politics

Tokyo putting pressure on Okinawa ahead of Panetta's visit

42 Comments
By Eric Taldmadge

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So what is the government of Tokyo going to do? Place a gun against the governors head? You can hold all the meeting you want but it does not mean he will sign. Oh wait let the Americans do their dirty work for them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe Paneta will listen to Webb and just merger Futenma with Kadena and tell the Generals to suck it up and make it work.. then move them other Marine bases to Guam.

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Yuri: Tokyo knows they should not renege on promises, lest they look more foolish than usual and lose more popularity due to flip-flopping like Hatoyama did. The governor, though you won't admit it, is placing the gun against his head himself. He may be winning over a few Okinawans by pandering to their hypocrisy and inability to admit the US presence is a deterrence against China and maybe even Russia, but he's a fool who's doing himself in all the same. If anything, he'll end up making things worse for the Okinawans when the US just says, "Enough of this. The agreement is null. We're staying where we are, regardless of noise complaints." Then the people making the complaints will not only fail to realize it's their own fault, as well as the governors, but they'll actually blame the situation on the US (again).

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Okinawa is not part of America, they should have rights to freedom as well. Besides its Kadena that is vital not Futuenma.

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If Okinawa doesn't want the American military there then have them leave. I mean like everyone keeps saying its okinawas choice but then if that was true then why haven't the bases been told to leave? Stop with the back and forth and make a choice. I keep hearing about things that happened in 1995. That was 16 years ago. If you can't make a choice by now lets stop talking about it and move on.

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I have posted the same as listed below on another topic "Minister visit Okinawa"

After many years of soul searching about this issue (over 15 yrs) and Japan/USPeace Treaty that was signed when I was in Japan, I have concluded my position firmly that the US troops need to get out of Japan..

Japan is a very rich country, and I am confident that Japan can defend themselves if they are willing to spend 10-15% of GDP for defense..

All you need to do is to modify the article 9 of Japanese constitution and start drafing young Japanese men/women to military combat service. If Japan wants to play a role of global community member, then Japan needs to contribute their responsibility and burden (not monetary) to UN Peace Keeping Force. I am sure US will be able to provide the trainings.

Someday, then the world may welcome Japan as a member of UN Security Concil members.

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Jared: "Okinawa is not part of America, they should have rights to freedom as well."

Very true; Okinawa is part of Japan, which made the agreement to relocate the American bases.

globalwatcher: "Japan is a very rich country, and I am confident that Japan can defend themselves if they are willing to spend 10-15% of GDP for defense.."

How on earth are they going to justify raising defense expenditures to that level when they're talking about a bunch of tax increases to cover things as is, let alone pension in a couple of decades, social security being all but gone, etc. Proposing that at the moment would be insanity.

Yes, perhaps they COULD defend themselves if they changed article 9 and forced young men and women to train (and wow, what an improvement that would be for the nation!) as they did before, and which most nations including Japan have long since stopped, but why get rid of the US and THEN start talking about revising things?

And once again, you guys are failing to take into consideration that fact that approval of the US military presence is INCREASING, not decreasing.

Jeez, guys.... those trees in front of you? that's the forest!

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Globalwatcher: Maybe I'm just in a good mood or you might have the best comedic timing ever. It's just the way you wrote this below made me laugh.

Japan is a very rich country, and I am confident that Japan can defend themselves if they are willing to spend 10-15% of GDP for defense..

You can't say those numbers so easily to Japanese. 10-15% is big money. That's bonuses for a lot of Japanese people. I thought it was hysterical. 10-15% of your GDP, hahahahhhahahhahaa. I have such an imagination I can easily imagine the reaction in a Diet Session once someone proposes this.

I just imagine how "10-15% of GDP" would reverberate in their ears. Representatives sleeping during the session would somehow spring to life as if it were a fire alarm. They would look like Americans......eyes all round and wide with disbelief at someone would dare utter "10-15% of the GDP" on our own self-defense.

Thank you GlobalWatcher. I'll take that one home with me and discuss it over dinner. I'll stand back though.

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How much 'counterbalance' does these so-called marines can provide in terms of stragetic meaning? China, Russia has ICBM/SLBM and North Korea has more tanks,artillary than the entire USMC ! That garrisons possess political meaning in japan rather than it has any military might!

