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U.S. senators say Okinawa base plan needs congressional approval

33 Comments

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Why is it that people just comment on the bad side of the bases, and forget to mention on the thousands of jobs that the bases offer to the locals here.

Because it doesn't help their cause to point out that it doesn't take thousands of people to make horse manure - just a few ranch hands and a bunch of horses. I think people believe that if the U.S. servicemen leave, then additional people will come to the prefecture to make up for the loss in sales and taxes that the Americans now pay, and employment of the Okinawans. A nice belief, but Okinawa's main industry is tourism and that primarily involves the shore - where Okinawa already has firmly establshed their tourist industry. So the loss of the Americans isn't going to result in any huge increase in tourists coming to the island. No huge increase = no new demand for employees = former base workers left unemployed.

@YuriOtani,

Why does there need to be American troops at all on Okinawa? If China attacks Okinawa, the Americans will defend Japan, right?

Sure we'll defend Japan, but you yourself are fond of declaring that Okinawa is NOT Japanese. I guess the Okinawan Army, Navy, and Air Force are just going to have to do the job on their own because the U.S. has no defense agreement with the sovreign government of Okinawa. Feel free to attack the U.S. forces invading your "country" using your military. Somehow, I'm not to worried about the outcome of that battle.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why is it that people just comment on the bad side of the bases, and forget to mention on the thousands of jobs that the bases offer to the locals here. Also knowing several Okinawan people that live here, and hearing it from several of them. It seems that its mainland people that move to Okinawa that seem to be complaing the most. As several Okinawans I have talked to here don't really seem to care about the bases. As for the people that own the land they have on base access and are able to come on base. So what do they have to complain about.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Okinawa and, indirectly, Japan is losing BIG MONEY by letting the US military use its land. Someone on this site calculated that if the whole of Kadena base (it's HUGE) was converted to pasture and horses were kept on it, they would make more money selling the horse manure.

Each of the areas that had been US bases in Okinawa and that have been returned to the country are making very big income. Oroku, Shintoshin, Hamby Town.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

China won't dare attack Japan. They have more at stake than any country in the world. America owes them and by going to war with them means automatic cancellation of debt and knowing the Chinese, the only they care about is making money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hate to agree with Yuri, but that is what America wants. And the American media machine will persuade most Americans again to fight China with Japan caught in the middle of it. Money is to be made from war , and its a mantra America's largest corporations want and blaming China for America's problem is key to their argument. WW3 will happen, the question is when and how America will instigate it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I want to know what Okinawa would do with the Futenma land if they got it back. Hotels, condos and strip malls, anyone?

One story is the JSDF is moving in from Naha. Another is a casino area with a private airport..... and so on... Going to take years to build and the land owners loss money until they build or re-rent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yuri, you havent lived in Okinawa for decades and really should come back here, live here, and take a look at how the change in the landscape of Okinawa has changed as well how the people view the bases. Just reading about it on the internet or watching pacifistic videos dont do justice to the changes that have been made.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tom DeMicke, The Americans being on Okinawa is not a big help toward missile defense. About the Peoples Republic missiles, they keep blowing up. The Marines do nothing for the defense of Okinawa. Not enough of them but they would help in defending the otter islands, maybe. America might not want to go to war over those small islands. This of course calls in question the entire security agreement. Why does there need to be American troops at all on Okinawa? If China attacks Okinawa, the Americans will defend Japan, right? Would America retaliate if China or Russia nukes Japan? Are they willing to put their own cities at risk?

The US Congress knows a good thing, why move US troops from paid bases? The SDF has an airbase and can use white beach. The land can be returned to the owners.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The people of Okinawa are largely disgruntled because they bear a disproportionate burden of hosting extra-national military forces essentially at the whim of the very far-disconnected bureaucracy in Tokyo. It's tantamount to taxation without representation. It seems very reasonable that a significant proportion of the residents would be dissatified. This has been rehashed ad infinitum. The article was about US CONGRESS being involved in the approval process regarding funding. That is actually a significant portion of their responsibility as a previous poster astutely noted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

