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U.S. ambassador urges Japan to honor base agreement

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dejavu

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saying “it is the best and only viable option.” These are the words of the American ambassador. Who is to say, this is THE BEST option and further more "THE ONLY viable option.Over the years I have seen America use this phrase,and look what happened. America is only a guest in this country ,like all foreigners here. The Okinawans have a right to decide what is best for them.A referendam is the best solution,let the people decide. If the American forces leave ,how will that affect the economy of Okinawa?, If they stay how will that affect their quality of life?and what are the benefits. We don't know the answers,only the Okinawans can answer this. Let them decide.

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What about America says OK! we will withdraw from Okinawa. we will not stay where we are not welcome. I want to see reactions to that.

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Just how long is this going to go on? Heck, 9/10ths of the Marines on this island were not even born when this was going on and here I am going on to ninety and I and all that brought to whole thing about will be dead, long before anyone has guts to say bring them all home.

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minello7 at 08:39 AM JST - 1st December If the American forces leave ,how will that affect the economy of Okinawa?, If they stay how will that affect their quality of life?and what are the benefits. We don't know the answers,only the Okinawans can answer this. Let them decide.

Yep, they are very aware of the results which is part of the reason they stay there without any major changes. Many here don't realize that the Japanese Gov. pays huge amounts of money extra per year to the Okinawa prefecture because of the "burder of hosting the majority of US Force in Japan". That money goes into the prefecture budget for whatever they need, like infrastructure, schools, facilities, quality of life, etc. With that incentive, many Okinawa Governors aren't so quick to fight against mass base closures even if they get elected on the "anti-base" campaign stance.

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Okada said the issue is difficult but hoped to resolve it “by the end of the year.”

And by the end of the year, we'll see the headline: "Japan to honor original Futenma agreement"

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societymike at 10:19 AM JST - 1st December With that incentive, many Okinawa Governors aren't so quick to fight against mass base closures even if they get elected on the "anti-base" campaign stance.

I disagree. Govenor Hirokazu Nakaima is one of the largest advocates to expel 8,000 U.S. Marines and their families off the island of Okinawa. He has consistently blasted the U.S. Government as well as its officials for frivolous wrong doing.

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I like could of not guessed. Well at least the Americans let us live on our own island. Is the glass half full or empty? Hopefully something can be worked out but am not holding my breath. I wish that for a moment Americans can stand inside the Okinawan's shoes and just for a moment we can be you. Sarge might even change his tune.

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Schopenhauer at 09:01 AM JST - 1st December

What about America says OK! we will withdraw from Okinawa. we will not stay where we are not welcome. I want to see reactions to that

I believe you would see the reaction of a great parade and people saying "there is a God". We say, go ahead and withdraw your troops, they need to be where there is a real threat to safety, like maybe South Korea, or the middle east or better yet to Fort Hood. For Society Mike who believe that Japan Pays Huge Amounts of money into the Okinawan Economy, you have to be in dreamland. The latest figures I read, show that of all the money coming into Okinawa Prefecture resulting from Military Base expendetures, amounts to 5% of the total income to Okinawa and of that 5%, 75% goes to mainland Japanese Business Interests that are involved in Businesses such as building bases and that money goes back to the mainland of Japan, so do your homework before you mention Huge amounts of money to Okinawa. We will do fine without you.

We do not mind a few bases but there is no where you can go on Okinawa without being confronted by US Military. 37 bases is way to many, so I say, Go Home, find someone to protect like the Iraqi People or the people in Afganistan but keep them also safe from US Military, boys being boys and from collateral damage...

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For the real issue as this story is about the US wanting Japan to honor the Agreement of 2006; what about Judge Patel, San Francisco Federal District Court who ruled in January 2008, (2 years after the bogus governments of Japan and President Bush made their self serving agreement), Judge patel ruled that the US Military was in violation of the National Preservation Act for failing to evaluate the potential effects on the Dugong & ordered the US Defense Dept. to do so. Case citation Okinawa Dugong v. Gates, No. 03-4350. I would like to know when the US Military is going to do what Judge Patel ordered or are they going to go against the Federal Courts just because they think they are above the law and can, then tell Japan to honor this phony agreement. Please give me, or better yet, give Okinawa a break, start practicing what you preach...

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I'm confused - is Okinawa a part of the United States or Japan? As far as I know the island was handed back to the Japanese some 30 years ago. Don't the Japanese have any say as to how to use their own land? What is even more curious is having the Japanese fit the relocation bill????

