voiceofokinawa comments

Posted in: Compensation order over Okinawa base noise upheld, but amount cut See in context

Kazuaki Shimazaki,

So, in your opinion, can Japanese (Okinawan) plaintiffs bring the U.S. government to court as defendants in this noise pollution litigation?? I just want to know.

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Posted in: Compensation order over Okinawa base noise upheld, but amount cut See in context

darknuts,

You say you grew up in New York City about a 15-minute drive from JFK Airport. But a 15 minute drive is quite a distance. No wonder you weren't bothered by landing and taking-off commercial aircraft at the airport..

You also say Atsugi was quiet while you lived near it. But do you know residents there have filed lawsuits against the government four times since 1960? The fourth one is still pending.

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Posted in: Compensation order over Okinawa base noise upheld, but amount cut See in context

Yubaru,

... in this case people took their case up with the proper authorities

Plaintiffs took the case to Japanese court on the premise that the central government is responsible for all this. Now, my question is if they couldn't file a lawsuit directly against the U.S. government, a behind-the-scenes mastermind causing the noise pollution, rather than the Japanese government. I think this is possible, for nowhere in the SACO agreement is written that is not possible.

My argument may be weak, but you must point out where and why it is. That’s what I call a core issue that you must respond to.

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Posted in: Compensation order over Okinawa base noise upheld, but amount cut See in context

Y ubaru,

You aren't responding to the core issue I raised in my post, simply nitpicking and obfuscating instead.

Do you deny the fact the real culprits causing noise pollution and other damage are the U.S. government and its armed forces, and do you persist to say that they are immune from lawsuits against them because of SACO provisions?

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Posted in: Compensation order over Okinawa base noise upheld, but amount cut See in context

Whenever a lawsuit like this occurs, I wonder why victims suffering from jet noises and other damage can't file it directly against the U.S. government rather than their own government. Proberbly it may be because of Article 18 of SACO that they think they can't do so. 

Let me quote the relevant provision in SACO.  Article 18 (Clause 1) says: "Each Party waives all its claims against the other Party for damage to any property owned by it and used by its land, sea or air defense services ..."

But the "Each Party" as stipulated in SACO is either the U.S. government or the Japanese government, never individual victims concerned. Therefore, the victims can file a lawsuit directly against the U.S. government, the very culprit causing the damage.

The absurdity observed in the Japan-U.S. relationship can be understood only if we admitted that Japan was a U.S. vassal, half-independent and still under a U.S. military occupation.

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Posted in: China says Japan should do more to seek cooperation, not competition See in context

The road ahead for a bilateral rapprochement might not be as smooth as one would wish. It may still be bumpy. The caption under the picture above, showing Wang Yi and Taro Kono shaking hands, says they met at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

The namesake of the guesthouse is the disputed islands' name in Chinese, and, according to the article, Wang asked Kono that "Japan (should) do more to seek cooperation, not competition." Very well, but how would a Chinese delegation to Japan feel if they were invited to a state guesthouse named Senkaku for a dinner?

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Posted in: China, Japan tout 'recovered' ties amid global uncertainty See in context

This augurs well not only for the two countries but also for this Pacific region. I hope the U.S. won't meddle in this budding peace initiative taken by the two countries

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

Halwick, again:

I don't think so. At least not in the way Imperial Japan (and military) usurped Okinawa's sovereignty prior to and up to 1945.

We're prepared for the possibility that this battle, a battle over whether Futenma's function should remain in Okinawa forever, may last long. But you've brought up a completely different topic, off topic in fact, and obfuscate the real issue.

There's of course a question whether the annexation of Okinawa into Japan in 1872 was legal or not in terms of international law. When asked about that during a Diet session by a lawmaker from Okinawa, then Convention Director-General of MOFA replied he didn't know. Do you want to go into this topic and claim the U.S. military occupation of Okinawa from 1945 to 1972 was way more humane and commendable?

