Protests as 12 Osprey aircraft arrive at Iwakuni

IWAKUNI —

The U.S. military’s Osprey aircraft arrived in Japan early Monday as residents rallied against their deployment after recent crashes raised safety concerns.

Live television footage showed 12 MV-22s being unloaded from a cargo ship at the U.S. Marines’ base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Local protesters in a dozen small boats demonstrated against the controversial aircraft’s arrival, chanting “We don’t want the dangerous Osprey!” and “Osprey, go back to America.”

The demonstration against the unloading of the aircraft would continue throughout the day, protest organizer Kiyoshi Oka told AFP by telephone.

Although local governments in Japan have no legal grounds to reject the U.S. deployment plan, strong local resentment, from Okinawan islanders in particular, could further erode public support for the government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

The U.S. military plans to fully deploy Osprey aircraft to Okinawa in October, even though the governor of the island chain has rejected the plan because of safety concerns.

Following checkups at Iwakuni, the aircraft is destined for the Marine Corps airbase of Futenma in Okinawa, which has been at the center of a long-running stand-off as it sits in a developing urban area.

A separate rally was held outside the Futenma base Monday with protesters holding banners that said “We are opposed to deployment,” Jiji Press reported.

Concerns over the Osprey came after the two countries clinched a deal earlier this year under which the United States will shift 9,000 Marines out of Japan in a step designed to ease friction with Tokyo over the U.S. military footprint.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft with rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter and engines that can tilt forward, enabling it to fly like an airplane at greater speed than a chopper.

The aircraft was plagued with problems in its early years in the 1990s, but U.S. officials say the technical glitches have been cleared up and the US Marine Corps says it has proven invaluable.

A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey crashed in Florida in June, injuring all five crew members. U.S. officials said the accident was not due to mechanical problem.

In April, an MV-22 Osprey—the variant that arrived in Japan—crashed in Morocco, killing two Marines.

The mayor of Iwakuni as well as three members of Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan have also voiced their opposition to the Osprey deployment.

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told Japanese media Saturday that Washington had agreed to provide ongoing safety information about the Osprey to Tokyo, and added that “safety is a very important issue.”

Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto was quoted as saying on Sunday that any delay in deployment “would cause a hole in operations of (the U.S.) forces”.

“I’m relieved that there was no chaos in unloading (the Osprey),” Morimoto told reporters on Monday.

© 2012 AFP

  • 6

    Yubaru

    Let's just hope that the pilots flying the planes and the equipment itself stay safe with no incidents. The protests will quite down with a clean record.

  • 5

    Schopenhauer

    It is a known concept that military aircrafts are not as safe as commercial airplanes since they are made for different purposes. Military accident death rate is not low. Yet, people accept it because they think it is important. If Japan wants 100% safety for military aircrafts, let U.S. Forces get out of Japan and defend the country yourself.

  • 10

    Yubaru

    If Japan wants 100% safety for military aircrafts, let U.S. Forces get out of Japan and defend the country yourself.

    If Japan wants 100% safety from military aircraft they wouldn't be able to defend themselves either! The JASDF have had a number of crashes over the years as well, but since those were Japanese planes and pilots it's ok.

  • 2

    noirgaijin

    It is a known concept that military aircrafts are not as safe as commercial airplanes since they are made for different purposes. Military accident death rate is not low

    Hmm... Interesting, where do you get your statistics?

  • -1

    Probie

    Let's just hope that the pilots flying the planes and the equipment itself stay safe with no incidents. The protests will quite down with a clean record.

    I thought they weren't going to be flying them until their safety was assessed? I don't know how they'll do that without flying them though...

  • 10

    Ronald F Stark

    I've spent over 25 years flying in numerous military aircraft all over the world and anyone who thinks they are more dangerous than civilian craft has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Military aircraft are subjected to a high maintenance standard and frequent inspection system. Engines are overhauled at shorter intervals, work is done by trained professionals (very little outsourcing!), and pilots are better trained. I'd take a ride in an Osprey any day with no reservations whatsoever!

  • 4

    Yubaru

    I thought they weren't going to be flying them until their safety was assessed?

    There is no way to satisfactorily assure the safety of any military aircraft to the degree that will satisfy any politician. There is also no way the US Military is going to just let them sit there either.

    They'll be flying them soon enough after they have been assembled and checked out for flight readiness, no matter how much any one protests.

    The Japanese government can not stop the US from flying them, and by courtesy alone have notified the Japanese Defense Ministry of the deployment of the Osprey. Give them a few days, maybe a couple of weeks at the most, and those birds will be flying down here to Okinawa.