Sometimes I don't know if this is more about protecting the stability of the region or more about projecting power. Go figure.

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If you don't honor your agreements, then you are dishonorable...

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KinuyeOshiro at 01:19 PM JST - 1st December For Society Mike who believe that Japan Pays Huge Amounts of money into the Okinawan Economy, you have to be in dreamland. The latest figures I read, show that of all the money coming into Okinawa Prefecture resulting from Military Base expendetures, amounts to 5% of the total income to Okinawa and of that 5%, 75% goes to mainland..... need to do homework..

You are the one who needs to do homework because you just stated percents of REVENUE FROM the bases (which are very inacurate btw). What I said was the truth and FACT, the Tokyo Government PAYS Okinawa prefecture a special extra amount of money over the normal alloted annual budget that is specifically for the "burden of hosting the bases" as it is worded by the Japanese Government. It is well known and every year you can read on this site and more, how much they pay. It's public record.

You also misinterpreted my stance on the issue. I only stated what politics views are on it, not my own view. You are correct, Governor Nakaima does take a hard stance on the Futenma closure, but that is obvious and that is only one base (however it's closure results in a few others). What he would NOT support is the closure of ALL the bases and that is what my point was. Personally, I will be very happy when Futenma (and as a result, Kinser, Lester, Hansen) closes and I would even like to see most all of them close eventually (because if it happened suddenly, it would have a very negative effect on the Okinawa economy). My family and my home are in Okinawa, it has been for many years and will be until I die. Trust me, I would LOVE to see a base-free Okinawa, but truthfully, that will never happen for atleast the next 15-20yrs.

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budster2 at 01:59 PM JST - 1st December Don't the Japanese have any say as to how to use their own land?

Yes, and the "Japanese" want to maintain some US Base presense. Many "Okinawans" however, feel differently because it is "their" land.

budster2 at 01:59 PM JST - 1st December What is even more curious is having the Japanese fit the relocation bill????

Read the SOFA and how it works. The US is there as a request by the Japanese Government as "rent-a-cops" basically. If Japan wants them to move, than they have to help facilitate it financially. I know, it sounds weird, but understand the SOFA and understand the situation better.

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"Japan and the U.S. agreed in 2006"

Yeah, but that was the Bush and the Koizumi administrations. Now it's the Obama and the Hatoyama administrations.

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societymike, I like your position on the bases and saying how much "big" money comes into Okinawa from the bases. I do not demand the immediate closing of all the bases but some of them. Futemna, Kinser, Lester, Hansen would be a nice start. This still leaves Camp Swab, Camp Cortney, White Beach, Tori Station, Kadena AFB and Camp Foster. I am not sure when they should close but times change. China is the only possible threat but they have made no demands that Okinawa or any of the other islands in the chain.

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As a former soldier who enjoyed his time on Okinawa, learned the language, and found the people to be - for the most part- more hospitable, honorable, and fun loving than most Americans, I think it is time for all of us to be honest and address this issue as what will be best for the people of Okinawa.

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It is possible that some Japanese may grow anxious at the prospect of the departure of U.S. ground forces. This reaction, more a matter of psychology than of military preparedness, may actually be a positive development, for it might push Japan toward a more realistic view of international security. A new Japan might then emerge—a country that defines its national interests in more than narrow economic terms and that is willing to assume the political and military risks necessary to preserve peace and security. Such an evolution would strengthen, rather than erode, what is still the most important bilateral security relationship in the world.

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This is an internal problem for the Okinawans and the Japanese government. Perhaps they ought to get their fecal matter collated before negotiating/renegotiating anything with the US. I especially liked the interaction between the governors of Okinawa and Kanagawa - don't think they'll be exchanging New Years pleasantries.

It is up to the Japanese government to decide what it wants to do, and then deal with the consequences of their decision - either way someone is going to be unhappy.

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societymike you mention I was incorrect and to restudy and I believe I misunderstood your position as I understood you incorrectly and I apologize, sumimasen deshita. I was referrering to total income of US Military into Okinawa Prefecture as I was reading a US Report, and now realize you were speaking to income from Japan. I am not sure I totally agree with you, but you are mostly correct in my thinking. I believe the current Governor is mostly in favor of this base and only publicly speaks out against it but does not push the issue too far, but I am not sure that the money coming from Japan is the reason many Politicians are in favor of US Bases. I believe Politicians have their own agendas that are self serving and for Japan itself, it makes a better position for them to keep the Military Bases on Okinawa rather than on any of the 4 home islands. The only reason the Government brings up the issue is because people on Okinawa try to make as much noise as they can forcing the government to listen. You are correct in that Okinawans make a lot of noise because this is our land and since Commodore Perry first set foot on Okinawa, he wanted to make it US Territory and thankfully the president of the day told him No, that Okinawa was too far away to render any immideate help in order to maintain it. Present day situation makes it easy for the US Military to stay, even though logical common sense says to move many of the bases but as most Military know (prior military included) that when Okinawa was taken, it was at a large cost of lives, We are grateful that the US Military defeated the Japanese who treated all Okinawans as beneath them butmore than 125,000 Okinawans were also killed, including many in my family who fled to the hills when the initial invasion began and they died in the bombing and artillery or died of starvation while hiding. We have many reason to want many of the bases gone, Not all necessarily, but many. We have several parts of our film Why Okinawa?, called the Dilemma of Futenma on You Tube, with a conclusion coming in the next few days, 5 parts total and one reaction from an American said that he personally would never build near an active military base, yet everywhere you go, as you well know, there are active military bases. You cannot even go into the Northern Area, of the Northern Training Grounds and be afraid of the noise, yet there is no where to go on Okinawa, without the ever presence of military bases. Okinawan People enjoy americans who actively get involved but the problems created, especially with Futenma Air Station is a simple solution, yet the US does not want to budge an inch. Part of our film, we went to Miramar MCAS and the room there was mind jarring to see so much empty space, and it seems a logical solution to move this Futenma to Miramar as it is a training facility only; yet politicians, make demands that are not logical; there has to be more involved than money coming to Okinawa Prefecture from Japan for this one base. The V-Shape runways envisioned for Henoko Peninsula have been designed, we have been told, to be used jointly by Military and Japanese Business Interests who do not want to come into Naha, but that want to develope the Northern End of Okinawa which would also create a major change for the Okinawan People. Japan looks at Okinawa as their very own Hawaii.

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KinuyeOshiro, my mum told me stories about the steel typhoon. My family comes from Ishihara City. She told me about how they hid in caves and about the horrors practiced upon them by both the Americans and Japanese. The American troops loved to kill "Japs" and any situation available was used. They shot the civil service people because of their "uniforms". The Japanese were even worse and on Kuma Jima (before the steel typhoon) told the local people to kill themselves or they will be killed. I am surprised there are any locals there. Why do I write this? Well the Okinawa people are still suffering at the hands of both the Americans and Japanese. My messages have been harsh against the Americans at times and that is not fair. The decisions to keep the bases on Okinawa are being made by outside people. As KinuyeOshiro wrote "You cannot even go into the Northern Area, of the Northern Training Grounds and be afraid of the noise, yet there is no where to go on Okinawa, without the ever presence of military bases." Everywhere you go there is the sight of a military convoy, helicopters and jets. The Americans do touch and go practice around these bases and do not try to lesson the noise. This should be done elsewhere, like America. The pilots just have to fly there to keep current. Costs the price of an airline ticket or space on a transport plane.One thing I do disagree, I am not grateful the Americans invaded Okinawa, they could of bypassed it like Formosa and there would of been no damage at all. It was of no military value and could of been cut off. Thus I blame the Americans for the deaths of 125,000 Okinawa people who died for nothing. The steel typhoon was not needed just an excuse to kill "japs'. I love the picture of an American wife admiring the Japanese skull her husband sent her. I sometimes wonder if it was one of my relations. The thing is Americans loved that picture! Ok, enough American "bashing" but then again Americans take all criticism as a personal insult or attack. The Japanese did what they did but if there was no steel typhoon it would of never happened. America and Japan need to understand the feelings of the Okinawa people. If the Government of Japan wants bases most of them should be in their "home islands".

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The military is supposed to develop strategy and tactics with the bases and facilities provided for them by political leadership, i.e., the government. This is the essential component of civilian control. However, this principle has not been applied to Japanese security policy, and thus the Okinawa base issue has become unnecessarily complicated. The selfish and common attitude of most Japanese that "we need the Japan-US Security Treaty, but I do not want to carry burden of such an alliance" lies at the bottom of the Futenma issue. If mainland Japan does not want US military bases, why would Okinawa?

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Okinawa was Japan's last stand, the Japanese knew it would be used to launch an attack of the mainland, but the campaign demonstrated to the Americans just how costly it would be to launch that invasion. Of course, knowing that further resistance was futile, the Japanese military and government could have chosen to negotiate an end to the war. But of course you know all this.

Yuri, if you are so entrenched in your hatred (because despite your dissembling that is what it is) of Americans and the Japanese, why don't you do something about it? Non-violent social disobedience usually works - you could hold a sit in in front of the Diet building in Tokyo, after first alerting the press. Put your cause to the Okinawan people, Japan, and the world, and maybe gain support? The bases in Okinawa are there because the Japanese government WANTS them there. If the Japanese government says "Leave!" the Americans will leave. Of course, there will be ramifications to that decision, but Hatoyama-san will have your full support, right?

You know, you post about how Japan can develop relationships with China, Korea, and the rest of Asia, and the Americans will no longer be needed to provide a security presence in this hemisphere. Take a look at how you feel about the behavior of the Japanese military on Okinawa; imagine how people in Korea, China, Philippines and other places must still feel about the Japanese and then perhaps you may reconsider.

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perspective, I am just a single person and do not hate Americans or Japanese. Remember I was called a ultra right wing nationalist in a post. "Non-violent social disobedience usually works" like refusing to service amount accounts on base? Telling the boss you will not deliver supplies to the Americans? Getting the master labor contract people new jobs and getting people not to prostitute themselves to the Americans? Work with Japanese firms not to make contracts with the Americans? Hmm it might work but would require a lot of discipline from the Okinawa people. If it worked the American bases would not have electric, water, sewer, garbage collection, etc. What would the Americans do? send their military in with guns drawn to reconnect the power and occupy the power plants? Would they attack the Self defense force and threaten to shoot them for noncompliance? Yes YOU have a real nice ideal here but do not think it would work as most people are too self centered. Might help on a small scale, get like minded people to refuse to do business with the bases. Keep the troops as customers after all they were sent here by America.

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No, none of that would work, businesses won't want to lose money. What would work is something like a sit down blocking the street in front of the Diet, and making the police carry you to the paddy wagon when you are arrested, makes really good news and that's what you want - lots of publicity. Or sitting in front of the entrance to the bases to block entry - perhaps even hoping that someone with a Y plate hits you - that would be really newsworthy.

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I would stick with the idea of protesting in front of the Diet, none of these politicians care if you make life uncomfortable for Americans. If you inconvenience THEM, however......

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perspective, I know people have their own self interests. My posting was meant as satire. A bit carried away but satire. flatearther, I too like the ideal of protesting in Tokyo and being a pest to the DPJ. Protesting outside of bases is worthless. It creates tension in the community, traffic problems and a short story on Okinawan TV. Not even the commanding General in Okinawa can make the decision, so why upset the troops and their families? Thus the best course of action would be to protest outside of the pm's office, the Diet and defense offices. We need to get in their faces. These people do have the ability to make a decision. Oh I am NOT in favor of closing all of the bases. The Okinawa people want to have a say in their affairs and this is the true reason for their anger, being ruled with little input from a far away capital.

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If it worked the American bases would not have electric, water, sewer, garbage collection, etc.

We'll Okinawa must be totally different, because I can tell you for a fact, The U.S. bases on Honshu, get their water from "On-Base" deep wells, they have their own sewage treatment plants, generate their own steam, and do have power generation equipment, which could be easily transitioned from to full-time operation, but currently they do get a large chunk of Tokyo Electric power from the grid, but they are not dependent on it.

Oh, but they do contract out waste disposal through local Japanese companies, which make pretty decent money picking up their trash.

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YuriOtani at 02:12 AM JST - 3rd December I blame the Americans for the deaths of 125,000 Okinawa people who died for nothing.

The Japanese knew they could not win. Blame the Japanese Military and the govenment. They had chance to surrender. At battle's end, one-third of the native population had perished. The Japanese military had told the Okinawan civilians to go south. They were thrown out of their hiding places as the Japanese retreated and took those caves for themselves. Very little consideration was offered these noncombatants by their Japanese overlords. Like all civilians who had been fed wartime propaganda, the Okinawans had unwarranted fears that accounted for their initial resistance and the large number of suicides. Many Okinawans made it clear that they felt they were fighting for their lives against the barbarous Americans, who would rape the women and eat the children. Many civilians would be caught in the crossfire of war and, as in any war, some men were not always compassionate to others when assessing their own chances of survival.

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