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

Halwick,

The U.S. returned Okinawa's administrative right to Japan in 1972. Note what was returned was only the U.S.'s administrative right. The U.S. never relinquished the right to free use of Okinawa as a military bastion. It is in this sense I say a virtual occupation continued even though there was no more authoritative U.S. military government exercising all its power over the civilian population.

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

Halwick,

There're 193 nations that are members of the UN. Japan is one of them and therefore Japan is an independent sovereignty like other UN-member states. 

Japan regained its independence in 1951 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed between it and the Allies headed by the United States.

The catch is: Was and Is Japan's sovereignty the real McCoy?

No sooner had the San Francisco Peace Treaty been signed between Japan and the Allies than the Japanese delegation headed by Shigeru Yoshida was furtively whisked away to U.S. Army Presidio Base in San Francisco, where they penned another treaty deemed more important by the U.S. side -- the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, later to be officially known as the "Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation between Japan and the U.S."  Japan also had to sign another agreement known as the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which dealt with practical matters concerning the security treaty.

It's said that John Foster Dulles, then chief negotiator for the U.S., ordered his staff negotiating the terms of the treaty to heed to hammering provisions into it so that the U.S. could keep unrestrained rights to having bases anywhere in Japan for as long and as much as it wants. 

Dulles' hard-and-fast conditions survive to this day and permeate every nook and cranny of the Japan-U.S. security relations. This means Japan's independence was only a facade because a virtual occupation has continued with all bases and perquisites remaining intact. This state of affairs stands out most conspicuously in Okinawa, where 74 percent of the U.S. military bases in Japan concentrate.

You say all things werel agreed between the two countries. Yes, they were, but you must take into account under what circumstances all these agreements were made.

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

AlexBecu,

They took it by force, they kept Okinawa until recently. America has a big say about those bases in Okinawa

If Okinawa is still under U.S. military occupation, you may be right to say the U.S. "has a big say about those bases in Okinawa." But Okinawa isn't occupied by the U.S. military, let alone mainland Japan. 

Japan restored sovereignty in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect.  Okinawa was amalgamated into Japan in 1972. Japan is supposedly a sovereign, independent state. But if Japan is independent, the U.S. is allowed no big say about those bases. 

However, the fact that the U.S. still has a big say, demanding, for example, Futenma's replacement be built within Okinawa, means that Japan's sovereignty is only in name and the U.S. military presence, especially in Okinawa, is nothing different from occupation.

That's the conclusion your argument leads to.

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

darknuts,

The marines are there to maintain quick access to Taiwan and the South China sea among other things.

But note that the marines that are to engage in actual combats will be in Guam where the infrastructures for them are now under construction, partly with funds provided by Tokyo. The vessels that will transport them are not there: Ospreys will be grounded at new runways in Henoko and the USS WASP LHD-1 anchored at Sasebo, Nagasaki.

Besides, if the marines are stationed in Okinawa with so many bases and areas on land and at the sea, and even in the air, not only for Japan's defense but also for the security of Taiwan and the South China Sea (the Philippines, Vietnam and what not), don’t you think it’s really unfair that Okinawa has to shoulder the bulk of  sacrifice for all this, physically and financially?

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

sorteos,

It's unfortunate that Okinawa is located in such a crucial strategic position ...

I have argued above that Okinawa isn't located in a strategically superior location as far as the U.S. Marines and their bases are concerned. Can you reject it?  Or can you support the claim that Henoko is the only solution for the Futenma relocation issue?

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Posted in: Outnumbered and elderly, Okinawa protesters oppose U.S. military runway See in context

"It’s going to be a long battle," said Motoyama, 27

Nodoubt, this battle is between good and evil.

*****  

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe once said that security-related matters should be decided on by the state, not by a locality. Sounds natural.

A question remains, though: How is the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko relevant to the defense and security of Japan? Without giving a clear explanation to this question, Abe cannot say security matters fall within the state’s exclusive jurisdiction.