  • -13

    kwatt

    It doesn't matter whether Osprey is safe aircraft or not. It is very clear that most Japanese don't want them flying all over Japan. The US should listen to Japanese people if America thinks Japan is an independent democratic country, but It seems not. American seems to want to protect Okinawa only rather than whole land of Japan. Because Okinawa has so many US bases and facilities which are strategically the most important base to protect the US and Pacific, not Japan.

  • 1

    noirgaijin

    @ Ronald F Stark. Just the response I projected, being that I have been in the military aerospace business for over three decades and concur that military aircraft inspection and maintenance programs are robust and scrutinized at a much higher level than its commercial counterparts. I just wanted the individual who provided his/her analysis to back their data with a reliable source.

  • -13

    BertieWooster

    It doesn't matter whether Osprey is safe aircraft or not.

    It isn't.

    It is very clear that most Japanese don't want them flying all over Japan.

    That's right! There was a tremendous fuss when it was suggested that they move to Kyushu.

    The US should listen to Japanese people if America thinks Japan is an independent democratic country, but It seems not.

    Yes, it should do. But it doesn't. It doesn't respect the rights of other countries, not only Japan.

    Most Japanese don't want any US military anywhere near them. That's why the bases are in Okinawa. About as far from the mainland as it's possible to get.

    The Japanese government isn't listening to the Okinawan people.

    And the US government isn't listening to the Japanese people.

    The US wants the bases here and the Japanese government can't say no.

    The US is broke and heavily in debt to China.

    They can't afford to move.

    Unless, of course, they went back to the States.

    Now there's an idea!

  • 3

    Crystalyle

    This is a case of miseducation and disinformation being circulated by Anti-U.S groups and politicians.

    Truth be told, there isn't a single thing that is safe about your life. The very Internet you use was a fail-safe system to destroy you.

    The same compannies that designed these aircraft are the same companies that you fly in commercially. Military craft such as these are often safer than commercial.

    The military doesn't suffer from cutbacks. They never shy away from their duty. Everything is taken seriously. These aircraft are not going to hover over your poorly designed house. 90% of you will never see one and probably wouldn't recognize it if you had the chance.

    You should more concerned about private companies such as JAL which does a lot of cutbacks, long hours, and poor work conditions. These private sector planes go the cheapest parts. They have considerations.

    At the end of the day you can't even brag if those companies have a good safety track record. They're made by BOEING, Lockheed Martin, and Airbus. None of it's Japanese-made.

    This is much ado about nothing. However it does show me one thing. This shows how little information the public is aware of. This shows how quickly Japanese people forget about Operation Tomodachi and how little they appreciate what it is we do.

    Nobody wants to crash one of those expensive aircraft. Those Osprey are not going to hover over populated areas. In a nutshell it's more a Anti-U.S protest. If it had been designed by Japanese they'd be singing it's praises.

  • -6

    Lilic

    Why Japan need all this American military bases here?

  • -8

    BertieWooster

    Why Japan need all this American military bases here?

    Japan doesn't.

    America wants.

  • -11

    BertieWooster

    The same compannies that designed these aircraft are the same companies that you fly in commercially. Military craft such as these are often safer than commercial.

    For one thing the Osprey does not have a good safety record, in spite of attempts to cover it up.

    And for another. The big difference between commercial aircraft and military aircraft is their purpose.

    You may have noticed it.

    The commercial aircraft exist to transport people and goods. To take loved one A to meet loved one B. To take people on holiday, so that they can have a break, enjoy themselves, have fun.

    Military aircraft, on the other hand, carry soldiers, arms and munitions.

    Hence their unpopularity.

    • Moderator

      Readers, commercial aircraft are not relevant to this discussion. Please stay on topic.

  • 0

    Scrote

    Perhaps Mr Noda can guarantee the Osprey's safety, just like he has with the Oi nuclear power plant?

    I'd like all cars banned from the roads until someone guarantees their safety. After all, thousands are killed each year by cars so they clearly aren't safe.

  • 0

    Sylvester Haynes

    Everyone is saying go back to America now, when the Chinese come to invade Japan; Everyone will be saying come back to Japan American military.

  • 1

    lucabrasi

    @Scrote

    I'd like all cars banned from the roads until someone guarantees their safety. After all, thousands are killed each year by cars so they clearly aren't safe.

    Apples and oranges. Cars are (generally) safe because of their design. It's idiot drivers who cause accidents. With the Ospreys, it ain't the pilots' fault they're going down.

  • -13

    Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

    I don't think Japan needs protecting, afterall its survived so many years independently. Its the media propagating the notion of fear into us. The only real invader into Japan had been the Americans, Battle of Okinawa? Now they are protecting us? Or their interests in the Pacific. Especially with containing China which they have successfully turned our government against.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    China perhaps, but it is more likely against the threat of North Korea; they have loudly and repeatedly threatened to turn Tokyo into a "sea of flames".

