politics

Okinawa Gov Onaga dies of cancer at 67

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As a politician, I never appreciated his unwillingness to negotiate with the government, and his "all or nothing" stance with regards to the base relocation.

As a fellow human, I will say a prayer for his passing, and pass along my condolences to his family with their loss.

9 ( +19 / -10 )

While Sakima has said he will need time to make up his mind, he criticized Onaga for focusing too much on the U.S. base issue and failing to make progress through negotiations.

This is what eroded the goodwill and support that Onaga initially had when elected as Gov. He focused far too much time and energy on the base issue and clogged up the prefectural assembly with the issue.

The assembly, with him as the leader, spent all their time arguing about issues that are decided about in the national Diet, not a local prefecture. The prefecture has ended up paying for that waste of money and time by loss of funding needed for some major infrastructure improvements because of it.

I am hopeful that Sakima will run, he is a far better option than the current Vice-Gov and while he is also against the bases, he knows the need of having Futenma shut and also knows the need to negotiate for the best deal possible for ALL the people of Okinawa and not just one emotionally based faction!

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I may have never agreed with you politically and questioned your loyalty to your country but I respect you for always standing by what you campaigned on until the very end.

Rest in Peace Governor Onaga and condolences to your family.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This is sad news. Takeshi Onaga was a man of integrity who stood up to the Tokyo government and represented his people to the end. I had the privilege to hear him speak on several occasions. He was a powerful and logical thinker who had the ability to see through the dirty tricks and smokescreen that the LDP puts out. He will be missed.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

He was a tough guy to agree with, but RIP Gov Onaga.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Takeshi Onaga was a man of integrity.

Sadly this is just an image that was portrayed of the man through the media, and far too many were sucked into believing it.

He was a powerful and logical thinker who had the ability to see through the dirty tricks and smokescreen that the LDP puts out. 

How convenient, Onaga made promises upon promises, yet changed with the wind. He publicly agreed on numerous occasions to abide by the decisions of the courts, yet backed off each time. He played his "dirty tricks" and put out "smokescreens" just as much as any other politician.

He was not "powerful", if he truly was he would have kept his promises. If he had integrity and belief in his convictions as a politician, he would have held the prefectural referendum on the base issues. He didnt.

Never forget either, in your rush to idolize him after his death, he was first and foremost LDP. He never strayed far from those roots either.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

If you can read the Japanese, his wiki page is rather informative about his political past and decades of work while a part of the LDP.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%BF%81%E9%95%B7%E9%9B%84%E5%BF%97#%E6%96%BD%E7%AD%96

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Pancreatic cancer is a terrible way to go. I’ve seen it first hand, no one deserves that, regardless of their political leanings.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Onaga died. Coming gobernatorial election will become avenging battle for people of Okinawa. LDP not easily wins it. Someone of Onaga's successor may be next governor at the election.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Agree or disagree with his stance on the base issue, what a sad way to go. RIP

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Can anyone please explain the role of governor? It seems that the governor has the power of an American governor (full executive powers), despite the national govt being parliamentary. I would think the 2 levels of govt would match in their powers (ie a prefectural premier). Thank you

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can anyone please explain the role of governor? It seems that the governor has the power of an American governor (full executive powers), despite the national govt being parliamentary. I would think the 2 levels of govt would match in their powers (ie a prefectural premier). Thank you

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Japanese_Law_and_Government/Local_Government#Relationship_with_prefectures

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yubaru

Showing people information regarding Onaga isn’t gunna convince a person whos logic goes like this

The US base is bad and has to go now.

Anyone who opposses it is correct.

