politics

Onodera tries once again to get Saga support for Osprey deployment

33 Comments

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met Saga Governor Yasushi Furukawa in the prefectural capital of Saga on Monday to try once again to get support for a Defense Ministry plan to deploy some of the U.S. military's tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Kyushu.

Onodera visited Saga earlier this month but was unable to get support for the plan due to local opposition.

Onodera told Furukawa that the central government is willing to pay for the cost of acquiring land and building accommodation for U.S. military personnel near the airport, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The government wants Saga to allow the Ospreys to conduct training drills as a way of easing the burden on Okinawa where they are currently deployed.

Furukawa said the local government has been getting many inquiries from local residents about the safety of the low-altitude aircraft flying over heavily populated areas. He said Tokyo has still not clearly explained why Saga had been chosen.

Despite strong opposition from local residents, the Japanese government in 2012 approved the deployment of the Ospreys after receiving security assurances from the Pentagon.

U.S. military officials say the hybrid aircraft which can take off and land like a helicopter, is critical for regional security efforts.

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33 Comments
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Funny how the government hears mainlanders' opinions but could care less about the opinions of Okinawans.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

What are all these anti-osprey people going to do when the JGSDF starts flying Ospreys with rising sun marks on them?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

OssanAmerica the aircraft are a waste of money. We can deploy 10 conventional helicopters for the costs of these white elephants. The mainlanders are not going to accept them. My guess is they will not be flown a lot or transferred to Okinawa.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What are all these anti-osprey people going to do when the JGSDF starts flying Ospreys with rising sun marks on them?

I for one plan on remaining opposed to them. Cool, fast and long range as they are reliability is debatable I just don't see why Japan needs them. The Chinook they build under license is good enough for carrying supplies to shore and their flying boats like the US-2 have longer range for amphibious troop delivery to small islands. They should just spend their money upgrading those instead.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The CH-46 and CH-47 are too old and also lack the Speed and Range that are needed these days.

The Osprey has a better safety record than other military equipment that was put into production. They worked very well in recent disaster aid after tsunami, etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It"S ME, it is cheaper to make new CH-47 and other helicopters. There is no advantage to the Osprey sodai-gomi except make money for the American war machine.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The Chinook design is outdated and less safe than the MV-22. It's 1st flight was in 1961.

Same reason why the F-14 Tomcat, F-4 Phantom II were retired. You can only update them so far.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There have been two separate issues involving plans to deploy Ospreys to Saga. First, in response to Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima's condition, for his approval of the Henoko relocation plan, that 12 or all of the 24 Ospreys now deployed at Futenma be moved out of Okinawa until the new base at Henoko is completed. This plan was scrapped, however, in the face of a strong opposition from the Saga authorities and residents.

The central government's second plan has nothing to do with the first plan. The government has recently hit a deal with Washington to buy 17 Ospreys for the JSDF to the tune of $1.7 billion (about $98 million per aircraft). Apparently, it must have been seeking a candidate site for the deployment of these 17 Ospreys and Saga Airport was singled out as the best site for various reasons, financial and strategic.

The coercive selling of the Ospreys to Japan by the U.S. is assumed to have three reasons: first, to recover R & D costs even if a little; second, to calm down the fear the Japanese people have about Ospreys; third, to let the Osprey-deployed JSDF deal with China when conflicts occur so that Futenma's 36th Marine Air Group can stay away from such conflicts A big deal! indeed.

Note that China is developing a high-speed helicopter with the speed and payload twice as much as the Osprey (China Daily, September 8, 2013). There is no doubt, then, that these high-priced U.S.-made aircraft will become white elephants sooner or later.

If Saga Prefecture rejects the central government's second plan, would these Ospreys be deployed to Okinawa? Not completely out of the question.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Is there any reason why Japan can't construct a purpose-built offshore base for the Ospreys, miles from any inhabited area?

The government seems keen enough on large-scale building projects at other times....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

lucabrasi, Japan needs to reduce expenses and not build more bases for the Americans.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

YuriOtani: there are far better ways Japan could reduce spending, like all the unnecessary govt works projects, and yet despit your 'sincere' suggestion that Japan reduce costs, you still support them ramping up their own military if I means less reliance on the US. So you're not being genuine about the money reasons at all; just making excuses. When the US leaves Okinawa, you better have your Mandarin skills sharpened.

