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Protest held in Okinawa 3 years after start of landfill for U.S. base

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That’s pretty gross planning. Another us base stinking out an otherwise natural, unspoiled area. Don’t mind the us military being there, but they shouldn’t expand on new unspoiled sea areas. They should bolt their base onto one of the existing bases.

-5 ( +15 / -20 )

Do these protesters realize Communist China is licking their lips, eyeing Okinawa and ready to pounce at any moment. The US base is indispensable to Okinawas defense, and protecting the freedom of the island.

9 ( +26 / -17 )

Stop the landfills and protect the beautiful sea......except for when we fill in prime sea grass areas to build land and sell it to Chinese companies for resort hotels.

If they actually cared about the coral they'd also be more scrutiny on Japanese construction companies and their control of red soil run off from their sites.

14 ( +21 / -7 )

I think it's a shame when I see military jets flying through the air when I visit Okinawa for vacation. But considering the fact that China may make a move on Taiwan in the next 5-10 years, I support a military presence right now.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Please stop with the China taking Okinawa talk, never going to happen. If new bases don't get built on or leave Okinawa, the US will still back Japan. Stop with the stupid talk already, one of dumbest arguments to make to keep or build new bases on Okinawa.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

They should bolt their base onto one of the existing bases.

Um, that's what the Marine Corps is doing. The airfield is an extension of the existing Camp Schwab installation.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

The relocation plan dates back to a 1996 Japan-U.S. accord on the return of the land occupied by the Futenma base.

In 1996 Okinawa was still seethed with anger over the rape incident in the previous year of a school girl by three U.S. service members. Anti-U.S. base sentiments surged so high and wide in Okinawan society that the U.S. authorities must have felt a sense of crisis over all U.S. bases here.

It was under such circumstances that Futenma's total return was announced ceremoniously albeit with a string attached which no one took seriously at the time.  

Soon the rape incident was forgotten completely and people's attention has been focused only on the relocation issue. Twenty-five long years.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

They want Okinawa without bases. They think they would rather be poor than getting subsidies from the Japanese government with bases. At the bottom, they do not like Japan. Go independent!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Please stop with the China taking Okinawa talk, never going to happen. If new bases don't get built on or leave Okinawa, the US will still back Japan. Stop with the stupid talk already, one of dumbest arguments to make to keep or build new bases on Okinawa.

Technically, they are not building "new" base. They are building a replacement base for Futenma because the local government requested Futenma be shut down 25 years ago.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

StevieJ,

Read my comment.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Why don't the local residents just move out of the area? Easy!

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

Why don't the local residents just move out of the area? Easy!

why considering local residents voted for a pro base mayor most in the areas support the base there.

Once the relocation is complete Futenma will be returned to Okinawa. huge economic development for businesses and homes thatll be built on that land, you can just see how much land the Futenma base currently uses

https://www.google.co.jp/maps/place/Marine+Corps+Air+Station+Futenma/@26.287333,127.7732577,13.21z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x34e512dc95c12ded:0x4f344ca7fe303dd9!8m2!3d26.2725195!4d127.75501

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Strong Military means strong and protected Democracy.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Good luck getting rid of the yanks they're like rock oysters once entrenched! Japan needs to start looking after itself!

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

"We are against this! But we still want the government money for it!"

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Good luck getting rid of the yanks

Put another shrimp on the barbie mate!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Has anyone here actually been to the bay? LoL the coral there has been dead for decades. At least since early 90’s. While the bay is still beautiful, it’s not the “sanctuary” it’s painted to be. Also, a large majority of the “protesters” are paid by special interests groups to be there. Transportation is even provided in many cases.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

It is only because of the bases that keep their economy afloat. Without the bases, there will be no funds coming from the federal government. Tourism is dead. No manufacturing or other industries. Okinawa is doomed.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Has anyone here actually been to the bay? LoL the coral there has been dead for decades. At least since early 90’s. While the bay is still beautiful, it’s not the “sanctuary” it’s painted to be. Also, a large majority of the “protesters” are paid by special interests groups to be there. Transportation is even provided in many cases.

