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U.S. ambassador: U.S.-Japan pact critical for peace

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For years, Okinawa residents have complained about base-related noise, pollution and crime, and many want the U.S. military presence on the island reduced....

All of these things will happen by implementing the base realignment agreement over the next 5 years.

Hatoyama can't just pull a different location out of his arse and say that it's acceptable to replace Futenma. He doesn't know anything about the military and the needs of those who would still be on Okinawa to do their jobs, and the contigency plans that require certain facilities in case of conflict.

Hatoyama will bow to the inevitable in the spring by saying it's regrettable but the facility must be located in the originally agreed-upon location, and will leave it to his successor soon afterwards to deal with a largely unhappy Okinawan populace.

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It is imaterial what the Ambassador has to say. Japan must make up its own decision and if it wants the foreign troops out of its country, so-be-it! I don't believe removing foreign troops from their country will cause another country to attacked it. I believe a lot of problems can be resolved through diplomacy and lieu of threats.

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I do not believe for one second that U.S. troops in Japan are necessary for peace here. Maybe on the Korean peninsula, but not here. My country's brute squad can pull up and leave for all I care. In fact, I wish they would so I would not hear about these wild nonsensical reasons why boys with guns and bombs are necessary for peace when its boys with guns and bombs who are necessary for war!

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I do not believe for one second that U.S. troops in Japan are necessary for peace here.

I completely agree. This is nothing but U.S. conceit and hubris. Another case of justifying one's own existence.

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Diplomacy? With North Korea? Who in asia will rush to defend Japan if it's attacked?

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It would be much worse to have Japans boys armed with guns and bombs, this is a proven fact. Given the sorry state of Japans economy and pride, those trigger fingers would be mighty itchy.

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I seem to recall a supposed 'satellite' (called only 'missile' in Japan!) launch from North Korea last year and the Japanese being in hysteria so much that they even announced the 'missile' had been launched a day before it actually was. Soon after that at a G-8 summit in which Japan proudly boasted about being anti-nuclear weapons and nobly pushing for their reduction, they pulled aside the US to ask that they make sure to keep the long range ballistic missiles to protect Japan from North Korea.

And yet here they are asserting the idea that they do not need US defense, when only earlier this week North and South Korea exchanged fire.

Economically speaking as well people will suffer if the US military leaves.

While I think Roos overemphasis the importance of the US here, the Japanese government and public in the affected areas completely underestimate it, and would only realize after the fact, and when they won't listen to the calls to come back.

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dontknockit and yabits still don't understand that the world is ruled by the aggressive of force. They think if the U.S. pulls out all its forces from the Asia-Pacific region that everything will be peaceful and hunky-dory. Incredible...

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Yeah, aggressive use of force.

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Let me ask the question in another way. What country is prepared to lose lives defending Japan? Name one country!

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Will USA come to aid Japan if China attacks it?Obama didnot even meet with Dalai Lama and China is now called G2. Japan is a proud nation and it must defend its wealth with its own forces.

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@ paulinusa: Excellent point. Sometimes the benevolence of the US is almost unbelievable. Makes one proud.

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Roos also said that Washington “is eager to work with Japan to create a more equal and effective defense partnership” that would be consistent with Japan’s pacifist constitution, but did not further elaborate.

The pacifist constitution serves, if anything, as a preventive measure to keep Japan away from dubious wars US may stage, though we are indirectly concerned with them already by providing the base. It's US that hugely funded Islamic fundamentalists in 1970's through 80's to incite the Soviets' involvement in Afghanistan. Iraq's invasion into Kuwait had also a somewhat similar aspect for all I know. And what was Iraq war at all? Who sowed the wind and reaps what? If Japan really plans to move the top command office of the ASDF into the US Yokota Air Base premises and a top antiterrorism unit of the GSDF into the U.S. Army headquarters in Japan, we cannot be too wary of creating a "more equal and effective defense partnership".

