politics

U.S., Japan begin talks on sending 4,700 Marines to Guam

43 Comments

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Please... as an American living in Japan... lets just move these marines and get this over with. The U.S. can move 4,700 marines quick enough now to anywhere in the world without having to base them in places where they are unwanted.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If the base absolutely has to stay move the copters to Kadena, its a big base with a lot of unused land. The osprey doesn't need a runway unless theres a problem with the shifter. in which theres a runway that can be used at kadena

4 ( +5 / -1 )

YuriOtani, Yubaru: Your opinion ignores one thing: the Japanese government is rabidly keen to have US military forces in a geographic position where they can rapidly help defend Japan, should China or N. Korea become aggressive.

Japan's two-faced stance on this issue is largely why it has dragged on for so long. Washington's dealings on bases proceed much more smoothly with Germany, the Philippines, etc., which are more honest and realistic on the issue.

BTW, if US bases on Japanese soil weren't deemed necessary, Japan could do what the Philippines did in the 90s - order them to leave thru a parliamentary resolution. Ironic now that PI seems to want the US soldiers to return.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

YuriOtani - As always you start the morning passionately. I'd like to remind you of the danger of speculation. Words like could, might, and maybe all lead to assumption. The Osprey aircraft haven't arrived but they will in time. Change is inevitable you know.

You always talk about the noise. Just how close do you live to Futenma base? 1km away? 5km, 10km, 20km or do you live in Tokyo ;-) ? I'm just curious how much noise you actually hear. That seems to be one of the bullets in your argument.

Money shifts around. It always changes hands. I'd hate to think that you imagine it will be some reward for all your protesting. This year every Okinawa citizen gets 100,000yen in bonus that we would normally use to fund the base.

I feel you and Yubaru and OkinawaMike. After 3/11, Japanese changed their whole attitude towards America's military. Having America's bases here saved lives. I know you don't appreciate it. People in Okinawa really don't appreciate it. Japan was saved due to America's amazing relief effort.

Our efforts in Japan were actually BETTER than our response to Hurricane Katrina. Of course, that was a different President then. George Bush hates black people but anyway.

What do the Americans want? Well, I think we want you to take more responsibility for yourself. You are buying those F35s. We want to downsize our military and stop spending. Not only Japan but all nations need to start using their own resources for their freedoms. America needs to lick it's own wounds and refill it's coffers.

I think you need to commit your sons and daughters to your nation's military. Your recruiters need to go to high schools and talk to students. Japan's magic carpet ride needs to come to an end and you learn how to defend yourselves. In past conflicts Japan has always played a limited role. Now it's time to fend for yourself.

It's terrible for the morale of America's military to see protests constantly outside their gate. Guam is a territory of the U.S thus it's American soil. It' may not be Disneyland but it'll be better than Okinawa.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This year every Okinawa citizen gets 100,000yen in bonus that we would normally use to fund the base.

Where did you get this (misplaced) information?

Net , I am not even in the same ball park with Yuri when it comes to the bases here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Guam is going to like this.

Actually there are plenty of reports and stories that the people in Guam are not liking one bit because the current infrastructure is not capable of handling the influx of Marines and their dependents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Anyone who wants to say something about the U.S. Marines' deterence capability involving Futenma should read "Marines on Okinawa: Time to Leave?" by Kirk Spitzer published in the January 13, 2012 issue of Time magazine. Here are excerpts if you interested in:

“People are going to take a hard look at the Marines and say, ‘Well, I don’t know why they are even there,’” says Jeffrey Hornung, associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a Defense Department-sponsored think tank in Honolulu (Hornung says his views are his own). “Given how much problems this is causing in Okinawa, it’s finally time to re-think things.”

“What are the Marines on Okinawa for? If you say they are there for deterrence, then you have to ask, deterrence from what? If you are talking about China, then that would be the 7th Fleet. If you are talking about North Korea, then I would say it’s the troops who are (based) in Korea,” Hornung says. “If you pull the Marines out, is that going to hurt Japanese national security or US national security? I don’t think so.”