I've been out to Camp Schwab, both before and after the 1996 announcement. I visited Futenma several times around 1980-1982. Futenma was not in a greatly populated area when it was first used as a Marine Corps base, but by the early 1980s the Okinawa population had expanded such that just outside the fence lines were many houses, schools, and accrutrements of population. Even in the 1980s there was a lot of talk about moving Futenma to a less populated area. People complained about helicopters having parts fall off around the base. The 1996 rape had nothing to do with the Futenma base. It was a heinous act and the US Ambassador at the time, Walter Mondale, called the perps animals, which they were. He was chastised by the USG for speaking out when they were arrested and before they were convicted, but his words reflected the attitudes of many of us who were aware of the Marines and their motto "a few good men" and wonderd why it was the bad ones who seemed to end up in Okinawa (again, not at Futenma, but at other Marine Corps bases).

When I saw the picture, I counted 10 people in kayaks. I know the article says there were 20, and I am surprised that the picture doesn't show them all. I have been at anti-American protests when navy ships have come into Japanese ports, and I've seen all the people cram together and the news cameramen zoom in to make it seem like they are getting a small part of a large crowd while the photo op is staged with all the protesters crammed into the photo. As soon as the cameramen go away, the people get back on their busses, collect their pay, and go away. Seldom are the protestors from the local community, most are paid to stage the protests. I have spoken with the protestors and asked where they've come from, and asked the news reporters if they are going to report on the total number of protestors or show the bus they came on, and the reporters laugh and tell me where to go. That doesn't make for compelling news. At least I let them know that I knew what was going on.

It is high time that Camp Schab's runways are built and the Futenma base closed down. Who would have thought that finally, after 20 years of searching for solutions before the agreement was reached in 1996, that it would have been another 30 years or more before the move was completed? it is really a stupidly long process that benefits no one except the professional protestors and complainers.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The last time I was in Okinawa (a few years ago) a guy that lived next door told me he saw an ad paying ¥1000 an hour to go up to Schwab and stand around the gate "Protesting".

5 ( +11 / -6 )

The bloke in the Malibu kayak has no idea what he's doing, I can tell you it's his first time in a kayak and he's in a very dangerous position there - are these paid "protesters"?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan has remained a client-state of the USA for 75 years. It is an army of occupation, which has doodle-squat to do with 'defending' Japan from China - let alone the absurdity of defending Taiwan from 'attack'.

The nonsensical reasoning posted as 'defending' the construction of a military base, by a foreign power on native soil reveals an inability to comprehend U.S. foreign policy and the intent of American Empire.

Ludicrous and bizarre propaganda about paid protestors ignores the numerous activists who have spent a lifetime protesting the military presence in Okinawa.

August, 2018, 70,000 people protested the construction of the Futenma base.

Protests have been led for decades by the likes of the peace activist Suzuyo Takazato, with thousands of protestors during the past several decades.

The marines are an amphibious attack group. There has not been an amphibious landing by the marines in 75 years. The marines are an atavistic relic which should no longer exist and the army is more than capable of anything at which the marines claim to be proficient. The base is a boondoggle, Bechtel and other construction firms are essentially war profiteers that build military installations worldwide, such as in Okinawa.

The conservative 'think' tank, The Brookings Institute concluded the bases in Okinawa are of no real military value in terms of numbers and response time, let alone the small numbers of troops.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Michael Machida (Today  08:14 am JST),

Suppose a crime syndicate came to town and occupied prime land in town to the detriment of the residents.  Your suggestion is that the townspeople leave the area immediately so that the gangs could use the land freely and with impunity.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The Okinawa-based Marines are not central to the U.S.-Japanese security relationship or the U.S. role in Asia more generally. The Marines on Okinawa, for example, are poorly suited to make rapid deployments to places such as Taiwan. The four U.S. amphibious ships homeported nearby in Sasebo, Japan, can carry only about 3,000 troops and associated equipment. Any more amphibious ships would have to come from the United States, defeating much of the benefit of having the Marines on Okinawa. Marines could also deploy from Okinawa on commercial ships or planes. But commercial ships would need to be rented and are slower to load and unload than amphibious vessels. And planes, with their limited capacities, are best suited to transporting personnel and modest amounts of specialized equipment such as munitions, attack helicopters, and Patriot missile- defense systems. Marine equipment afloat in Guam would be quickly available, but because of the ease and speed of airlifting troops, it could be manned by Marines from anywhere.