I don’t think the USA can be here forever but I don’t want a dangerous power vaccum, or rush to militarize because the power balance dramatically shifts.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Onaga aroused ethnic anti-Japanese sentiment of Okinawans. It will not subside easily. I understand their feelings since Okinawa was an independent country from Japan in the past. It is understandable Okinawa wants to be free from Japan and U.S. Forces. Let them do as they want. Independence is the best I think.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Onaga was the very embodiment of a politician and every negative connotation that goes with that word. He never put Okinawa or its people first; it was always about him, his backers and getting reelected. Through the years he changed his stripes so many times he could have painted a whole heard of zebras. These changes were not about a maturing philosophy, he just flip-flopped to suit whatever got him in front of the media, money and elected to office. The man’s ego always proceeded him and he preened in media attention, which the Okinawa “bought and paid for” TV stations, such as RBC were willing to provide.  A good example of his conceit and arrogance was his wearing of that monstrosity helmet wig. He continued to refuse to admit he was bald when he became ill, he insisted on wearing a hat to cover his baldness. When he found the golden goose in opposing the US military bases, Okinawa’s bigger and more pressing problems were pushed so far down the list to be ignored while he railed on getting rid of the US military. I only hope the People of Okinawa will wake up and elect a governor who has the integrity and courage to have a balanced administration and actually govern for the benefit of all the people and their needs and not just the special interest group that has been buying the governors’ office for several years.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Readers, there is no need to bad-mouth Gov Onaga upon his death. It is inappropriate and reflects badly on those of you doing so. A simple condolence comment will do for now.

why force us to write a condolence when we don't feel like it? are you in favor of thought control and facism? it's utterly ridiculous to control what we say on this site as long as it follows your "rules."

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Sixty seven - not so old nowadays, a terrible sadness for his family. He worked till he died - a strong-willed man.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Gov. Takeshi Onaga was a good man who diligently served Okinawa and its citizen faithfully 'til the end.

My prayers and condolences to his family and the people of Okinawa.

May he rest in peace.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Onaga Sensei, Ichariba Choude.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

RIP Governor Takeshi Onaga. For those who did not know him, he was a person of high personal integrity without an iota of corruption over his years of public service. Family businesses or businesses of people close to him never got preferential treatment. He was adverse to "amakudari". His stance was principled: why should his people bear almost the entire burden for the defense of the entire Japanese nation. Why should 50,000 foreigners with special SOFA status with their own driver license system, paying lower road taxes and other defense treaty privileges be absorbed into the small island's population? No other prefecture has this burden. And so forth and so on. He will be missed.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I am sad the person who fought for Okinawa has passed away. He has a long record of serving the people. My condolences to his family and friends.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

He was a man much taller than Abe.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Rest In Peace, Onaga-san. He was a passionate Okinawan, and cared for his people. but I disagree with removing US bases. Those men dedicate their life to protecting Japan and Japanese citizens. I have been to Okinawa 3 times, and locals I spoke to said they want the US bases to remain. Especially now it is such a dangerous place in the world.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

He lived and fought valiantly for his beliefs.

Times have changed... now he lets others follow their path

With all respect and appreciation for his efforts, may he rest in peace and watch over those he loved so much.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

You always had to respect his principles, even if you didn't always agree with his politics. Playing hardball with the central govt when their deep bench includes US military interests is a tough game.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Rest in Peace!

If he found out in April, wouldn't he let people under him know about it and the possibility that he may pass? This is so he can find people to continue his journey instead of leaving his followers in shock and disarray.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I truly don't think the Japanese people deserve to have Okinawa. Okinawa people have always been treated as second class citizen and forced to burden American troops even tho the prefecture is by far the smallest. They were dragged into WW2, a war Okinawans have nothing to do with, and end up a large portion of the population killed.

A great man like Onaga will definitively be missed! Okinawa needs him.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

DaDude,

This isn't sudden news. Onaga was upfront about his condition and it's been reported in the media. The article above states:

One assembly member who supported Onaga said, "We're shocked. We don't know what to do."

ONE assembly member stated this. I don't think there is widespread shock and disarray. A lot of sadness, yes, because this is the passing of a rarity in politics - a politician who represented the majority of his people and not just a few select rich cats.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

One of the condolence callers at the hospital where Gov. Onaga breathed his last was Keiichi Inamine, an LDP-backed entrepreneur-turned governor of Okinawa (1998-2006) He told gathered reporters that his indecisiveness about the Henoko relocation issue during his governorship has caused a lot of trouble to successive governors after him.

The Henoko relocation issue is something that cuts across party lines and transcends the left and right ideologies. The relocation is the waste of Japanese taxpayers' money (a total estimated amount for the transfer: $10.3 billion), the devastation of natural environment and a white elephant in light of deterrence because it’s another training base for the U.S. Marines, the active elements of whom are to move to Guam. Of course, the relocation is a boon for the U.S. government. Nothing more. So posters advocating the relocation, especially American, are doing so out of greed and sheer egotism.

Rest in peace, Gov. Onaga.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I still cannot fathom why he was so against the base relocation. It is a good deal for Okinawa. Acres of land returned, no more airstrip in a densely populated area, thousands of marines moved off the island. It is a good compromise that serves both sides and shows the willingness of the US and Japanese governments to consider the needs of the okinawan people.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ONE assembly member stated this. I don't think there is widespread shock and disarray

"We" doesn't mean ONE. So the question to you is who is ready to step up tomorrow to fight this issue. The next question is if you knew this, why haven't you registered to be the next governor of Okinawa yet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

His vehemence is truly what have made the relocation of the Futenma Air base to Henoko gather even mainland Japanese to support the Okinawans in their fight for justice. Okinawa houses 70% of all american bases on Japan, but only accounts for 0,6 percentage of land mass of Japan.

Show some empathy mainland Japan, and help the Ryukyuan people to ease their minds. It is wrong for Okinawa solely to house 70% of american bases in Japan! A blazing soul for Okinawan justice has died, R.I.P Onaga Takeshi.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Someone of Onaga's successor may be next governor at the election. maybe but wont change the fact that the base will be relocated to Henoko

0 ( +1 / -1 )

because it’s another training base for the U.S. Marines, the active elements of whom are to move to Guam. Of course, the relocation is a boon for the U.S. government. Nothing more. So posters advocating the relocation, especially American, are doing so out of greed and sheer egotism.

What is this? A eulogy to Onaga? You cant let that literal dead horse be can you, even after it really died!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Didn’t even know he was sick. While I think I disagreed with just about everything he said and did, I would never wish that on anyone. RIP.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strikebreaker: “Show some empathy mainland Japan, and help the Ryukyuan people to ease their minds.”

It’s not a matter of easing people’s minds or being fair, it’s a matter of strategic importance and practicality. Such a stupid argument... second only to “let’s spread and store radioactive waste across Japan to be fair to the people of Fukushima!” Let’s understand their plight and sympathize by putting everyone else in danger.”

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Darknuts (Today 12:36 pm JST),

As I've argued elsewhere, Futenma Air Station sits on illegally confiscated private lands. So when Okinawa demands for the return of the lands, there's no inherent right for the U.S. side to ask its replacement be built in another place in Okinawa. You say that since the U.S. side has made a concession, Okinawa must reciprocate. A win-win game, you want to say? 

No, you're absolutely wrong. The thief doesn't have a right to demand the owner a quid pro quo for the item he has stolen from him. Period.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As I've argued elsewhere, Futenma Air Station sits on illegally confiscated private lands. US marines are in Okinawa at the invitation of the J government. whether it be at Futenma or Henoko is totally up to the Okinawa government to decide if it goes slow or fast, it will happen theres no changing that fact

0 ( +2 / -2 )

smithinjapan,

 it’s a matter of strategic importance and practicality.

Show me why Futenma's relocation to Henoko, that is, relocation within Okinawa, is so important and absolutely necessary from a strategic stand point.

The new base at Henoko is an integral part of the training facilities for the U.S. Marines -- not necessarily to defend Japan when contingencies should occur. The most active elements of them are to move to Guam and come to Okinawa for training on a regular basis. Japan and the U.S. have also struck a deal that primary responsibility to defend Japan's outlying islands rests with JSDF while USFJ has only an assisting role. 

So you must explain why the Henoko relocation is necessary by all means under such circumstances. The Japanese government hasn’t given a satisfactory explanation to us, only repeating the mantra that the Henoko relocation is the only solution.

Chief Cabinet Minister even announced today that the reclamation work would carry on despite Onaga’s death. That’s a blasphemy against the late Onaga indeed.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Was he a smoker and that he is why he contracted pancreatic cancer? Or spent too many years in smoke-filled rooms? Aside from all the other issues, does anyone have any information on this point?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

wiftjapan,

US marines are in Okinawa at the invitation of the J government. whether it be at Futenma or Henoko is totally up to the Okinawa government to decide if it goes slow or fast, it will happen theres no changing that fact

U.S. marines are in Okinawa at the invitation of the Japanese government? Probably, you're saying this on the basis of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. But how would you respond if I say that security treaty is shenanigans, a facade to hide the U.S. intention to keep Japan under quasi-occupation for good.

Do you know under what circumstance the original treaty was signed?  It was revised in 1960 with a provision added to the effect that the U.S. military's presence is for the defense of Japan and its vicinity (the Far Eaast).t

Besides, the U.S. side has violated treaty provisions from time to time, using the bases for attacking third countries even though it's stipulated those bases are provided to the U.S. military in exchange for their defense of Japan and the Far East.

It's also dubious if the Marines are considered the Navy whereby they can use bases with such impunity.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Was he a smoker and that he is why he contracted pancreatic cancer? 

No, he wasn't a smoker. He had cancer in another organ and was though to have been rid of it some years ago. But instead, it metastasized. Shouldn't speculate the worse on the dead. It boomerangs as karma.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mr.Onaga is one of Victims by Arrogant Japanese Abe Government's "Strongman Politics".

Japan version "Alt-Rights" who have adored Abe Government repeat Innumerable slander against even The deceased.

Japanese Nationalists never treat Okinawa as "same Japan",disregard Okinawa like Colony,ignore Pain and Suffering of Okinawa,never understand History of Okinawa.

They have labelled even Accident of US Force as "Forgery by Okinawa",and spread falsehood of Okinawa day by day to discredit dissent people.

Japanese Abe Government are supported by such shameless Nationalists.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

With negotiations on the potential denuclearization of NoKor in the near or mid term, it may be sensible to reassess strategies and put the Henoko relocation on ice, while at the same time ceding back the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station land back to Okinawa, along with Camp Kinser and others. Kadena, Misawa, Yokota, JSDF airfields plus an MCAS in Guam should be considered overkill as it currently stands. Particularly with the current administration's policy of having nations pay for their own defense. Gov. Onaga's delay could have been provident for all concerned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the base is there for protection against China, etc and the Okinawans don't like it then perhaps Japan should have an SDF base in south Texas for protection against drug trafficking (much more violence than seen on the opposite side of the world). Texas would loooove the base.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's also dubious if the Marines are considered the Navy whereby they can use bases with such impunity.

how the bases are used is between the US and Japan governments , the relocation is to remove Futenma and make free the large amount of land available to the people of that area. moving the base to Henoko will not effect very many people and the people in Nago recently elected a probase mayor. So if Okinawans complain that they should be allowed to dictate where the bases go without Tokyos influence, then it equally fare to say that Nago should be allowed accept the new base without Okinawa government influence, amazing home democracy works.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 It is understandable Okinawa wants to be free from Japan and U.S. Forces. Let them do as they want. Independence is the best I think.

Well, no doubt Gov. Onaga will be regarded as an Okinawan/Ryukyu hero and a statue in Futenma (after reclamation and restoration) erected in his honour.

Onaga's successor and followers can renew efforts for Okinawa to secede from Japan, declare itself fully independent, oust all US forces and bases out of Okinawa and finally be free of Japan and U.S vassal dominance. Then the "Democratic People's Republic of Okinawa" can look to China and its One Belt One Road program for economic support and protection.

If that's what the many anti-US Okinawans want, then so be it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

RIP Gov. Onaga, a great servant of the people of Okinawa as the Mayor of Naha and Governor of Okinawa.

The reasons the U.S. Marines are on Okinawa is because the Govt. of Japan is the only country outside of the U.S., that is willing to waste their taxpayers money on a force that cannot even defeat a bunch of goat herders in Afghanistan.

Name another country outside of Japan that would build thousands of Central Air conditioned Housing units, Dependent Schools, Day Care Centers, Golf Courses, Military Clubs, Libraries, Bowling Centers, and other leisure centers for the U.S. Marines who contribute almost nothing to the defense of Japan. I wish that all Japanese Taxpayers could come inside the Marine Bases and see what their tax money has been spent on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The most logical re-locations would have been the backside of Kadena Air Base that has two large runways seldom used or the backside of Camp Hansen where the troops are. Why did this not happen?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

RIP Onaga.

Name another country outside of Japan that would build thousands of Central Air conditioned Housing units, Dependent Schools, Day Care Centers, Golf Courses, Military Clubs, Libraries, Bowling Centers, and other leisure centers for the U.S. Marines who contribute almost nothing to the defense of Japan. I wish that all Japanese Taxpayers could come inside the Marine Bases and see what their tax money has been spent on.

Challenge accepted! Republic of Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Saudi Arabia...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

CrucialIS,

You are joking right? Camp Mujuk in Pohang, please tell me how many dependent housing the S.K. Govt. has built there and how many Dependent Schools the S.K. Govt. has built there and how many golf courses and other leisure facilities the S. K. Govt. has built there?Please tell me how many dependent housing, schools, golf courses and other leisure facilities the German Govt. has built for the U.S. Marines? Please tell me how many dependent housing, dependent schools, golf courses and other leisure facilities the U.K. Govt. has built for the U.S. Marines? Please tell me how many dependent housing, schools, golf courses and other leisure facilities the Govt. of Italy has built for the U.S. Marines? Please tell me how many dependent housing. schools, golf courses and other leisure facilites the Govt. of Spain has built for the U.S. Marines? Please tell me how many dependent housing, schools, golf courses and other leisure facilities the Govt. of Saudi Arabia has built for the U.S. Marines?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Ray Payne,

How are you doing? We have spoken on quite a few occasions and I was suprised to see you posting on here and using your real name. I first met you back in the old Hernando's days in Minatogawa. I have been on Okinawa since 1967 but I know you have been here a lot longer than I have and I have much respect for you.

K.A.B would have been a good location but the Air Force dislikes the Marines as much as the Okinawans. Camp Hansen would have been another good location and a lot's cheaper option. Even Ie Shima which already has a Marine Base and Runway which used to host the Harriers would have been a good location. The Japanese Govt. chose Henoko because it is the most expensive option out of all the locations on Okinawa and because the expensive landfill provides the most profit for the big Mainland Japanese construction companies that support the LDP. This is just a big pork barell project to benfit the big Mainland Japanese Construction companies under the disguise of being necessary for the defense of Japan. The U.S. Marines on Okinawa have nothing that would deter or prevent an attack by China, N.K. or anyone else with serious military capabilities.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wtfjapan,

Article 6 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty stipulates that the U.S. is allowed use by its Army, Air Force and Navy of bases and areas in Japan  for the purpose of maintaining the peace and security of Japan and the Far East. In light of this, training by the Marines to hone their combat skills in jungle and urban warfare to invade and subjugate countries far from Japan is a blatant violation of this treaty.

Besides, it must be clarified if the Marines are a bona fide Navy. Their claim of themselves as the Navy is very dubious.  The bulk of U.S. bases in Okinawa are Marine bases, you know.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan4life,

Why is it any different if bases with amenities are built for the Air Force/Army (like in the countries I've listed) than if its built for the Marines. By that standard your argument fails miserably since on Okinawa nearly all of the amenities you listed are Air Force owned such as the beach resort you talk about and all but one golf course.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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