politics

Okinawan governor to revoke permit for U.S. base relocation work

76 Comments
By Elaine Lies

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

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

76 Comments
Login to comment

Ease the worry of residents by moving Futenma to Ebisu. See if you can gain the understanding of Tokyo people.

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Hmm Im sure Abe with all his power, will un-revoke it immediately.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Why they don't make an artificial island I know sounds dumb but look China they build an artificial island for their Military base.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

This guy is gutsy. I have to hand it to him.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Okinawan governor to revoke permit for U.S. base relocation work

Bravo, Mr Onaga. Stand your ground. Force the rest of Japan to shoulder the burden of hosting bases. They could just as easily relocate Futenma to southern Kyushu, or elsewhere in Japan

15 ( +23 / -8 )

Wonderful news for Okinawa. I'm very happy and proud to hear the news! Onaga has done the research and ready to revoke the permit. Thank you.

(If the central government required Okinawa to give the permit then it seems logical to respect the revocation of the permit. )

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Cut off funding. Plain and simple. Okinawa doesn't want to do its job in supporting Japan, don't just put money into the outstretched hands. In the meantime, the government needs to let the people know that Futenma will never be moved, or the US troops taken out of the 'dangerous' downtown base (or rather, the base people built around to live off of, they seem to forget), until the decided on base for relocation is complete. So, the can thank Onaga for the delays, too.

-7 ( +17 / -23 )

This was not unexpected and just one more step in the process. Abe may be forced to play the PM trump card, something he has not wanted to do so far, hence the month long moratorium on construction, but since Onaga has chosen to play hardball no so will Abe.

Wonderful news for Okinawa. I'm very happy and proud to hear the news! Onaga has done the research and ready to revoke the permit. Thank you.

Wonderful news? How so? This isnt going to matter one bit in the long run, and dont think for a second that Abe wont be prepared to continue the construction with or without Onaga's ok.

It, ends up as a win win situation for both sides, Abe gets the base, and Onaga gets to glory for standing up to him

4 ( +10 / -7 )

I read somewhere that if Okinawa was lost as a military base, much of Japan's and the US's defensive strategy for the Western Pacific would be rendered obsolete and make too much of that area indefensible. Considering this, you can guarantee that not in a thousand years will a military presence be completely removed from Okinawa..

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Elaine Lies, one sided article like usual. Sympathy by how many Japanese people maybe a 100 to 200? The election has never been viewed as a true representation of Okinawan's viewpoints. He uses my tax money to go take trips to places as a governor he has now place going in his position. He's misrepresenting Japan. He's arrogant.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Personally, I think BIGGEST BANG FOR US/Japanese tax monies would be to build the new base at the lovely Senkaku Islands. It will deal with the southern end of the Japanese territory while placing the US in very close range to Taiwan for 'when' China plans on invading it and also much closer to the South China Seas 'Charlie Foxtrot' that will happen once most likely the Philippines and/or Vietnam have had enough with China's island building BS.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

True Okinawa: Good point. There was one person on here the other day who uses a line he recycles constantly saying something about "tyranny of the majority" when referring to the central government not relocating the bases outside Okinawa. He never addresses, nor answers if you ask him, why he wants tyranny of the minority instead.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

The U.S. Military and the Central Govt. have had 20 years to sell this relocation plan to the people of Okinawa and have failed miserably. In fact opposition to this plan has increased and support has decreased. From the very beginning the U.S. and the Central Govt. have been arrogant and tyrannical in their dealings with the people of Okinawa over this issue and pretending to be concerned about the safety of the residents of Futenma. How come they were not concerned about their safety before the 1995 rape incident? How come they did not try to relocate the base before the 1995 rape incident? Most of the people on Okinawa know that the U.S. Military has never been concerned about their safety. Look at all the hazardous materials that have been found and continue to be found on the bases.

@True Okinawa; Are you one of those Americans who need the bases on Okinawa to work and shop on in order to survive? There are a number of these camp followers who want to live on Okinawa but do not want to live like an Okinawan and their greatest fear is that the bases will go and they will have to leave. 

0 ( +13 / -13 )

It must have been a painful decision but, certainly, it was a wise decision. All Okinawa but a few eccentrics is behind Onaga. Conscientious minds the world over would applaud his courage. Okinawa can be a guiding light to make Japan a real democracy.

Note that the Futenma relocation issue and the security-related bills now under deliberation at the House of Councilors are both being processed and prearranged at the behest of the U.S. government. I hope Onaga's revoking of former governor's permit to reclaim waters off Henoko will be a trailblazer for Japan to get rid of fetters that make Japan a poor vassal of the U.S.

Japan must be an independent sovereignty. .

1 ( +10 / -9 )

This is indeed good news for Okinawa and for Japan.

For Okinawa because it is the clearest possible answer to the demands of the Okinawan people and also to counter Tokyos impudence.

For Japan because it means one big step towards true bottom-up democracy.