Thus, Marines in Okinawa would provide only about 5 percent of early- arriving U.S. forces. Most U.S. defenders of Taiwan would consist of the 37,000 Army and Air Force troops in Korea, roughly 20,000 Air Force and Navy troops in Japan, or reinforcements from the United State.

Similar arguments would apply to other scenarios of land combat in Asia, such as trouble between Japan and China or Russia. The Marine force on Okinawa is too small for major combat engagements and generally too immobile even for establishing tripwires or slowing down an adversary in the early phases of an attack.

Marines are simply not the right instrument of military force for addressing possible Chinese threats to the Spratly Islands, Taiwan, or the sea lanes of the South China Sea. Marines are configured to fight in coastal regions and on land. The Navy and Air Force are better able to provide the high-performance fighter aircraft, bombers, submarines, and surface warfare ships needed for the blue-water engagements that such scenarios involving China would likely entail.

Moreover, if one wishes to focus on military efficiency, there is much to be said against keeping forces on Okinawa. Technically, Marines are not stationed there, they are temporarily deployed. Thus, to keep 20,000 Marines on Okinawa, perhaps twice that number must be kept in the active-duty force structure—a luxury we may no longer want to afford.

Moving the American Marines away from Okinawa, either to Hawaii or to the continental United States, would go far to defuse the current discontent in Okinawa and dramatically reduce the likelihood that it would recur there or elsewhere in Japan in the future.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

i am agree with army base removal-back to their own country.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

wtfjapan (today 80:59 am JST),

Once the relocation is complete Futenma will be returned to Okinawa. huge economic development for businesses and homes thatll be built on that land, you can just see how much land the Futenma base currently uses

Does the U.S. have innate right to say "Once the relocation is complete, Futenma will be returned to Okinawa"? Mind you, Futenma sits on illegally confiscated private lands. It's an illegal property per se whereby the U.S. doesn't have any right at all to demand a replacement be provided in exchange for its return.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Does the U.S. have innate right to say "Once the relocation is complete, Futenma will be returned to Okinawa"?

Here we go again! The Japanese government is the one who is saying this. Your post should be censored for again posting "fake" information!

Mind you, Futenma sits on illegally confiscated private lands. It's an illegal property per se whereby the U.S. doesn't have any right at all to demand a replacement be provided in exchange for its return.

Again, barking up the wrong tree! Go talk to Kishida and company, and his predecessors.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

These folks are hypocrites! Nary a one protested when the landfill for the new runway destroyed the coral reef outside of Naha airport.

Nary a one protested when Nishizaki was built, nor Shiozaki, nor Mihama, nor Awase, nor Agarihama, nor any other landfill in Okinawa, that has caused at least a hundred times MORE damage to the environment than the landfill (not a new base folks!) at Camp Schwab!

Anyone who complains about the landfill at Schwab, and turns a blind eye away from all the other JAPANESE destruction of the environment in the seas around Okinawa are HYPOCRITES and LIARS!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Relocate the base but in US soil.. Besides all the other 800 military bases invading in the rest of the world..

No country needs military bases from other invading countries..

Stop intervent countries..

Stop invading countries..

Stop bombing countries..

Let the world be how it wants to be..

Countries have the right to their own self-determination..

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Do these protesters realize Communist China is licking their lips, eyeing Okinawa and ready to pounce at any moment. The US base is indispensable to Okinawas defense, and protecting the freedom of the island.

They will get used to it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sad paid protesters on a few rickety canoes. The US helps keep the bad guys away, they support the local economy and they provide jobs for the locals.