    China and Russia are more mature. (We hope)

  • -2

    Crystalyle

    I don't think Japan needs protecting, afterall its survived so many years independently. Its the media propagating the notion of fear into us. The only real invader into Japan had been the Americans

    Gosh, this is such a deep rabbit hole. Japan has never survived independently. I wish you would allocate 30-40% of your GDP towards the protection of this country.

    These protesters can cry me a river, for all I care. When you're finished you can get out the rafts and canoes and start paddling in it. The planes are here despite opposition. They'll fly and they'll have mishaps BUT nothing as big as that nuclear mishap that happened in Fukushima. Even if all 12 came falling out the sky it would never come close to Japan's own self-destruction.

    We told you the facts. We know you are intelligent enough to know that any and all technology runs a certain risk. So just ignore these guys. They take attention away from all the nuclear cover-ups that are just below in the same section.

  • -1

    ejchitin

    @Crystayle You said it all. Now they hate it but tomorrow there is another tomodachi and they'll love it. And if jp people think all they need is jsdf.... Think again people. I remember how the people from oshima spend a bunch of days without water or electricity cause the Japanese couldn't get to them and it was up to the us navy and us marine corp that they got all that back. Thanks to them only !!

  • -2

    the-grouch

    It's still better to get the facts and then comment. After all we are here to provide a service. Our service is to provide stability in this region. Without the presence of the US military, China will intent an attack, DPRK might launch a loaded missile etc. There are a lot of chances that Japan should not take alone.

    http://www.marines.com/operating-forces/equipment/aircraft/mv-22-osprey

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    kwatt: "It is very clear that most Japanese don't want them flying all over Japan. The US should listen to Japanese people if America thinks Japan is an independent democratic country, but It seems not."

    Funny, I didn't see you arguing this on the threads where China was stepping up its rhetoric over the disputed isles. But that's the way it usually is, isn't it? A minority in Japan argue that the US military is not needed but when a Chinese sub sweeps by Okinawa or they up their military budget suddenly it's "The US has to protect us or they have no place here!"

    I'm willing to bet the Osprey are a whole lot safer than any JAL aircraft, given that the latter suffers from constant cutbacks and maintenance problems. Anyway, these people will stop whining when China sends another ship near the disputed isles.

  • 4

    Kapuna

    kwatt: "It is very clear that most Japanese don't want them flying all over Japan. The US should listen to Japanese people if America thinks Japan is an independent democratic country, but It seems not."

    First, the V-22 will NOT be flying all over Japan.There are designated training sites. Second, America DOES recognize Japan as an independent country. Japan can tell the U.S. to leave at any time. Third, Japan's defense budjet is miniscule and has entered into a defense pact WILLINGLY and, at bargain price (6.2% of budjet)

  • 0

    Matthew Simon

    Wonder how many complaints there will be when these aircraft are bringing in relief supplies or evacuating people in danger? People seem to forget that not so long ago these things were going on right here in this very country.

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    Crystalyle

    Gosh, this is such a deep rabbit hole. Japan has never survived independently. I wish you would allocate 30-40% of your GDP towards the protection of this country.

    Erm, since when did you need to spend 30%-40%(!) of your GDP for defense? Even the US, the country that spends more amount on military than the entire military spending in the world combined, just spends 4.7% of their GDP.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    It's true that most people in Japan don't want them flying over Japan, that's why Japan should move the base from Okinawa to Tokyo. Then they would get serious about safety and diplomacy. It's just like Fukushima... somebody else pays for the damages.

  • -6

    BertieWooster

    Why can't the US leave Japan to deal with its own defense and natural disasters?

    It's because the US mollycoddles this country that it's become the way it has.

    It's the same with a child if you overprotect it.

    If Japan had to rely on its own resources, the useless politicians would be forced out and it might grow up a bit.

  • -4

    Jonah Falcon

    Behind all this might be a desire to get rid of the US military all together. I think its about time to end this occupation. Japan should take care of itself.

  • -3

    YuriOtani

    It would of been better if the deployment was delayed until last. This or that will be the final straw and Noda will head into retirement.

  • 1

    Matthew Simon

    You are imagining things if you think a different PM would make a difference. I have noticed that the US seeks support but they do not require it to do whatever they want.

  • -1

    Cos

    Japan's defense budjet is miniscule

    3rd biggest on the planet.

  • 2

    Bogart

    3rd biggest on the planet.

