voiceofokinawa comments

Posted in: NATO chief wants stronger ties with Japan to defend democracy See in context

One must know that Japan can't join in a military alliance with other nations due to its pacifist constitution, which outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes involving the state. Thus, joining NATO violates the Constitution, let alone signing various defense agreements with the U.S. including the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

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Posted in: NATO chief wants stronger ties with Japan to defend democracy See in context

Well, what is NATO?  Isn't it a military alliance signed by 30 nations, composed mostly of European nations, to stand face to face with communism? 

So, what's it mean that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg comes to Japan and calls on Japan to make an alliance with them? Is he trying to make NATO a global alliance against Russia, China and North Korea? 

To my chagrin, the Cold War keeps going on albeit in a different form from the pre-1991. The nature of the conflict between the East and the West remains the same.

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Posted in: Japan to uphold apology if South Korea settles wartime labor issue See in context

The GOJ believes simple-mindedly that all the problems derived from Japan's occupation of Korea have been solved with the signing in 1965 of the Japan-ROK Treaty concerning the Basic Bilateral Relations.

Does this government-to-government treaty solve the civilian level problems that the Korean people hold deep in the mind?

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Posted in: Kishida cautious about same-sex marriage See in context

Gaff-prone former prime minister Taro Aso remarked two days ago that Japan’s population decline was due to the tendency of late marriage. That may be partly true. But late marriage is part of the change of people’s thinking about marriage.

In the old days, it was taken for granted that men and women get married when time ripens. That taken-for-granted thinking seems to be changing these days. In fact, there is an increasing number of young people who profess they won't get married if time comes.

Japan's population decline may be connected with this trend. Demand for official same-sex marriage may be considered as part of it.

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Posted in: Kishida cautious about same-sex marriage See in context

borscht: Jan. 27  07:40 pm JST

they (same-sex couples) cannot get a tax break, join each other's health insurance, benefit from a pension, inherit the other person's possessions when they die, or adopt. I've heard non-relatives can't visit dying patients in hospital. Those are kind of a human rights issues, don't you think.

Do married couples in Japan receive such fringe benefits as you tell?

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Posted in: Kishida cautious about same-sex marriage See in context

If prohibition against same-sex marriage is tantamount to trampling relevant persons' human rights, that'll be a different story, of course. Is there such a violation?

I consider same-sex marriage to be a private matter per se. Hence, it should be kept categorized as such.

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Posted in: Kishida cautious about same-sex marriage See in context

In the old days, it was taken for granted that men and women get married when time ripens. That common knowledge and traditional mores seem to be collapsing these days. In fact, there is an increasing number of young people who profess they won't get married if time comes.

Japan's population decline may be connected with this trend. The demand for same-sex marriage and the other so-called "progressive" thinking may be spurring it.

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Posted in: Kishida warns Japan on brink of social dysfunction amid falling birthrate See in context

My personal translation:

"The toll of bells at the Jetavana Monastery sounds like it's telling worldly things are just fleeting and ephemeral. The color of the flowers of Sala trees tells the irresistible truth that the flourishing will eventually come to an end like spring night's dream. The strong will vanish like dust blown by winds."

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Posted in: Kishida warns Japan on brink of social dysfunction amid falling birthrate See in context

Sorry, I mixed up "Tsuredzure-gusa” (Essays written leisurely as a fancy takes me) with "The Tale of the Heike" (Story about rise and fall of the Heike clan). In the introduction of the latter, it says:

  The pealing of the bells of the Jetavana temple ring with the sound of the impermanence of all material things. The color of the paired Sala trees gives witness to the truth that all who flourish must necessarily perish. Those who flaunt their pleasures are not long for the world; they are as brief as the dream of a Spring night. And the brave ones are vanquished in the end; they are merely as specks of dust before the wind.

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Posted in: Kishida warns Japan on brink of social dysfunction amid falling birthrate See in context

Economic development and population increase seem to be intertwined with each other very closely. So, countries with a declining birth rate will have no bright future for economic development as against countries with an increasing population.   

If people are accustomed to a small family and hence a lower birth rate, that promises them their personal prosperity and happiness, birth rate will certainly decline. Japan may be a case in point. So may be South Korea and China.