China would/would not attack Okinawa purely because of the leverage against Japan. China is just as nationalistic of a country as Japan is, and you think Japanese are upset about Americans and having lost the war, imagine the anger the Chinese feel. They suffered far more than the Japanese did, and lost millions of more lives to slaughter, rape, bio-chemical testing. IF Americans left Japan completely, it would mean a treaty was over. The reason they are there is because of Japans transgressions against almost all of Asia, they are not allowed to have a true standing military force. Hence why everything begins with SD- Self Defense. While China may dislike America(for a few good reasons), that is nothing compared to what they would love to do to Japan. As far as economy. Look at the Philippians. There used to be a base there and it got shut down. The economy at where the base used to be, and how it is now with the base gone. Unless another massive amount of people go in, the economy, based on previous history, is going to very quickly turn bad. Japanese already go to Okinawa as a tourist destination. It's not like they avoid it now, and while some may think so. If the land opens it, its not like there will be a huge constant influx of citizens who can maintain the constant money source the Americans are providing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Zichi: The "historical reason" is that's where the bases were at the end of the war that Japan (including the Okinawa prefecture) lost. Had we actually landed on the main island and started advancing, there would have been more bases there as well.

To the rest of you contemplating what would happen to the land when it is "given back": Who said it would be given back? The scenario I see is that the base will be handed over to the JSDF. It could be converted to a ground forces base fairly quickly so all of the Okinawan reasons for the base leaving (noise, danger from falling aircraft) would be addressed. TOKYO decides what happens to the base. Whether they get input from Okinawa or not is their issue, not the U.S.'s.

These congressman aren't saying anything new. If it involves money being spent it has to first be approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate, not to be outdone, will always throw their two-cents-worth into the debate. That's the way it's been for 224 years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan wants US military bases, but AS FAR from Tokyo as they can get.

That's why the bases in Okinawa.

There's an historical reason why there are bases ion Okinawa

3 ( +3 / -0 )

smith-san

The paltrey few thousand dollars a month paid out to the baggers at the PX, etc., is NOTHING compared to the money that could be made from the land in Futenma and Kadena.

And China is not going to attack Okinawa. Why on Earth would they?

For the rich oil fields? Gold mines? Coal? Millions of hectares of wheat?

If they committed such an act of military aggression, they would lose their world trade and they cannot afford to do that.

US military presence in Okinawa doesn't protect anything, it <>makes the place UNSAFE because it draws fire.

Japan wants US military bases, but AS FAR from Tokyo as they can get.

That's why the bases in Okinawa.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yuri: The US are there to protect you, like it or not. Thank them, don't curse them, because we all know you'll be singing their praises the next time a Chinese sub goes near the Okinawan islands, and we all know that the livelihoods of many Okinawans depends on the bases.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just a point to ponder.... Last week on JTV (mainland program) they pointed out that the CoCo Curry shop in Chatan on Kokutaidoro was the HIGHEST GROSSING store in ALL OF JAPAN. And why.... all the Military in the area. And who says their presence is not a benifit!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I want to know what Okinawa would do with the Futenma land if they got it back. Hotels, condos and strip malls, anyone?

Why do you care what they do with it?

It's their land.

They can do with it what they like.

Okinawa is not an American colony.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Good point CactusJack. It takes years before the local government knows what to do with land given back to them and then several more decades before they actually do something. Let's see how long it will take for them to do with the land they are being given back from the Awase golf area.

The only people who are against the presence of Americans and the military bases are those who work for the local government. They have no need for bases. Those who are trying to make an honest living by owning business (whatever that may be), more than welcome the Americans and the bases. Anyone who just says "Okinawans don't want the Americans and their bases" need to do some homework.

Oh, and by the way: Imaginary enemy = North Korea's missiles.

Peace!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I want to know what Okinawa would do with the Futenma land if they got it back. Hotels, condos and strip malls, anyone?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

China is not an enemy of Okinawa. See this article:

http://www.uchinanchu.org/uchinanchu/history_early.htm

Before Japan invaded, Okinawa had a good working relationship with China.

Having US bases here just creates antagonism.

But my point is that there should be a referendum. The Okinawan people should be asked how they feel about it and the Honshu government should act accordingly.

If this is a democracy, that is.

