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U.S. military leader says Okinawa base move delayed until 2025

46 Comments
By KEN MORITSUGU

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“It’s slowed,” he told a congressional committee in Washington. “It’s a little over two years late. ... Now we’re looking at 2025 before that’s done.”

Well that's just too bad. Will of the people and all that. They could move it to Kyushu instead. There's a thought!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The last paragraph is a load of crap. Move to somewhere near Sasebo.

Okinawa has far too many bases.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

They could move it to Kyushu instead. There's a thought! nah itll stay in Okinawa, and itll stay at Futenma until the Henoko base is finished, those are the realities. nothing short of a civil war will change this.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The last paragraph is a load of crap. Move to somewhere near Sasebo.

Okinawa has far too many bases.

Agreed

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Well that's just too bad. Will of the people and all that. They could move it to Kyushu instead. There's a thought!

Playing with voter turnout, the will of on average 40% of the people or the 30 or so people that camp outside of the Marine Corps Base. It's hard to expect people living in mainland to actually know what is happening down here.

Also, why would the Marines move their helicopters two hours away from their training areas and their ground troops?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Give the Okinawan people a break. Does Japan need a US presence - yes it does. Have the Okinawans born the brunt of Japan's western defence for too long since 1944 - yes they have.

The base could be relocated to south-western Kyushu (Amami island is surounded by coral so is not an option) without a huge difference in reaction time. The Americans are clearly putting pressure to keep the most western island base up against the Chinese.

There should be options to relocate to Kyushu.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I'm with Tigers on this one

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm not saying that Japan doesn't need a US presence. They lost to the best choice in 1945. Otherwise it would have been the Russians and the Soviet Union. Okinawa has been treated roughly by all sides. However, if there is a significant economic downside to the bases moving out of Okinawa then the campaigners and politicians have a duty to spell that out to the people of Okinawa.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

That pretty much sums up how I see it

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Okinawa people are not to blame. The Okinawa government caused the delay. Period.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

There should be options to relocate to Kyushu.

There was an option put on the table by Hatoyama and it ended up costing him his job. (This is NEW news February 23rd 2016)

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama likely scuttled his plan in 2010 to relocate functions of a contentious U.S. base in Okinawa to Kagoshima Prefecture, based on a classified government document citing U.S. military regulations forbidding such a move.

The internal Japanese government document, obtained recently by The Asahi Shimbun, cites a U.S. military “standard” that stipulates a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter unit should not be based more than 65 nautical miles, or 120 kilometers, from its training grounds.

But U.S. Forces Japan denies the existence of such an operational standard, raising the possibility that the document was compiled only to pressure Hatoyama to scrap his plan to move functions of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Tokunoshima island.

“I remember being briefed by the Foreign Ministry and other government officials (on the U.S. operational regulations),” Hatoyama told The Asahi Shimbun. “I was told that it was impossible to relocate the units to outside a radius of 65 nautical miles from their training grounds, and it was the biggest factor behind my decision to give up the Tokunoshima relocation plan."

The document, dated April 19, 2010, is titled “Explanations from the U.S. side on the Futenma relocation issue." It is stamped “highly classified.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201602230041

Also that Hatoyama lied to the Okinawan people as well here; (Ols news btw.. May 4th, 2011..)

Japan never fully committed to moving Futenma off Okinawa

http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/okinawa/report-japan-never-fully-committed-to-moving-futenma-off-okinawa-1.142657

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The U.S. has agreed to shift 8,000 to 10,000 Marines off Okinawa in the 2020s, mainly to Guam and Hawaii, but Harris said that would happen as “a follow-on” to the move from Futenma to Henoko.

At some point they said the move to Guam would be uncoupled from the Henoko relocation, now they say it is “a follow-on”.

This is surely one of those obnoxious measures to accelerate pressure on Okinawa.

Tokyo and the US military once again in intimate togetherness bullying the Okinawan people.

@ True Okinawa

The Okinawa people are not to blame. The Okinawa government caused the delay. Period.

The Okinawan people elected their government to stop the kind of discrimination exemplified by that ill-fated Henoko relocation plan.

You are apparently trying to obfuscate the clearly expressed will of the Okinawan people. Seems kind of odd though that "True Okinawa" misrepresents the Okinawan people.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Well, they can wait for many more years before the new base is completed. No big loss nor damage incurred by simply waiting as far as they are concerned. The base is constructed on Japanese soil with all Japanese taxpayers' money without burdening U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. coffers at all. Waiting may be a bit frustrating but certainly is worth doing so because the returns are way lucrative and manifold dollar-wise.