The U.S. and India are seeing a population increase right now, whereby their economic development is more than assured. But someday the increasing birth rate will level off, as a result, making economic development reach the ceiling. Nothing is everlasting on earth. Everything is just ephemeral as a classic Japanese literally essay, “Tsuredzure-gusa,” incisively pointed out.

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Posted in: Kishida weighs Ukraine visit in February to hold talks with Zelenskyy: report See in context

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Rumania have visited Ukraine and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I remember the former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a trailblazer of such a visit.

Every time I see such visits, though, I cannot help but wonder if Ukraine is really engaged in a war with Russia, being attacked by its missiles day and night. Can a civilian leader be invited to a war zone?

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Posted in: Kishida's weeklong trip focuses on China-Taiwan tensions ahead of G7 summit See in context

How strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance affects ordinary citizens' daily life in Okinawa is shown by the fact that a fourth litigation was filed by 35,566 plaintiffs living near and around Kadena Air Base, demanding for a ban on flight training of aircraft in early morning hours and late evening hours.

In the third litigation, the plaintiff's appeal was half recognized, for the court ruling obliged the government to pay damages for the noise pollution only. As regards a ban on early and late hour flight training, the ruling said that that was beyond Japan's law, citing the so-called “third party activity theory”.  Can anyone understand this arcane legal term?

Thus, early-/late-hour flight training continued the same as before. Rather, it intensified all the more. As a result, the fourth litigation with more plaintiffs.

In the photograph above, Biden is patting on Kishida's shoulder, for Kishida seems to have promised Biden he would do more for the sake of the U.S. whatever burden his compatriots may shoulder.

“Good boy, Fumio. You’ve done a good job,” gloats Biden, patting on Kishida’s shoulder.

“Oh, have I? Thank you, sir,” replies Kishida, wryly smiling.

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Posted in: Kishida's weeklong trip focuses on China-Taiwan tensions ahead of G7 summit See in context

Kishida often boasts to say he is a good listener. But his ears are always pointed at what the U.S. says, never at the grassroots voice of the nation, Okinawa in particular, thus fortifying bases in Okinawa along the line dictated by the U.S.

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Posted in: Kishida's weeklong trip focuses on China-Taiwan tensions ahead of G7 summit See in context

"You've done a great job," says Joe Biden, patting on the shoulder of an all-smile Fumio Kishida.

The "great job" Biden refers to is, of course, the Kishida cabinet's decision to increase its defense budget twice as much from 21.5 trillion yen to 43 trillion for the next five years, the bulk of which is to be used for the purchase of U.S.-made Tomahawk missiles.

All this was decided arbitrarily by Kishida without Dietary discussion and sanction.

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Posted in: Prince Harry says he left most damaging claims out of memoir See in context

At any rate, what's so special about royal families? Aren't they no different from commoners' ordinary families?

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Posted in: Biden and Kishida discuss Japan stepping up security See in context

historically negotiations involving U.S. force posture in Okinawa have been "unbelievably fraught, incredibly challenging and difficult" and often took years to complete.

The relocation of USMC Air Station Futenma to Henoko may be a case in point. It was promised to be returned 27 years ago in 1996, but that promise has not been realized as yet. Why? 

Some posters attribute that to the local people, but I assume the fault rests with insincere U.S. policy making.

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

Lol, your desperate efforts are lacking. "Waives ALL claims" means just that ALL, monetary and otherwise, any and all. And you dont even realize that by your reply here, you are acknowledging that the agreement is legal and binding as well.

Even if "waves all claims" means what you say, that's an agreement between two countries. I've been arguing that international law transcends a mere bilateral agreement whereby the illegality of forceful land confiscation remains firmly. 

Could agreements between fences to deal with stolen goods be bona fide legal and effective under any public law?

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

 

The term "claim" here means: "A demand for payment in accordance with an insurance policy or other formal arrangement." The bilateral agreement says Japan will waive all such claims. Has Japan demanded indemnity be paid for the U.S. military-involved damages incurred during the occupation period from 1945 to 1971? 