While Okinawans often hear that they rank last amongst Japanese prefectures for this or that, in terms of democratic spirit Okinawa is without doubt at the forefront of development in Japan. Kudos!

I especially admire the determination that Okinawans display as standing up to the central government can mean quite a bit of hardship for the prefecture.

We know that up to now the central government has been quite successful with its "divide and rule" policy as it shamelessly attempted to corrupt Okinawans by threatening budget cuts or offering special budgets to bend "weak souls" and make Okinawans dependent on Tokyo budgets.

It seems as if Okinawans are truly fed up with such sleazy policies and won't sell their souls anymore. I hope this also will be true for the path ahead as there surely will be some heavy bumps on the road.

Despite being enthusiastic about the current developments I do believe the real problems are just starting for Okinawa as they are dealing with an ruthless central government that hasn't shown much of a human face up to now.

Taking into account how peculiar Okinawa is in terms of culture, history and nature I believe on the long run one or another form of autonomy will be the only way for Okinawa to get to a more suitable, sustainable and satisfying way of life within heavily centralized and often uniformist Japan.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Reality versus want and idealism is always a difficult gap to close.

By necessity, a base must be near Okinawa. Strategically and logistically it makes sense for Japan's defense.

While it could be a separate island like the Senkakus, economically it will benefit Okinawa if it were near an already populated town or city. Money will flow from both US and Japan to more companies and more people in Okinawa.

Strategically for Okinawa it really does not matter much as their area is the critical location for defense and is the most exposed territory. Okinawa will be a target regardless of where the new base is built. Okinawa will continue to be the closest logistic supply center in the area. Their risk and exposure to harm is not lessened.

It is whether Okinawa wants more or less immediate economic benefits.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Hmm Im sure Abe with all his power, will un-revoke it immediately. no Abe will just take the Okinawa gov to court, which from previous Okinawa gov agreements they have a very good case of winning in court. If the high court in Japan rules that the Okinawa gov acted illegally then theyll have to accept that ruling, or declare independance. with less than 2 million people I doubt they could even pay there bills.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Pretty soon Okinawa is going to willingly join China, as China has been suggesting that Okinawa is really part of China.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Well said, bam_boo......I especially like this sentence:

For Japan because it means one big step towards true bottom-up democracy.

The other issue of course is the plan to fill in the bay go against the central government policy of protecting the environment. https://www.env.go.jp/en/policy/plan/intro.html

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Cut off funding. Plain and simple.

Um no. Okinawa has gone above and beyond with base hosting since 1945. And it has been exploited one way or another since 1609. Time for the rest of Japan to host Futenma

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

While all the talk and limelight has been shed on Henoko by Onaga, he has turned and blinded the people to his real motives and intention of his companies investments and returns from the Universal Studios Japan task order and kickbacks he will be earning and no one is paying attention. Onaga does not pay my bills, or feed my family. I need that job in Henoko so that I can support my family and this clown is only interfering with my way of life.

To: gokai_wo_manekuSep. 14, 2015 - 05:57PM JST Pretty soon Okinawa is going to willingly join China, as China has been suggesting that Okinawa is really part of China.

Only in a Chinese cookie will this suggestion ever appear. Nothing further from the truth as most all Ryukyu original peoples knows full well that the Ryukyu Kingdom was never owned by China or any other country until it was occupied by the traitor from mainland. China has no claims on any Ryukyu territory and should stay well within its own borders.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The U.S. Military and the Central Govt. have had 20 years to sell this relocation plan to the people of Okinawa and have failed miserably.

More like closer to 70 years. What started as an occupation morphed into a joint security pact that neither government has adequately explained to the Japanese population, both here in Okinawa and mainland as well.

THe majority of Japanese living today have grown up with the bases in their backyards, without ever being told the reasons why they are still here now, other than some old folks saying, "Because we lost the war". ANd the young folks wondering "What war?"

Reality versus want and idealism is always a difficult gap to close.

Well said. People against any and all bases in Okinawa are living in an idealistic world where no one is threatening anyone, and think that words alone are enough. Nice thing in a Utopian society, but not the one we currently live in.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

voiceofokinawa: "All Okinawa but a few eccentrics is behind Onaga."

You've got that backwards. Almost none of the Okinawans I know support Onaga, and I know more than a few. They are not eccentrics; they are among the majority. Some of them would like to see the bases gone SOME day, but are fully aware of why they and Japan NEED the bases there at present, and are embarrassed by Onaga making Okinawa look like it is an area of free-loaders that cannot live up to their promises.

"Conscientious minds the world over would applaud his courage."

No one outside of Japan and the US military directly related to the base issue know the man's name. Hell, I'd wager most Japanese don't, either. A little aggrandizing, no?

"Okinawa can be a guiding light to make Japan a real democracy."

Not when you insist on reneging on agreements made by Okinawa, and when only the minority wants the American presence removed completely.