Japan absolutely needs the presence of US bases during this time of Chinese territorial expansion. Anyone who says otherwise is simply a CCP supporter making comments in the hope of making Chinese ambitions come true. They live amongst you.

China wants to own territory controlled by others. The ambitions of empire are growing in China, which believes it has the right to control others and limit their freedoms.

Some locals may object to the US presence, but they would be wishing for them back once Chinese troops take it over if US troops were to leave.

Be happy with your life and freedom, even the freedom to object and protest. Under Chinese rule you would have no rights except those graciously granted by the CCP.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I too wish they weren't expanding Camp Schwab. But, they are and it has taken thirty years to get this far. It is not a new base. Camp Schwab has been here for over 60 years. A great deal of the land has been turned back to civilian use in the past. The Futenma Airbase is the reason for the whole project. All sides agree that Futenma is in a dangerous location and needs to be relocated. Protestors at Camp Schwab are nothing new. Not all of them are from Okinawa either. Pretty much the only reason Okinawa doesn't have a Chinese government is the US military presence there. Anyone who thinks that the JSDF could even discourage China is mistaken. It would be great if people would settle down and focus on how to exist peacefully with a neighboring country of 1,400,000,000 people who think they have a superior form of democracy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The protest should be with the J-gov. The US military forces are only doing what Japan allows them to do. The US is no longer as occupier in Japan but a guest. If Japan really wanted the US to leave then it would. It would not necessarily be happy, but it would.

There is tons of credible research that explains the adverse impact that military bases on foreign soil have on local environments. It is pretty disgusting, sometimes. In fact, these military bases are often able to get away with certain procedures that are not allowed in the states for environmental reasons.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Yubaru (Today  12:56 pm JST),

How many times have I asked you why you think Futenma's relocation to Henoko is absolutely necessary strategically or otherwise. And all you say is I'm barking at a wrong tree, or taking a parting shot at me at the least.

The answer may be found in Richard Gallagher's post. Do you agree with him or not?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yubaru (Today  01:00 pm JST),

Ichiro Inamine, a business tycoon in post-war Okinawa and the father of former Okinawa Governor Kei-ichi Inamine, once published a grand design of the future of Okinawa. That was in the early 1960s. He wrote that since arable and habitable land on Okinawa is widely occupied by U.S. forces, we must create land by reclaiming the many lagoons that amply surround this coral island.

When I saw that document for the first time early in the 1960s, I thought that was a great idea. Of course, that idea can't stand today now that people have become acutely mindful of preserving nature and environment. 

Unfortunately, however, the reclamation of land was carried out at the places you mention. If it were not for U.S. bases occupying so much land, would such land reclamation have been necessary? The problem is entirely our own to answer.

The Henoko land fill issue is completely different from the local land fills by nature. It fundamentally concerns with one's pride. Can a foreign company operating in a U.S. city destroy natural environment there, saying there are many cases of environmental destruction in the area by you and so why not us?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 Can a foreign company operating in a U.S. city destroy natural environment there, saying there are many cases of environmental destruction in the area by you and so why not

FYI your analogies and comparisons mean nothing, because they are not about HERE.

Stop losing your focus, I realize due to the fact you only see things with blinders on, that it may be an impossible request, but keep the issue here.

Stop pointing fingers at the US, as it's Japan who made the decision and presented it to the US, you keep on forgetting that really important detail. I guess it's an "age" kind of thing.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

If you want to protect Okinawa and the ocean then hosting the USA military is probably better than what China would do with Okinawa land and ocean.

Its a difficult situation and especially because the Japanese government doesn't give okinawans the respect they deserve.

Thats my opinion.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yubaru (Today  07:12 pm JST),

Stop pointing fingers at the US, as it's Japan who made the decision and presented it to the US, you keep on forgetting that really important detail. I guess it's an "age" kind of thing.

Who attached a string to the return of USMC Air Station Futenma? When former Prime Misnister Ryutaro Hashimoto announced the breaking news on T.V. with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale overlooking him from behind, was it Hashimoto or Mondale, representing the U.S., who attached the condition that Futenma's function will be relocated within Okinawa?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese and Okinawan's have destroyed more of the environment than anything the JAPANESE government has done with construction for US forces in Japan. That's not an opinion, it's a fact!