The illegality issue is very different in nature from the indemnity one. Let me repeat. No bilateral agreement will rescind the illegality of private land confiscation whatsoever. Could agreements between fences on stolen goods legal or not under any public law

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

Just because no one except me has brought up the illegality issue, it doesn't necessarily mean that I am wrong. You have to refute my argument rather more logically and convincingly. 

Desert Tortoise,

If Japan's occupation was officially over in 1951 when Japan recovered its sovereignty albeit nominally, why have the U.S. occupation forces remained in Japan the same as ever, retaining all rights and perquisites to use bases and areas the same as ever while other Allied forces withdrew from Japan completely? The latter half of your comment is a chicken-or-the-egg argument which has nothing to do with the current discussion.

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Desert Tortoise,

So, in your mind, U.S. forces are stationed in Japan as the result of the war Japan started. In other words, Japan is still technically under the occupation of the U.S. forces. If so, what would become of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, according to which the U.S. military is supposed to be deployed to Japan? 

In your thinking, then, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is a farce and shenanigans, a concoction to camouflage this hard fact that it is still being retaliated against in the camouflaged form of occupation.

 

Yubaru,

Japan waives all claims of Japan and its nations against the United States of America and its nationals and against the local authorities of the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands, arising from the presence, operations or actions of forces or authorities of the United States of America in these islands, or from the presence, operations or actions of forces or authorities of the United States of America having had any effect upon these islands, prior to the date of entry into force of this Agreement

This is a waiver clause that Japan will not claim damages derived from the U.S. administration of the Ryukyu Islands. But you insist on saying that the clause exonerates the illegal actions committed by the U.S. occupation forces.

My contention is that a mere bilateral agreement won't rescind the occupation forces' illegal activities. They remain illegal forever under canon law and also under the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Article 46 of which states that "Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated."

Is two fences’ agreement to deal with stolen goods bona fide legal and effective under any country’s criminal law?

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

Thank you for giving me a chance to re-read the 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement, paying attention to Articles 3 and 4. Article 3 stipulates that the U.S. bases in Okinawa will fall under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, thus to be amalgamated into that regime.

Article 4 is a waiver clause, stipulating that damages inflicted on Japanese nationals that are derived from the U.S. military during its occupation of the islands are waived.

So, where is a clause that rescinds the illegality the U.S. occupation forces had committed?

Let me ask you again. Do you think the illegality of private property confiscation dissipates automatically if two parties agreed that such illegality hadn't existed?

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

the issues related to legality ARE settled

You seem to admit the land on which Futenma Air Station sits was illegally confiscated, but then you say that the illegality issue has been solved already. You insist that you have said that countless times. 

But I have never seen or heard you explain it in concrete terms. So, I ask: How has the illegal confiscation of private land been solved bilaterally, so that the U.S. has every right to demand for Futenma's replacement in exchange of the return of it?

Do you think the illegality of private property confiscation dissipates automatically if two parties agreed that such illegality didn't exist? Nowhere in the 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement do I find a clause that pardons the illegal land confiscation by the U.S. military in Okinawa.  

FYI, let me recap part of the comment I posted on another thread. 

The U.S. government's declassified document intimates how the USF Okinawa confronted Ie-jima islanders in the 1950s when they confiscated the islanders' land by force to enlarge an already existing training base (cf. 1/ 10/2023 Okinawa Times). The U.S. military regarded protesting islanders as enemies and had allowed GIs to use small firearms when necessary. Houses were set afire and levelled down with bulldozer before the eyes of protesting farmers and wailing mothers.

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

I repeat time and time again that Futenma Air Station must be returned to Okinawa with no string attached, because it sits on illegally confiscated land engulfing at least five villages while residents were herded in camps like POWs. So much so that the U.S. doesn't have any right to demand for a replacement to be provided in exchange of Futenma’s return. That is, the base must be closed and returned to Okinawa with no strings attached. 

The new base in question is simply not a replacement for Futenma because it has many innovative facilities that Futenma doesn't have: for example, huge port facilities to berth Wasp-class amphibious assault ships, ammunition deports, etc.

The new base isn't an extension of Camp Schwab, either, as you assume, for Schwab is basically for barracks, motor pools, gyms and recreation centers. Do you dare say it needs to be expanded with landfills to house more barracks, more motor pools, gyms and recreation centers?