Christopher Glen: "Um no. Okinawa has gone above and beyond with base hosting since 1945. And it has been exploited one way or another since 1609. Time for the rest of Japan to host Futenma"

If it were an issue of simply "what's fair", I agree wholeheartedly that Okinawans have and still get the shaft when it comes to being treated as part of Japan and in terms of equality as such, ESPECIALLY with how they were used as pawns and fodder in WWII. But this isn't simply about what's 'fair', Chris, anymore than it's unfair some nations have fresh, potable water and other countries do not; we cannot move the resources or do anything short of suggesting they be born again in a better place any more than we can ask Okinawa to up and move to a place that is not a strategic one for both the US and Japanese military -- and more importantly, for China and other threats. Nor should Okinawa expect to receive the funding it enjoys from the government if their demands to have the bases removed and shoulder the burden of hosting the US is met -- what would they be getting the money for? they certainly don't have the GDP or contribute in many other ways to warrant it.

Can't have your cake and eat it, too. I'm afraid. May not be fair, but that's the reality of the situation.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

kazetsukai, you say:

By necessity, a base must be near Okinawa. Strategically and logistically it makes sense for Japan's defense.

When you say "a base must be near Okinawa," implying it’s because Okinawa is in a good location strategically and logistically, is it a Marine base that you have in mind?

On another thread (the post dated Sep. 02, 2015 - 06:38AM for "Okinawa launches undersea survey for U.S. base site") I asked you to explain why you think Marine bases must be maintained in Okinawa. You haven't responded to that request as yet.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I would like for the pro-base people to make a list of all the U.S. Facilities on Okinawa and justify them as being absolutely needed on Okinawa. There is a base called Camp Shields located near Gate 3 of Kadena Air Base. This is a large base that is home to about 200 Navy Seabees. Now the Seabees have no real job to do on Okinawa but even if the U.S. wants them here, they could easily be moved to White Beach or another base and all of that land could be returned. Why does the U.S. Military need a Marina? If the Japanese Govt. would really negotiate tough with the U.S. and the bases on Okinawa would be bases that are truly needed and not here just because the U.S. wants it then both the U.S. and Japan could justify without a doubt that the bases are necessary and most of the people on Okinawa would accept it. If you take a close look at the U.S. facilities that are currently on Okinawa and will still be here even if Futenma is relocated there is no way that anyone can honestly say that these facilities are absolutely needed on Okinawa.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I wish the best for Japan. I don't know if Okinawa or .. is the best place for American forces. I hope they can work out an amicable solution, or at least a practical one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The governor needs to read the treaty. The US has abided to everything agreed to after WWII and all most of the People on Okinawa want the Base there the only one that do not want it there. Mabe their ties to China are a lot stonger that everyone thinks.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

I asked you to explain why you think Marine bases must be maintained in Okinawa. You haven't responded to that request as yet.

I dont blame anyone for not responding to anything you "request", as you refuse to do the same when someone asks you to respond. Plus you fail to accept the FACT that Okinawa is a part of Japan and as a part of Japan has a responsibility to assist in the defense of the country.

Okinawa IS in a strategic location. That IS a fact as well. You seem to live in a different reality than everyone else in the world.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

If another accident occurs around Futenma involving Okinawan civilian casualties any blood will be on Onaga's hands.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

@Joshua DegreiffSEP. 14, 2015 - 02:36PM JST Why they don't make an artificial island I know sounds dumb but look China they build an artificial island for their Military base

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

No, it is not dumb. Burying seaside by transporting mountain top and expanding its territory on Setonaikai side made Yamaguchi Ken to current size. One of many factories occupies on top of buried land is Mazda. The shaved land was transported by laborers until trucks were introduced there by Nissan. Don't worry cost if shore is buried. Govt can evict tenant and use more than half of $ 3 billion it pays to tenant a year and make construction boom to help poorest prefecture in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Almost none of the Okinawans I know support Onaga, and I know more than a few.

smithinjapan, what a coincidence. How come all the Okinawans I know, and I know more then a few, support Onaga? Wonder how that is possible?

Irony aside, there is absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of Okinawans, considerably more then the ones who elected Onaga in 2014, are against the relocation of Futenma to Henoko and further want a drastic and unconditional reduction of the US military footprint on Okinawa.

All serious polls indicate a number of around 80% of the Okinawan population and to claim anything different is pure propaganda.

And this wish, no Henoko and much less US military, is anything but utopian, it is a very understandable and real demand and the only reason that Tokyo and Washington are not answering this clear democratic mandate from the Okinawan people is because they think they can get away with discriminating Okinawans, just as they have for 70 or more years.

All talk about deterrence and about Okinawas strategic location is gibberish. For deterrence, if you believe in it, one or two US military facilities would be enough and for the US military the world is full of geopolitically important locations and most of them work perfectly well with a fraction of the space that is available in Okinawa.

