@slumdog: I agree this is a topic worth discussion and I also agree this is not the thread to discuss it on. My original question was why the nephew of a serviceman was allowed to be govt. sponsored as a Military dependent with all of the benefits that it brings especially in an overseas location like Okinawa.
@Stephen Jez: I am not bashing Military personnel, I am not even for the removal of all of the Military bases from Okinawa as I recognize the legitimate defense needs. I believe they are just as many if not more pro base posters on JT and many of them are quick to bash the Okinawan people without having ever set foot inside a U.S. base on Okinawa. My first encounter with U.S. bases was in 1967 as a 19 year old. I have been inside every U.S. base in Okinawa except for missile sites. When I post, I post what I have actually seen and have knowledge of with the intention of informing people who may not know the reality of the situation on Okinawa.
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@slumdog: There is no other place in the world where massive U.S. Military bases take up so much of the best land as in Okinawa and Military Family Housing, dependent schools and leisure facilities take up a more than half of that land.
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@toshiko: The reason there is so many dependents on Okinawa is because of what you call the empathy payment Before the Japanese Govt, started paying a large share of the cost of the U.S. bases Military dependents were limited to high ranked NCO's and Officers. Once the Japanese govt. started paying a lot of the costs, the military started allowing even the lowest enlisted ranks to start bringing their dependents. On Okinawa there are 2 high schools, 2 Jr. high schools, 6 elementary schools and more pre-schools and day care centers than you can count. Most of those facilities were built by the Japanese Taxpayers. There are large bases on Okinawa that contain nothing but Military Family Housing because of all of the dependents. Most of those houses were built by the Japanese taxpayers and they all have central air conditioning. Even half of Kadena air Base is taken up by Family Housing. And the military insists on having an American style quality of life which means golf courses, football fields, softball fields, tennis courts, etc. The only problem is that for the military to have and enjoy that quality of life means the Okinawan people must endure a lower quality of life.
IMO dependents contribute nothing to the mission but the military will argue that it is good for troop morale to have their dependents with them but my opinion is that if a person cannot stand to be separated from their families then they have no business being in the military. I agree with @5petals that Okinawa should be an unaccompanied tour because that would free up at least 50% of the base land without affecting the actual military capabilities of the bases. Okinawa is too small of an island and the population of Okinawa continues to increase and these massive bases that were laid out at a time when the population of Okinawa was a third of what it is now can no longer be sustained. The problem is that the Japanese Govt. cannot stand up the U.S. and say these things to them. They just say yes to whatever the U.S wants because they don't really care about the quality of life of the Okinawan people and neither does the U.S.
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boweevil is spot on. The U.S. will still be in charge, their bases and Military personnel will still be here. The U.S. does not want an independent Japan, they just want an armed Japan that is capable of following them in their foolish and unnecessary wars around the world. I just hope the Japanese people are prepared for the day when their loved ones will come home in a coffin, when their young men and women will come home with an arm or a leg missing and their beloved family members will come home with PTSD and never be fully able to integrate into society. Because that will be the reality for them just as it is the reality for the American people. The casualties of war is the real face of war. The only winner in war is the Military Industrial Complex who profits from death, destruction, misery and suffering. The losers are everyone else.
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While this incident did not involve any Okinawan, what it highlights is the problem with too many dependents being allowed to be on Okinawa. This guy was just the nephew of a serviceman but yet he was allowed to come to Okinawa, be under SOFA status, have a base job and be a burden on U.S. and Japanese taxpayers. Because of the generosity of the Japanese Govt. the U.S Military has allowed unnecessary dependents to be stationed here. They bring their mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and anybody else they want to. The reason the bases on Okinawa take up so much land is because of dependents.
On the one hand they say how dangerous the situation is with China and North Korea and that Okinawa is always in danger of being attacked and yet they allow all of these dependents to be here in harms way. Do you believe that the Military would have all of those dependents here if they were really concerned about an attack by China or North Korea?
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@CH3CHO: Thank you! That is what I have been saying but unfortunately a discussion about the future of MCAS Futenma turns into an all the bases must go or all the bases must stay debate. At this time all the Okinawan people are saying is they don't want MCAS Futenma moved to Henoko but there seems to be a bias against the Okinawan people and just because they are against the relocation to Henoko they are portrayed as these whiny, ungrateful people who deserve to be enslaved by China.
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@harveypekar: When the Philippines kicked the U.S. out they were saying they don't want the U.S. soldiers help or to die for the Philippines if a war breaks out but the U.S. is still committed to defend the Philippines and the Okinawan people have to make the sacrifices and bear the hardships for their defense. Is that fair?
Again I am not one who wants all the bases gone but I am against the relocation to Henoko and I am against the Okinawan people having to bear the burden for providing bases for deadbeat countries who don't want to host bases themselves.
If JSDF forces took over the U.S. bases it would be better for the Okinawan people because they don't require as much land as the U.S. because they don't need Military Family Housing Areas, Dependent Schools, Golf Courses, Private Beaches, Softball Fields, Football Fields, Tennis Courts, Swimming pools, Bowling Centers. Clubs, Boat Marinas and other leisure facilities.
The present JSDF Air Base at Naha was a U.S. Air Base until shortly after reversion. It was also twice its present size. When the JSDF took over they were able to return over half the land to civilian use and it is now a large commercial and residential area. They were able to do that because they didn't need the massive Military Family Housing Area that was a major part of the U.S. base.
So the JSDF might be here but over half the land presently used by the U.S. would be returned for civilian use and the JSDF would spend a lot more money locally and they pay Japanese Taxes and come under the same laws as the Okinawan people.
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Col. James Flynn, Futenma’s commanding officer, said Okinawa is crucial to American military planners. Marines there were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Flynn said that over the past decade they have been involved in 15 major operations, including the relief effort after the recent typhoon in the Philippines.
“The importance of this capability on Okinawa is that it is really a central point in the Pacific area,” he said.
My question is why should the people of Okinawa have to bear the burden of hosting bases that are not here for the defense of Japan but are here to fight wars in distant countries. Also why should we have to bear the burden of bases to protect countries like the Philippines who kicked the U.S. out. They don't want to host bases themselves but yet they expect the small island of Okinawa to host these massive bases to defend them. The same goes for countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia etc.
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Okinawa's tragedy began in 1609 when the Shimazu Clan a damiyo of the Satsuma han conquered the Ryukyu kingdom. And our problems got worse when Japan annexed the kingdom in 1868 and named us Ryukyu han. We were officially made Okinawa Prefecture in 1879 and since then all the Okinawan people have known is hard times. Sacrificed by Tokyo in the Battle of Okinawa and continuing to be sacrificed in 2014. The Okinawan people had very high hopes for reversion but there is a growing feeling that Okinawans just exchanged one colonial master in Washington for another one in Tokyo.
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@lincolnman: Thank you as always for your informative posts. I agree with the failure of both the U.S. and GOJ to be able to explain why these bases are here and what their purposes are.
The reason I brought up the reason that Henoko was chosen is that a report came out in the news several weeks ago that the Hatoyama administration proposed the idea of Camp Hansen in order to avoid damaging the Ocean and the U.S. agreed to it but the bureaucrats in Tokyo insisted on staying with Henoko because it would cost more and in their words benefit local companies more.
My understanding is that the current runways at KAB are 12,100-foot (3,690-meter). Will the new runways to replace Futenma be enough to accommodate planes from KAB that might have to use it? I believe the current runway at Futenma is 8,990 ft. (2,740-meter).
Are you familiar with the base on the small island of IE-SHIMA which is located near Motobu? It has a runway and was used by the Harriers but I don't know if it still is. Also it has been used for parachute jumps. I wonder if it was ever considered as a replacement for Futenma?
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@lincolman: Thanks for your response and nice to hear from you again. Maybe the use of resorts was a little strong but when you look at 5 private beaches, 4 golf courses, a boat marina and more tennis courts than you can count plus all of the other leisure facilities the bases contain you have to admit that the U.S. Military has a good life on Okinawa. I did not mean to imply that Military people do not deserve a good quality of life but my point is that Okinawa is a small island and in order to provide the U.S. Military with the quality of life that they demand a lot of land is required and that means less land for the Okinawan people to live and raise families on. I have been inside all of the U.S. bases on Okinawa and have been in a lot of the housing and talked to a lot of Service members and their families and am aware of the sacrifices that they make but the Okinawan people also have made and continue to make sacrifices so that the bases remain and I would like to see them appreciated a little more.
I am not a member of the all of the bases must go crowd and realize the necessity of some bases being here. My problem with the 2006 ATARA agreement is the relocation to Henoko. I just don't see the necessity of ruining that beautiful ocean spot. My personal belief is that MCAS Futenma is not that vital of a base that it needs to remain in Okinawa but if it has to be on Okinawa I would prefer putting it in Kadena which has 2 runways and 1 of them is used by the U.S. Navy and they even have their own control tower and there are Marine Barracks on Kadena anyway or they could put it at Camp Hansen which is more than big enough to handle it.
I believe the reason Henoko was selected is because it means bigger construction contracts for the Mainland Japanese Companies whereas putting it on Kadena or at Camp Hansen would only cost a fraction of the money.
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My personal belief is that the base opponents should stop referring to the U.S. bases on Okinawa as Military bases and call them what they are Military resorts. They should make documentaries showing the U.S. military lifestyle on Okinawa versus the Okinawan people themselves. They should show the Military Dependent children with their nice big areas to play in and show the Okinawan children playing in cramped spaces and in the streets. They should show the Military Dependent children in their Air Conditioned schools and show the Okinawan children in their Non A/C schools in the middle of summer. They should show the private beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, softball fields, bowling centers, fitness gyms, Clubs and other leisure facilities on the bases.
Instead of emphasizing crimes committed by service people, they should emphasize how the Military people enjoy a better quality of life than most Okinawan people themselves. I think most pro base people support the bases simply because they are Military bases and are not aware that the bases on Okinawa are much more than that. They are American cities located on Okinawa and while they provide Military people with a great quality of life the Okinawan people's quality of life suffers because of the size of the bases.
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The Okinawans are to blame because they were a part of Japan and lost the war. The Okinawans are to blame because they wanted to remain close to the land they were forced of off and built too close to the base. The Okinawans are to blame because they got married and had children and increased the population and now they need more land. The Okinawans are to blame because they bought so many cars and trucks that it causes the poor Americans to be stuck in traffic. The Okinawans are to blame because if they weren't so many of them the U.S. Military could have 5 or 6 Golf Courses instead of only 4.
The U.S. Military and the Japanese Govt. especially the LDP are to blame for the current situation in Okinawa. How can you blame the poorest people in Japan and a people who have no power whatsoever when it comes to Japan politics for their situation. The Okinawan people instead of being blamed should be thanked for enduring this situation for almost 70 years and for allowing the U.S. Military to enjoy one of the best duty stations especially for families in the world and allowing the Mainland Japanese to be protected by the U.S. bases without having to host them and that goes for deadbeat countries like the Philippines who kicked the U.S out but want the Okinawan people to bear the burden of the bases to protect their sorry ass.
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@MarkG: Light use for normal work or school days, Moderate use for when you are under stress and Heavy use for the Weekends and Music Concerts.
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All of the posters saying that the Japanese Govt. is mainly to blame for the amount and size of the U.S. bases that are currently here are correct and our most of our anger should be directed at the anti-Okinawan bureaucrats in Tokyo and their political lackeys. The Japanese Govt. have built really nice Centrally Air Conditioned homes for Military Families. How many Okinawan families do you think live in Centrally Air Conditioned homes? The Japanese Govt. have built better schools for Military Dependent Children than they have for the Okinawan children. The Japanese Govt. have built Golf Courses, on base Gyms, Base Clubs and other leisure facilities that have nothing to do with military capabilities.
The bases should be attacked not because they are Military Bases but because most of the land is used for facilities that have nothing to do with providing a capable defense of Japan.
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I first started taking part in anti-base protests in 1967 when I was 20 years old. I have stood toe to toe against a U.S. Army MP with a rifle and a sheathed bayonet and I was beaten on several occasions by MP's using Night Sticks. I am 66 years old now and have never known an Okinawa without a U.S. base and I probably never will. We fought very hard for reversion because we thought and were led to believe that the Japanese Govt. was going to remove the bases. We were betrayed by the Japanese Govt. because not only didn't they remove the bases but they started using our tax money to keep them here.
Unless you are Okinawan, it is hard to understand our feelings but please try to understand and put yourselves in our position of being the poorest prefecture in Japan, treated as 2nd class citizens in our own country, and having our best land occupied by massive U.S. bases and only being able to look through the fences.
If some bases are needed for defense I can live with that but please don't try to say that these U.S. Military Resorts that are currently on Okinawa are absolutely necessary because they are not and please don't say that MCAS Futenma has to be relocated to Henoko because it doesn't.
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The U.S. have never "shared" the world with a communist dictatorship but neither the U.S. or Japan had a problem with giving them our money, our technology and our jobs and help them become the 2nd largest economy in the world. China has been a communist dictatorship since 1949 so why were we so eager to get in bed with them for corporate profits? Did we really believe that the communists would allow all the Chinese people to become rich and buy all the consumer goods we wanted to sell them? Did we really believe that China once it became rich would not flex their muscles militarily? All the corporations who are making big profits out of China should pay for the defense costs to try and contain them.
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@mikesbo: Thank you for your response. Sanei is an Okinawan business and the largest department store chain on the island. Their Sanei Main Place in Shintoshin always has loads of customers no matter what day of the week it is. You are probably right that there would be more Shintoshins and Mihamas if the base land is returned but my point is that at least in those places the Okinawan people can freely go there and be a part of them instead of only being able to look through the fences at the U.S bases.
You are right about the discrimination of Okinawa by Mainland Japan and the majority of Okinawan people realize that the bureaucrats in Tokyo and their political lackeys are our enemy but we also know that Washington is not without guilt. I also agree that it is not good to characterize all U.S. soldiers as being criminals, rapists etc. While we should speak out and demand justice when crimes are committed, we should not try to cast all the soldiers as being bad.
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@Steve Fabricant: Thank you. I think there are a lot of posters who have never been to Okinawa and been inside the bases and have seen what they really are.
@mikesbo: I live in Shintoshin and I agree that it has the Mainland Japan feel to it and sometimes you think you are in Tokyo because of all the Mainland Japanese. There are a lot of Okinawan people who live here, shop here and bring their children to play here. At least the Okinawan people can freely come into the area and use the facilities that are here. They can't do that with a U.S base. All you can do is look through the fence unless you have someone who can escort you inside the base. So which is better, an area that all the Okinawan people can utilize or an area that is restricted to them?
@paularenson: You are correct that many Okinawans oppose the SDF but taking into consideration that there will probably always be the need for either the SDF or U.S. to be here, I believe it is better for the Okinawan people for the SDF to be here. You wouldn't have the SOFA Agreement because SDF personnel would be subject to the laws of Japan also the SDF requires less land for the reasons I have mentioned before. The Okinawan people suffered greatly during the war and they are very anti-war but I just don't see a situation where Okinawa will ever become base free.
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I will be surprised if Ms. Kennedy will be allowed to meet with anti-base people and she probably will not be taken to the planned site at Henoko. The U.S. and Japaneses Governments are probably afraid she will tweet "I can't believe they are going to destroy this beautiful ocean spot with an ugly military base".
The "all the bases must go or all the bases must stay" people need to take a realistic look at this situation. All the bases are not going to be removed because for the foreseeable future military bases are a necessity on Okinawa. However the massive U.S. bases here are too large for what is really needed. The U.S. bases are basically U.S. cities located on Okinawa. There are thousands of Centrally Air Conditioned Homes for Military Families, 2 High Schools, 2 Jr. High Schools, 6 Elementary Schools and numerous Child Care Centers and pre-schools. The Military has 5 private beaches, 4 Golf Courses, A Boat Marina and more Tennis Courts than you can count. The U.S. Military has a very good life on Okinawa.
It would be better for the Okinawan people if the JSDF did take over these bases. Because they don't need Family Housing or Dependent Schools, they don't need a PX or a Commissary, they don't need a Golf Course or Tennis Courts they would be able to turn over a lot of the land to civilian use and still be able to have a military capability. The JSDF would also spend a lot more money on the local economy because they would live, shop, do leisure activities locally, send their children to local schools and they pay Japanese Taxes. Have you heard of JSDF Naha Air Base? It used to be a U.S. Air Base and was twice the size it is now. When the JSDF took over, they were able to turn over half the land to civilian use and it is now a large commercial and residential area. They were able to do so because they don't require Military Family Housing.
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The sexual assault problem in the military is not an education problem but a people problem. The military has been having training programs on these problems for a long time and they still happen. The only way to try and prevent these incidents is to hand out stiff prison sentences and let people know they will not go unpunished when they commit these crimes.
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BNlightened: Thank you very much for your response. It is nice to hear from someone who posts informatively instead of emotionally. I am not staunchly anti-base in fact I realize that some bases on Okinawa are a necessity. But I also believe that the U.S. bases are too large for what is really needed. I know that AAFES funds it's budget and contributes a lot of money to on-base programs. But it is still a business that generates a ton of money on Okinawa and should be able to pay for it's employees. The Japanese taxpayers should not be paying IHA employee salaries only MLC. The Japanese taxpayers have also built million dollar clubs on Camp Kinser, Camp Hansen and Camp Schwab. These are businesses that make MCCS a lot of money. The Japanese taxpayers have built golf courses and other leisure facilities, dependent housing and dependent schools. The Japanese taxpayers should only be paying for defense related facilities not leisure facilities and dependent related facilities. If the U.S. military wants to have leisure facilities and dependents on Okinawa they should pay for them. I know there are people on Okinawa who depend on the bases for their livelihood and there are people who have a lot of money because of the bases but the bases shouldn't be here to provide economic benefits they should be here to provide defense. If they are no longer needed for defense purposes they should be gone and not kept around because some people might lose jobs. They cost both the American and Japanese taxpayers too much for that.
I have no problem with the JSDF taking over the U.S. bases because they don't require the golf courses, Family Housing and dependent schools that the U.S. does so they would be able to return more than half the land and still maintain the military capability. Have you ever heard of JSDF Naha Air Base? Up until shortly after reversion, it was a U.S Air Base and was twice the size it is now, When the JSDF took over, they returned over half the land that was used by the U.S. to civilian use and now it is a large residential and commercial area. They were able to do that because they don't need the Military Family Housing that takes up a lot of the space that the U.S. occupies now. I apologize to everyone for the long post. I enjoy a realistic debate on the base issue and think they are more needed than "the all the bases must go or all the bases must stay" argument.
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Dawn Stackalis: I live in Naha on what used to be a U.S Army Family Housing Base and I have been inside all of the bases on Okinawa. These bases are just too large for what is actually needed for the defense of Japan. They are basically U.S. cities located on Okinawa with thousands of Centrally Air Conditioned Homes, 2 High Schools, 2 Jr. High Schools, 6 Elementary Schools, 4 Golf Courses, 5 Private Beaches and more tennis courts than you can count. The Japanese people who work on base are paid for by the Japanese Taxpayers. AAFES is a business, they run the PX, the shopettes, food courts etc. They generate a lot of revenue on Okinawa but the Japanese Taxpayers subsidize them by paying for their local employees and utilities. The same for MWR and MCCS. That would be like the Japanese Taxpayers paying for the employees and utilities for McDonald Japan. The U.S. Military have the best deal on Okinawa than any other place in the world. I am not for the removal of all U.S. bases but the this is not the 1960's and the Okinawan people need some breathing room and a better quality of life.
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The Okinawan Economy would be fine without the U.S. Military. They don't spend that much money off base because they have a PX, Commissary, Gas Station, Clubs, Movie Theaters, Golf Courses, Bowling Centers, Car Repair places and many other facilities on the base. The number of Okinawan people working on these bases have been estimated at around 8,000 which is not a lot considering the amount of land these bases occupy. In fact there are probably just as many if not more U.S. civilians and military dependents who work on these bases as Okinawan people themselves. So in reality the U.S. military benefits economically just as much if not more than the Okinawan people from these bases.
It would be better for the Okinawan economy if the JSDF took over the bases from the U.S. because they don't require as much land space as the U.S. military. They don't need to have golf courses inside the base, they don't need to have tennis courts and movie theaters and bowling centers and clubs, they would do all those things on the local economy. And most of all they don't need dependent schools and family housing which take up a lot of the land space used by the bases on Okinawa. The JSDF would spend a lot more money on the local economy and be able to return the land that the U.S. uses for Family Housing and leisure facilities back to civilian use. The JSDF families would live on the local economy, pay taxes and send their children to local schools which would be great for local communities.
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Japan should have the same military capabilities as any other country but the Japanese taxpayers should not have to support 2 militaries. The Host Nation support for U.S. bases should be cut drastically and that money should be applied to the JSDF. Also the Japanese Government needs to tell the people who their enemies are and countries designated as being an enemy should receive no ODA, no technology transfers and no Japanese factories. It doesn't make sense to build up your enemy.
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So Abe and his right wing cohorts don't believe that the U.S. will live up to its military commitment to defend Japan but are willing to waste the taxpayer's money and destroy a beautiful ocean spot to build the U.S. Marines a new facility on Okinawa.
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Only the Japanese people would put up with things like this. Raise taxes and waste money, the Japaneses bureaucrats are the best in the world at that. The Japanese Govt. has to be the most wasteful government of any of the so called developed countries.
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It is mainly the fault of the U.S. and Japan that China is what she is today. We were so eager to give them our jobs and our technology and after they become the 2nd largest economy in the world and begin flexing their muscle we say we have to increase our own defense spending to protect us from them. This is all just a game and the winners are the greedy corporations and the Military Industrial Complex and the losers are the average citizens of all the countries involved.
1 ( +1 / -0 )