What a pitiful country Japan is, always yielding to the suzerain U.S.'s preposterous demands! Why can't they say "No" to America's ludicrous dictates?

Look, this new base is not for the defense of Japan as Admiral Harry Harris says it is. The Marines that were agreed to move from Okinawa to Guam and elsewhere will number 8,000 to 9,000, that will include the most active combat-ready elements with only logistic units left behind in Okinawa. How will these left-behind elements defend Japan?

Note what the newly struck Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation stipulates. It says, "The Self Defense Forces will have primary responsibility for conducting operations to check and repel ... invasions." The USFJ (including the Marines) play only a supporting role.

So Harris is merely ballooning his personal opinion to get it done quickly.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You are apparently trying to obfuscate the clearly expressed will of the Okinawan people. Seems kind of odd though that "True Okinawa" misrepresents the Okinawan people.

When do you have the right to talk about obfuscating to someone else when you are guilty of the same?

You certainly do not have the "right" to speak for the people of Okinawa. As an outsider you should butt out.

Take your own advice, as you are so wont to tell everyone else the same thing.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

There was an option put on the table by Hatoyama and it ended up costing him his job. (This is NEW news February 23rd 2016)

Yubaru, of course it was considered a long time ago, even before Hatoyama. Of course it would cost any prime minister his job if he dared to put it on the table. I am merely stating the obvious that us mere mortals without any power whatsoever would suggest. I already stated that the American pressure would always keep a base on Okinawa. It doesn't make it right though does it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nakaima, just before Onaga took over from him, went to Tokyo. His stated reason for going was his poor health and he needed medical facilities that Okinawa couldn't offer him.

He lied.

His real purpose was a meeting with Abe.

What was discussed we know not, but he came back gleefully declaring that he had made a really good deal for Okinawa.

He said that he had secured lotsa bucks for Okinawa.

Another lie.

It was just the regular budget that Okinawa gets.

And he also stated that Futenma would be returned to Okinawa WITHIN FIVE YEARS.

He said that in December 2013.

And now this Harris guy says 2025.

Yet another Nakaima lie.

This is not the first time Okinawans have been lied to.

It's been going on for a long, long time.

This is why Okinawans want the US bases OFF their island.

It is easy to understand their feelings.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@ Yubaru

You certainly do not have the "right" to speak for the people of Okinawa. As an outsider you should butt out.

The Okinawan people are speaking loud and clear enough that anyone listening in an unbiased way can hear what they are saying.

I and other Okinawan posters here are merely referring to what the Okinawan people are expressing in a plethora of ways. We are pointing to factual information (polls, election results, media coverage, public discussions) that anybody can verify easily and I have on various occasion linked those information.

I'm just wondering where can we find the evidence to back up your and "True Okinawa's" far-fetched claims about the Okinawan people welcoming the Henoko relocation?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I am a true Ryukyuan and blood descendent of the islands and original ties going many centuries and none with Japan. I can speak for fellow Ryukyuans and we want the bases. What we want is peace. We want the anti US - Japan agitators (meaning land developers, large construction companies like Onaga owns and made money over the years with base contracts to get out of our island. We welcome the US forces and support them, but all we want is for them to behave and take care of our island and keep Chinese out.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I'm just wondering where can we find the evidence to back up your and "True Okinawa's" far-fetched claims about the Okinawan people welcoming the Henoko relocation?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/OkinawaInfo/

Or you can just talk to people. I learned from co-workers and teammates I play sports with. Nearly all say that the protesters don't represent Okinawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I and other Okinawan posters here are merely referring to what the Okinawan people are expressing in a plethora of ways. We are pointing to factual information (polls, election results, media coverage, public discussions) that anybody can verify easily and I have on various occasion linked those information.

I and other Okinawan's.....you lost it right there, you are associating yourself to the people you are not a part of, your argument loses any meaning because of it. Not to mention your mixing and matching issues and points to create an illusion that your opinions are valid.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@bjohnson23: Could you please name the large construction company that Gov. Onaga owns? Good luck with getting the U.S. Military to behave and take care of our island because as recently as May 2015 a drunk U.S. Marine activated a firefighting system on Kadena Air Base that filled a hangar with more than 1,500 liters of JET-X 2.75 percent—a foam classified by the U.S. government as hazardous. It contains chemicals known to cause cancer, and neurological and reproductive disorders. That foam made its way to local waterways, but the base did not notify Japanese authorities. The internal reports expose a spate of accidents at the base during the past 15 years that have involved at least 21,000 liters of fire extinguishing agents — some of them toxic and that is just Kadena Air Base. It is known that Agent Orange was stored at MCAS Futenma and other locations on Okinawa. So the real danger to the ocean at Henoko may not be in the construction of the facility but in what the Marines will dump into the ocean after they start using the facility. If you want to check out the history of U.S. Military pollution on Okinawa, read this article;http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/11/11/issues/okinawa-the-junk-heap-of-the-pacific/#.Vs2ivvmLSUl.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Between Iwakuni and Subic Bay what do you want else?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Between Iwakuni and S Bay, Hintington Brach CA

