki Shimazaki. So, I ask you to read it and respond to it for Shimazaki's sake. For he is keeping mum about it.

Here's what I posted:

Kazuaki Shimazaki,

The bulk of U.S. bases in Okinawa are Marine bases. In terms of personnel percentage, the Marines account for about 60 percent of all U.S. service members based in Okinawa.

It's often pointed out, however, that the Marines should not necessarily be stationed in Okinawa. This argument is borne out convincingly enough by the fact the most active elements of Okinawa-deployed Marines are slated to move to Guam in the near future. They will come to Okinawa on a regular rotation basis and stay here for a short period of time in order to train their combat skills in amphibious, jungle and urban warfare.

Besides, Tokyo and Washington have struck a deal that it's the SDF, and not the U.S. Marines, that are to have primary responsibility for defending Japan's outlying territory. Don't you think then that those Marine bases in Okinawa, let alone the new base at Henoko, are nothing but white elephants after all for defending the security of Japan?

So I wonder how your comment above will sit snugly under such circumstances. Note that the rally was against the Henoko relocation of the marine air station and for its immediate return with no strings attached.

Do you know the late governor vowed and worked hard for the prevention of the new base at Henoko from being carried out? 

You say,

The base is staying, people. Okinawa needs it, Japan needs it. It's ironic how if the tensions in Asia escalate and war breaks out, these are the same people who will be begging the US for help

That's not what the late governor wanted. On the contrary, he wanted USMC Air Station Futenma to be removed from Okinawa completely. The rally was in line with his will.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's the conservative leadership in Japan who prefer to have US military to keep China in check but not on the main island of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku or Hokkaido. Okinawa is perfect because is very2 far away from Japan main island and being ruled by Yamato from its former Ryukyuan kingdoms with its own unique language and culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's the conservative leadership in Japan who prefer to have US military to keep China in check but not on the main island of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku or Hokkaido. Okinawa is perfect because is very2 far away from Japan main island and being ruled by Yamato from its former Ryukyuan kingdoms with its own unique language and culture.

If you look at a map of the region, Okinawa is strategically located close to the East China Seas and Taiwan. In the event of an international crisis in Taiwan or Senkaku Islands where China is threatening, US and Japanese military can respond quicker from Okinawa than from mainland Japan or Guam. That's the reason why the US bases remain.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And if the Americans actually left and China threatened all these signs would be saying yes, and people would be demanding the government protect their children.

Opposing the construction of a new runway over coral reefs at Camp Schwab, and destroying the fragile ecosystem of the small island for something quite redundant and unnecessary given existing bases and installations, does not mean opposing the presence of US military for security purposes nor question their impact on the local economy.

FYI, Camp Schwab is merely a small part of Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, home of the 5th Element of III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) based at Camp Foster. No one is demonstrating against Camp Butler or Camp Foster or Kadena Air Base or the US Navy at White Beach. Okinawans have learned to live with U.S. military personnel, most of whom are courteous, professional and respect local traditions.

Henoko is indeed a political hot potato which should be resolved by level-headed leaders and statesmen who should look not at treaties signed in the aftermath of the Korean war, but rather at present realities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And btw, Onoyama doesn't have enough parking, and parking on side streets is illegal and there are few side-streets close enough to hand any over flow parking.

Parking on side streets is illegal but not on that day. The police were with the people. Notice no armed riot policemen, no EMTs, no flag burning, no molotov cocktails. Notice woman and children and entire families.

Cars were on side streets south of Onoyama all the way to Oroku Bowl. West of Onoyama towards and including Aeon Jusco Naha parking lots. North and East were off limits being a JSDF port and the Tsubogawa river.

Buses weren't organize. Okinawa people read the headlines and the obituary. This was a call for action. 70,000 responded, more if not for stormy conditions that day. Hundreds of thousands watched on TV. And they will be heard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MAY BE WORLD WAR III

°

We are at the beginning of a world big crisis, one the most important since WWII.

So let's think pragmatic.

Japan need the US shield protection and US need a place at the Asia door. This place is supposed to be Hawaï, but the Island is fed up too about army. US army provide protection to all south asia so where to set the military base ?