As for those whining about how the government listens to 'mainlanders' bu not Okinawans, the bases have been in Okinawa for decades, and relocation bases agreed upon quite some time ago. Not the same with Saga. And a poster above said it well, once these are flying with the rising sun flag on them people will change their tune and talk about how advanced the armed forces are here.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Too bad Saga Prefecture doesn't want to cooperate to reduce the "burden" on Okinawa Prefecture.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Okinawa does not have nuclear power stations, but when nuke power stations on the mainline were shut down, the electricity prices on Okinawa increased at the same rate as mainland. Everyone in Japan was expected to share the burden, but it seems to not translate to the sharing of hosting US bases. American forces in Japan are not going anywhere for some time, isn't it time for the main landers to start doing it's share to host the bases?... Yes, yes I know the peaceniks will cry that the US should get completely out tomorrow, they just can't grasp the concept that the US cannot just walk out and leave Japan without a viable defense. When the Japanese people are ready for the US to leave, they will tell their government and the US will leave. Railing and ranting against the US for being on Okinawa is not the answer. The Okinawan people need to protest with their vote and elect a government that will listen and act. Japan's government is addicted to having the worlds most advanced military at it's disposal and only have to pay a pittance of the cost that would be involved if they had to field it themselves. This free ride trickles down to the taxpayers as well. If the Okinawa people want the US gone, they need to elect a government that is not addicted to the bribes... er.. uh.. compensation that is poured out to Okinawa from Tokyo as hush money. NOBODY gets elected to Okinawa government that the local kingpins such as Masahide Ota and his ilk do not approve of, and they have a total other agenda than the peoples welfare. Every politician runs on a platform of either for or against the bases, believe me, Okinawa has far greater problems that are kilometers higher on the list of critical things needed than the US forces issue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ospreys.

NOBODY WANTS THEM!

The US does have its own territory. Might we suggest that they use their own for their military stations?

Guam?

Hawaii?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Saga is a lot closer to Korea than Okinawa is. You didn't hear any rumblings from the North, lately? Where DPRK will be in 15, 20 years?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Osprey, like the Harrier, has come a long way. I can remember, back in the day, when the Harrier was creating all kinds of problems for the Corps and fatalities were a common occurence. You never hear of a Harrier crashing anymore. They have a good safety record in Japan. The Osprey is the same. The Corps is always trying out new prototypes and adopting to be mission ready and to continue its existance. I think the Osprey is an awesome technological advancement. Im sure the Japanese will be building (copying) under liscense like they do everything else. How original.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Idea!

Instead of sending the Ospreys to Saga, which by all accounts, the local residents don't want, why don't they deploy them in Shinjuku Gyoen?

Then the people in the Shinjuku area might realise quite how disruptive it is to have noisy military aircraft taking off and landing in the middle of a residential area - like Futenma, where it is happening RIGHT NOW!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Do not think the American bases do much for Japan. True they are helpful in the event there is a recurrence in the Chinese or Korean civil wars but both of these countries are foes to Japan. Once these missions are gone there is not much need for them. Japan does not need the Osprey since we need defensive things. So what it moves faster than the CH-47. It is more expensive to operate and the people hate it. I have a novel ideal, how about letting Japan defend itself. How about forcing yourself on another country. As for Okinawa the people have voted in anti base governments but the mainlanders force the bases on them. NIMBY is the rule for them and democracy is two wolfs and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

BertieWooster: Then the people in the Shinjuku area might realise quite how disruptive it is to have noisy military aircraft taking off and landing in the middle of a residential area - like Futenma, where it is happening RIGHT NOW!

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

... has been a U.S. military airbase since the defeat of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

since 1945!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

BertieWooster

Then the people in the Shinjuku area might realise quite how disruptive it is to have noisy military aircraft taking off and landing in the middle of a residential area - like Futenma, where it is happening RIGHT NOW!

Perhaps they should have thought about that before they took up residence in close proximity to an pre-existing airfield. No different from moving into a house next to the train tracks and complaining whenever a train goes by.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

USNinJapan2, so tell me where are people suppose to live? There is no place far from a US base on Okinawa. What are we suppose to do? My family land is under direct American occupation. They destroyed the farm and desecrated my ancestors graves. The people of Saga do not want an American base. Once the Americans make a base it is close to impossible to get them to leave! turbotsat, that is not forrest around the new American base but overgrowth. The Americans completely destroyed all things in their path. Liberated Okinawa (censored)!!!!! Americans need to be ashamed of themselves!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

turbotsat:

Thanks for providing two nice aerial photos now and then. Here's my comment:

There are more than 3 thousand so-called "military-land owners" for Futenma Air Station at present. The base was constructed, while area residents were forcefully herded into camps during and after the Battle of Okinawa, on the land the U.S. army encroached upon with impunity.

There were a dozen villages with a joint population of more than 12 thousand before the war, of which 6 villages (Ginowan, Kamiyama, Aragusuku, Nakahara, Maehara and Aragusuku) were completely swallowed up into the base with a 2,400-meter runway (later extended to 2,700 meters) . Other villages were only partially affected.

The U.S. action in acquiring the land was in clear violation of Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which states: "Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

voiceofokinawa,

Good post!

For the military types who find it difficult to understand Okinawans' feelings:

Supposing this had happened in the States. Supposing all the people in six adjacent towns were herded out of their houses at gun point and their homes, churches AND graveyards were bulldozed to make a military base for a foreign power, leaving the people whose home it had been no land, no home, no food.

And please realise that we do know that you won the war 70 years ago. Great! Well done! But that doesn't give you the right to do with Okinawa as you will from 1945 on out.

Time to move on.

There is no danger from China. Okinawa always had and still has a much better relationship with China than Mainland Japan.

It's easy to see why so many Okinawans want the US bases gone. But it's very interesting to see that other parts of Japan feel the same. Saga certainly doesn't want them.