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smith and Net, I am sure you have been aware of the fact Americans are having tough times now. When you add all OMB expenditures, 75% of budget spending goes to SSI, Medicare, Defense, Interest payment for loans and Welfare.

Many college students with student loans (no default allowed) and US soldiers returning home cannot find jobs.

Many senior citizens are breaking prescription drug (a pill) into two, so they last longer. There has been no COLA increase for SSI in the past two years while food price has been increasing non stops. The baby boomers medicare cost is $125/month. Long term care insurance is $350/month (depends on insurance). I am sure Japanese senior citizens are not paying that much for health and long term care.

I used to work free for governments until 4/15 every year. Since too many US government bail outs that have been passed on to American tax payers, I would probably end up paying a lot more for 2011. We are drawing ourselves in heavy tax dues. By the way, I am one of these 99%. If I understand correctly Japanse payroll tax is only 2%? Mine is almost 33%! My sales tax is 7.6%! I cannot see streight! Fortunately, I am debt free while many senior citizens are not.

Furthermore, my friends son and daughter have been killed in combat while many same aged Japanese have times to blog on J.T.and are bragging about gourmet food without realizing our sacrifices in mission. These American kids,( both 21 yrs old) with full life ahead, did not eat hot meals like Japanese JT bloggers. These American kids sweat in fear, dust, tears and died. Japanese are enjoying peace at our expense and sacrifice.

Smith and Net, please pay attention to the Rep. debates in the past, they are focusing on defense cut. The US military presence in Okinawa is DECREASING public support in US after 15 years of fester.

Many US bases in Germany and Italy are scheduled to be closed down shortly. Why do we have to stay in Japan? US military presence has not been welcomed until the 3/11. I used to think like you guys. I was a big supporter for the Japan/US Peace Treaty and advocated it should be continued and honored for the best interest of both countries.. But after considering all these fester among Japanese, I am beginning to change my position. I hope you understand my feeling on this issue. There is something wrong here. I refuse to give up my sons to defend Japan while Japanese are enjoying feast at our expense and sacrifice. It is a time to change.

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Globalwatcher, the "fester" is in the prefecture of Okinawa, not the rest of Japan. Japan > Okinawa. Always has been and always will as long as Okinawans don't want to create a sovereign island. They have somehow gotten the idea that their desires trump the nation they've allowed themselves to be absorbed into. As long as they are a part of Japan, that kind of thinking will ALWAYS be wrong. Maybe someday they will "grow a pair" and secede from Japan. Only THEN they can tell the U.S. whatever they want to and the U.S. will have to listen or get stuck in another meaningless war.

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Tokyo made a promise but didn't have the jurisdiction to make the promise.

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Fadamor, thanks to clarify the issue here.

For some reason Okinawans in US do not want to get together with mainland Japanese either. They have their own mind set and cultural exchange programs in communities. They do not want to be called Japanese. They have corrected me many times when I called them Japanese. Aren't they getting social benefits from Japan including social security and national health care, right? They need to realize they cannot have both ways; eating cake and pie too.

Fadamor, it took a long time for me to come to this conclusion. I was in Japan when the treaty was signed by PM Sato.

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smithinjapan, the people of Okinawa did not make the agreement and they are not slaves to Tokyo. As an American you should understand the concept of "tyranny of the majority".

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Yuri, why don't you stand up against Tokyo declaring independence? If this is continued like this for many years to come, Okinawans and mainland Japanese will end up in war. Is that what you are saying here, yuri?

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In exchange of US troops moving out to Guam the JGTokyo should ask for a nullification of Japanese social benefits from ALL Okinawans who are over 18 yrs old and return all paid in benefits back to them.

Let's them go for independence and let them go back to a Kingdom of Ryukyu. Sore thumb has to be removed before changing the form to a cancer. I am already forseeing many troubles on horizon.

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globalwatcher, Okinawa is too small to be a country, too large to be an insane asylum. The minority saying no to the mainlander's scheme is their right. So the America troops in Okinawa to protect their freedoms but at the same time they impose on their freedoms. The majority should not be able to impose their will on another in the guise of "democracy".

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yuri, so what do you want?

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Tokyo made a promise but didn't have the jurisdiction to make the promise.

Legally it DOES as long as you received all legal rights under the Japanese Constituion as Japanese citizen.