The truth is that Okinawa is incredibly convenient for the US military. There are huge training areas above sea and in the jungle, there are wonderful leisure areas, with marinas, diving spots, golf courses, beautiful beaches. And by illegally occupying nearly 20% of Okinawas main-island there is even enough space for the different military branches to each maintain their independent playgrounds so that they don't have to make any logistical compromises, something they apparently avoid like the plague.

And all this at almost no US taxpayers cost!

Super convenient for the US military, isn't it, but from a military strategic viewpoint absolutely not necessary.

The US military got used to having a free hand in Okinawa and when Okinawa was returned to Japan they made the Japanese side promise them, of course lying to the public, that they could keep their military playground in Okinawa indefinitely.

It is that simple and Okinawans have all the right in the world to change this odd and unjust situation.

This is not about utopia or anything idealistic, but about the daily life, the well-being and the freedom of the Okinawan people.

And it is about a sustainable future for Okinawa as other then some posters he want to make us believe the massive footprint of the US military is keeping Okinawas economy in shackles. It oddly restrains and is a constant threat to tourism, now by far Okinawas main source of income.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Okinawan governor to revoke permit for U.S. base relocation work

"This is very regrettable. You have hurt the feelings of the Japanese people." - Shinzo Abe

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yubaru,

You are an ex-Marine. So you are a right person to answer the question I posed to Kazetsukai:

Why is it necessary for the U.S. Marines to maintain bases in Okinawa? Why is it necessary for Futenma's replacement to be built at Henoko? What role do the Marines, an expeditionary force, play in a high-tech future war, which would certainly be different from wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

fwiw, much of the land the bases are on is rented by the US with the bill paid by the Japanese government.

Some of the land has been bought by Japanese mainlanders as investments. I heard it's quite popular because the return is 6 to 10%. For Japanese real estate, to make that much you normally have to put up a building and successfully rent it out.

So anyway, it's not just Okinawans with a strip joint next to the bases that wants them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just take down the Japanese flag, put up a Chinese one and ring the dinner bell shouting Nii Hao! Come and get it!

Okinawa's China's next stop after they acquire the Senkaku Islands.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

bam_booSep. 14, 2015 - 10:01PM JST

considerably more then the ones who elected Onaga in 2014, are against the relocation of Futenma to Henoko and further want a drastic and unconditional reduction of the US military footprint on Okinawa.

I really do not where you get your TALL numbers but first of all Onaga was not unconditionally against Henoko during his campaign days. In fact he was complaining about the unfairness in balance of funds Henoko would be receiving during his days as Mayor of Naha. 12 years ago when he was part of the LDP he was the head cheerleader of this project. There is also criticism of his miss management of public funds in constructing monumental pillars depicting a dragon to commemorate the signing of friendship of cities between Naha and Fuzhou, PRC in which he appointed a Chinese construction company without a bid. In my opinion he is just a populist, Okinawa people are against Futenma but they are many talking about the pros and cons of Henoko and US military bases in Okinawa in general. The ones who are vocal are the Japan Communist party which is one of his biggest support organization not necessarily people from Okinawa in which he has become a mouth piece of.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

China is smiling! The Ryukyu Islands are looking very tasty.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Onaga does not pay my bills, or feed my family. I need that job in Henoko so that I can support my family and this clown is only interfering with my way of life.

You tell em! Onaga and the Okinawan people are so selfish!!! How dare they affect your way of life by trying to live theirs in their own land. sarcasm.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

You know the situation is serious when Mr Abe doesn't wear his favorite golden tie.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ApoliticalSEP. 15, 2015 - 03:52AM JST You know the situation is serious when Mr Abe doesn't wear his favorite golden tie.

================================================

When he changed his taste of color? He disliked golden color since he went to USC when he was young. Golden color indicated yellow Jap symbol in USA.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Yubaru "living in an idealistic world where no one is threatening anyone".

Seems that you are living in an idealistic world. FYI information, all American facilities are primary target zones for potential foes such as China and Russia. They aren't those wild tribes of Iraq or Afganistan armed with AKs and RPGs you like to shoot mercylessly from flying gunships. Both China and Russia are strongest and serious rivals. They have best in the world commando units let alone well- developed Army, Navy and Nuclear Triad. And the military value of your "warriors", constantly drinking various alcohol drinks, playing golf, molesting okinawan girls etc equals ZERO. In case of possible war your "bases" will be swept away from the ground in a couple of minutes. The worst part of this scenario is that innocent local people will be victims too. That is why Okinawa people demand to clean their soil from US occupants.

"Okinawa IS in a strategic location"

It is a sitting duck both for a single strategic bomber or nuclear submarine armed with supersonic cruise missiles.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Good move. No reason why the rest of Japan can't have bases.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

good on this gutsy governor to stand up to Abe. Sooner or later, Abe's government will crumble under the various pressure. fingers crossed

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

if the local people do not want the base why anyone impose on them, is it not a clear occupation?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

the look on Onaga's face says it all. look at him. he detests Abe. This could get very interesting

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ali KhanSEP. 15, 2015 - 08:41AM JST if the local people do not want the base why anyone impose on them, is it not a clear occupation?