Japan want independance and once US leave, they will use the Okinawa army base. So the talk is not just about america army, but making a permanent army city base in Okinawa, and never letting her going back to Ryukyu.

So the matter will not be solve as easy as Tokyo government could imagine. Environment tend to be harder when the long term matter is in the diplomacy game.

Okinawa have to decided first once for all between being Ryukyu or Japaneese (their choice not Tokyo's one). Then, having a military huge city on the Island can be discussed openly. But as long as environmental is not set, there should not have a long term military commitment on the Island. There will be riot and mistakes. Japan will be unstable for decades because the Okinawa's collective won't rest in peace.

This is not a time for monarchy method anymore. Okinawa live in the Freedom world like all pacific Island ! ^^

°

NCM

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Halwick,

If Okinawa is strategically located, as you assert, whereby U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa, not to mention the Marines, can respond to contingencies quick enough, why are the most active elements of Okinawa-deployed Marines to move to Guam? Please read my posts addressed to both Kazuaki Miyazaki and Vince Black and help them answer the question I raised.

I hereby recapitulate the relevant post below for your convenience:

Marines account for about 60 percent of all U.S. service members based in Okinawa.

It's often pointed out, however, that the Marines should not necessarily be stationed in Okinawa. This argument is borne out convincingly enough by the fact the most active elements of Okinawa-deployed Marines are slated to move to Guam in the near future. They will come to Okinawa on a regular rotation basis and stay here for a short period of time in order to train their combat skills in amphibious, jungle and urban warfare.

Besides, Tokyo and Washington have struck a deal that it's the SDF, and not the U.S. Marines, that are to have primary responsibility for defending Japan's outlying territory. Don't you think then that those Marine bases in Okinawa, let alone the new one at Henoko, are nothing but white elephants after all for the defense and security of Japan?

So I wonder how your comment above will sit snugly under such circumstances. Note that the rally was against the Henoko relocation of the marine air station and for its immediate return with no strings attached.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Voice of Okinawa,

I got what you called "false figure" from this website: Onoyama Park Track and Field Ground capacity: 9,000

http://www.sports-commission.okinawa/archives/search/0278

From what I read on Ryukyu Shimpo (https://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/entry-780697.html), the rally was held at the track and field ground of Onoyama Park.

In protests like this, the turnout counted by the organizer is often much larger than the turnout counted by the police. Unlike this article, most Japanese news outlets, if not all, always mention the turnout "as counted by the organizer."

The following is the only photo I could find which shows a bird's eye view of the rally.

Photos of rally at Onoyama park (left: 70,000?) vs baseball stadium packed with 50,000 (right)

https://twitter.com/ps20xx/status/1028261602879987713

If you can show me a bird's eye view photo showing 70,000 or so people at the rally, I'm ready to accept the turnout you claim.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Watermelon,

The figures 9,000 vs. 25,000. That's a big difference. But I've found your figure is credible enough. There's an auxiliary park attached to the main athletics stadium and it is in this auxiliary park where the rally was held.

But, certainly, the protesters didn't number 9,000, the capacity of the said auxiliary facility. I don't know, either, if it numbered 70,000 as was announced by the organizers, but certainly there's no denying that tens of thousands of people gathered there from all over the island to protest against the relocation despite the rain and an approaching typhoon.

 

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Just a tip:

I 've just got an e-mail from the Onoyma Athletics Stadium, saying the figure 9,000 was the number of seats (capacity)before the stadium was refurbished. Today, its capacity is 25,000. No mention of the auxiliary facility.

My sister tells the number of participants in the rally appeared way more than usual.

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But, certainly, the protesters didn't number 9,000, the capacity of the said auxiliary facility. I don't know, either, if it numbered 70,000 as was announced by the organizers, but certainly there's no denying that tens of thousands of people gathered there from all over the island to protest against the relocation despite the rain and an approaching typhoon.

You are nitpicking at words here, and the over view sure looks more like 9,000 and there is plenty of denying that there were tens of thousands of people. You are trying to obfuscate the issue, and words and numbers count.

If the numbers cant be relied upon, what can? Oh I know, that it wasnt that big of a rally and that there aren't THAT many who really protest the issue.

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