    Actually 6th according to the last list I saw

  • -3

    just-a-bigguy

    Thank You, the US armed forces in asia protecting us from warmongering neighbours, we(the people of Japan) pray for the safety of the crews of the Osprey plane with our whole heart of most grateful! (from Japanese government spokesman)

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Third, Japan's defense budjet is miniscule and has entered into a defense pact WILLINGLY and, at bargain price (6.2% of budjet)

    Japan's defense budget spending is capped at 1% of GDP by law if I remember correctly. Currently it runs at about 54Billion (US) per year.

    If $54 BILLION is minuscule I wonder what you think a lot is?

  • 0

    MoBass4u

    Remember that the military does not fly for profit. An aircraft can and will be grounded for the slightest malfunction or defect after numerous inspections are carried out. Despite the best laid plans things can still go wrong WHOEVER or whatever you represent.

  • -1

    It"S ME

    The whole Osprey issue reminds me of the Farmer that won't even taste food he don't know. No wonder what you serve he will refuse it and be against it.

    The Osprey so far has a way better safety record than many US Planes that JASDF flies.

  • 0

    kazetsukai

    If you read "The Imperial Cruise" by James Bradley, you will have a much more different perspective on what you are arguing here today.

    Regardless... it is important to keep our discussion on facts rather than personal feeling and unsubstantiated opinions.

    1) Does Japan need US military presence?...... A = Yes (unless Japan decides to build a military force of their own strong enough to "confront" N. Korea, China and Russia, they need an "umbrella". the ONLY country capable and with mutual "benefit" for existence is US, economically, politically and militarily)

    2) Does US need Japan as a part of their defense perimeter?..... A = Yes

    3) Does the US military in Japan need the Osprey?..... A = for now Yes (they have no options to replace the old cargo airplanes and they need it for todays tactical efficiency - vertical/spot landings and takeoff with large cargo capacity faster than the helicopters)

    4) Does Japan need the Osprey?..... A = probably Yes (if anything for the expected natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis - they can get to the disaster sites quicker with more aid as well as evacuate more even at sites where there are no landing strips)

    5) Does Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, and S. Korea play an important part of US defense?..... A = Yes (all important and critical cities are on coastal cities along the Atlantic and Pacific, easily accessible by ships. all neighboring countries except Canada are "hostile" to US, regardless of the rhetoric. one reason why they want to keep nations as far away from US becoming a "shield" for them. to do that they are willing to spend the money and the military personnel. one other reason is that economic stability requires political stability. and political stability requires military stability)

    6) The key questions are:

    a) Which is more important, i) the use of Osprey in Japan or ii) the safety net provided by the US military?

    b) Is Japan willing to i) make their own military crafts and ii) build up the military to defend itself?

    7) More important is the Japanese people putting the world in "proper perspective"?

    It appears that everyone is "dreaming" that it is an "idealized" world and that none of the events happening around the other parts of the world will not affect the Japanese.

    A good example is that European economic conditions and the world political situation have required Japan to contribute billions of JPY to IMF.

    But NO OTHER NATION in the world is "watching out" for Japan. They are ONLY watching out for themselves. They only "help" because it is for THEIR best interest to do so and NOT for Japan. (That is unless they have families and relative here in Japan.)

    Japanese people are well known for that... "tatemae" of "facade".

  • -2

    Hayden Wellstone

    Considering the success rate of the Osprey, I'd be surprised if there weren't a few Marines protesting as well.

  • -1

    Hayden Wellstone

    Bertie,

    When you say the Japanese do not want the U.S. military here, you are only talking about the citizenry. The powers that be realize that it would cost a lot more to maintain the same level of security that is offered by the U.S. military.

    As long as the U.S. military is willing to do Japan's dirty work for her, at a bargain price at that, the citizenry can howl at the moon but that's not going to sway the PM or the Diet.

  • 0

    Hayden Wellstone

    All of you people saying Japan should take care of their own defense aren't taking into consideration that for Japan to do so, they'll have dramatically increase their self-defense forces and that means a huge tax hike to pay for their defense. If the Japanese are at all like Americans, they will bite their nose off to spite their face if it means a tax break.
    The citizenry of Japan does not like the U.S. military but they certainly enjoy the perks of cheap self-defense. Do they hate the U.S. bases enough to pay for their own military, I highly doubt it.

  • -2

    It"S ME

    When will people understand that the US presence is NOT for the protection of Japan. It is mostly a forward training and jump base for their military.

    The few troops on Okinawa won't last long under a full assault by NK or China, ditto for the US troops stationed at the SK/NK border.

    Okinawa was strategic when fighters, etc still had a limited range but that ended decades ago. Even aircraft carriers are becoming obsolete as fighters ranges and in-flight refuelling increase. An in-flight refuelled F-22(not sold to allies), etc will be here way faster than any other military equipment it needs. Boots on the ground take way longer to arrive.

  • 2

    Thomas Anderson

    Japan already pays US a lot of money for their protection, the so-called "sympathy budget". Well I guess it's not really that much compared to what they're getting, although I'm not really sure what they ARE getting.

    Apparently they pay about 8.8 million yen per US soldier, or around $100,000

    The Japanese government shares 75 percent of the cost for the stationing of U.S. troops in Japan by generously using people’s tax money. In this regard as well, Japan ranked at the top among 27 allied nations.

    http://www.japan-press.co.jp/modules/news/index.php?id=1377

    From 1952 to 2004, there were approximately 200,000 accidents and crimes involving U.S. troops, in which 1,076 Japanese civilians died. Over 90% of the incidents were vehicle or traffic related."

    In 1995, the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl by two U.S. Marines and one U.S. sailor"

    In February 2008, a 38-year-old U.S. Marine based on Okinawa was arrested in connection with the reported rape of a 14-year-old Okinawan girl.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Forces_Japan

    You've got to sympathize with the Okinawans. They're the ones who are paying the price for Japan's protection.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    Japan should stop sucking up to the US already and cut the defense budget by half. Japan is like one of those guys who pretend to be rich and generous so that he'll be liked by everyone.

  • -1

    madmel

    Well Schopenhauer hit the nail on the head....get out of Japan and let them defend them selves! Bravo that is the best thing I have heard in a long time. I know many a tax payer in the US that would like to know why they piss money away on a military base that is not on US soil. If something comes up in SE Asia they can have one or more of their monstrous air craft carriers there quick enough.

    As for the Ospray...what does this thing do any better than a helicopter for more money?

  • -1

    oberst

    Japan's defense budjet is miniscule and has entered into a defense pact WILLINGLY and, at bargain price (6.2% of budjet)...................................

    may be when the J people finally get their wish and US leaves Japan then the Yen will be devalued as the J Gov. will have to spend some serious $/Yen on defense. As a bonus point, may be the J youths will get some backbones and help defend their own country instead of relying on the hated gaijins.

  • 2

    Thunderbird2

    This shows how quickly Japanese people forget about Operation Tomodachi and how little they appreciate what it is we do.

    I wondered when that would be brought up.

    You can't use guilt to reinforce your point. Any decent citizen of the world would have wanted to help Japan in its hour of need... Operation Tomodachi was a great exercise in aid, but it shouldn't be used to make Japanese people feel guilt. Aid should be given without strings... an act of humanity, not something to sweeten the pot at a later date.

  • -2

    BertieWooster

    You've got to sympathize with the Okinawans. They're the ones who are paying the price for Japan's protection.

    Well said, Brother Thomas.

    And why are they in Okinawa?

    Because if someone attempted to move so many US military anywhere near Tokyo, heads would roll and there would be demonstrations that would make the anti-TEPCO Johnnies look like a school outing.

  • -2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    When an Osprey flies past the Tokyo SkyTree, I want to see that photo!

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    Japan's defense budget is miniscule

    It's minUscule, with a "u". AAAAgh! Why can't folks get that right????

  • 1

    BertieWooster

    Brother lucabrasi,

    Japan's defense budget is miniscule It's minUscule, with a "u". AAAAgh! Why can't folks get that right????

    Understood.

    The "missle," and "would of," get me.

  • 2

    Christopher Lowery

    I'm not sure if the Japanese understood the difference between 'gaining understanding' and 'permission to deploy' they are entirely different. I really think there was a serious communication problem, and it led to all the the hard feelings. I think mabye that these two phrases may tend to mean the same thing in Japan, however in reality, and especially with american diplomacy, there is a vast difference, and I feel this may have led to drastic misunderstanding, not only this time, but many other times in the past. I am sure there were miscommunicational forces at work, and this led to the false sense of understanding. It really is too bad, I hope the Japanese can deal with it appropriatly, and we can move on from this at a quick pace. Japan, much love.

  • -2

    sustainablewhaling

    Free Okinawa!! If the majority of people in Okinawa don´t want the Americans there, then in a perfect world the Americans who according to the majority have over stayed their visit should pack up and leave.The Japanese government should stop being America´s puppets and get some back bone. Okinawa, much love. Listen to the people instead of ignoring them.

  • 0

    Paul Arenson

    Hayden Wellstone said: "When you say the Japanese do not want the U.S. military here, you are only talking about the citizenry".

    Only? You mean we should only be listening to the elite? But that is what democracy is about. And not only for majority opinions. When i was growing up, the typical response to our protests against the war in Vietnam was that we should not protest because we would not be allowed to do the same in Russia. In other words, don't protest because we are a free country. And here you are saying that protests don't count because it is only the voice of the people. I get it.

    As to those who claim that the U.S. is here to defend Japan, the opposite is true. Japan is a target because the U.S. keeps its weapons of mass destruction here, and there have been several reports garnered from US Freedom of Info requests that show the U.S. keeps, or at least kept, atomic weapons here. Of course, Agent Orange. All destined for use on the Vietnamese, but also U.S. service people were also reportedly affected. Possibly Japanese as well.

    The bases and copters: the citizens don't want it. Especially those of Okinawa, who have lived with it for so long. According to a Shukan Kinyoubi report when a US helicopter crashed at Okinawa Intl University 8 years ago, U.S. Army personnel discovered its reporters and demanded the videotape they had taken. Local citizens surrounded the soldiers as long as possible, but the soldiers persisted. The cameraman refused to give up the footage.

    Okinawa International University, the site of the crash, is right next to the base and while one of the crew was seriously injured, it was only a miracle that civilians were not, The military swiftly seized the site in a civilian area and obstructed the media, in violation of SOFA, according to Arakaki Ben of the Okinawa Lawyers Association. The university buildings were closed off by the soldiers, who even restricted the movement of university staff members and Japanese police. Yes, because Okinawa was still an unofficial colony. Certainly the U.S. was not protecting THEIR freedom.

    According to Shukan Kinyoubi, SOFA only allows the US jurisdiction of U.S. property, but for 6 days it controlled the entire area around the crash on Okinawan territory. At the time, the Okinawa Lawyers Association said "It is clear that illegal police powers were invoked in violation of the sovereign rights of our country."

    Then, as now, the Japanese government did not take the side of the Okinawans. An Okinawan police officer complained how difficult it was to document the damage due to the US removing the helicopter and protested that "if the same accident had occurred in Tokyo, the response would not have been the same. It looks as if government concern does not extend to Okinawa."

    The Okinawans are treated as second class by their own government and the U.S. That is why they don't want this aircraft. It is NOT just because it is unsafe. They know that these implements of war are for killing people. They suffered twice, once at the hands of the imperial government and then had their lands confiscated by the U.S. after the war. As the Shukan Kinyoubi article pointed out, the same type helicopter that crashed was also used for "Iraq-related activity" only about 10 days after the crash. The Okinawans know that it is a lie when the Japanese and U.S. governments claim the U.S. is here to defend Japan.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Interview with PM Noda in MacD's.

    "Well, Prime Minister, what do you think of the Osprey arrival? "I'm lovin' it." "Yes, I am sure you are, but what about the Ospreys?" "They have arrived just in time to take the people's attention off nuclear power. Woohoo. Now we can really discuss safety to our hearts' content! I'm loving' it." Munch, munch...

  • 3

    presto345

    Seems to me this issue is blown greatly out of proportion.

  • -3

    YuriOtani

    When the Americans framed their Constitution, they were worried about the "tyranny of the majority". They did certain thing to try and prevent it.

    Hayden Wellstone, so you think the citizens should have no say about this issue? "you are only talking about the citizenry"

    presto345, it is not out of proportion. The Americans and National Governments attitudes are exactly the problem.

  • -2

    Alphaape

    The current helos that the Marines fly in Japan, CH-46's and MH-53's are over 40 years old in some cases. These were late Vietnam and 1970's era craft. When I was assigned to an LHA back in 2000, whenever those helos embarked, they alway had to make sure that a SAR (Search And Rescue) helo was available onboard while they conducted flight ops over water. Military flying is dangerous, a Navy 53 (similar to the ones the Marines have here in Japan) went down in the Persian Gulf over the weekend, and an F-16 jst went down off the coast of Hokaiddo. No matter what is in the air, there is a possibility it may fall down. I hope not but it happens.

    Does these same people demand that the JASDF not fly their own aircraft that have safety issues?

  • -1

    kwatt

    @smithinjapan

    Do you think the US protects Japan when war happens somehow? I really doubt it. The US would protect Okinawa (US base) but not mainland of Japan because Okinawa is very strategically important location of defense/offense for the US government's interest. The mainland is probably almost nothing worth of fight for the US. American soldiers would not die for Japan at war although there is US-Japan Security Treaty anyway. Even if China invaded such damn islands of Japan, the US would never send troops there from Okinawa to retake them. NEVER. After all Japan itself obviously would have to send SDF troops there to retake.

    I think Japan should not deeply count on US military to protect Japan in the future. Japan would have to build up its own SDF stronger (than today) and take the half of the US military roles over Okinawa in years. However Japan would maintain proper security treaty of the US-Japan ever. As for Chinese subs/naval ships approaching to disputed islands, the Coast Guard and MSDF would have to take care of it, try not easily to count on US military.

    Osprey is not perfectly safe aircraft yet. Its real problem is too difficult for even skilled pilots to control to fly horizontally and vertically at the same time rather than potential mechanical fault. and also Osprey can not do auto-rotation which other airplane/helicopter can do for safe emergency landing when engines stopped. It means Osprey will fall like a stone when it is really out of control.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    kwatt Jul. 24, 2012 - 01:19AM JST Do you think the US protects Japan when war happens somehow? I really doubt it. The US would protect Okinawa (US base) but not mainland of Japan because Okinawa is very strategically important location of defense/offense for the US government's interest.

    China's recent assertiveness may have shown the value of U.S. alliances to Japan, it also showed the limits of U.S. strategic effect. U.S. military is beginning to have its strategic advantage eroded, thus constraining its policy choices. The perception of U.S. weakness caused by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. domestic economic troubles. In the past, U.S. military dominance was seen as necessary to keep the regional peace, the changing context has meant some newfound uncertainty about the consequences of America's military presence in Japan.

    China wants to signal to the U.S. the increased cost that America will have to bear if it wishes to maintain its current regional posture. The consequence of this is to reduce the benefits of regional stability that U.S. strategy produced in the past. It is far from clear that continuing to pursue the same basic strategy in the Pacific Asia region, military predominance through bilateral alliances will continue to produce regional stability.

    The most difficult thing that the U.S. and Japan need to do is recognize that China will not be content with the regional order if American predominance remains as it is now. This does not necessarily imply a strategic retreat by the U.S. nor does it require caving in to every Chinese demand, but it does mean coming to terms with the fact that U.S. will not be able to pursue an Asian policy in which it is forever the dominant player. There is increase defense cost that the U.S. and its allies will have to pay to maintain the current regional arrangements. As China continues to develop economically and militarily, and as it becomes more confident and more capable, that price will continue to increase. That process will become unsustainable unless something gives. If China and the U.S, on the other hand, continue on their current paths, then the Pacific Asia region is likely to be distinctly worse off.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    @it's me....wars are not "won" from the air.

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    Paul Arenson puts it in a nutshell:

    As to those who claim that the U.S. is here to defend Japan, the opposite is true. Japan is a target because the U.S. keeps its weapons of mass destruction here, and there have been several reports garnered from US Freedom of Info requests that show the U.S. keeps, or at least kept, atomic weapons here. Of course, Agent Orange. All destined for use on the Vietnamese, but also U.S. service people were also reportedly affected. Possibly Japanese as well.

    The bases and copters: the citizens don't want it. Especially those of Okinawa, who have lived with it for so long. According to a Shukan Kinyoubi report when a US helicopter crashed at Okinawa Intl University 8 years ago, U.S. Army personnel discovered its reporters and demanded the videotape they had taken. Local citizens surrounded the soldiers as long as possible, but the soldiers persisted. The cameraman refused to give up the footage.

    Okinawa International University, the site of the crash, is right next to the base and while one of the crew was seriously injured, it was only a miracle that civilians were not, The military swiftly seized the site in a civilian area and obstructed the media, in violation of SOFA, according to Arakaki Ben of the Okinawa Lawyers Association. The university buildings were closed off by the soldiers, who even restricted the movement of university staff members and Japanese police. Yes, because Okinawa was still an unofficial colony. Certainly the U.S. was not protecting THEIR freedom.

    According to Shukan Kinyoubi, SOFA only allows the US jurisdiction of U.S. property, but for 6 days it controlled the entire area around the crash on Okinawan territory. At the time, the Okinawa Lawyers Association said "It is clear that illegal police powers were invoked in violation of the sovereign rights of our country."

    Then, as now, the Japanese government did not take the side of the Okinawans. An Okinawan police officer complained how difficult it was to document the damage due to the US removing the helicopter and protested that "if the same accident had occurred in Tokyo, the response would not have been the same. It looks as if government concern does not extend to Okinawa."

    The Okinawans are treated as second class by their own government and the U.S. That is why they don't want this aircraft. It is NOT just because it is unsafe. They know that these implements of war are for killing people. They suffered twice, once at the hands of the imperial government and then had their lands confiscated by the U.S. after the war. As the Shukan Kinyoubi article pointed out, the same type helicopter that crashed was also used for "Iraq-related activity" only about 10 days after the crash. The Okinawans know that it is a lie when the Japanese and U.S. governments claim the U.S. is here to defend Japan.

    Okinawa has put up with this for far too long.

    It's time for the American bases to close.

    We've had enough of being used.

  • 2

    Shimagaicha

    Oberst,

    As a bonus point, may be the J youths will get some backbones and help defend their own country instead of relying on the hated gaijins.

    Japanese people don't hate gaijins.

    I don't think they hate anyone.

    Hate isn't really a common Japanese emotion.