Otherwise, he’s merely staging a monkey show and befuddling the nation by intentionally mixing the Henoko relocation plan with security.

An oft-cited reason why the U.S. Marines are stationed in Okinawa is the island's superior strategic location; that is, from Okinawa they can deal with any contingencies as quickly as possible that may occur in any part of the region.

But in a contingency involving China or North Korea, Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture would serve much better. Sasebo is much closer to Beijing, Shanghai and Pyongyang than Okinawa. Or if skirmishes ever occur in the Senkaku waters, the Self-Defense Forces would have primary responsibility, not the U.S. Marines (See: “Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation 2015″ ).

Thus, it turns out that the “superior strategic location” argument doesn’t hold water at all.

Furthermore, if the marines are in Okinawa to deal with contingencies very quickly, as ballyhooed so often, why are 8,000 core combat troops scheduled to move to Guam, leaving only support units behind in Okinawa? Doesn't this show that they are stationed here not because Okinawa is strategically situated in a superior location but because it's simply a convenient place for them to maintain bases here and lead a comfortable life?

The JGSDF is building bases in the island chain, that is, on Yonaguni Is., Ishigki Is., Miyako Is. and Amami Is. , said to scare off Chinese naval and air squadrons. This in spite of the fact that U.S. Marine bases are here for deterrence. Nonsense.

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Posted in: Kono suggests need to end reversal of Japanese names in English See in context

I 'm afraid some people may say my post above has nothing to do with what Kono has suggested. But no. It's quite relevant because all these matters, Kono's proposal  included, are concerned a lot with traditional vs. imported Western values. So everyone should have some say about it.

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Posted in: Kono suggests need to end reversal of Japanese names in English See in context

The Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications tells Japan's current population is 1億(oku) 2612 万(man). The figure is represented in accord with the Chinese number system. If it's written as 126,120,000, like bankers and accountants do, that'll be really difficult for an ordinary person on the street to read and grasp.

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Posted in: Gov't says official translation for next era name Reiwa is 'beautiful harmony' See in context

Naming something, in many cases, is done with one's hope that it will come true like the namesake. One must also note that a language changes in its grammar, sounds and meanings.

So, we must take experts' comments into account very seriously. They say "rei (令)" today means "order, "command" and "dictate" with an authoritarian tone and, some say,  with a causative meaning. The name "reiwa" can thus mean peace to be accomplished by the order and command of some higher-up. 

If the government decided it would mean "beautiful harmony," I feel there's something fishy in it because Abe likes to always call the country "beautiful Japan."

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Posted in: Kono suggests need to end reversal of Japanese names in English See in context

When my father told me as a child that in English one writes the given name first and the sir name last, I thought I learned something very novel and ingenious. Later, we school children enjoyed ourselves by telling each other how in America things are reversed from us, for example, that one's address is written in the order from small to large areas, that on the globe we are located opposite to each other, that our day is their night and their day is our night., and so on and so forth.

During the Meiji Restoration, elder statesmen tried to conform everything to a Western pattern, thinking that's a shortcut to Japan’s modernization. Everything traditional was considered behind the times and was given away very easily. They adopted the solar calendar in lieu of the lunar calendar, forgetting people’s daily life and traditional festivals were firmly interconnected with lunar calendar dates. Traditional events, such as Obon or August Moon festival, is based on the lunar calendar. If you celebrate Obon or August Moon based on the solar calendar, the last day of Obon and August Moon might fall on a moonless night. Fishermen can’t calculate the times of high and low tides unless they knew lunar calendar dates.