Okinawa is part of the nation of Japan, so how could it be occupation? The national government gets to decide how to protect the nation, not local governments. That's the same in any country.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It seems that there are two different issues of Futenma base and New base in Henoko. If Futenma base is very dangerous for residents, it should be closed as soon as possible whatever. As long as most Okinawan do not want the new base in Henoko or Okinawa, it should move outside Okinawa no matter how strategic the new base is for US government, at least not for Japan. It seems that US wants to put as many military bases as possible in Okinawa to defend America, not Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

gaihonjin SEP. 15, 2015 - 08:58AM JST Okinawa is part of the nation of Japan, so how could it be occupation? The national government gets to decide how to protect the nation, not local governments. That's the same in any country.

There is a difference between government and the will of the people. The base will be built because both governments want it built. But there should be a way to take the burden off of people of Okinawa who have suffered so much at the hands of both Japanese and Americans.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Okinawa is part of the nation of Japan,

Historically it also used to be an independent kingdom, but transformed into first a vassal state, then a prefecture. I admire Onaga's stance

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I used to be pro military like gung-ho, but after learning the true manipulations behind it, I say, get out of Okinawa, (but also return the Senkakus to China). Okinawans can make it happen by not working for any company or service related to the reconstruction or relocation of the base. But they do not have the determination that the people from Selma, Alabama had in boycotting the bus company. Okinawa was snatched from China and then violated by Japan in all senses of the word.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

He might even be right but he's not going to win this one.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Okinawa is part of the nation of Japan

Hardly. Most Japanese people really see Okinawa as a different place. I always ask japanese people this and their answers are almost always verbatum: 'chotto chigau na' This is also evident in history (battle of okinawa) where the Japanese used Okinawa as a shield against the advancing allies. They sacrificed Okinawa because they felt that they were expendable. Today, Okinawa hosts the vast majority of the bases because the Japanese don't really see it as a part of Japan. That's the real reason. There are many uninhabited islands in Japan. they could move the bases there, but they don't. Why?

Japan seems to want to have its cake and eat it too. On one hand, Okinawa is a part of Japan. On the other hand, its a little different, so lets put the bases there.

A final note, does anyone here think that an okinawan could ever become PM of Japan? I personally don't think so. It would never happen. I believe most Japanese would be opposed to that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Governor Onaga, the people of Okinawa would like to thank you…….

Thank you for stopping and stalling all progress towards closing Futenma Air Station, allowing those residents and families that live near the base to continue to suffer from noise and live in fear of a major accident…..

Thank you for hindering all progress towards closing Camps Kinser, Lester, and large parts of Foster, as agreed to in the 2006 ATARA agreement, so that the local government and people will not be able to benefit from all these land returns……

Thank you for ignoring the welfare of the everyday people, and for joining forces with the left-wing elites on Okinawa who benefit from all the bases remaining – who rail against them publically but secretly work against any reduction, for the all usual reasons; money and self-importance…..

In sum, thank you for all your righteous efforts to stop any progress towards reducing US military facilities on Okinawa and any return our of valued land…….we know you have our best interests at heart……….

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

avigator

Okinawa was snatched from China and then violated by Japan in all senses of the word.

You forgot to add repressed by America, the so called promoters of freedom and democracy.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

**Okinawan Gov Takeshi Onaga EXCELLENT WORK . PLEASE CONTINUE THIS FIGHT .

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Okinawa was snatched from China and then violated by Japan in all senses of the word.

You forgot to add repressed by America, the so called promoters of freedom and democracy.

Okinawa was never part of China. It had an important trading relationship which the Shimazu continued by indirectly controlling Okinawa after 1609. Agree about the rest though. Well done Mr Onaga. Not only will he force the rest of Japan to share the burden, he will preserve the marine environment at Henoko, and teach Mr Abe a lesson

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Abe: Onaga you are interfering with my beautiful Japan, STOP IT NOW! No person will oppose me! I got re-elected so I have this mandate to do as I please.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Okinawa doesn't want to do its job in supporting Japan

@smithinjapan A simply outrageous thing to say. Okinawa, one tiny prefecture among 47, contains something like 50 percent of foreign bases and has been for several decades. Those bases are not sitting on land that was originally empty and unused. People's homes and farms were on that land. For most people who own land, it is the single most valuable possession they have. If you take it away from them, you squash the potential of their entire family and wind up basically starting from scratch. Its no joke. We love to tell stories of immigrants who had nothing going to some country and getting rich, but for 99,9 percent of people, starting over with nothing means they end with little more than that.

This is not remotely a case of Okinawa not supporting Japan. Okinawa has been Japan's slave since the start of the forced union. Okinawa's contribution makes the rest of Japan look like a bunch of teenage part-timers at best, and total leeches at worst.

I think you also had something to say about my use of the term "tyranny of the majority" and tried to turn it into "tyranny of the minority" (sorry if that was not you). But Okinawa is not forcing anyone to do anything. Trying to turn that around is like a rapist yelling at his victim "How dare you push me!".