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Station those troops (and all the SOFA hangers on) back in the USA!!! Their help is needed back in their own country!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The government already pays their salaries only difference would be what they do would be a benifit to the people of Okinawa.

And a burden on the already over burdened Japanese economy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

and farewell to the USMC whose unit honours are mostly awarded for the conquest of their hosts.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The US should close the base. No need to meddle all over the world.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why does it seem like every new article that comes out about this the decision is always the opposite of what was said before.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guam is going to like this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why only 4,700?

Get rid of the lot!

They are not needed, not wanted and they are taking up too much space.

Tokyo wants the US bases in Okinawa because they they are as far as possible from Japan while still because on (officially) Japanese soil. The closer the US bases are to Honshu, the more fuss and noise is created by the rich and powerful. There are very few rich or powerful Okinawans and so, the bases are still here.

This whole overspending on military "defense" is an insanity. The US built up their armed forces and so the Soviets did the same. Now it's the Chinese and the North Koreans.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I still would like to hear all the voices of the Japanese base employees, and the small business entrepreneurs who will be joining the unemployment lines.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

This is a good deal to get rid of them 4700 marines permenantly. Seal the deal on this and fight the rest of the battle later. At least traffic will be better, less GI's roaming the streets and it will save the US money also by freeing up on base housing so they won't be paying so much in housing allowance.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

One poster mentioned F-18s. The Marines do fly them, just not in Okinawa. MCAS Futenma, is a base for helicopters and C-130s. Both need to be reasonably close to the troops they transport and train with, especially, the helicopters as they have limited range.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"the strategically important base"

The Japanese don't seem to think it's strategically important.

"the conquest of their hosts"

Oh, yes, the U.S, Marines have totally and completely conquested the Japanese on Okinawa!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Related to airfield noise, one does not have to live very near an airfield to have to endure the noise of the aircraft. You only have to be within earshot of the flight plain which includes the approach pattern. I live 30km from an airfield, but frequently hear the jets thundering overhead. It rattles the windows.

All of the Futenma activities could be relocated to Kadena, but that wouldn't solve the problems with Marine personnel, nor the noise issues. The basic Will of the people of Okinawa is for the gradual elimination of US military presence there as evidenced in their election of pro-removal leaders. The Japanese government foots much of the cost of the base operations, and in turn, that bill is paid by the citizens who want them out and the land returned.

If the people of the Philippines want an increased US military presence, then that's fine. The Okinawans don't.

And the bit about loss of on-base jobs and surrounding area is a red herring.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

NetNinja... most spot on comment on the issue: I think you need to commit your sons and daughters to your nation's military. Your recruiters need to go to high schools and talk to students. Japan's magic carpet ride needs to come to an end and you learn how to defend yourselves. In past conflicts Japan has always played a limited role. Now it's time to fend for yourself.

Yep, time to defend yourselves and send the sitter home.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Your recruiters need to go to high schools and talk to students.

JEITAI already do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Goodbye. Please turn the lights off before you leave...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

****Politicians are bunch of liars. End of story..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chosun Ilbo is worried about this discussion. If it can happen in Okinawa, it can happen in SK. Yes, get ready for the lowering of one flag and the raising of the home country's flag. SK and Japan are going to have to defend themselves and financially support their defense. The song goes, "Turn off the lights, the party is over."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, in a lot of ways I agree with you. I just try and get the Okinawan point of view online. I no longer get the joy of a F-18s passing low over my house. I no longer have to drive a long way to get around MCAS Futenma in heavy traffic. The thing is Tokyo and Washington treat the Uchinaa-ken like children. They do not involve the local community in any decisions or planning. Both expect them to obey their orders like obedient children. So Tokyo and Washington get upset when the Uchinaa-ken do not give their quiet consent. Tokyo firsts tries to bribe them then threaten them with the paddle. Washington then blames Tokyo for not honoring its promises when they have no control over the Okinawa people.

noirgaijin, the bases take up 18 percent of Okinawa. Worse it is some of the best land on island. Okinawa is really a small island.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the bases take up 18 percent of Okinawa. Worse it is some of the best land on island. Okinawa is really a small island.