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globalwatcher, it is not what I want as a person but the people of Okinawa. The Americans had been in effective control of Okinawa for the last 66 years. Most of the current bases on Okinawa do not add a lot to defense. They are free bases for the Americans to train and deploy. In this age of jets forward deployed troops does not make a lot of sense. All of the agreements have been made with the government in Tokyo. While strictly legal a lot of wrong things have been "legal" in the past. What needs to be done is get the advice and consent of the Okinawa people. Suppose this would include scrapping the new airfield, closing MCAS Futenma and revision of the SOFA. If the Marines need a airfield, move them to a willing host. Vietnam might be such a place, close to the new hot spot with China.

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If the Marines need a airfield, move them to a willing host

Gocha. You want all US marines out of Okinawa.

What needs to be done is get the advice and consent of the Okinawa people.

So haven't you (okinawans) made up your mind yet?

Most of the current bases on Okinawa do not add a lot to defense.

Yuri, Wrong here. All US troops stationed in mainland Japan, S. Korea along with marines in Okinawa are there for you. It has been already demonstrated during the Great Northeastern Earthquake of Japan on 3/11.

They are free bases for the Americans to train and deploy

True, Okinawa is one of three major marine training bases.

While strictly legal a lot of wrong things have been "legal" in the past.

Are you referring to a criminal jurisdiction of Japan over US soldiers who committed crimes against Okinawans?

Yuri, Are there any Japanese working for the US bases in Okinawa? If so, what will they do for living after US base closures?

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I just had to laugh a little bit on this comment "Most of the current bases on Okinawa do not add a lot to defense". I really do believe that it does boost the defense of Japan greatly. Much more than you believe. We've been here so long on Okinawa, HOW do you know for sure that it doesn't add to defense. All you know (if you live here) is the western influence. It's everywhere. Next time I eat Ice cream I'll think of where it came from. And the next time I drink root beer... Yeah, I'll think of the states also. I think if we left Okinawa or even closed the bases that are scheduled to close when Futenma closes.. such as Camp Lester and Camp Kinser, you may find that a lot of people will loose there jobs and then , just like in the Philippians when the US closed the base there, people started to complain. I understand its a no win situation here on Okinawa. What I don't understand is WHY the government has to ask permission to do something. Of course they will say no... But with the type of crappy government that Japan has, Futenma will stay for a long time. I know it will never happen, but I really do want see how Okinawa will be like if a lot of bases and military leave the island.

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All you need to do is to modify the article 9 of Japanese constitution and start drafing young Japanese men/women to military combat service.

That's a good idea. The shrieks of protest from all of east Asia would drown out the U.S. jets.

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globalwatcher, not sure what most Okinawa people want. The elections have been well anti base. Do the people of Okinawa want all of the bases closed? not sure. Perhaps with their input it might be possible to keep MCAS Futenma open as a helicopter only base. However the new airfield has clearly been rejected. It was rejected 16 years ago and it is still being rejected. About the SOFA, if charged with a crime in America the local authorities take custody. It should be the same in Japan. There needs to be only one law in the land, Japanese law. SOFA people get off if they can get on a base. True not all of the time but a lot. No more base court for civilians. My point is the people of Okinawa should at least have a say in the base process otherwise it is the Japanese majority forcing its will upon the people of Okinawa with the help of paid mercenaries the American military. Making an agreement than forcing it down the throats of the Okinawa people is the very heart of the problem.

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I don't think they want all the bases closed, just a few. I know this for a fact that when Futenma closes, so will Camp Lester and Camp Kinser. They are already built a road between Camp Kinser and the ocean. Getting ready for the base to close. SO whenever Okinawa chooses to accept what THEIR government is saying, everyone here on Okinawa will notice a huge difference with the amount of US military presence. Guarantee.... They are some what feeling some change now... a new change came out with new families moving to base housing first and not automatically moving out in town. I say in a few years, a lot of these housing agencies will feel the change when they start to loose money.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Futenma will stay for a long time. I know it will never happen

Brian, we are on schedule for the defense spending cut. President Obama has just made an announcement that Iraq war is OFFICIALLY OVER. All US troops stationed in Iraq are coming home by holiday seasons. This is a milestone for US and Iraq working together moving forward for a new Iraq. A big defense spending cut for sure!! Hope they can do the same for troops in Okinawa.

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I live here and I do want to see Futenma close... I understand how crowded Ginowan city is.. I live there too. If it happens, I'll be surprised and happy

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Brian, me too.

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Now having said all of that to me as a person, could care less if the bases stay open. Someone told me once if you do not like the noise move, so I did.

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STOP THE WHINNING i've been to okinawa the base should be removed. But i hope it doesn't destroy the sea life or the clear blue water.

Okinawa is a beautiful place. ALOT OF AMERICANS DIED ON THAT BEACH. ALOT OF CASUALITIES OF WAR. The military should stay there because the world is not safe. ESPECIALLY ON THAT SIDE OF THE WORLD.

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TO GLOBALWATCHER - I'm sorry what happened to their children. I still believe that most Japanese not forgotten the generosity of the American people. Okinawa is another story, unfortunately.

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I've been to Kadena and Futennma. Futennma should go and Kadena should stay.

Kadena is the most cool base i have ever seen. It's like paradise

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yuri, I am sorry what you went through. I can see both sides of story what has been going on.

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Hatoyama-ozawa-kan and other jewels of the DPJ represent the worst that Japanese politics has created in these 66 years - these guys do not have competence to manage a grocery store .

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issa1, Okinawa has always been different. Given to the Japanese by the Americans in 1879 and again in 1972. Nobody ever asked them what the Okinawa people wanted. Nothing has changed in all of these years, Tokyo and Washington come to a new agreement for Okinawa then wonder why they get angry? So the new PM's strong arm men arrive in Naha, do not see it making a bit of difference. If they want to build the new airfield they need to change the law. My guess the law will only be changed for Okinawa, once again making Okinawa a second class prefecture of Japan. Me? it should be interesting what happens next. My guess is nothing as the spineless wonders in Tokyo will do nothing. Forecast more blah, blah and blah.

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Yuri, please come up with solutions for the issues listed below;

1)Money issue

After moving US troops to Guam, how are these local Okinawans going to do for survival including people working for the bases, restaurant, bar owners?

2)Security issue

As you know Okinawa is the closest to Panda Express. Panda Express has been crusing around the islands. Who will defend you guys?

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globalwatcher Oct. 22, 2011 - 05:43AM JST. After moving US troops to Guam, how are these local Okinawans going to do for survival including people working for the bases, restaurant, bar owners?

Same way Philippines revived Subic Bay after U.S. left. In 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected the renewal of the US Military Bases Agreement, forcing the closure of the Subic Bay naval base. Over 47,000 Philipinos lost their job after the closure of U.S. military base in Philippines. Subic Bay was once the site of one of the largest US naval bases in foreign territory. Today, as a significant economic center and there has been significant transformation of Subic Bay from a naval base into a special economic zone.

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The people of Okinawa were 'betrayed' by their country, they were never regarded as 'full japanese' as it was an outbound island, now the DPJ's bullying is step on a crippled man! By the way, they were worst than LDP,at least the LDP never promise the inhabitants anything but the DPJ broken their promise! The entire Japanese were ashamed by such a party!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

With money being tight in both countries at the moment, why not just combine Futenma with Kadena and save everyone money?

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globalwatcher, not up to me if the bases stay open or close. I just tried to present the Okinawan point of view. What will happen will happen and am not sure what the outcome will be. As for the "panda Express" it might as well have a large "sink me" written on the sides. Only Kadena shutting down will be a blow to he defense of Okinawa. The Marines and the Naval base will have no effect. Again my friend the Okinawa Govorner and legislature do not ask for my advice. I do not advocate closing all of the bases. Admit some of my posts went over the line but blame my passion for the posts.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks Yuri. Unlike many JT hit-run bloggers, you have been very prompt and responsible and staying in open dialogue with me. I hope Okinawans, Japan and US will be able to open up dialogue with mutual respects like you and I did and find the solutions.

Peace.

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ditto globalwatcher, it is my hope things work out on Okinawa. Tokyo needs to listen more and talk less. If someone asked me now, I would say it is time to think things through. What are the true needs and desires of all sides. Will that new airfield really work. It is so small and there are so many helos. It is easy and am guilty of such to say this plan is best or that plan. My last post was off a bit, at this time do not support closing MCAS Futenma or build the new base until some basic questions are answered.

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