And as for Okinawa being strategic, that excuse might fly if there were an actual war. There isn't. And there is not likely to be. And if there is? What's it going to be over? Those islands Japan stole off of China in 1895? I seriously doubt a majority of Okinawans want any part of that. But, of course, what poll ever asked those slaves of Japan?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Well put

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lincolnman (Sep. 15, 2015 - 10:49AM JST):

You are simply brandishing a hooligan's logic. To hear you is like hearing the boss of a crime syndicate telling people in his surf that the land they are demanding to be returned won't be returned unless they swallow the terms dictated by the gang. If the hazardous situation continues because of their presence in town, it's solely the fault of townspeople, they say.

Why do we object to the Henoko relocation plan, demanding instead that Futenma be returned unconditionally? One of the reasons is that we know the Marines are stationed here not for the defense of Japan but to protect their own vested interests. In a nutshell, the Marine base won't have anything to do with deterrence as ballyhooed by Washington and also by a sycophantic Tokyo.

Probaly, you can answer the question I posed to Kazetsukai and Yubaru:

Why is it necessary for the U.S. Marines to maintain bases in Okinawa? Why is it necessary for Futenma's replacement to be built at Henoko? What role do the Marines, an expeditionary force, play in a high-tech future war, which would certainly be different from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@ Triring SEP. 15, 2015 - 12:35AM JST

I really do not where you get your TALL numbers

Here is where I get "my tall numbers" about the opinion of the Okinawan people from:

A poll by NHK from 2012, 72% against the Henoko relocation, 78% for a reduction of the US bases in Okinawa: https://www.nhk.or.jp/bunken/summary/research/report/2012_07/20120701.pdf

A poll by Ryukyu Shinpo and OTV, Jan. 2015, 83% for stopping the relocation, 77% support canceling the former governor’s approval of landfill in Henoko: http://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/storyid-243697-storytopic-53.html

A poll by Ryukyu Shinpo and OTV, Aug. 2012, 80% for stopping the relocation: http://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/storyid-230631-storytopic-271.html

Okinawa Times, Apr. 2015, support for Onaga against the Henoko relocation 83%: http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/article.php?id=110601

Asahi Shinbun, Jan. 2014, 66% against the relocation: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG1W4JDHG1WUZPS005.html

Even though those are polls from various organizations and asking in various different ways they are all absolutely consistent in that an overwhelming majority of the Okinawan people oppose the Henoko relocation and at the same time demand a clear reduction of the US military footprint on Okinawa.

Everybody who doubts this fact is either a demagogue or completely disconnected to Okinawan reality.

Okinawa people are against Futenma but they are many talking about the pros and cons of Henoko

No, there is absolutely no noticeable public discussion about the pros and cons of Henoko going on in Okinawa and the talk about the communists is just gibberish. The communists are not leading anything here in Okinawa. The anti-Henoko movement is island wide and spanning over all political camps from conservative (Onaga) to left-wing.

The only exception maybe being the Okinawa branch of the weirdo "Happiness Realization Party", who are are so entertaining that I would miss them should they ever disappear.

I would agree in two points though, first, I as well believe that Onaga is a populist (but at least one who is representing his people) and second, opinions in Okinawa about the necessity of a limited presence of U.S. military on the island are divided, but that a discussion one could only get into after Henoko is cancelled.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@voiceofokinawa: You are never going to get anyone to answer your question because they can not. All they can do is mouth the words of the U.S. and the Central Govt. that the bases are needed for deterrent. They do not want people asking why this base is needed are why this branch of service is needed or why is Kadena Marina needed or why do the Marine Corps and the Air Force need separate Golf Courses or why are there so many dependents on Okinawa even though Okinawa is supposed to be in danger of attacks from China, North Korea or maybe even Russia. The pro-base people do not want you to question the U.S. Military only do what they and the Central Govt. say. They do not care what conditions the people of Okinawa have to live in. Their advise to the people of Okinawa is always do what you are told and accept those bread crumbs that are given to you and be thankful and if you are good and obedient, then maybe in another 100 years a few more parcels of land might be returned to you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Bam_boo: "smithinjapan, what a coincidence. How come all the Okinawans I know, and I know more then a few, support Onaga? Wonder how that is possible?"

It's called being 'selective'. It's like right-wingers who only hang out with other right-wingers. In my case, the friends I have have been my friends for a very long time -- long before I know very much about the politics, or cared. So while you gravitate to people who share the same political bent, and therefore it's natural for you to say all your friends support Onaga, my friends just HAPPEN to support the US presence and are against Onaga (and not all of them, as I clearly said!).

"Irony aside,"

"there is absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of Okinawans, considerably more then the ones who elected Onaga in 2014, are against the relocation of Futenma to Henoko and further want a drastic and unconditional reduction of the US military footprint on Okinawa."