Well said, Yuri.

They completely waste the land they have. Kadena could be reduced to one tenth of its current size and it wouldn't impair its functions at all.

Sixty years ago, Okinawa was on the brink of poverty.

Times have changed.

Time for the US to move on.

OUT!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JeffLee, so the people of Okinawa should listen to their "betters"? The people of Okinawa do not want the Marine airfields. Tokyo is trying to push their burden upon us. Yubaru, the Japanese government pays their salaries now. There is no new burden.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The sooner the better.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Not only Japan but all nations need to start using their own resources for their freedoms.

Actually, Japan can't do that as their constitution, written by the Americans after WW2 , forbids them to do so. I don't believe Japanese government -Kinder-garden- will ever be able changing the constitution in that regard.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

mimitchy. Take a wild guess, ha ha!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

mimitchy. Either guess will be wrong, because you included "ignorantly."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese changed their whole attitude towards America's military. Having America's bases here saved lives. I know you don't appreciate it. People in Okinawa really don't appreciate it. Japan was saved due to America's amazing relief effort.

Not all Japanese but many I am sure, particularly those in the affected areas. Either way I agree, but sadly it would probably take a disaster of the same magnitude in Okinawa for the people living there to truly get the idea.

(I am sure this is going to get thumbed down big time and I know the following comment is crass at best but to make my point I am going to write it anyway....)

I mentioned a disaster needing to happen in Okinawa for the people to realize and understand the importance of having the military there to assist; one happened 65 years ago, it was the Battle of Okinawa, and if not for the American military in the aftermath the suffering of the people would have been even more catastrophic. I can not imagine how much worse the suffering of the people in Okinawa would have been if America hadn't been there. I know plenty of Okinawan people who preferred that the island had never been returned to Japan.

People have a convenient loss of memory when it comes to that fact. Complacency and lack of education regarding history are important factors.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

YuriOtani:

" If they are moved America would have to pay the new base bills. Once they are moved, Japan could use that money for other things. "

The "other things" would have to be a corresponding increase in the Japanse SDF, and a change of the peace constitution. Be careful what you wish for. So far, the arrangement to outsource her defense to the US has worked very well for japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One of my Korean friends, who also served in the South Korean army told me, hey if they do not want the US marines down in Okinawa, South Korea would be more than happy to host them, especially near the 38th parallel against North Korea, you know to kind of send them a signal not to mess with South Korea!! So why GUAM??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Goodbye"

Not yet.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lazzaris Alberto says

Always America. The "owners" of the world. Get out Army

The US Army only makes up less than .1 percent in all of Japan and I assume less than that in Okinawa. Just saying...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Oh, yes, the U.S, Marines have totally and completely conquested the Japanese on Okinawa!

not sure if he's concurring or is ignorantly sarcastic.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Station these marines in IRAN, perfect solution.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Goodbye, you won't be missed.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan can just raise taxes on everyone (us gaijins too) ten or fifteen percent or so (politicians are going to want pay-offs for taking risks with this) and raise an army of their own. I see lots of boys (and girrrrls) who could make an army capable of protecting Okinawa from North Korea and China and have enough left over to do search and rescue when earthquakes and tsunamis ( 1995 Hanshin and 2011 Tohoku ) occur.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Only question is what the Americans want? MCAS Futenma could be made smaller with no fixed wing only helicopters. That was not done for whatever reason and even the noisy F-18's still fly into it. What the Americans really want is bases paid for by the government of Japan. If they are moved America would have to pay the new base bills. Once they are moved, Japan could use that money for other things. The base employees could be given special government jobs. The government already pays their salaries only difference would be what they do would be a benifit to the people of Okinawa.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Always America. The "owners" of the world. Get out Army!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

YuriOtani, Yubaru: Your opinion ignores one thing: the Japanese government is rabidly keen to have US military forces in a geographic position where they can rapidly help defend Japan, should China or N. Korea become aggressive.

JeffLee: The Marines are not a defensive force.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

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