Ex-minister warns of unrest, secession over Okinawa

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  • 4

    gaijinfo

    A former cabinet minister has warned that domestic terrorists could strike Tokyo if the government fails to address anger in Okinawa over a heavy U.S. military presence there.

    Will they sneak in during the night, wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and pick up litter?

  • 3

    sillygirl

    Sounds inciting to me

  • 17

    Yubaru

    This dude sounds like someone who shouldn't be allowed to make any statements in public.

  • 2

    Speed

    >

    ... but the country has since largely escaped the blight of organized political violence. >

    Sounds a bit biased. A little political violence might be the only thing the government will actually listen to. They're definitely not listening to and have pretty much decided to ignore the wishes of Okinawans.

    But honestly I don't think the Japanese, even Okinawans, have the guts nor passion to riot or fight like they did in the 50s and 60s.

  • 1

    NZ2011

    This dangerous talk, and backed up by very little actual evidence, but fairly typical of fear based tactics used by politicians all around the world.

    There is some issues around the American presence undoubtedly but you know, people of Japan, there are ways to work things out without extremes all the time.. everything doesn't have to be all or nothing.

    For now the American forces are here and that isn't going to change in the short term, Japan would need a constitution change,money and time to build and train its own military.

    I do think the US forces could do with some language and cultural training, and I think in some cases the locals could do more to accommodate people who are often here not by their own choice.

    (unlike me who is by choice, I have therefore worked quite hard to fit in the best I can without going against my core morals and values where possible)

    It requires honest open discussion and listening to the people you represent fairly and equally, offering solutions rather than saying sorry and just continuing on in the same way.... if your politicians aren't doing that stop voting the same, round-a-bout, beat around the bush, no action people into government.

  • 7

    kurisupisu

    Other than opinion I fail to see any relevant facts reported in this article concerning a present threat. Also, the use of the word 'terrorist' is becoming overused......

  • 1

    Yubaru

    but the country has since largely escaped the blight of organized political violence.

    As with any country that has a peaceful democratic process should.

  • 0

    BertieWooster

    There is a lot of anger here about the way Tokyo uses Okinawa and ignores its people's wishes. I don't think it will go as far as terrorism, however. For that to happen, another country would have to train up a few Okinawans and give them the money and arms to do it. At least that's been the pattern in Afghanistan and Mali.

    Independence would be a great move, however. Without the bases, they could turn Okinawa into a tourist paradise. With a duty free port, it could take the place of the old Hong Kong and become a huge shopping centre.

  • 6

    lucabrasi

    @Bertie

    it could take the place of the old Hong Kong and become a huge shopping centre.

    You say that like it would be a good thing....

  • -6

    YuriOtani

    Makes me wonder what the USA would do if Okinawa Prefecture declares independence? Would they help the Japanese put if down? Would they stand aside? They know if the Ryukyu Kingdom is reborn the next order would be for them to depart. My guess is Mainland China would support the secession movement. Not with force put political pressure. The removal of these bases would be of help even if they get no new bases. They would enjoy giving Tokyo and Washington a "black eye".

  • -4

    blendover

    Great idea about the shopping center. Can just see boat loads of Chinese rolling up for that - together with their own 'security' teams. Still, as China is likely to end up winning anyway, why not get with the winning team? Secede to China and live it up.

  • 4

    Ayler

    Time to start finger-printing every Okinawan until we can sleep safely in our beds. Thank you politics, I feel so much better knowing the right hands are on the steering wheel.

  • 6

    Schopenhauer

    If Okinawans think it would be better for them to go independent, it may be a good idea. That may bring a big change and a solution for many problems we could not solve since the end of W.W. II.

  • 2

    sf2k

    The two concepts are not compatible. If Okinawa secedes then it'll still need a military base for US troops to protect it from China. So whether it remains or not has nothing to do with the reality of maintaining security from China.

    Bases however remain off of Japan mainland and other prefectures have more weight to deny them so they just keep Okinawa unhappy. The concerns of prefectures are not equal.

    Everyone should recognize the need to protect Japan and allow Okinawa a break from this burden without reducing overall security.

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    There was absolutely nothing about this yesterday or up until now at all, then suddenly Mr. Jimi knows a whole lot about potential terrorist threats. I'm sorry, but that, and seccession, are nothing short of veiled threats, and at the very least the man should be taken into custody for questioning. If he knows anything about a potential terrorist strike then he should be willing to divulge it or be seen as aiding and abetting.

    Personally I think it's hogwash for a great many reasons, but it is still a threat, so even if bluffing he should be taken in. As for seccession, give me a break. If Japan declared it some kind of war the US would have to, by the own admittance of Okinawans, help Japan, and they would be INSIDE OKINAWA! They're not going to help the local population secede over the problem of the US forces being there! And let's say they DO manage to secede from Japan and become independent, who's the nation they'll turn to for protection of their fragile new state? The US! They'll offer to keep the bases for the protection of the Okinawans -- only now it would be against both Japan and China. It would never work unless it were a diplomatic succession, and Japan would never allow that.

  • 1

    Probie

    A former cabinet minister has warned that domestic terrorists could strike Tokyo if the government fails to address anger in Okinawa over a heavy U.S. military presence there.

    What an idiot.

    Anyway, if these "domestic terrorists" hate the U.S. so much, why wouldn't the attack the bases in Okinawa?

  • 3

    Twixt

    Jimi later, "I was drunk at the time."

  • 0

    Probie

    Independence would be a great move, however. Without the bases, they could turn Okinawa into a tourist paradise. With a duty free port, it could take the place of the old Hong Kong and become a huge shopping centre.