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I think Mr. John ROOS should go home. The only country threatening JAPAN is America. They keep trying to restart the Korean war. The South Koreans are having the same problem they will not leave. It is like a CANCER once you got them they never go away. By JANES fighting ships Japan has the second largest Navy in the world, so is our Air Force. our army is only smaller than China. There is no NUT in Asia that would start a war with JAPAN except AMERICA for what ever reason. Every WAR since WW2 has been started by them.Don't believe me just read the books.

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From my perspective, as PM Hatoyama and the DPJ test the parameters of the status of US Bases, it helps me to compare what was, to what the US is trying to do in 2010. In the 1990's, I had an insider view of sorts, and was fascinated by how important the bases are to the US, but was not shown - the strategy and tactics. How Futenma is resolved might be interesting, but I believe the core question is, when the land troops will be phased out?, as the GSDF develops to make US factors redundant. That may be the reason for the US trying to get the SDF to go on overseas missions.

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Japan is a proud nation

every nation is a proud nation

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I think it's more about the US military being pissed that the Japanese are talking back to its "masters". Why else would they be so adamant on not not listening to the indigenous people that want them off. I mean its only 8,000 troops. What difference does it make if they move the base outside of Okinawa, or on some tiny rock outside of Japan, or not at all. Are they talking about ALL troops leaving Japan? Don't they still have another 30-40,000 troops defending Japan? Plus it's not like Japan doesn't have any military of their own (granted its not the same military since its hey day). Will Japan wilt to an attacking NKorea or China if those 8,000 troops are not in Nago(or in the vicinity)? That's what I want to know. Will a NKorea or China even attack? If not then throw the Okinawans a bone for crissakes. Let them move the base somewhere where there are no screaming Okinawans saying "get the hell out". And make the Japanese gov't pay for it (moving expenses) - like how they usually do.

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13akio13: "The only country threatening JAPAN is America"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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Every WAR since WW2 has been started by them.Don't believe me just read >the books.

What total nonsense. Yea nobody belives you. Who crossed the 38th parallel?

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I seem to recall a supposed 'satellite' (called only 'missile' in >Japan!) launch from North Korea last year

No smith the entire world called it a missle. Only NKorea and you called it a catellite.

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The US military should leave Japan and let Japan build and maintain its own military. Stop holding Japans hand and let them take responsibility for themselves.

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I am very pro-China and I am also very very pro-Ryukyu Islands and I feel the U.S. Ambassador Roos should seek me out and ask me why. "We" have already contacted the President of China and he assured us the Ryukyu Islands were on his list of friends. Maybe Roos should be reminded that we won WWII and Japan is still playing war games with us. We showed weakness when we allowed Hirohito to skip the gallows and certain of the Japanese are still playing homage to those enshrined at Yasukuni (This nettles the Chinese and the Japanese know it.) Also wake up as to why Futenma ia on the chipping block and why the SDF is being moved en-masse to the Ryukyu Islands.

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While I would ordinarily agree with MEDIEVALTIMES it would be the Ryukyu Islands that would have to be taking it in the skivvies and you you would have to be blind not to see the mass of SDForces that is moving unto the island of Okinawa.

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I am very pro-China

Well therein lies the problem because the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty was founded on anti-USSR anti-China premises, and now it's just mostly anti-China.

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Marion- the basic premise of the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty was anti-USSR and anti-China, today that being reduced to mostly anti-China. Mr. Roos is I am sure fully aware of the nature of US-Japan relations for the last 65 years and US and JDSF train together on both Japanese and US soil, waters and airspace. You mayu be pro-China but since 2001, China has conducted is training war games with the United States as it's designated enemy. We didn't show any weakness towards anything when we kept Hirohito on the throne, despite he himself having put himself entirely at GHQs mercy in that regard. We kept him on the throne in ordre to avoid any internal strife that could weaken Japan and open he door to Soviet intervention. As to the few rightwing wackos marching at Yasukuni, they are miniscule in number compared to the regular people who go to pray for all peace and no more wars. It's the Chinese who deliberately use this as an argument tool. Futenma is an issue because as hard as it may be for you to accept, Japan is a country with prefectures and municipalities which, under a democratic system have the right to a say in their "federal" governments affairs when it's in their backyard. This kind of problem does not exist in a dictatorship like China. The JSDF moving into Okinawa Prefecture to take up any slack left by our moving US troops strength out is only normal, it's their own country.

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why has the us done nothing about japanese fishing boat being shot by russian ?

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I was very moved by 13akio13's post.

At present, I can think of no good reason for the US's continuing occupation of Japan. Mr Roos should stop being condescending and obfuscatory and admit that any conflict with China is extremely improbable given that the US and China are so deeply interdependent. And Japan and China are reconciling slowly thanks to a new pragmatism that favors prosperity over nationalism. Mr. Roos should indeed go home and reconsider everything he thinks he understands about Japan. He should also review everything he thinks he knows about NKorea. Internal security issues in the hermit state are not going to be contained by the US troops in Okinawa.

Certainly I favor a strong USA. I favor a prepared, rational and cooperative USA. I also favor a strong Japan. I favor a pro-active and independent Japan. To the extent that the US seeks to impose its security vision on Japan, it is indeed threatening Japan. I am certainly not usually a apologist for the US. But in this case, I must apologize to 13akio13 and other Japanese who feel quite justifiably that the continuing US occupation of Japan is now both intolerable and indefensible.

I look ahead to an era of mutual respect, support and encouragement between the US and Japan. This will require the dedication of many talented persons in both countries. The challenges of today and of the immediate future require new solutions, new arrangements.

The US needs to re-focus and partner with the Russians in anticipation of the looming threats posed by Islamic jihadists in Central Asia. Soon, the Russians and the US will both have a military presence in Kyrgyzstan. Joint endeavors could very well prevent Central Asia from becoming a second Middle East. Why don't we redeploy the troops in Japan to Kyrgyzstan? I mean, is Guam still of any strategic importance?!

Japan should be trusted to work out regional security issues with SKorea and China. A strong security equation in the Far East is the best bet against the rising tide of Islamic extremism in the Indonesia and the Philippines (and regional prosperity is the best long-term weapon against the regime in Pyongyang). The US has shown itself to be ineffectual in addressing these threats. We need to trust that our alliance with Japan has deeper roots than US troop presence: in fact, continuing US troop presence is actually eroding that alliance.

I have great hopes for a continuing, fruitful and regionally beneficial relationship with Japan. And I am concerned that continuing US troop presence in Okinawa is undermining that possibility.

We are no longer a world composed of nations vying for power. We are a world in which hopeful and determined individuals must collaborate in fighting for a better tomorrow. A global, rational culture in pursuit of peace and prosperity is emerging. It is indeed criminal to stoke paranoia merely to extend the life of a wilting and useless status quo. China is not the threat. The threat is terrorism. US troops stationed in Japan are wasted assets. C'mon--let's put our heads together and pull ourselves out of the 20th century before it's too late. . . .

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13akio13: "The only country threatening JAPAN is America" With all due respects, it's crap like that feeding the paranoid concept that we want some kind of "Empire". Historically, we've avoided war [George Bush was an American anomally, mis-guided by the coward Chaney]. Or did the folks in the World Trade Center deserve their fate? We've got an entire continent of our own to keep us busy [New Orleans, High speed rails, 50 year old bridges & electric grid, ect.] And about Iraq, that was a simple mistake. Thats why war is something to be avoided at almost all costs. I can understand [now] why Saddam wanted to keep the illusion of having WMDs [keeping his neighbors afraid]. And Yes, there are Americans that are for "pulling out", not just Asia but Europe & the middle east as well. I submit that it wont be 10 years after we do that there will be another major war, & people will complain about our aloofness/indifference/Nutrallity/ect. In 1939 [in keeping with our treaties] our Army was the size of Rumanias', yeah, that was real productive....;-)

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jimenezsnyder, nice long well thought out post. I don't think all of what you wrote can be achieved with Japan becoming a "normal" country. A Change in the constitution, removal or alteration of Article 9 is necessary. As long as Japan is either unable or unwilling to do so, it will remain subject to the US-Jpn defense alliance whether it likes it or not. For all the J-posters pusjing for US troops to be out of Japan I suggest you all wake up and think about the future of Japan and the role the constitution plays in making it the country that it is right now. Sorry but no apolgies from me.

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First postings that I have read in this subject that many of the writers offer good remarks about Okinawa. Mr. Roos is indeed condescending. He visited Okinawa recently, viewed the Futenma Air Station and looked at all of the bases here and remarked that he could see the huge imprint of the US Military, then he went to Mabuni and remarked on how the many granite stones bearing names of war dead from WWII,(many from my own family that died before I was born of either starvation or by Japanese military forcing them out of caves into US Machine Gun Fire). Mr Roos was contrite & humble in his remarks and I thought maybe he does feel some remorse for Okinawans bearing the burden of Japanese Aggression; then he went to the Mainland and demanded that Japan live up to the 2006 agreement. The indians of a hundred years ago, in the USA said that the Govt speaks with a forked tongue, Civil Rights leaders and marchers had to bear the hostilities and aggression of those that wanted to keep them slaves or lesser Americans, while they marched for freedom. President Obama took his oath on a bible used by President Lincoln and reminded the world that all men(and women) are created equal, and his motto is Yes We Can... Well Mr. President if that is the true belief of the US Govt, then removing the Futenma Air Station from Okinawa altogether, and return it to the USA where it belongs, close the base, forget about destroying our Coral Reef and let the Okinawan People, me included that we are indeed created equal, then we will believe what the US Stands for, but until then Okinawans must stand tall and say in a loud voice "Yes We Can" then keep demonstrating and do what the rest of the people of the world have done. The only time in our history that I am aware of that the people of Okinawa stood as one and forced the US Military to re-think their position was during the Koza Riots. While the Peaceful side of me says that I hope this never happens again, the fed up side of me says, maybe it is time to resort to what the US seems to respond to the most. Iran thumbs their nose at the USA and the USA tippy toes through the tulips, Jong Kim Il threatens and the US Jumps, so why is it that the USA tries to keep a strangle hold on the Futenma Air Station as pointed out from a reader, that even moving 8000 marines to guam will still leave over 40,000 Military Personnel on tiny Okinawa and still maintain over 35 bases. Where is the logic here? Why are there not more Americans asking the same questions? Rhetorical I know as most people who write in these forums could care less about Okinawa and what we want, which is to live like everyone else in the world does. Peace and quiet and not be held hostage by the US Military in Occupation status since the end of WWII. While I will acknowledge that the US has done a lot for Okinawa over the past 60 years; we are not demanding that all bases be closed, we are not asking for a bone to be tossed our way because we are not dogs, we are People. We just want the Futenma MCAS closed and not moved to Henoko. What is wrong with that? The US will still maintain a large force in Asia, which in reality,should be on the mainland of Japan & not on Okinawa. But the idea that the Futenma Air Station is a key base for maintaining the peace in Asia as Mr Roos has pointed out, is the Govt again speaking with a forked tongue as he forgets one thing. The Futenma Air Station is a training facility only and training can be done anywhere else even in the USA. Okinawan born, and Okinawan Proud.

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The_Marion, I find it odd that China would find the former Ryukyu Kingdom on the list of its friends. Would be very happy if this was true. Are you saying the Chinese people understand the difference? A lot of us in the Okinawa prefecture have at least a bit of Chinese in our back ground. I hope the people of China forgive our northern cousins as well. Japan is not the Imperial Japan that invaded China and a few nuts on the mainland are fanning the flames of hatred. If what you say is true MCAS Futenma is not needed as well as the other American bases. I get carried away from time to time but it is my sincere wish that China and Japan become good friends. We have a lot in common with each other and just think of what can be achieved in friendship.

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Intesting article by a staunch conservative.. and presidental candidate in the past:

http://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2010/02/01/bring-our-marines-home/

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"U.S. Ambassador John Roos defended U.S. troop levels in Japan Friday, saying their presence is essential for maintaining peace"

Who are we at war? Shouldn't you guys collect unemployment benefits somewhere else?

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