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you want to check out the history of U.S. Military pollution on Okinawa, read this

Because it's only the us military...

"The 500-meter wide oil slick has been confirmed originating from Tokyo Dai-ichi Hotel Okinawa Grand Mer Resort in Yogi, Okinawa City." http://www.japanupdate.com/2015/08/oil-leak-from-hotel-found-off-awase-coast/

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

nah itll stay in Okinawa, and itll stay at Futenma until the Henoko base is finished, those are the realities. nothing short of a civil war will change this.

Not sure why people voted you down on this. It's the truth.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“We have an obligation to defend Japan, and they have an obligation to provide us a place from which to defend them,” he said.

This is true, and I wish something could be settled that everyone could agree on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru the new base will NEVER be built! The destruction of the coral reef and the extinction of the dugong is not worth the "closing" of MCAS Futenma. Most people in Okinawa do not believe MCAS Futenma will close even if the eco killer base is built. The Americans will claim they need it as well.

So Americans there will be no new base on Okinawa, no place to park another nuclear carrier in Japan. Another knife on the throat of China. After all that is what the US bases on Okinawa are most useful. To help a US nuclear first strike on China using stealth bombers and fighters.

So the American base remains, like it would really be closed

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ CrucialS

Or you can just talk to people. I learned from co-workers and teammates I play sports with. Nearly all say that the protesters don't represent Okinawa.

If you think a facebook group is factual evidence for what the Okinawan majority wants or that you can judge the opinion of the people of a prefecture according to what your "co-workers and teammates" tell you then any kind of discourse based on objective data or factual evidence will be lost on you.

Odd enough you are not the only one here to back up your view solely with such subjective anecdotes.

If we're at anecdotes though, my Okinawan relatives, friends and co-workers are very nice people and if they talk to americans they usually treat them in an accommodating way and try to avoid saying anything that could upset them, but then with me they say they are more relaxed talking about US base issues as I'm not american. But that is just my personal anecdotal experience and this doesn't prove anything.

@ Yubaru

you lost it right there, you are associating yourself to the people you are not a part of,

Luckily it is not you who decides what I'm part of. I enjoy very much living in Okinawa and my Okinawan relatives and friends often tease me calling me a "long-nose-uchinanchu". I feel enough part of the Okinawan society I live in to make what ever comments I like about the place that happens to be my home.

Many of my close Okinawan friends feel that unless the US base issue is properly solved and unless Okinawa gets back into a position in which it is able to determine its own fate in a democratic way Okinawan society won't be able to thrive and feel like supporting my friends. To prevent Tokyo and the US military from forcing things onto the Okinawan people and to help them getting back their dignity is the right thing to do.

Not to mention your mixing and matching issues and points to create an illusion that your opinions are valid.

As always hazy and overly generalizing accusations instead of counterargument or objective data to back up your completely subjective view of the Okinawan majority opinion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Most people in Okinawa do not believe MCAS Futenma will close even if the eco killer base is built. The Americans will claim they need it as well.

Hmpf! Who knew that "Most people in Okinawa" were religious fanatics who claim to foretell the future to the point that they will protest what hasn't even been hinted at? And if a 300 foot-wide runway extending into the water kills an ENTIRE reef and ALL the dugongs, then the reef was too small to be called a "reef" in the first place and the dugong population was already too small to sustain itself.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As always hazy and overly generalizing accusations instead of counterargument or objective data to back up your completely subjective view of the Okinawan majority opinion.