I challenge anyone to put your money where your mouth is, step up and do something, IF you think you have a valid argument! I challenge you to go and file a complaint with the world court, if you think you have a case.

I challenge you to file a complaint with the high court here in Japan, as is your right!, Stop throwing garbage around and stand up for what you believe in. If you think you have a valid case, I will even supply the 1,500 yen to help you file a complaint, as that is what it costs, if I recall correctly.

I will applaud you for your effort, if and when you do it! Win or lose, at least then everyone knows you are sticking up for your beliefs, and not just "talking about it" here!

Otherwise, please stop!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Are you certain it was illegally confiscated land?

Ok, Okinawa US bases unlike the mainland bases are on pretty much, for arguments sake on confiscated land, meaning that during and following the war, when the island was under US control, they took private land for their use in building bases.

At the time it was not illegal, leastwise during the war, as the conventions concerning these issues were legally set aside by Nimitz. During the war, Futenma and other locations were procured for use as bases to execute the war and then kept, for countless reasons following it.

All these issues were covered by the treaties and agreements between the US government and Japan and they are not an issue.

No one locally ever talks about it, but you see all the protesters at Schwab, you see all the games the prefectural government has taken to stop the construction, but never once, not in how many generations, NOT ONCE, has anyone ever talked about the legality of the base land issue that is repeatedly brought up here.

Also, its ONLY about Futenma, but ALL the bases are on confiscated private land, but ONLY Futenma gets discussed, because it's a personal issue, and the other bases get conveniently pushed aside. It's also about the Marines only, as they comes across as "loving" the Navy, Air Force and Army.

This is just shortening a rather long discussion, but you are correct, and by agreements and the SOFA, Japan is required to provide a replacement facility. The US demanded nothing, it was mutually agreed upon after the rape in 1996 and yet it had taken the Okinawan and Japanese government literally decades to find a replacement spot. Was that done in good faith? Different story, different topic.

It's getting done, and will be done.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

One thing everyone should keep in mind, no matter how convoluted some may make the issue, it is at the core, not about the landfill, not about the environment, not about anything other than the US military being in Okinawa.

This is where the "famous" Japanese "omotenashi" gets tossed out the window into the garbage, because no other prefecture in Japan would take the move. Yet when it's finished, and all is said and done, a huge swath of "property" will be returned to Japan.

Next we will just have to wait and see how they choose to develop it, (cough cough) Aeon? Parco? San Ei?

But then it's their choice as the JAPANESE government has control again!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Frustrated with the noise, crime and accidents linked to the U.S military presence, many local residents remain opposed to the relocation plan as they want the base moved out of the prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

There is alot of noise, crime, and accidents linked to locals and Japanese tourists on Okinawa, which far outnumber the same linked to US military and related personnel.

At the same time, bad idea building the proposed Henoko facility. Just keep Futenma the way it is.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

P. Smith,

The reason why I think that the U.S. Marines deployed to Futenma Air Station are no different from illegal squatters is that the land was confiscated in blatant violation of Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. The provision clearly states an occupation army cannot confiscate private property in the occupied zone.

If the U.S. military had returned the land when its mission was accomplished, I wouldn't say anything. But the land has remained the same as it was 76 years ago, being used as one of the U.S. military's forward and training bases.

If you insist to say this is the end result of the war Japan started, then the U.S. military is stationed in Okinawa, not as the "defenders" and "protectors" of Japan as touted by the U..S. government citing the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, but as an occupation army. If so, it boils down that that security treaty is a sham, nothing but a sham.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You’re intentionally skipping over the part where the Japanese government agreed to lease these lands to the US. Your argument is with your government, not the US.

He is also conveniently skipping over the orders that Adm. Nimitiz issued that put the issue to rest during the battle of Okinawa. The follow up treaties and agreements between Japan and the US also laid the issue to rest as well.

It's a purely moot discussion, something academics like to toss about like "what if's"

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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