    If they hated gaijins, they would not have put up with the noise, crime and inconvenience of being forced to host the US military.

    They resent them, sure.

    And they resent the spineless Japanese politicians who cannot say NO to the American diplomats who insist that Okinawa be crowded out with American bases.

    Paul Arenson writes:

    As to those who claim that the U.S. is here to defend Japan, the opposite is true. Japan is a target because the U.S. keeps its weapons of mass destruction here, and there have been several reports garnered from US Freedom of Info requests that show the U.S. keeps, or at least kept, atomic weapons here. Of course, Agent Orange. All destined for use on the Vietnamese, but also U.S. service people were also reportedly affected. Possibly Japanese as well.

    We are sick of being lied to.

    Lied to by the Tokyo government.

    And lied to by American diplomats.

  • 2

    nandakandamanda

    My experience too. Good post by Shimagaicha above.

  • -1

    HansNFranz

    I think it is very hypocritical to on the one hand constantly provoke China with childish acts (like Ishihara's lets'-buy-an-island propaganda), and on the other hand protest if the only nation who China still respects in a military sense tries to give you better protection through updated technology.

    I would like to see how brave Japan would be without the protection by the US.

  • 1

    BertieWooster

    Bruder HansNFranz,

    provoke China with childish acts (like Ishihara's lets'-buy-an-island propaganda)

    Do you honestly think China takes that seriously?

    And, do you honestly think that China would be provoked by a loud mouthed toothless old f*rt like Ishihara?

  • 1

    Kabukilover

    The proper topic of this thread should be whether the Osprey is reasonably safe or not. By this I do not mean if it is 100%. Nothing is 100% safe. I mean is the Osprey as safe as aircraft now flying that is not under scrutiny? From all I have read I have to conclude that this is still an experimental aircraft whose safe is still in question. This being the case I believe it should not be flown over densely populated areas.

  • 3

    BertieWooster

    According to the Japan Times:

    Residents in New Mexico have been waging a campaign against Osprey flight drills.

    Why?

    Because of the incredible noise they produce.

    Because of their poor safety record.

    And because of the impact on the environment.

    As a result, the U.S. Air Force cancelled the drills and decided to review training procedures.

    There is even a strong opinion that training will be conducted in Okinawa because even the U.S.A. doesn't want them.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120720a6.html

    There will be a demonstration on the 5th of August.

    A LOT of people are going to be there.

  • -1

    HansNFranz

    @BertieWooster Sorry, but I'm not your brother. I'll let him know you are looking for him when I see him ;-)

    Do you honestly think China takes that seriously?

    Whether I think so is not important, but China's communication regarding the matter shows that they do.

    And, do you honestly think that China would be provoked by a loud mouthed toothless old f*rt like Ishihara?

    Again, what I think is not the issue here, but China has repeatedly reacted to him in a provoked manner, so I am simply looking at the facts.

  • 1

    BertieWooster

    Apologies, HansNFranz, the "Brother" is an address, not an indication of genetic relationship. In the sense of "We are all brothers."

    Point taken about China. But a lot of what China says is bravado directed more at its own people than anything else. I wouldn't take it too seriously.

  • 0

    bajhista65

    Just remove the US Military Base in Okinawa. Their contract had expired anyway. Let USA worry where they gonna put their bases. That base have been there for decades and it's about time Okinawa be free from that base nuisances.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    bajhista65 Jul. 28, 2012 - 02:38AM JST Just remove the US Military Base in Okinawa. Their contract had expired anyway. Let USA worry where they gonna put their bases. That base have been there for decades and it's about time Okinawa be free from that base nuisances.

    Didn't Hatoyama tried to do that and what happened? I would be glad if U.S. pulls out of Japan entirely and let Japan deal with China directly. This will save billions to U.S. taxpayers. China Navy will be swimming around the Okinawa Islands and Japan like the sharks on the feeding ground. Remember, Japan pays only 1 percent of GDP for their defense. If U.S. pulls out entirely from Japan, can Japan afford defense cost that will increase by 10 percent a year for next couple decades?

  • -1

    Michael Bonincontri

    @sfjp330 > This will save billions to U.S. taxpayers. > This is wrong. Japan pays a lot. Unlike most other countries that host U.S. military bases, Japan shoulders most of the cost of maintaining them: more than $4 billion per year in direct or indirect support. Japan can protect themselve. It's time for the americans to leave.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    Michael Bonincontri......Japan pays alot? Meager one percent of GDP? U.S. spends 4.7 percent of GDP? Even Germany pays 40 percent more than Japan at 1.4 percent of GDP. Let Japan declare independence like the Philippines and Japan's defense cost will double in a decade without U.S. assistance.

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