Actually, there absolutely IS doubt, and in fact it's fact that the majority support the US presence. You can cite anti-base surveys all you like, it does not prove anything but that a few thousand here and there (not at all the majority) were selected, not randomly, to answer a survey with the sole purpose of promoting anti-base hatred. It's not unlike the central government asking Yomiuri subscribers if they support the government, knowing full well that many Yomiuri subscribers do, and then saying it represents the entire nation.

"All serious polls indicate a number of around 80% of the Okinawan population and to claim anything different is pure propaganda."

Backwards once again. All 'serious polls' taken by anti-base people. Again, it's like the NHK news covering anti-Abe protests about the new legislation Abe is ramming through: they simply don't report opposition to it, and the opposition is the majority. And then they hire people to SUPPORT Abe on the legislation, as is evident by the exact same signs they are all holding (often the case in Okinawa protests). So, you want to talk about propaganda?

"And this wish, no Henoko and much less US military, is anything but utopian, it is a very understandable and real demand and the only reason that Tokyo and Washington are not answering this clear democratic mandate from the Okinawan people is because they think they can get away with discriminating Okinawans, just as they have for 70 or more years."

No, it's because Okinawa has made numerous agreements on the issue, and Okinawa is also a part of Japan, and Japan has agreed on the issue. It's also because of strategic importance -- it has nothing to do with this 'perceived victim' status you wear pinned on your sleeve.

"All talk about deterrence and about Okinawas strategic location is gibberish."

No, THAT is gibberish, my friend.

"For deterrence, if you believe in it, one or two US military facilities would be enough and for the US military the world is full of geopolitically important locations and most of them work perfectly well with a fraction of the space that is available in Okinawa."

Not in relation to China, North Korea, and that part of Asia and the Pacific in general, my friend... unless you honestly believe 'anywhere in the world' is exactly the same.

"The truth is that Okinawa is incredibly convenient for the US military."

And Japan, yes, given its strategic importance.

"The US military got used to having a free hand in Okinawa and when Okinawa was returned to Japan they made the Japanese side promise them, of course lying to the public, that they could keep their military playground in Okinawa indefinitely."

Actually, it's Okinawa that gets a free hand BECAUSE of the bases; one reason Nakaima gave in when threatened with having funding to Okinawa cut if he did not agree (again) to the relocation. He did, because Nakaima knows that Okinawa gets a free ride, economically speaking, due to its hosting of the bases. Hence the angry reaction when it's suggested that if Onaga continues to insist on delaying the construction and relocation, Okinawa's funds from the central government should be cut to the proportion it contributes to the nation -- and it is the poorest prefecture, no?

Like I said, you can't have your cake and it eat, too. And that's what a want of free-loaders want, under your flag. And yet, some posters who demand the US leave say in the same breath that the US would be 'bound to protect us under the current treaties if China attacked' when you point out the strategic location and how China is a threat and the US a deterrence. Go figure, eh?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Many pro base apologists exaggerated the usefulness of unnecessary base extension project. That project not will not change the outcome of real combat if there is an emergency. Bases in Okinawa are simply holidays resorts for holidaying tourists.

NK has demonstrated their real time delivery system with orbiting rocket. The bases from Okinawa watched it as Star Trek movie trailer. Missile can not shoot down with M16.

No marines from any hostile nations will land Okinawa coast as Normandy beach of WWII era. They will fly drones, supersonic missiles and orange agents of Pizzas delivery. Residents will become like barbecue steaks from Kansas due to over crowded US base infrastructure.

The more U.S. Force is visible, the more it will share the old fate of ambush of Vietnam, Irag and Afghanistan. There is no credibility about canceling one construction project will be end of the world for both civilians and Military. The Sun will still rise from east. That project Is such a waste of time, money and land.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan invaded Okinawa in 1609, and annexed the Ryukyu Islands after the Meiji Restoration. Since the defeat of Japan's attempt to conquer Asia, its military has been much reduced in size. Removing the American military bases from Okinawa may not be in the long term interests of keeping them under Japanese control, what with the growing military might, and aggressiveness, of the Peoples Republic of China.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ smithinjapan SEP. 15, 2015 - 04:44PM JST

Actually, there absolutely IS doubt, and in fact it's fact that the majority support the US presence.

Any remotely objectifiable piece of evidence to back up your claim?

All 'serious polls' taken by anti-base people.

Didn't know that NHK was anti-base. That would be great news for Okinawa.

it does not prove anything but that a few thousand here and there (not at all the majority) were selected, not randomly, to answer a survey with the sole purpose of promoting anti-base hatred.

Absurd claims for which you don't even attempt to provide even the slightest piece of evidence.

Here you are completely in tune with Japanese extremist right-wingers who often accuse Okinawan news papers of fabricating things. They, just like you too, don't bother to provide any objectifiable evidence for their weird claims.

No, it's because Okinawa has made numerous agreements on the issue,

So then please tell which agreements has Okinawa made on the US base issue that were clearly supported by the Okinawan people?