Pot kettle black...all that needs to be said.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Japan4Life: Thank you for reply, and excuse my poor English: While there is some truth to what you posted, you are missing a lot of factual facts, There is much more to know when one is reading and interpreting a Safety Data Sheet. The product you are referring to in the amount of 1500 liters was not pure product but mixture of product 25% and 75% water, which occurs when activation of a fire suppression system occurs. Was the material in pure form NO, it was mixed as most systems released are and the SDS information is for pure product release which is not the case at Kadena. Rather than spreading half truths, why not read through the SDS sheet as you will find that the substance is non HW waste disposal. The bases alone are not to blame for accidents or crimes as there have been more occurrences off base than on base over the years. It is also known that local farmers used extensive highly dangerous pesticides not to forget the dreaded red dirt erosion into the storm water drainage system throughout Okinawa so we to are in the blame not just the bases. There is more danger by the numerous resort hotels and granite mountains destroyed in Nago by developers and massive mainland landowners for their construction projects. In relation to crimes; there is a large fair share but not highly publicized and I’m not even going to talk about the gov officials who have embezzled and bilked the people out of tax dollars and spent our money foolishly. Don’t be fooled by not looking at the massive construction projects and the amounts of soil erosion, crushed granite and polluted waterways left by contract projects by big developers that the base are not even a part of. One has to be fair and impartial when it comes to our islands. There are many positive projects that the Marines and other US Forces personnel do for the people of the island but again the media fails to highlight and print about these positive influences. One project involves cleaning of the beaches, others involve teaching our kids, while others involves painting and fixing our elders homes, something that most families forget about it in this time and age. As for notification that again is not true, just depends on which Japanese authorities you are referencing as bases have POC's that get notified as agreed by both countries. Perhaps those authorities felt it best not to elevate that issue further and people are blaming the bases for following protocol provided but get blamed by such accusations as pointed out but yet not true? In any case to get back on topic, the relocation is not a new base but expansion of a base one of which is welcomed by Ryukyuans and opposed by mainland business developers, greedy landowners and Chinese agitators. The base will eventually expand and the closure of Futenma will come to a close. As for construction company sorry my mistake, land development company and in the name of family members due to his political ties. Well known too.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@TigersToktoDome"Does Japan need US presense - yes it does".

Enjoying being a military colony of the USA, eh? What's about your self-respect ?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Enjoying being a military colony of the USA, eh? What's about your self-respect ?

Japan has more to respect itself for being a pacifist nation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Strangerland"Japan has more to respect itself for being a pacifist nation".

Please...this is nothing short of laughable, childish US propaganda.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Please...this is nothing short of laughable, childish US propaganda.

I'm not American, nor do am I a propagandist.

The fact remains, Japan has more to pride itself in for being pacifist, than it would for becoming a warmongering nation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you think a facebook group is factual evidence for what the Okinawan majority wants or that you can judge the opinion of the people of a prefecture according to what your "co-workers and teammates" tell you then any kind of discourse based on objective data or factual evidence will be lost on you.

Word straight from the people's mouth isn't factual? It has about the same amount and if not more credibility than a Poll from the openly anti-US Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times. They've never clearly explained what they used to build their 300-500 person sized "random" samples and anyone who took statistics in college knows how easy it is to skew data. Elections over the last few years drew about 60% of registered voters on an island of 1.4million. Looking at the numbers, it shows that there's is not a true defined majority for the anti- US base side. In reality there is no clear winning side, there's the minority of who are anti, then a minority of pro, and a vast majority of people who are fine with the status quo.

they are more relaxed talking about US base issues as I'm not american. But that is just my personal anecdotal experience and this doesn't prove anything.

It doesn't prove anything because your nationality wouldn't make you more privy to any information.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@ CrucialS

Word straight from the people's mouth isn't factual?

Yes, it is factual for what it is, the opinion of individuals. It doesn't have the slightest factual value if we are talking about the majority opinion of a prefecture.

It has about the same amount and if not more credibility than a Poll from the openly anti-US Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times.

Please don't forget the NHK polls, the official prefecture polls, the polls by Japanese newspapers, several University research related polls, etc, etc.

They've never clearly explained what they used to build their 300-500 person sized "random" samples and anyone who took statistics in college knows how easy it is to skew data.

The two Okinawan newspapers do explain the methodology of their polls quite clearly. So please tell us how do they skew data? To just claim that such happens without even hinting at evidence means to engage in spreading baseless rumors.

Looking at the numbers, it shows that there's is not a true defined majority for the anti- US base side.

This is not a discussion about being fully anti or pro US military, but about the degree of US military agglomeration and the appropriateness of the decision making process in regard to its reduction.

a vast majority of people who are fine with the status quo.

If the vast majority of people are fine with the status quo how does it come that a clear majority voted for a change of the status quo in all recent elections? Your reasoning is completely incomprehensible and apparently not based on anything factual.