And neither, by all accounts, do Guam or Hawaii.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's so heartbreaking to see through fence wire traditional family tombs standing here and there inside the base. U.S. service members commuting from outside the base through the main gate may not notice their existence. Come to the PALS on the southwestern side of the runway and you will be able to see them for yourself.

When families need to visit the tombs to pay respect to the deceased or their ancestors on such occasions as obon, they must be issued with special passes for entering the base. U.S. military-issued passes to go to one's family tomb? What a world!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

YuriOtaniAug. 26, 2014 - 11:48AM JST OssanAmerica the aircraft are a waste of money.

Your statement would only make any sense if you were completely oblivious to what Japan's military is presently moving towards at this time, with a fleet of helicopter carriers and the formation of an amphibious assault force designed to secure remote islands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AziGRKFNtNg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NykRLaGEElI

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

OssanAmerica,

What Japan's military is presently moving toward is NOT peace.

It has had peace up to now, largely because of its pacifist constitution.

Changing the constitution and building up the military, including building the new base in Henoko is moving toward a confrontation with neighbouring countries.

It's very difficult to have a friendly chat with someone when they pull out a gun and point it at you.

People know this. People don't want war. It's not fun for them.

This is why Saga doesn't want Ospreys at any price and 80% of Okinawans (according to recent survey by the Ryukyu Shinbun) want the US bases out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

OssanAmerica the Osprey has no real advantages as they are sitting ducks to any fighter from the Mig 15 forward. So they move a little faster, so what! They cost so much to purchase and maintain and at least 4 brand new CH-47's can be bought for the same price. As for protecting the islands, Japan needs to set up bases now and not plan on "retaking" them. Once there are Red Army troops on the islands it will be too late. The world media will then portray Japan as the aggressor. It is important to make the Peoples Army make the first aggressive moves.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

BertieWoo Aug. 27, 2014 - 11:21PM JST OssanAmerica, What Japan's military is presently moving toward is NOT peace. It has had peace up to now, largely because of its pacifist constitution.

Sorry but you are wrong. Japan has had peace until now because China wasn't strong enough to bully it's neighbors. Now that it s, it is threatening the peace and stability of the whole region. It is China and China alone that has forced Japan to make changes to it's military posture.

Changing the constitution and building up the military, including building the new base in Henoko is moving toward a >confrontation with neighbouring countries.

Wrong again. China is the only country in the region creating confrontations.

It's very difficult to have a friendly chat with someone when they pull out a gun and point it at you. People know this. People don't want war. It's not fun for them.

Absolutely correct. That's why China needs to back down from their territorial and military expansion before they start WWIII.

This is why Saga doesn't want Ospreys at any price and 80% of Okinawans (according to recent survey by the >Ryukyu Shinbun) want the US bases out.

Nope. Anti-US sentiment in Japan is China's best friend.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Anywhere you see a highway, likely farmers were displaced. We've all ridden on highways, right?

Futenma was built to bomb Japan for the planned invasion of Japanese homeland, prior to the drops of the atomic bomb. It's not like it didn't have a valid purpose.

You could say it's unfair, and bases been on Okinawa so long, and rest of Japan doesn't suffer, but take that up with the rest of Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

China needs to back down from their territorial and military expansion before they start WWIII.

I can't believe an American said that!

Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and now building up bases around China, in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Kashmir in an attempt to "contain" China. And Henoko is the South East Asian equivalent of Cuba for the Chinese.

As for who is likely to start WWIII, I think the U.S.A. is the biggest contender.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

BertieWooAug. 28, 2014 - 08:53AM JST "China needs to back down from their territorial and military expansion before they start WWIII."

I can't believe an American said that!

Why? What territorial expansion has the United States displayed since WWII ended? Where is the U.S. exerting territorial control causing disputes with other nations?

Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and now building up bases around China, in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Kashmir in an >attempt to "contain" China. And Henoko is the South East Asian equivalent of Cuba for the Chinese.

And which of those have become U.S territory? U.S. bases around the world exist because the host nations want them there. If they didn't we wouldn't be there. And fascist China most certainly needs to be contained since they've decided they want to control all of Asia. The other Asian countries aren't very happy about that. As for Henoko being the equivalent of Cuba, that's outdated nonsense. China is already within range of US submarines with nuclear capability at all times.

As for who is likely to start WWIII, I think the U.S.A. is the biggest contender.

Your thinking is warped. The U.S. prevented WWIII from happening for 44 years. The US is unlikely to "start WWIII" because it already has strategic dominance over ,much of the world, has no interest in expanding it's territory or control, and doesn't have an enormous chip on it's shoulder like fascist China.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

turbotsat (Aug. 28, 2014 - 06:40AM JST)

Your analogy that bases and highways are the same is completely off the mark.

U.S. bases in Okinawa were built by the invading U.S. army for the sole purpose of contributing, first, to their military strategy to invade and occupy mainland Japan and, second, to make Okinawa a beachhead or fortress to establish hegemony in Asia, as Commodore Matthew Perry had already entertained in the 19th century.

Thus, the U.S. bases in Okinawa strongly smack of pre-World War II imperialism and colonialism however hard Washington may try to whitewash it. The reality of Okinawa always betrays Washinton's real intention.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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