Camp Schwab has been home to the 4th Marine Regiment that had to move to Okinawa in the mid-1950s from mainland Japan because of fiercely violent anti-U.S. base movements there.

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Posted in: Why the U.S. is overhauling its Marine Corps on Okinawa See in context

As I pointed out elsewhere, the realignment of the U.S. Marines Okinawa into dispersed units of MLRs mainly employing drones and missiles will make the building of a replacement for Futenma in Henoko literally superfluous and unnecessary.  Close Futenma and return it in no time without any strings attached.

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Posted in: U.S. Marines to set up unit on Okinawa for remote island defense See in context

Desert Tortoise,

If the Marines are realigning themselves as you describe, what's the use of building a replacement for Futenma in Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa? The new base in Henoko will become a white elephant all the more, won't it?

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Posted in: U.S. Marines to set up unit on Okinawa for remote island defense See in context

Sequel to my post above:

In other words, should there occur an emergency between China and Japan over a territorial matter, it would never fail to become a conflict between China and the U.S. That's a very natural grasp of the situation in view of the fact that the U.S. is a dominant hegemon in this part of the Pacific. 

So, please stop telling us that this huge U.S. military presence in Japan, especially in Okinawa, is for the security and defense of the Japanese people and extorting a large sum of money from us as protection money. Fundamentally, it's for the sake of the security of the U.S.

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Posted in: U.S. Marines to set up unit on Okinawa for remote island defense See in context

Wasn't it bilaterally agreed that primary responsibility to defend Japan's outlying islands rested with JSDF and not with USFJ?

The creation of the MLR betrays the fact that the U.S. cannot rely on JSDF for the defense of Japanese territories completely and that the U.S. wants to continue to be a major player in Japan and so maintain its status as a dominant influencer there.

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Posted in: Japan's trade minister calls for new world order to counter rise of authoritarian regimes See in context

The U.S. government's declassified document intimates how the USF Okinawa confronted Ie-jima islanders in the 1950s when they confiscated the islanders' land by force to enlarge an already existing training base (cf. Jan. 10 Okinawa Times). The U.S. military considered protesting islanders as enemies and had allowed GIs to use small fire arms when necessary. Houses were set afire and bulldozed down before the eyes of protesting farmers and wailing mothers.

The islanders called this forceful land confiscation "plundering of land at bayonet point and by bulldozer".

This is the reason why I say there is a very fine line between an authoritarian regime and a non-authoritarian one. A democracy can turn into an autocracy in any time. So, can you boast your regime to be superior to other regimes or political systems like China's or North Korea's?

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Posted in: Kishida to highlight security concerns on trip to Europe, U.S. See in context

Joemusic 1980,

Even a description on the website you referred to calls it a new base: *Onaga won against the incumbent Nakaima who had earlier approved landfill work to move the base to Camp Schwab in Henoko. Onaga has promised to veto the landfill work needed for "the new base" to be built and insisted Futenma should be moved outside of Okinawa*. By the way, did you know Onaga was a chief campaign strategist for Nakaima when the latter was successfully elected to governorship as an LDP candidate?

The new base in question is supposed to be a replacement for Futenma whose return was promised in 1996 provided that its replacement specified by the U.S. side is provided. 

The catch is that you cannot simply call it a replacement for Futenma because it has many innovative facilities that Futenma doesn't have, for example, huge port facilities to berth Wasp-class amphibious assault ships, ammunition deports, etc.

The new base isn't a mere extension of Camp Schwab, either, as you assume, for that is basically composed of barracks, motor pools and recreation centers. Camp Schwab has been home to 4th Marine Regiment that had to move to Okinawa in the 1950s from mainland Japan because of violent anti-U.S. base movements there.

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Posted in: Kishida to highlight security concerns on trip to Europe, U.S. See in context

The more strengthened the military alliance between Japan and the U.S., the more suffering Okinawa will be forced to undergo. Note also that the more Japan becomes militarized, the less USFJ becomes needed for the defense and security of Japan.  Above all, the new base now under construction in Henoko, the so-called replacement for USMC Air Station Futenma, will never fail to be superfluous.

So, we'll be in a dilemma, for, wherever we face, there are demons.

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