The way Roman numerals are counted is different from the Chinese counting system which the Japanese and East Asian peoples have been accustomed to for centuries. In the Roman system the figure 1234567890, for example, is read by demarcating every three digit as 1,234,567,890, and so read easily as 1 billion 234 million 567 thousand 890. In the Chinese system, however, the demarcation is done every four digit, like 12,3456,7890, thus read 12億(oku) 3456万(man) 7890. Ordinary people in Japan, except bankers, find it very difficult to read large numbers like 1234567890 if it’s demarcated as 1,234,567,890.

If Kono is right, and I think he is, all these Westernized systems must also be reverted to traditional ones once again. But will people like it? That’s the problem.

A better solution might be to use two systems concurrently like we do in Okinawa. Obon is celebrated during July 13-15 on the lunar calendar. In some fishing and farming communities, a lunar new year’s day is celebrated more festively.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

Here's facts about the referendum held on Feb. 14 regarding the relocation plan.

The referendum asked three questions: (1) Do you agree with the current relocation pan? (2) Do you disagree with it? (3) Neither.

The relevant data concerning the referendum are as follows:

Number of eligible voters: 1,153,591

Voter turnout or voting rate: 52.48%

Total number of valid votes cast: 601,888

Number of "agreed" votes: 114,933(18.99%)

Number of "disagree" votes: 434,273(71.74%)

Number of "neither" votes: 52,682(8.70%)

It was unfortunate that 551 thousand people abstained from voting, but even so these figures, especially the number of "disagree" votes, parallel the results of telephone polls conducted by the media. .

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

I therefore can say my opinion is shared by 72% of the people of Okinawa.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

CyburneticTiger, extanker & Yubaru:

In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Trump tallied 59,611,678 votes as against Hillary's 59,814,018 votes.

If pre-election polls showed Hillary was dominant in popularity over Trump, the forecasts based on polls were more or less correct. But, in reality, Trump won the presidency. Why? It's because of your voting system, the system of electoral college.

In Okinawa, various polls conducted by the media had always shown candidates against the Henoko plan would win with more than 70% probability. This percentage agrees with the result of the said referendum. I therefore can say my opinion is shared by 725 of the people of Okinawa.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

The number of people who responded to NHK's telephone poll was 1,132, of whom 42% approved Abe's performance as a prime minister.

So in your opinion, only 475 people support Abe today -- no more and no less. In other words, Abe will garner minuscule 475 votes if there were a direct election of a prime minister tomorrow.. Wouldn't that be nice?

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

CyburneticTiger,

In a telephone poll to see a Prime Minister’s or a President's support rate, you randomly pick up only a few thousand people to elicit their opinion, a method known as RDD. 

For example, in a telephone poll conducted by NHK on Mar. 8-10, a support rate for the Abe cabinet was found to be 42%. That is usually taken to mean that 43.7 million people aged over 18 years old among the total 104 million population supports the Abe administration. 

The latest poll conducted in a similar fashion by The Wall Street Journal and NBC has shown President Trump's support rate turns out to be 46%. 

Do you think these are unreliable figures because the poll results reflect only the opinion of a few select people?

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

Call them goodwill ambassadors if you please!

A nice name. But isn’t that what Washington teaches rookies newly arrived at Okinawa? Washington also calls service members stationed in Japan "good neighbors" and USFJ generals tell the Japanese people that troops under their command are always ready to sacrifice their life to defend Japan. These are all word plays or a charade to hide the reality.

smithinjapan,

Like usual you're flat out making stuff up and claiming you speak on behalf of everyone, when you represent a minority of radicals who would just as soon still get the government handouts for hosting the military, but then do nothing for it

I'm certain my opinion is shared by 72% of all the people of Okinawa. Only 28% may be opposed to it. I'm not saying things as the fancy takes me as you imagine so fancifully. It's you, on the contrary, who says things as the fancy takes you, concocting all the stuff.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

Never considered the US military to be a guest. Your words not mine! That is YOUR mistake!

If you think USFJ members are not "invited guests", what do you call them? Intruders, invaders, conquerors,  unwelcome guests, tress-passers, or what?