@ bjohnson23

Thank you for reply, and excuse my poor English: While there is some truth to what you posted, you are missing a lot of factual facts,

Looking at your past comments at JT it seems you have suddenly forgot your native level of english and decided to become "a true Ryukyuan and blood descendent".

Are you trying to be funny?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Looking at your past comments at JT it seems you have suddenly forgot your native level of english and decided to become "a true Ryukyuan and blood descendent".

Again pot-kettle-black. A caucasian military spouse wanting to be the same.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

“We have an obligation to defend Japan, and they have an obligation to provide us a place from which to defend them,” he said. “And Okinawa is one of those critical places where we must be in order to meet our treaty obligations to defend Japan.”

"to meet our treaty obligations to defend Japan?" Most Japanese don't believe him.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@tont Japan and China have been business partners for years, YOU ARE RIGHT

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The destruction of the coral reef and the extinction of the dugong is not worth the "closing" of MCAS Futenma.

Funny. I took a look at the southwestern side of Okinawa using Google Earth and the construction out into the reefs (jettys, developments, and what looks to be more land "reclamation") seems completely unabated. I guess destroying coral reefs is OK when it's Okinawans doing it, huh? Spare me your "only when it suits my point" concern.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bam_boo looks like you've convinced yourself to represent Okinawa. I'm glad your not an elected official. If Onaga and his cronies have their way we'll be ruled by China. Then we'll see what you have to say. Good luck.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@yuritani new base will NEVER be built! are you willing to put money on that statement, I dont like your chances of winning that bet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

True Okinawa:

You say that if Onaga and his cronies have their own way, Okinawa will be invaded and ruled by China. Why does the removal of one Marine base result in what you assert? Give evidence..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It seems that Mr Abe is remaining aloof or is labouring under the delusion that keeping the americans happy, at all costs, is 'beneficial' for everyone...He seems to have forgotten what maintaining american bases entail; these bases are located next to schools, buildings, houses...that is, at any moment, any accident involving aircraft landings or takeoff, can result in the death of innocent civilians, especially children. Many Okinawans, are FED UP of facing these threats day after day, of course, besides the ear-splitting noise that all the aircraft make. Most of all, are you aware of what these US marines, at least some of them, do to schoolgirls, girls and women in Okinawa?. Have you not heard about rape, groping, sexual molestation in which some of the marines incur and are involved? Abe and their american friends are fully aware about this, I can assure you that, but they do nothing to enforce criminal prosecution because they are devoted to making their american friends happy. The cases you see in the media...yes, I bet some of them portray what is convenient to the government. Most of the girls who are and have been victims just 'eat up' this deadly experience and, many of them end up in serious depression, because they are afraid of sharing that to their parents or are afraid of being stigmatised. Is that fair? Is the alliance with the US more important than safeguarding your own people? Never. This is an abuse, in my opinion, of both the Japanese and the US military that has to be denounced. Abe doesn't want Okinawa to secede from Japan? If Tokyo continues to remain indifferent to the suffering of Okinawans, believe me, something can and will happen soon. This is only my point of view, I may lash out against the US, military, but I intend to be respectful as well. If the Japanese government cannot maintain the Okinawan population happy, then, why keep it? Before Okinawa was annexed by Japan during the Early Meiji Period, Okinawa had good relations with some Chinese Dynasties, like the Qing dynasty. Why deny the Okinawans the right to pursue their own happiness? But now, Japan and the US know that Okinawa is a perfect strategic point, geographically speaking, and they consider this more important than the welfare of the Okinawans. US officials say they have the right to protect Okinawa...oh, so all the sexual molestation, groping, rape, is that protection? Driving mad the civilians with raucous noise coming from the aircraft and putting at risk the lives of innocent civilians, do you call the protection? If Abe wants to be a good leader and a decent politician, I believe he needs to listen to his people, and not make decisions based on his own ideology and interpretation of what is best for the Okinawans.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In no time, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani reacted to this report, saying the construction of the new base is to be completed as scheduled and that Adm. Harris' remarks are only his own. A knee-jerk reaction to Washington's tapping, as always.

Representative Kazuya Maruyama is still fresh in our memory by saying that Japan should be the 51st state of the United States of America. What a mentality for a national lawmaker! But this is simply not a gaff by one particular lawmaker. The reality is that Japan is already the 51st state of the U.S., always faithfully following the dictates the US. gives as Nakatani exemplifies.

One must know that Okinawa's Henoko struggle is also a struggle against Japan's lamentable political situation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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