Perhaps it isn't.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

****riffraff its not anti-american, the anti-base is a civil rights movement after all the okinawans have suffered a lot under oppressive occupation. Its unacceptable to force a new base upon them. just remove the marines, its not clear as to why they are there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Over 3000 people own the land that is Futenma AB. Of these 3000 people, there are approximately 25 people who own 90% of the base land. The rest of the “land owners” own postage size parcels. The postage stamp owners bought these tiny parcels of land as a ploy to make it difficult for the Japanese or American governments to get any kind of real consensus. This ploy was first started back in the early ‘90s by then Okinawa Governor Ota, who was a huge supporter of the anti-base, anti-American movement.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another saga that will never end

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Agree with Johninnaha - the bases have been here too long and the US presence is an embarassment. It's a huge expense to the US, which is more to the point these days, serving basically as a little R&R for poor guys on their way to Afghanistan. The twerp in Pyongyang and his missiles are a joke, and if we or China wants to start a war I don't want to be in Okinawa when it happens.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So, Congressional approval is required before a few thousand troops are moved around in Okinawa, but not before America launches war? Good to see the Senate can get tough when the matters are trivial.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If it is really a big issue then kick the mililtary out of Okinawa or out of Japan. Then start your own miltiary and you don't have to worry about American's being on the land. That is the easy fix. I don't see that ever happening.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yuri, Okinawa is some mack daddy real estate, which the Japanese government realised 400 years ago and decided to invade. If the Americans leave, the Chinese might move back in, and rightly so as they were there before the Tokugawa shogunate shooed them away.

Ah Okinawa. Where I can't hear myself sipping my cocktail at the beach because of some aircraft flying overhead.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This issue will just go on and on. I see no resolution of this. Ever.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I do think that the Okinawans should be asked on that, but lets be honest. Japan is not losing any money by renting it to the Americans., they may not be giving any of it to Okinawa, but they are making a lot of money off the rental fees. The Americans do not get that land for free you know.

As far as an imaginary history, Japan has more enemies because of its past transgressions than you or it seem to realize.

couldn't agree more.

This is what happens, when people have no other problems in their life to content with, so they have time to complain about every little thing. What were the census figure for Okinawa..? One out of every three (1 out of 3) people are on the Government dole. Obviously they're not worried about where their next house or car payment is coming from, or even about employment.

I can understand if it's a noise issue, yes, maybe they can find some work-arounds, but their chief complaint is just being around people they don't want to see. Well, Too Bad, get over it, and get on with your life, your best future defense is don't start any more wars of aggression, and you'll never have to worry about it.

And some of these people spouting this crap, have no idea, WHAT Japan, actually did from 1900 to 1945... You NEED to read some REAL history books, It's unbelievable... They have never left their home town, so they only know history as related by a 70 year, racist uncle or father or grandfather...

Knowledge is the key to YOUR SUCCESS!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Americans are so arrogant! We are not a base from which the USA can attack China or Korea. We do not want to be a part of America's wars.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Okinawa and, indirectly, Japan is losing BIG MONEY by letting the US military use its land. Someone on this site calculated that if the whole of Kadena base (it's HUGE) was converted to pasture and horses were kept on it, they would make more money selling the horse manure.

Each of the areas that had been US bases in Okinawa and that have been returned to the country are making very big income. Oroku, Shintoshin, Hamby Town.

But my point is that no one seems to consider the Okinawans point of view. Wouldn't it be polite, wouldn't it be democratic to have a referendum?

I'm sure they don't because they know what the outcome would be.

Okinawans don't want US bases on their land.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

"The people who are losing money because prime land is being used to "defend" Japan against an imaginary enemy."

Real defenses are what keep an enemy "imaginary".

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I do think that the Okinawans should be asked on that, but lets be honest. Japan is not losing any money by renting it to the Americans., they may not be giving any of it to Okinawa, but they are making a lot of money off the rental fees. The Americans do not get that land for free you know.

As far as an imaginary history, Japan has more enemies because of its past transgressions than you or it seem to realize.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

How about getting the approval of the people who actually live here?

The people who are inconvenienced by the bases.

The people who are losing money because prime land is being used to "defend" Japan against an imaginary enemy.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

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