Had those bases not been there before the said security treaty was signed, into which regime Okinawa bases were firmly incorporated in 1972, you might be right to say those bases are provided with USFJ in exchange for their defense of Japan. But they had been seamlessly there since the end of World War II as if war spoils. 

You can call the treaty by whatever name you may like. However, I’m sure you will never call it "treaty of unfair, one-sided cooperation and security" even though in reality it is. The Pentagon is called "Defense Department" even though in reality it's engaged in offensive, jingoistic activities more often than not. A more appropriate name would then be “Offense Department”. But, of course, nobody will like it.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

CyburneticTiger,

The guy from Miyako Jima is always so quick to speak for all of Okinawa. How many US bases are in Miyako Jima?

There was only one Army communications base on Miyako when I was in high school. No U.S. base on any significant scale existed there except this one. I was an enthusiastic nerd of everything U.S.A. those days – because of its cutting-edge technology, grand prosperity, democracy, liberty and freedom, for we had gone through dark days under a militaristic and despotic regime in the recent past.

The U.S.A. was a beam of hope for everyone, young and adult.  This was true not only in Okinawa but also all over Japan.  The image of the Statue of Liberty grabbed my heart as a young boy, fueling my dream that someday I would see it at first hand.

But when I came to live on the main island of Okinawa, which was literally trodden under the colossal U.S. military footprint, I think my view of the U.S.A., above all, its military bases has changed.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

CrucialS & Yubaru,

You aren't responding to my post squarely.

Both of your mistake is that you think or want to think U.S. troops are here as invited guests. You may be right because their presence is defined in a treaty as if they were guests. Even so, they are like knaves taking a yard for an inch.

The treaty, reverently called the TREATY OF MUTUAL COOPERATION AND SECURITY BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, is thus a facade to camouflage the reality of Okinawa being placed under the same regime as in the Occupation era.

How do you feel if 83% of the area of your municipality is taken by the U.S. military pretending to be invited guests?

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

Yubaru,

This is a downright absurd statement! ... There is no occupation, and the overwhelming majority of the population of Okinawa has no contact with the MC

The USF Okinawa occupies about 15% of the total land mass of Okinawa Island. Among municipalities Kadena Township tops all others in that 83% of its area is taken by US forces. Next comes Kim Town: 59.3%; and Chatan Town: 56.4%; Ginoza Village: 50.7%; Yomitan:44.6%; Higashi Village: 41.5%; Okinawa City (formerly Koza): 35.9%; Iejima: 35.2%; Onna Village: 29.4%. 

Bases are not limited to land surface only. They extend to the sea and the air as U.S. forces’ exlusive training areas. Thus, large areas at sea and in the air are reserved for U.S. forces to use them exclusively or preferentially..

If one doesn't like this state of affairs to be called occupation, he or she should ask the U.S. government to address it by closing the Marines’ training bases for starters. The Marine bases account for about 75% of all U.S. bases in Okinawa, you know.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

It's a pity, and absurd, too, that the Japanese government should ask the U.S. government if they could help defend Japan in the event of contingency. The marines in Okinawa occupy so much land, as if it was a literal occupation, under the pretext that they are here to defend Japan. 

Confirming with the U.S. government time and time again if the U.S. will help defend Japan indicates there’s mistrust on the part of the Japanese government about Washington’s professed commitment to defend Japan. The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty thus seems to be coming apart at the seam.

The said Security Treaty is a façade anyway to cover up the fact that Japan is still being occupied and hence must be scrapped. So its coming apart at the seam may be good for us.

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Posted in: Gov't expands landfill work for U.S. base transfer in Okinawa See in context

CrucialS,

Irrelevant to the point. The relocation of Marines to reduce the burden on Okinawa doesn't hinder or change the US commitment to defend Japan.

If the marines who are to be relocated to Guam can deal with contingency in waters near Okinawa, what role will Ospreys and other VTOL aircraft based there play?

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