politics

U.S. to return Okinawan land to Japanese gov't on Dec 22

24 Comments
By ROBERT BURNS

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24 Comments
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After 2 decades, SOMETHING is finally happening! Just like to say though, that the more important land that was agreed to be returned (MCAS FUTENMA) is still sitting in limbo.

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Let's hope they clean up all of their unexploded ordinance before the transfer

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Let's hope they clean up all of their unexploded ordinance before the transfer

You really don't know what you are talking about if you make a comment like this. Try to educate yourself about the situation BEFORE commenting.

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Symbolic only. Which I guess is better than nothing. Other articles go into more detail explaining that they are giving the land back on two conditions, Japan pay for and build 5 new helicopter landing pads (and roads to and from the pads) and allow the USA indefinite and continued use of the land for training.

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The only people responsible in delaying any more returns is the political arm of the Okinawa government. Let the process go thru and Futenma will be returned.

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Let's hope they clean up all of their unexploded ordinance before the transfer

Try to educate yourself about the situation BEFORE commenting.

Quite. The US military isn't only about making things go Bang.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/09/national/documents-indicate-chemical-leaks-u-s-base-polluted-okinawa-water-supply/#.WEdDhGXAVwg (Documents indicate chemical leaks at U.S. base have polluted Okinawa water supply.)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/contamination-at-largest-us-air-force-base-in-asia-kadena-okinawa/5522899 (redevelopment of land returned from Camp Kuwae, has been delayed for more than 12 years due to contamination from arsenic, lead and oil)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/agent-orange-dioxin-toxic-dumps-at-okinawa-us-military-base/5480266 (Agent Orange Dioxin, Toxic Dumps at Okinawa US Military Base)

At least things that go bang only go bang once: pollution is the gift that goes on giving. For years and years and years.

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Is there anyone who doesn't welcome the return of 4,000 ha of base land? Here's a reason why Okinawa isn't all happy about this return.

The U.S. Marine Corps Northern Training Area, a.k.a. Jungle Warfare Center, has an area of about 7,800 ha, the largest U.S. military facility on land in Okinawa Prefecture. Combat-ready marines, stationed either in Okinawa or outside Japan, regularly train there to hone their jungle warfare skills (to defend Japan?).

In 1996, the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) specified in its final report that the U.S. would return a disused part of the Northern Training Area, mostly in Kunigami Village, of about 4,000 ha. We, of course, welcomed the news without reserve.

In 2005, nine years later, a condition was attached to the initially unconditional return of the land tract to the effect that 6 "helipads" be built in the remaining area for the 7 helipads that are in the area to be returned.

No big deal? Never. These "helipads" aren't helipads in the usual sense of the word but are colossal facilities for Ospreys and probably Harrier jump jets to land and take off.

If training involving the V/STOL aircraft started in a full swing, the destruction of natural environment in and around Takae village, around which these facilities are being built, would be devastating indeed, let alone destruction by the construction itself. The area is a partial habitat for endangered species of birds, Yanbaru rails (Gallirallus okinawae) and Noguchi woodpeckers (Sapheopipo noguchii). Naturally, there ensued a vehement local opposition to the construction of these so-called "helipads."

To which, the U.S.-servile central government responds by saying, "Doesn't Okinawa want the return of the significant portion of base land?" This is insulting indeed. In return for giving back the land tract, the U. S. will be able to maintain its firm grip on bases in Okinawa more than ever, whereby Okinawa's burden of shouldering the bulk of U.S. bases in Japan (currently 74% but after the land tract return 70%) will continue indefinitely.

Does the Abe government consider Okinawa as an integral part of Japan or does it consider it simply as a negotiable article in diplomatic dealings? Okinawa, an independent kingdom until 1872, was annexed to Japan in a very dubious fashion anyway.

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Good. 70 years is long enough.

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It delayed and delayed. Hope this time honest.

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The USA needs to leave Japan forever everywhere, Abolish the Defense agreements to aid Japan if ever attacked and let the Japanese defend themselves and build their own Military to defend themselves.

That was a sincerely senseless rant DocCarlos. The US and Japan have their areas of friction but the world isn't coming to an end. I agree that the US and Japan should rethink their alliance now given that the Cold War is over and the USSR is no more. But Japan dearly needs the US as an ally because they have few other countries that will stand with them.

Jay Que: Good. 70 years is long enough.

Significant changes in the strategic relationship are needed and the needs of the Okinawans should be considered. The return of the 10,000 is a good start.

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Build the casino, and they will come. A Las Vegas near other Asian countries will be a magnate.

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@ Cleo so instead of just commenting on the basib information in the article, I must go out and do more research first? Good thing you are not in charge

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Its time for the marines to get over WW2 and just leave. We never should have been in Okinawa in the first place.

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At least things that go bang only go bang once: pollution is the gift that goes on giving. For years and years and years.

And all of what you linked there has NOTHING to do with the article and subject at hand.

I must go out and do more research first? Good thing you are not in charge

You should, because it's NTA, and if you knew anything about the area in the first place the comments make no sense.

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so instead of just commenting on the basib information in the article, I must go out and do more research first?

No need to 'go out and do research', just have an inquiring mind and a healthy interest in current affairs, and keep an eye on the news. And have a gander at the links friendly JT posters are kind enough to give you. (folk might be forgiven for imagining that, as a sensei, you'd appreciate the opportunity to learn...?)

The article mentions that the land has been used for 'for jungle warfare training'. When you think of the US military and jungle warfare, what comes immediately to mind? The Vietnam War. How did the US military cope with Vietcong hiding in the jungle? By defoliating the trees with the herbicide Agent Orange, contaminated witht he dioxin TCDD. Where did they store the Agent Orange before they sprayed it liberally all over Vietnam? That's right, in Okinawa. Handy, and in the neighbourhood.

And then there's the drunken Marines with a penchant for filling hangars 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. Although the agent flowed off the base into nearby waterways and the ocean, military officials decided not to report the accident to Japanese authorities or local residents. An explosive situation in my book.

Good thing you are not in charge

But I am in charge, here at home anyways. Any everything is ship-shape and hunky-dory, thank you for asking. :-)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Your own post states that the land was used for Warfare training during Warfare training it is inevitable that live ammunition and other explosive things will be left laying around so why is my comment that I hope it should be cleaned up before the transfer require me to educate myself about the situation?

If you had your way we'd have to pass a test before were given a password to comment on every article

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sensei, I have no problem with your hope that all the unexploded ordinance gets properly cleaned up before the land is handed back. I share your hope.

My point was that there are possibly worse things left lying around than things that might go bang. It was not I who required you to educate yourself before commenting; that post appears to have been removed, which makes the conversation more complicated than it should be. The remark about educating yourself before commenting, to which I was responding, could be taken in any of three ways; 1) unexploded ordinance is no problem, there is nothing left lying around, it has/will be cleaned up and you should know this, or 2) there are way worse things than unexploded ordinance to worry about and you should know this, or 3) the US military cannot be expected to clean up after itself and the hope that they will is naive.

I took the remark to have the second meaning, but perhaps the original poster (was it Jimizo? I can't remember) would like to clarify.

Please don't get narky. I'm not the one leaving bangy/toxic/carcinogenic stuff lying around.

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voiceofokinawaDEC. 07, 2016 - 08:30AM JST Is there anyone who doesn't welcome the return of 4,000 ha of base land? Here's a reason why Okinawa isn't al happy about this return.

Why don't you compare how U.S, treats Okinawa vesus Kuril island by Russia. You would say the above. Typical of Japanese.

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Okinawa used to be known as The Junkyard of the Pacific because the US Military dumped so much Hazardous Materials on the island and in the surrounding ocean. Almost all of the land returned by the Military has had environmental problems. A few years ago a retired Marine Col. was awarded damages from a lawsuit he won against the US Govt. because he was exposed to Agent Orange while stationed at MCAS Futenma in the 1990s and that was long after the Reversion of Okinawa to Japan. The US Military has and continues to make a mockery of Japans Environmental Laws and the Japanese Govt. does nothing but wait until the land is returned and then the J-Govt. pays for the environmental cleanup. There is no penalties or costs to the US Military for the pollution they do. This is one of the main reasons why MCAS Futenma should not be relocated to that beautiful ocean spot in Henoko, because the US Military will pollute and the Japanese Govt. does not have the power or the will to do anything to them.

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sfjp330,

I'm not sure what's being negotiated between Tokyo and Moscow as regards the return of western Kuril islands. But suppose Moscow were insisting on maintaining Russian troops and missile bases there even after their return and that Tokyo were demanding for their unconditional return and Russian troops' complete withdrawal. Suppose also that the U.S. were always behind Japan's negotiating stance. Naturally, negotiations would come to deadlock.

You cannot discuss the Okinawa issue and the “northern territory” issue on the same plane. They have different historical backgrounds.

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Land to be returned, I hope mainland industries will compete to create their branches. Labor shortage is so severe in mainland.

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Future S.D.F training ground?

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Are you seriously going to use Jon Mitchell articles as facts? Everything he writes is an inaccurate and twisted finding from the most random assortment of FIA Documents. It's all his anti American propaganda that's not even worth using as toilet paper. He probably got his girlfriend stolen by a Marine years ago and he's still desperately seeking revenge.

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Yay

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