From my knowledge not even one, but maybe you can enlighten us about what you are referring to.

No, THAT is gibberish, my friend.

So we are curious to hear exactly why this "strategic importance" requires several golf courses, marinas, beach resorts, multiple airfields, huge training areas in the jungle and above sea, several port facilities, and, and, and.

Nobody doubts that Okinawa is a strategic location, what I and several other posters here doubt is the appropriateness of a close to 20% military footprint on Okinawas main island even seen from a military strategic viewpoint. I and other here have given very rational explanations for why we think so, yet you have not even attempted to give us an explanation backing up your claims.

Okinawa's funds from the central government should be cut to the proportion it contributes to the nation -- and it is the poorest prefecture, no?

Again an absurd and irrational claim. While Okinawa is often referred to as the "poorest prefecture" it is not true that Okinawa is getting relatively more funding then other "poor" prefectures. Regarding the allotment of overall central government budget Okinawa apparently is ranked 6th amongst the 47 prefectures. Despite the burden it carries and its most remote location of all prefectures the money it gets is just slightly above average.

Of course Tokyo and Washington are well aware of Okinawas dire situation and therefor have frequently tried to exploit Okinawa by threatening budget cuts or offering "comfort budgets" for subservience. Is that the kind of anti-democratic policies you are approving, smithinjapan? I hope not.

To stick with your odd saying, Okinawa first of all wants its cake back (or at least the larger part of the 18% that the US has illegally stolen during and after the war) and then it can think about what it wants to do with it.

And talking about Chinese invasions, at the moment Okinawa is experiencing a really massive one, a tourist invasion, and despite problems here and there, Okinawans seem quite happy with it.

The more Okinawa is cultivating its own economic potential the more the US bases will become a thorn in the side of its economic development. Okinawans are more and more understanding that the US bases, and the policies that Tokyo employs to keep them in Okinawa, are poison for a sustainable development of Okinawas economic and cultural potential.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

gaihonjin: how many japanese wants the US bases in japan except the Politicians and Media.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

how many japanese wants the US bases in japan except the Politicians and Media.

How many japanese sleep well at night knowing the SDF and US Armed Forces (Japan) are alert 24/7 to keep this region safe?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

North Korea is not a threat to Japan. Well they have atomic devices but it would be suicide to use the or try and use them. Any attack on Japan would be a turkey shoot. The Peoples Republic still has Mig 15s! I think China needs to eliminate the little fat man. Then let reunification happen with South Korea. After all they have been real chummy with each other.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And as for Okinawa being strategic, that excuse might fly if there were an actual war. There isn't. And there is not likely to be. And if there is? What's it going to be over? Those islands Japan stole off of China in 1895? I seriously doubt a majority of Okinawans want any part of that

Another reason why there would be a war is probably because of the US bases there itself. Naturally, Okinawa will once again be a target instead of other parts of Japan. Especially with Abe's security bills, making Japan defend it's allies and what not, Okinawan people will be the human shield of Japan that they've always been, in a conflict they never wanted. In this modern age, I'm pretty sure the US can defend Japan from Guam. I don't even think the base in Okinawa can properly defend against ballistic and cruise missile attacks, and China has plenty of good ones. I really think the primary purpose for the bases in Okinawa is for leisure, rest, and recreation for US military, at the expense of the locals.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hate to say this, but it doesn't really matter where the U.S. bases are in Japan. In a perfect world, there wouldn't be any military bases at all. However, the world isn't perfect and in a war, there isn't any "safe place" at all. Also, I understand why the people of Okinawa wouldn't want any U.S. Military installation at all. It would take an awesome event to "undo" the last 70 years of crime, jet noise, and militarism and almost all of that was unpunished due to the SOFA. To be honest, if the Japanese were to remove the words "Self-Defense" from their armed forces labels, it would go a long way towards getting rid of those bases.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

gaihonjin: how many japanese wants the US bases in japan except the Politicians and Media.

You'll probably find many do. The problem is they want Okinawa to keep hosting most of them, and aren't interested in easing the burden. Of course if Abe passes his bills we can expect to see a backlash against the U.S. In some form

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I will not get my families farm back in my lifetime. It is now set for 2050 or something. Does not matter if the new airfield is built. The Americans are such liars they will come up with some excuse to keep it open. However some of the best coral reef in the world will be destroyed and gone forever. This type of base is illegal in America so their DOD does their dirty work overseas. The USA has zero respect for Okinawa and Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The U.S likes Japan well enough - but at the end of the day, Japan will be expected to do as it's told

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I see some people still use old excuse China is the reason bases needed in Okinawa

but China is more interested in Filipin and Viet Nam area, not Okinawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is great news. I am half Okinawan and half Caucasian. I live on Guam and have seen what the US military has done to both islands. Okinawa will always be my true home. If this base north of Nago were to be built, it would destroy the original uminchu way of life. Totally unacceptable. Great and strategic move by the Governor of Okinawa!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

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

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites