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Suga urges Okinawan governor to back down in U.S. base dispute

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Secession is possible, it's not written explicitly in the constitution that it can't be done, let Ryuku be an independent country.

The Hawks in the US and in Tokyo should respect the people and if they dont, the people should act and secede. Don't listen to those who say its not possible, it is possible if you want it.

2 ( +17 / -15 )

How can Suga urge the governor to back down which if he does,he'll lose face badly and Japanese hate losing face more than anything in the world.Gotta come with some viable face saving compromise for Onaga to retreat and don't try the cash injection again.Maybe offer up some casinos or USJs instead.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Onaga should offer nothing, there shouldnt be a compromise, what the Okinawans give up and what they receive to have the bases there doesn't sound worth it according to them.

Make the Ryukyu Islands one! Se-cede! Se-cede! Se-cede!

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

The central government last week muscled the governor out of the way, suspending his stop-work order, and ahead of Abe’s week-long U.S. tour starting April 28, which will focus on deepening trade and military ties.

Like I have said all along, the national government is going to get this done no matter what Onaga or any other local politician thinks. Onaga will and has been kicked to the curb and the national government is well within it's rights to implement the plan without local agreement.

They really would prefer not to go about it this way.

How can Suga urge the governor to back down which if he does,he'll lose face badly and Japanese hate losing face more than anything in the world.Gotta come with some viable face saving compromise for Onaga to retreat and don't try the cash injection again.Maybe offer up some casinos or USJs instead.

Lose face badly? Onaga isn't going to lose face at all, he will end up smelling like roses because he followed through on his campaign promise. Isnt much else he can do, and he will point to the national governments heavy handed approach and become the hero to those that voted for him.

He will also probably get a crap load of money in concessions somewhere down the road too. Just not now, as it would look like a bribe. On one side he will publicly denounce the governments actions, saving face, and then in private stretch out his open hand for more money.

The national government will be apologetic but push through the construction, and all sides will claim victory.

Secession is possible, it's not written explicitly in the constitution that it can't be done, let Ryuku be an independent country.

200 years ago fine, but not even a realistic idea today. Folks should seriously ignore this type of thinking.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

"Make the Ryukyu Islands one! Se-cede! Se-cede! Se-cede!"

Secede right into China!

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Democracy for Okinawa?

I guess Mark Twain was right when he said:

“If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.”

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Easy and simple solution. Tokyo could pay for the relocation to those islands the Chinese want.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Can Suga ever say "abandoning the (relocation) plan would leave the base in Futenma permanently"? We've also heard a similart intimidation from the U.S. side many times in the past.

Note Futenma was built on private land while local people were herded in refugee camps toward the end of WW II. Note also that Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land states "[f]amily 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."

The U.S. was a signatory of it. One can say then, withougt hesitation, that Futenma sits on stolen property. Naturally, the U.S. has no right to demand Futenma's replacement be built at Henoko.

It's then thoughtless of Suga to say, in collusion with Washington, that Futenma may remain at the present site permanently. Can't he realize that if the new base were to be built, it will remain there permanently as will other major bases. He's repeatedly said that he will get Okinawa's understanding of the issue. Can he? I wonder.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

Secession is possible, it's not written explicitly in the constitution that it can't be done, let Ryuku be an independent country

Well, you're correct that the constitution doesn't explicitly say that a prefecture can't secede... but that's mainly because the word prefecture doesn't even appear in the constitution. Prefectures are simply creations of the central government which could be disolved tomorrow. For better or worse, Japan is a unitary state.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There doesn't need to be a replacement for Futenma in Okinawa.

Okinawa, to the best of my knowledge has no agreement to host US bases on its soil.

They just grabbed it after WWII when Okinawa could hardly say anything about it and stayed.

It's been 70 years!

US bases should be on US territory.

If they can't afford to run them on their own taxpayers' money, they'd better give up.

The US is pathetic in leaning on Japan the way it does.

Amae to nasakenai.

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

harvey: "Onaga should offer nothing, there shouldnt be a compromise,"

Agreed -- and should rightly be shown the door promptly. He is in opposition and blocking something approved by the national government, of which Okinawa is a part. If he continues to do as he is doing, Okinawa should be further deprived of the benefits given to it by the national government, namely money. The base in Futenma is going to stay longer and longer so long as construction of the site of the AGREED UPON relocation is delayed, and that is entirely Onaga's fault. The people of Okinawa can thank him for that. The US military is not going anywhere, especially with Abe's built up rhetoric towards China and the desire for more joint R&D and military sales, and his desire to make Japan more of a military might (which makes it more threatened and Okinawa a key strategic point) -- part of why Abe is being given the green light to address US Congress.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

"There doesn't need to be a replacement for Futenma in Okinawa"

China agrees, Futenma will stay, and all the whiners will be moved or shut up when the Chinese take over Okinawa.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

"Secession is possible, it's not written explicitly in the constitution that it can't be done, let Ryuku be an independent country."

@harvey pekar

Change some of the words around, and it sounds quite a bit like the U.S. before its bloody rebellion back in the 1860s.

Civil wars are usually blurry, messy affairs and usually might makes right, as in the case of the U.S. Civil War. I'm not necessarily saying that this is true, but that's usually the way these kinds of events turn out.

Now if Okinawa does secede, as you clearly suggest, then China, in its own view of geo-political events, would be within its rights to become militarily involved. As Serrano stated, "Secede right into China!" Serrano's absolutely right about that. Okinawa's dream of being an independent country is a pipe dream due to its strategic geo-political location. If Okinawa isn't under Japanese control, then it will (sooner rather than later) be under Chinese control. Make no doubt about it, China's rubbing its hands together and licking its chops right now as this conflict continues to unfold. If Okinawa does secede, then Okinawa is in for a real shock when they see how their new master (China) governs them.

Be careful what you wish for.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

If Okinawa were to secede,and lets just say oh China invades,who would help them?

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Stand up and resist, don't kneel in compliance. The SACO agreement to relocate a sea-based heliport within Okinawa is absolutely unacceptable. It is an act of sheer madness.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

China invade a sovereign nation? You're as naive as those who think US presence is a must. They haven't invaded Taiwan yet, and they firmly believe it's theirs.

This isn't the twentieth century anymore...

7 ( +14 / -7 )

@Richard bHard

Good question. Okinawa is setting itself up to become the next Tibet. If Okinawa did secede (Ring the dinner bell and shout out 'Come and get it!'), then Okinawa is completely on its own and the U.S. is free from any obligations to protect Okinawa and its people. Would the U.S. defend Okinawa from a Chinese invasion? At that point, it's highly doubtful if the U.S. would do anything and risk starting WWIII. Sure, the U.S. government will protest and whoever the president is will give some emotional speeches, but that's about it. The American people won't be in favor of saving Okianawa after having been kicked out. So, it's basically a no-brainer. Okinawa could be the next Tibet on the horizon.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Good on Onaga. Abe and Suga are the ones who should back down

2 ( +12 / -10 )

I don't understand the negative impact of Chinese sovereignty over Okinawa guys. The Ryukyuans had been culturally closer to the Chinese rather than the Japanese prior to Meiji-era annexation by Japan, and Hong Kong under limited rule under Beijing's efforts to curb freedom of speech is still a lot more appealing than Tokyo in many fronts, including hospitality for expats, much wider acceptance of the English language and access to growing markets :P

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Onaga will ultimately lose this dispute. That is not because he is not morally right but because Japanese law gives the cabinet the power, with the local government having very little authority.

I reiterate a basic truth. Okinawans have long been sacrificed on the altar of the U.S.-Japan alliance, and this instance is just the latest. There are 52 airports for 47 prefectures in Japan, almost all in good enough shape to be transferred to U.S. Military use after some refurbishment at much less expense than in Henoko.

The view among many Ametican military commanders that Okinawa somehow naturally is suited to be the main bases for USFJ combines with cynical NIMBYism of main island Japanese, buttressed by a long line of LDP governments which wanted to limit the Americans to as far away as possible.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I'm amazed at people who've swallowed the "yellow peril" line about China invading Okinawa.

Why would they do that?

What possible advantage would there be for China?

They could corner the world market in Goya and Beni Imo?

Feast themselves on natural resources like pumice and coral?

Eat the last of the dugong?

China and Okinawa have had good relations for centuries.

In STARK contrast to Japan and China.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Bertie:

Okinawa, to the best of my knowledge has no agreement to host US bases on its soil. They just grabbed it after WWII when Okinawa could hardly say anything about it and stayed. It's been 70 years!

In 1945, when US yroops landed Okinawa, many Okinawans, including children, went to welcome USA landing, Then they were killed by US troops which misunderstood why people came to their landing. Ever since then, Okinawa has been governed by US Military troops. 79 years anniversary under foreign military force.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

@Fred Hunt

China invade a sovereign nation? You're as naive as those who think US presence is a must.

The thing is, those who believe that China would invade Okinawa are actually the same people who think the US presence there is a must. They use the "China threat" as their reasoning. I just wanted to point that out, that they're one and the same. And yes, they are naive. The US Marines (the front line force) is relocated in Guam, and makes you wonder what the purpose of the base is Okinawa is.

Let's just assume China is that aggressive, and that the US presence in Japan is indeed needed, why can't they just relocate the US bases elsewhere in Japan and out of Okinawa? This has now become a rhetorical question for we all know the true answer to this. And it is stuff like this that make Okinawans ever more resentful.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

US Military stays in Okinawa, not because China threatens to attack Okhinawa (When China said?) but collect huge so called Omoiyari Fund from Japan ( $.. billion a year).to stay on Okinawa.

People who tell China threatening Japan should inspect USA stores including WalMarts, Made in China clothes and any products all over in USA. Just like Japan Inc did in late 20th century, China conqueor USA with its products.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told Gov Takeshi Onaga: We hope to get your understanding on the plan…

Should read: we don't care whether we get your understanding, but you'd better obey, otherwise we have a credibility problem.

@ Yubaru APR. 05, 2015 - 04:40PM JST

the national government is well within it's rights to implement the plan without local agreement.

Were is it written that the national government can ignore the overwhelming majority of a whole region within Japan?

While the central government surely has the power to ignore the Okinawan stance it does not mean it has the right to do so.

200 years ago fine, but not even a realistic idea today. Folks should seriously ignore this type of thinking.

Okinawans should look at all possible options to regain their freedom and dignity.

For Okinawa becoming a part of Japan has brought about an incredible amount of suffering and dismay. So for Okinawans the current concentration of military on Okinawa means as much of a threat as a deterrent and they know very well why they want considerably less or non of that threatening stuff on their islands.

If Abe really goes ahead with ignoring the will of the Okinawan people in such an arrogant way the Japanese democracy will take such a blow that could take decades to recover from.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Suga probably meant to say "bend down" in his comments.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

bam-boo, you hit the nail on the head. Dignity for the Okinawan people. Isn't that what U.S. and Japanese democracies preach for all peoples? Or as a democratic American, have I lived a lie all my life? America, leave Okinawa gracefully. Japan, leave Okinawa gracefully. You will gain more respect and compassion from a world who cares.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Solution - Build an island. Directions are in Chinese. Edward Wong reports, China has been moving sand onto reefs and shoals to add several new islands to the Spratly archipelago, in what foreign officials say is a new effort to expand the Chinese footprint in the South China Sea." Military only, thank you.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@okinawanvoice: Can Suga ever say "abandoning the (relocation) plan would leave the base in Futenma permanently"? We've also heard a similart intimidation from the U.S. side many times in the past.

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

No, abandoning relocation plan would not have the base in Futema permanently.USA has to plan where Futema base will be relocated, and ask each of 50 states if one of them welcome and plan to protect female residents from gang raping.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The idea that Okinawa would secede from Japan is not at all realistic. It may be the poorest province in Japan but not to that extent. Would Louisiana secede from the Union just because it is the poorest state in the Union? Don't be silly, they would be worse off than they are now and that is the situation in Okinawa. . It's not going to happen.

The Chinese are NOT going to invade Okinawa. The situation between Okinawa and China is totally different than the situation between China and Tibet. The comparison is ludicrous. First off China is not a nation that invades other nations with the frequency of the Western Powers. When China has invaded other countries it was often carried out by foreign powers who had conquered China, the Mongols carried out some horrific invasions that had nothing to do with the Chinese people. The same is true of the Manchus. They were not ethnic Chinese.

China has a much more effective way of taking over a country. It's called immigration or migration and if you look around Asia you'll see that it works far better than the bellicose methods used by the Western Powers. Singapore is the best example of the "Chinese method of conquest" but in all of Asia they Chinese have given more to the nations they have gone to than anyone else. The border wars along China's southern border are local incidents and hardly of the caliber of nation vs nation. Only in the eyes of the least informed do these incidents take on the international character which these less informed try to give them. In the North this mechanism of migration is working at this very moment. There are areas in Russia that are not very appealing to most Russians and they do not want to go there but there is a labor shortage in these areas. They can be exploited in many ways but they need more laborers. There is a void and the Chinese are filling that void and these areas often have more Chinese than Russians. On the other had, to a smaller number of Russian technocrats China is very appealing because it lacks the technical expertise that the Russians have . They (the Russians) are filling that void. One cannot seriously think that the Chinese are going to invade anyone. Where is the proof for such theories? China is doing too well to contemplate military action the way the Americans are. The islands in the South China Sea? That is a TBA at a later date but it is again, in the Chinese mind set, protecting China from foreign incursion. Not Asian intervention as much as America and the West attempting to repeat what was done to China in the 19Th and early 20Th century. As someone above remarked "This is no longer the 20th century but the 21st century" and things are, by necessity, going to be different. Or as Napoleon once remarked "When China moves the whol;e world will move." This, much to the dislike of some, is exactly what is happening. And we have not even mentioned the Chinese presence in Africa.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hundreds of anti-base protesters rallied outside the hotel in Okinawa’s capital Naha where the talks took place, holding banners that read “rescind the relocation plan!”

Suga urged to Onaga. And he sew protesters. What will happens next in Tokyo? Can he urge Abe to visit Okinawa and see himself? Or to recommend Pentagon Chief to visit Okinawa? It is out of Suga's hand now.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The current Okinawa government sympathizes with the communist party and doesn't represent the entrie island.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The current Okinawa government sympathizes with the communist party and doesn't represent the entrie island.

You're right! With the exception of the fact that it was democratically elected, and represents the entire island(s).

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There have been many and heavy US military bases in Okinawa for 70years. It seems to be time that some bases move to other places in mainland of Japan or back to other US territories. As to national security, all prefectures should share some of military bases, not only to Okinawa. It had an so unforgettable tragic war there that Okinawans still remember that.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

legally speaking, the local government can not prevent the national government from doing anything. narita airport is a great example of this happening. nakaima, the former mayor, didn't "betray" the locals; he realistically looked at the situation and tried to get the best deal possible for the locals. it's great to see people actively resisting the government, but this is futile.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

it's great to see people actively resisting the government, but this is futile.

It's futile, but also important. Civil disobedience is one of the checks to keep the government in balance.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Note Futenma was built on private land while local people were herded in refugee camps toward the end of WW II. Note also that Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land states "[f]amily 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."

How well did Japan follow the Law of Land Warfare? They didn't follow it at all, did they? They raped, killed, confiscated, destroyed, and imprisoned at will, didn't they?

You seem to forget that Japan surrendered "unconditionally", and waived all rights upon their surrender. You also fail to remember that America confiscated and redistributed land throughout Japan, most of this land being granted to tenant farmers. Is all of this land stolen? Should the farmers give back their farms to the original landowners, and become tenants again?

As for people being "herded into refugee camps" toward the end of the war, at least they were not beaten, tortured, and starved like the refugees swept up by the Japanese in the years previously.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Perhaps Tokyo can send a tape recorder on a continuous loop next time repeating "please understand, please co-operate". Nobody in Tokyo will listen to what the Okinawans have to say, so why bother sending anyone in person?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You seem to forget that Japan surrendered "unconditionally", and waived all rights upon their surrender. You also fail to remember that America confiscated and redistributed land throughout Japan, most of this land being granted to tenant farmers. Is all of this land stolen? Should the farmers give back their farms to the original landowners, and become tenants again?

Time has already changed a long time ago. Japan was hisctorically surrendered unconditioanlly in 1945, but no longer and not any more. It is now an independent country for many years since. All countries and including UN admitted it except you. Hence the US can't do all in Japan whatever it wants as much as in America. It seems to me that more arrogant military is, more cursed by wars endlessly, so always fighting as a result. I wonder how many soldiers died since WW2.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

...Civil wars are usually blurry, messy affairs and usually might makes right, as in the case of the U.S. Civil War

Umm... No. The U.S. Civil War was most absolutely not a case of "might makes right." Fighting to prevent a significant portion of the State from championing slavery and all the odious consequences that "Peculiar Institution" entailed was absolutely the right thing to do and in no way morally ambiguous.

In any case, in no scenario (at least one rooted firmly in the real world) will Okinawa secede from Japan. And even if via some dazzling restructuring of the natural laws that govern the universe it were to secede, neither Japan nor its strategic partner, the U.S., would stand idly by while China or any other nation walked in and Ukrained the islands. Secession won’t happen, so there's little point in entertaining the idea.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think the government should reconsider the relocation plan, but where would the place be?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

cevin7:

As I said in the above post (Apr. 05, 2015 - 05:58PM JST), Futenma Air Station sits on illegally confiscated private land. The Marines in Okinawa are illegal squatters. So when told to move out, they can not help but obey the order.

But they seem to have forgotten how Futenma came into being and so brazenly demand its replacement be provided. Tokyo, under the Hatoyama administration, once tried to find a relocation site on the mainland, but no prefecture would welcome the idea, a typical people attitude of NIMBY.

My contention is: Why should the land-holding side be bothered with finding a relocation site for squatters who are occupying the land illegally?

It's up to Washington to find a relocation site in the U.S. mainland, where there is abundant land space. There's no strategic reason why the Marines have to be stationed in Okinawa, say many an expert on the military issue.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Suga urges Okinawan governor to back down in U.S. base dispute

To the US and Japan: stop treating Okinawa like your little puppet. Show some respect.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

but where would the place be?

How about Shimane or Tottori up on the Sea of Japan? Extremely rural, relatively isolated, and both prefectures in desperate need of the sort of economic windfall major base construction and the subsequent infusion of consumer spending into the local economies would bring. Don’t believe it? Just ask those Okinawans who are less than thrilled at the ideology-muddled effort to push U.S. bases out of an otherwise barren Okinawan economic landscape.

Of course, the Japanese government would then have to contend with the significant political hissy fit certain to be pitched by North Korea in response to a major U.S. marine contingent being parked that much closer to its shores.

Then again, with Sasebo and Iwakuni both within an international stone's throw of Pyongyang, how much worse would another base make things? I'm certain reason could be asserted with all concerned. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic)

At the end of the day, no one is going to be happy with whatever solution proposed to address The Okinawa Question. On the one hand, we’ve got a significant portion of the Okinawan population who feel well within their right to demand that the bases be removed and understandably incensed that they have been effectively overruled.

But then we also have an equally significant portion of Okinawans who not only want the bases there, but also rely on them for their livelihood, and have done so for the better part of 70 years.

We have Okinawans being told that they should consider themselves fortunate to host a U.S. military presence that ostensibly serves as a protective shield from Chinese and North Korea un-neighborliness. But then we’ve got the rest of Japan saying, “Relocating a U.S. base to here?! Oh, hell no.”

We’ve got political riffraff on both sides of the argument muddying the waters with ulterior motives to the Nth degree versus a U.S. military command that sees the protection of Japan as secondary to the larger mission of countering Chinese regional hegemony, which effectively translates to the political riffraff being relegated to background noise on the broader canvas of U.S. geopolitics.

The bases aren’t going to be moved out of Okinawa. And if push comes to shove, Okinawans are not going to secede or rise up in violent revolt. So energies would be better spent by toning down the largely ineffective and inflammatory anti-base hyperbole and rhetoric in favor of practical, realistic solutions that will go towards making the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Unfortunately, reasonableness, IMO, left the anti-base contingent long ago, and has been replaced with an implacable devotion to all-or-nothing. That's just not going to work.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The US doesn't want to leave Okinawa which leaves the central government looking like it doesn't respect the prefecture when the reality is that, without US consent, it has no control over this issue.

Please read the stipulations of the Okinawa reversion treaty. It guarantees US rights to these bases, so until the US is ready to leave the government cannot force them to do so without severely straining the alliance -- which in itself is absolutely vital to Japanese security. .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

sangetsu03 Apr. 06, 2015 - 10:23AM JST :

Compared with what Japan did before and during the war, what the U.S. has done in Okinawa after WW II is nothing to speak of, you want to say?

Well, that Japan you are speaking of was crushed to the nail. In other words, Japan with an imperial ambition and a history of wrong-doings paid the price for it. So you cannot use pre-war Japan to justify your conduct now. If you do, you are all part of the same gang as Imperial Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@LFRAgain

Umm...Yes. The U.S. Civil War was most absolutely about might makes right. The North with its vast material resources, superior industrial capacities and greater population crushed the South, regardless of how anybody felt about slavery. If you want to talk about the moral issues, then ask your teacher about them. China is in an excellent position because of its proximity to roll right over Okinawa regardless of how morally bankrupt China is. It's not so surprising when you think about it, the Germans (Boy! Were they ever morally bankrupt.) were able to roll right over Poland during WWII in a matter of days. Another example, the American Indians. You could argue that the Indians held the moral highground and that the white man stole their lands from them, but it didn't do the American Indians very much good, did it? By the way, an excellent book to read on that subjet is Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Now, if Okinawa were to secede and the U.S. was forced to leave and give up its bases there, then, no, the U.S. will not pay in blood for the same real estate twice due to a cockeyed policy which forced them out in the first place. As for Japan, they would have to sit down quietly and eat it big time because (at present) they're in no position to object to China without a friend and partner like the U.S. by its side. Maybe in the future, Japan will be able to push back, but that day is not here just yet.

However, as you stated quite clearly above, it's impossible that Okinawa would or could ever secede from Japan, so no worries, right?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It is now an independent country for many years since.

This independence did not come without conditions, did it? America did not grant Japan independence without attaching a few strings, the largest of which is the continued presence of US military forces in Japan. The treaties Japan has signed since the end of the war regarding the presence of the US forces still descend from the original conditions of the surrender, and of the original treaty granting Japan "independence". The Okinawans may not agree to the terms of these treaties, just as I don't agree with having to get up early on Mondays to work. But neither the Okinawans nor I have any choice in these matters. What cannot be changed must be endured.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

i don't know how politics in japan works, but as long as this issue is going, is Onaga a representative of Okinawa in the Diet? or if they have another politician representing Okinawa in the main House, what are his/her views? In any case, I think the voice of Okinawans is just as important as any other people from any prefecture in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

souka,

Onaga represents all Okinawa as a governor. He won the last gubernatorial election with an overwhelming majority voting for him on the promise to close the new base planned to be built at Henoko District in northern Okinawa. His opponent was an incumbent governor who was also elected in his second term on the same "No Henoko" platform but flip-flopped his positions in the last days of his second term and was thus ousted by voters.

