politics

Suga seeks Okinawa's understanding for base relocation plan

20 Comments

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday met with Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima to seek local support for the planned relocation of the U.S. air base at Futenma to Henoko.

Suga, making his first visit to Okinawa since assuming his post, said the government was determined to ease the base-hosting burden on Okinawans, while maintaining a deterrence, Fuji TV reported. However, he said the central government must proceed with the relocation plan in line with the 2005 Japan-U.S. agreement.

Nakaima repeated his longstanding objection to the plan, saying that he wanted to see the Futenma base relocated outside the prefecture.

Last month, the government formally asked Nakaima to approve plans to build the new U.S. military facilities at Henoko. It submitted an application seeking Nakaima to give approval for landfill work at Henoko.

Nakaima said Wednesday that while he is opposed to the plan, he will examine the application as required by law, Fuji reported.

The Okinawan governor also told Suga that Okinawans object to a ceremony, scheduled for April 28, to mark the restoration of Japan's sovereignty seven years after its defeat in World War II.

The plan has upset some residents of Okinawa, which remained under U.S. control for another two decades after 1952.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
Login to comment

Worst case scenario , with all the rhetoric coming from from the North Koreans, Okinawa is in the firing line for any attacks on American military bases. I would hope that Gov Nakiama doesn't accept the bullying from central government and stands by his commitment to the people of Okinawa.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Answer to opening paragraph. Ain't going to happen.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

In Stars and Stripes a few days ago, a Japanese study said the project would take at least five years!... not practical and the base needs merged with Kadena AB on Okinawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"seeks Okinawa's understanding"

They never got understanding/consent from the Narita farmers but Narita Airport still got built.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nakaima said Wednesday that while he is opposed to the plan, he will examine the application as required by law, Fuji reported.

If he was so opposed to the plan he could have rejected it out of hand. He has previously stated that he will take 8 to 10 months to "study" the plan before giving his decision.

He's flip-flopped on the base issue before and while he may be saying one thing publicly, who knows what he is thinking privately. He could very well sign off on the plan and then resign, he is getting old and it's time for him to shove off.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

minello7,

Worst case scenario , with all the rhetoric coming from from the North Koreans, Okinawa is in the firing line for any attacks on American military bases. I would hope that Gov Nakiama doesn't accept the bullying from central government and stands by his commitment to the people of Okinawa.

Quite right. In fact, other parts of Japan feel exactly the same way. That's why they are closing Atsugi. So they shove the bases as far from the main voting areas as possible.

Abe doesn't care about Okinawa. For him it's expendable. The ceremony to celebrate the return of Japan to Japanese administration on the 28th is either an insult, the diplomatic equivalent of extending the middle finger, or just total incompetence. Whichever it is, it doesn't look good.

I hope Nakaima can hold his own and stand by his people.

They want their land back and it's way past time they got it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

North Korea is not a threat to Japan unless we allow them to use their bases against them. I do not support South any more than am against North Korea. It is not our war and as to the Chief Secretary the answer is still NO! He will examine it and send it back rejected. As for their ceremony it is offensive how the mainland sold us to the Americans.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Just how big do the Japanese officials and USA "military intelligence" think Japan is? It is not 1946. The only reason for the USA to continue to occupy Okinawa is to subsidize the economy and give the USA military and families a paid vacation. Has anyone seen the story of the flight from central USA to SK and back. A visible force of Ospreys and all the other equipment is not needed. It is time to move on.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Bertie, I would love to know how you can say "That's why they are closing Atsugi"? Or are you just pulling that out of thin air? They are moving most squadrons to Iwakuni, but the Atsugi is not closing; it is pretty much becoming a helo base.

I do agree with you that the ceremony is a smack in the face to Okinawa. The way I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong) Okinawa does not consider itself part of Japan for apparent reasons.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They've been talking about closing atsugi for almost ten years. My guess is it won't happen since there is so much opposition in Iwakuni. BRAC was Rumsfield's dumb idea and he's long gone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The NHK radio piece on this yesterday again brought up the "return of all bases south of Kadena Air Base" thing. This idea seems to be like Casper The Ghost fading in and out of focus - what's the story? If it is a real proposal it would certainly be an effective lever to get acceptance of the Henoko plan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Notice there is opposition to moving any units INTO any/all areas? Hint: move OUT(as in to Guam or some other US territory. Or How about annex Taiwan? Surely the Taiwanese would welcome the support openly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Apparently the protestors, including Nakaima, have never heard of eminent domain, whereby the elected national government appropriates land for the greater good of the nation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Little Boots,

I do agree with you that the ceremony is a smack in the face to Okinawa.

Yes. As I wrote, I'm not sure if it's an intentional, "baka yaro!" Or just Abe didn't know. I suspect the latter. The lad isn't too bright.

The way I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong) Okinawa does not consider itself part of Japan for apparent reasons.

For some reason, many Americans don't seem to see this easily. It may be easier for Europeans to understand.

Of course, on paper, Okinawa is part of Japan. Okinawans have Japanese passports.

Scotland has been part of the U.K. since 1801:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_year_did_Scotland_join_the_UK

However, since many Scots do not consider they are part of the U.K., and so they will have a referendum next year to decide whether to become an independent country or not:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/scottish-independence

I notice a similarity here.

There is a very strong cultural identity for Okinawa as there is for Scotland. Both have their own music, dress, dance and food. And both have an intense pride in their respective "countries," and an inherent feeling of difference from the U.K. and Japan. The Scots call the English "sassanach," and similarly Okinawans call mainland Japanese "Yamatonchu." It's interesting that "sassanach" means "Saxon," and "Yamatonchu," a person from Yamato.

For this reason, Abe's "bright idea" (sarcasm) to instigate a memorial day for the return of Japan to Japanese administration - at a time when Okinawa was still under US administration - is seen as an insult.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To whom it may concern; trying to equal Okinawa with Scotland is a moot point. While Okinawa was an independent country until the latter half of the 1800's, it is an integral part of Japan.

There may be a teenie-tiny off the wall fringe group that wants independence it is so far off the wall that no one with half a brain even acknowledges it's existence.

Otherwise it's ludicrous to even try to put a square peg in a round hole.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Apparently you have never heard that the Japanese constitution forbids eminent domain for military bases...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

At this point, just move everything to CNMI and Guam.

But repudiate the Security Treaty for Japan not holding to its end of the bargain.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Until all of Japan and all Japanese look at Okinawa for what it is. Not what it was 250 years ago. A prefecture of Japan with Japanese citizens living in it. Will progress move forward. All prefectures like to promote their own styles and traditions in different ways. People should stop referring to Okinawa as if it is something other than what it is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan has always looked at Okinawa as a lesser land with lesser people. There is absolutely no reason that the bases on Okinawa could not function just a well located in Kagoshima, except... it would bring more dirty Americans to the Imperial Japanese Homeland and a little closer to Tokyo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

bokuwamo there is the nation of Japan and the ethic Japanese. When WWII happened there were people who could not speak Japanese. Some of the older people still can not speak Japanese today. Thus your figure of 250 years is not correct. America with the help of Japan is destroying our Okinawa heritage. Remember Japanese is not my first language.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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