In the House of Representatives election held immediately before the gubernatorial election, eight candidates ran, four from the anti-Henoko camp opposing the Henoko relocation plan, three from the conservative camp (LDP) supporting the Henoko plan and another one with an ambiguous position. The result was all four from the anti-Henoko camp won a comfortable win and the all other were completely defeated.

But the strange twist in Japan's politics was that the defeated candidates were all rescued by the Proportional Representation Voting Systems and given seats in the House of Representatives anyway.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Sangetsu

If you think Japan is not fully indepedent country and still belongs to the US like a colony, It sounds like you are saying US can force to take the Henoko for new military base whatever though Okinawans oppose very much and Okinawans must endure because Japan and US signed? It sounds very ridiculous to me. Time has changed as I said. I think It would not work that way.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, poor old Suga went home with his tail between his legs:

“People in Okinawa never volunteered to host military bases…And the more the government insists the work continues, the more alienated and angry the people of Okinawa become,” Onaga told the government envoy."

http://www.euronews.com/2015/04/05/japan-okinawa-governor-stands-firm-on-opposition-to-us-military-base/

I wonder what Abe's going to say to the US when he visits?

"MISSION FAILED!"

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Okinawa, to the best of my knowledge has no agreement to host US bases on its soil.

Ever wonder why? It's basic government 101, agreements and treaties are between nations not individual states or prefectures, one could just imagine the clustermix if each prefecture tried to negotiate a security agreement on their own.

I hope you havent forgotten that Okinawa is a prefecture of Japan.

Were is it written that the national government can ignore the overwhelming majority of a whole region within Japan?

Whole region? Please take a look at the map, Okinawa is not a region of Japan, it is one tiny prefecture. Next and only for discussions sake, ever hear of Narita?

BTW there is no overwhelming majority either. Please try to keep from over-exaggerating what what is actually going on. And to answer your question, yes the national government can and does make unpopular (from the local level pov.) decisions for the entire country.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The security issues also are part of an environmental and economic consideration. If the people of Okinawa do not want the US facilities there , vote them off.

Their bed to sleep in after that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Read the Asahi Shimbun article in English at this link http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201504060039 and you will see that Onaga really gave it to Suga and what he said is absolutely correct. Onaga should keep up this fight because it is a fight worth fighting, win or lose. The people of Okinawa elected him to fight the Central Govt. on this issue and not bend over and take it like Judas Nakaima. As far as Okinawa being a part of Japan and they are supposed to do what the Central Govt. says, the people of Okinawa owe the Mainland Japanese nothing because all they have gotten from the Mainland Japanese is destruction and suffering.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

voiceofokinawaAPR. 05, 2015 - 05:58PM JST

Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land states

This is actually an interesting approach to the problem, but it won't work. Primarily, the problem is that this convention is only bounding in wartime on occupying armies. With the Treaty of San Francisco, the Japanese agreed

Article 3 Japan [not activated] Nansei Shoto south of 29deg. north latitude (including the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands) [...] Pending the making of such a proposal and affirmative action thereon, the United States will have the right to exercise all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants of these islands, including their territorial waters.

And that's the game over. In 1952, the US gained the powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over Okinawa. What makes you think America, the most legalistic country in the world, would have failed to scribble in a little something in this period that would cross any Ts and dot any Is?

@harvey pekarAPR. 05, 2015 - 04:10PM JST

Secession is possible, it's not written explicitly in the constitution that it can't be done, let Ryuku be an independent country.

In other words, the government simply hasn't been empowered by the people to do this.

@sangetsu03APR. 06, 2015 - 10:23AM JST

You seem to forget that Japan surrendered "unconditionally", and waived all rights upon their surrender.

Ah, here's the rub. According to the West, unconditional surrender still means they are supposed to follow the basic provisions of international law. If that is not so, they would not be able to condemn the Japanese for treating their POWs crappily - if unconditional surrender means the surrender of all rights, then there is no cause for beef that your POWs did not get rights they waived when they surrender.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

but where would the place be?

Hawaii refused. There are many states that has US owned lands. And also there are many US bases in many states. Okinawa is tiny, and very tiny. Moving a base from one place in Okinawa to another place in Okinawa is not easy. Used to hear that to potect Japan from China but could be to protect Japan from Korea when they are unified. Missile from North and insulting by South?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki (Apr. 07, 2015 - 12:26AM JST):

Your comment on my post (APR. 05, 2015 - 05:58PM JST) is completely off the track. What's the San Francisco Peace Treaty to do with the illegal requisition of private land by the U.S. occupation forces on Okinawa?

The Treaty merely stipulates the U.S. will have the right to exercise the administration of the island groups south of 29 degrees north latitude. With this, the U.S. could keep on occupying Okinawa until 1972. The breakdown: Direct military occupation period: 7 years (from 1945 to 1952); Treaty occupation period: 20 years (from 1952 to 1972).

Futenma was built in the early days of the direct military occupation period by freely encroaching upon mostly private land while local people were herded in refugee camps. Five villages were completely swallowed up into the air strip and many others were partially done so.

Forceful land requisition was also carried out during the Treaty occupation period to expand existing bases or to build new ones. Oftentimes, the requisition was done with bulldozer and at bayonet point before protesting farmers and wailing mothers.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty doesn't guarantee the U.S. can exercise such freewheeling action. It doesn't countermand the illegality stipulated in the said Convention.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The National government and the United States have been trying for several years to get out of Futenma. But the current governers political party is trying to squeeze more money from the National government which has now proven unsuccesfull. The same type of construction is going on with the new runway being built in Naha. You have non islanders and paid demonstrators protesting against the National government. They harrass men, women and children that shows them their no good anyways. The only reason this is given worldwide attention is because the media is supported by anti base sympathizers.

What happened to the Okinawa man who threaten to bomb the US embassy in Tokyo?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Whole region? Please take a look at the map, Okinawa is not a region of Japan, it is one tiny prefecture.

While Japanese bureaucracy for obvious reasons likes to lump Okinawa together with Kyushu, from a geographical viewpoint it is perfectly reasonable to call Okinawa a region as it is a vast archipelago with distinct natural and cultural features that set it apart from surrounding regions, especially if you consider that the Amami chain of islands was a part of Okinawa as well.

Next and only for discussions sake, ever hear of Narita?

Have you never seen the farm in the middle of Narita's 2. runaway, Yubaru? Narita actually is a perfect example for how Okinawa would look like if the U.S. had respected basic human rights in Okinawa. U.S. military facilities would be spotted with private land enclaves. Other posters here have made it clear, the U.S. illegally confiscated a large part of the land U.S. bases are built on and it is important to keep this fact in mind when discussing the matter.

BTW there is no overwhelming majority either. Please try to keep from over-exaggerating what what is actually going on.

All serious polls show that somewhere between 70% and 90% of the Okinawan population are for a clear reduction of U.S. Military bases and against the construction of a new military facility in Henoko. That is an overwhelming majority. If you have any objectifiable information to the contrary show it to us, Yubaru.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Stormcrow,

The U.S. Civil War was most absolutely about might makes right. The North with its vast material resources, superior industrial capacities and greater population crushed the South

Well, now I understand where you're coming from, but you're misapplying the use of "might makes right."

"Might makes right" does not strictly mean an overwhelming application of force. It actually carries very negative connotations by suggesting that a contestant, through the successful application of force, is able to arbitrarily dictate what is and isn't morally right, typically in opposition to prevailing contemporary moral attitudes.

For “might makes right” to be applicable to the Civil War, the military capabilities of the North and South would have had to have been reversed. With a Southern overwhelming military victory, the South subsequently declaring slavery a perfectly acceptable institution in a modern democracy would have been a classic example of might making right.

However, slavery isn’t a morally relativistic issue, as I’m sure you would agree. The North going to war with the South in order to preserve the Union and eliminate slavery was a decision based in morality, not confidence in strength of arms. That the North was materially stronger was only incidental.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@voiceofokinawaAPR. 07, 2015 - 07:56AM JST

The Treaty merely stipulates the U.S. will have the right to exercise the administration of the island groups south of 29 degrees north latitude. With this, the U.S. could keep on occupying Okinawa until 1972. The breakdown: Direct military occupation period: 7 years (from 1945 to 1952); Treaty occupation period: 20 years (from 1952 to 1972).

Let me just agree that at the beginning, building the Futenma base may be a violation of the Convention. Even then, it depends on the fine details. Remember it just says that private property may not be confiscated - but it does not say it cannot be for example purchased. As for the fairness of the purchase price, there is simply no guarantee. And let's face it, even if you can push this to a Court, do you think a credible 1st World court will rule that the occupying force cannot build what it considers to be necessary military facilities freely? It might set a precedent that will trip them up in the future.

In any case, after the peace treaty, you can't really call it an occupation period because a treaty at least nominally voluntary. Now the United States is administering, not occupying Okinawa, the Convention no longer applies, and any legal holes can be (and are almost certainly) filled.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

LFRAgain,

You got me there! Yes, I was using it in a negative way, but I didn't misapply it. Go ahead and Google it if you like. Might makes right is usually used in a negative way and not in a positive way.

By the way, in the beginning, the U.S. Civil War was only about preserving the union and not ending slavery. Lincoln was prepared to let slavery die on the vine rather than risk a civil war, but that all changed when the South fired on Fort Sumter and seceded. It wasn't until after the Battle of Antietam (about halfway into the war) with the Emancipation Proclamation that the war was turned on its head and that it switched from being about preserving the union to ending slavery. This was so the European powers would stop supporting the South and that peculiar institution known as slavery. Thus, it could be argued that, rather than being a purely moral issue, Lincoln was also interested in a military strategy which would get the Europeans to butt out and stop smuggling vital arms and supplies into the South. Once the war became about ending slavery, it was very difficult for the Europeans, especially the English, to continue supporting the South.

Unfortunately, the American Indians, as I stated before, also learned this lesson (might makes right) the hard way. Okinawans are in the same unenviable position the American Indians were in. Because of Okinawa's strategic location between China and Japan, this island chain will be dominated by one or the other. I wish Okinawa was a million miles away from everybody, then it would be of no interest to anybody.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Now the United States is administering

More specifically, the U.S. is administering a parcel of land located on Okinawa. Okinawa itself is not being occupied or administered by anyone, least of all the U.S. military, which, regardless of the personal feelings of individual Okinawans, is there with the blessing and at the behest of the Japanese central government.

Again, it's the use of charged hyperbole like "occupation" that makes the anti-base argument so shrill to listen to. Sadly, legitimate complaints and issues on the part of regular Okinawans are being drowned out by voices more attuned to sensationalism and melodramatics.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki (Apr. 07, 2015 - 12:16PM JST):

t makes me sad to see a Japanese national to play so active a part for the U.S. to realize the U.S. Marines' decades-old scheme to relocate one dilapidated base to another site in northern Okinawa and functionally integrate it with other bases such as Camp Hansen, Camp Schwab and the Northern Training Area.

With new cutting-edge facilities added, such as port facilities to berth the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, the new base will certainly become the U.S. Marines' hub base in Okinawa.

"Occupation" is my characterization of how things have been in Okinawa and Japan in general in the past 70 years. As I see it, the occupation or virtual occupation of Okinawa and Japan in general will go on indefinitely. There seem to be hordes of Japanese, either inside or outside the government, who are quite happy with such a state of affairs.

So Okinawa's struggle will be an uphill battle without a doubt.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

LFRAgain,

More specifically, the U.S. is administering a parcel of land located on Okinawa.

I wonder how Americans would feel if Okinawans were administering a parcel of land in the middle of New York city. And yes, LFR-san I know the US won the war, but 1945 was rather a long time ago.

And the "parcel" of land totals almost 20% of Okinawa. One fifth. And much of the land that the US is occupying - SORRY - "administering" is in areas that would be ideal for tourist development.

Add to this the fact that Futenma was originally five villages, the US military drove the occupants out of their villages and bulldozed the lot, houses, family graves and all to make a military base there, and you can begin to understand the anger that Okinawans feel.

Onaga is one of very, very few Japanese politicians capable of independent and logical thought and doing what they were elected for - representing their people.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I think US govt deep in their minds respect Okinawans, and despise J govt who has no guts to confront US and sells Japan for US interest as US demands. More and more Japanese are hating US who keep extorting Japan. Even Americans like sangetsu03 admits that US considers Japan as its colony.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

tina,

I think US govt deep in their minds respect Okinawans

It was Onaga, wasn't it, on a visit to the U.S.A., who had this conversation with an American politician:

"Where are you from, Mr Onaga?"

"From Okinawa."

"I've heard of that. A little island down south. Whats the population there? About 2,000?"

There are some in the US govt who have heard of Okinawa and a few of these might respect it, but I wouldn't hope for too much.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Bertie,

. . . but 1945 was rather a long time ago.

So the application of this sort of logic is acceptable when speaking out against the bases with stoic reminders of displaced Okinawans all those years ago. But when ithe War is used to explain the very realy hows and whys for the existence of the bases today, it suddenly becomes verboten? That doesn't seem particularly intellectually honest, does it?

Either the War is a valid argument for both sides of the issue or it's not. You can't have the proverbial cake here and eat it as well.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

LFRAgain,

The phrase you quoted was what is technically known as "sarcasm."

Also known as "tongue in cheek," "irony," etc.

So sorry you missed it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Okunawa is not an independent region but l belongs to Kyushu region. There are other regions in Japan. Chugoku with 5 prefectures. Each prefecture is quite larger than Okinawa. But they do not have so many bases like Okinawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Voluntary occupation of Japan is not accepted by all citizens but it's good for all as it protects also Japan from potential aggression of its powerful Asian neighbors.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@25psotAPR. 09, 2015 - 04:16AM JST Voluntary occupation of Japan is not accepted by all citizens but it's good for all as it protects also Japan from potential aggression of its powerful Asian neighbors.

Whixh neighbor?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The phrase you quoted was what is technically known as "sarcasm."

So, in other words, you've got nothing? Gotcha'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sure what else the people of Okinawa can do to resist the continued American military occupation. The nation that preaches freedom but denies it to others. I suppose there are other ways to resist than direct confrontation. The people of Okinawa can refuse to cooperate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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