    Yeah, right. China would love Okinawa to declare independence. That way they could just take it as they wish along with the Senkaku islands all in one afternoon.

    “Domestic guerrilla struggles could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue, said Jimi.

    ...and dinosaurs could breathe fire all over the capital, meteors could fall, the robots could finally rise up and overthrow the human race..."

    He's been reading too many action novels or watching too many 80's movies. He's a dummy, and should shut up.

  • -2

    bokuwamo

    I think the statements are bunk, terror attacks on Tokyo. Okinawa could separate and become an island resort, news flash, they have been trying to do that for a long time. Have you been to Okinawa? There isn't all that much to do and the new places that open soon closed. Take a drive from tip to tip and you will see beautiful views, not much else. There have been very big proposals made for Okinawa and they get voted down, because the local people in government don't want to lose control.

    Amazing that when the bases have fairs and invite the local Japanese entrance to the bases, they pack in by thousands for those fairs. Same on the mainland. Thousands apply for bases jobs and even more get access to the bases for food, clothing, health care, beauty treatments and whatever else that can be got.

    When people really dislike something so much, would they trade their dignity in for base access? Take a good look at some of the people in protest parades, look familiar? Same face working on the base or shopping on the base.

    When the Japanese people on Okinawa acknowledge they live in Japan and are Japanese citizens that will be a good starting point for all involved.

  • 1

    badsey3

    Even if Okinawa went independent the bases would remain -Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is a hostile (forced lease) US base.

    =a resolution must be made and no amount of fear/violence will help. The fear/violence issue is just a cheap tactic for politicians to not do anything or try to make the situation worse to install an even larger military force.

  • 5

    Matthew Simon

    You are under the illusion that Japan would let Okinawa declare independence. And even assuming they did it would only be a matter of time before China declared Okinawa its territory since ancient times and step in there too.

  • -2

    Whatsnext

    Probie you just proved my point. You think he's a stupid moron and the Okinawan people would never start doing terrorist attacks. I agree. That's why it would have to be staged. Why would Jimi say such ridiculous stuff if there wasn't something there? I don't know where your from but America has lost a lot of right and has become a police state using terrorism and 9/11 as a way to do so. It's very well possible it could happen here and telling people to shut up doesn't really counter someone else's point.

  • -1

    hereforever

    Sure, close the bases, become free from US military. Let's see how many Americans continue to invest in Japan and continue to buy Japanese products knowing the Japan alone is protecting the world from aggressive countries like North Korea and China.

  • 5

    Kabukilover

    Anything is possible of course, but the possibility of Okinawan domestic terrorism is quite remote. I worry more about mainland right-wing terrorism. The former hasn't happened. The latter has.

  • 1

    Dara Danh

    I don't think it's fair that Okinawa is bearing most of the burden in hosting half of all the U.S. bases while Mainland Japan is less burden. Tokyo should really listen to the Okinawan who suffer mainly from congested cities with the bases, noise pollution and crimes commited by U.S. personnel.

    Okinawans are clearly fed up with all of it and been screwed by the DPJ after all the broken promises.

    Maybe if Japan can take some of the burden off of Okinawa by moving the most of the bases into the Mainland. even though it's not strategically smart, but they just want the general public, the Mainlanders, to understand their pain.

    speaking of which, several Host cities in the mainland already know the pain, with the noise pollution and the night training that disturb the neighborhood and are generally annoying.

  • 0

    Matthew Simon

    Oh yeah, and terrorism has solved lots of problems over the years..... yeah right.

  • 3

    bokuwamo

    Dara DanhFEB. 01, 2013 - 10:07AM JST

    Maybe if Japan can take some of the burden off of Okinawa by moving the most of the bases into the Mainland.

    You know that you are referring to one country, right? Japan. Okinawa is a prefecture in the country of Japan.

  • -6

    Athletes

    You are under the illusion that Japan would let Okinawa declare independence. And even assuming they did it would only be a matter of time before China declared Okinawa its territory since ancient times and step in there too.

    Okinawa was a tribunal state of ancient China. However it was never part of China. Therefore your post is misleading. Whether we like or not, Okinawa imported many arts, craft and culture from ancient China. Okinawa Tae or Karate was called as Chinese hand in past. http://www.gojukai.com/originof.htm

    Both Okinwa native and Chinese love to eat pork. Ancient China has already influenced Okinawa in many ways whether it is indepedent or not.

  • 1

    Jeff Ogrisseg

    Nothing like a dark little spoonful of Fear. If Jimi's got you talking or thinking about terrorism/succession scenarios, then he's won. Watch the 3-part "Power of Nightmares" documentary by Adam Curtiss (BBC) and you'll see how it's done.

  • 0

    Scrote

    A strong independence movement in Okinawa is probably the only way to make the Japanese government act on moving the US bases outside the prefecture. But I don't see any signs of such a movement, which means the bases will stay and the Okinawans will be ignored.

  • 0

    Iron Clad Templar

    Shozaburo Jimi`s comments were as ever taken out of context, so whatever his good intentions were (giving the middle of Okinawa back to the locals) he is out of luck for the next generation or so. As the Chinese sabre rattling is not set to finish any time soon !

  • -2

    Probie

    Probie you just proved my point. You think he's a stupid moron and the Okinawan people would never start doing terrorist attacks. I agree.

    No, what I think is stupid, is that someone thinks that any attacks would be staged "like 9/11".

    It's stupid and insulting.

  • 0

    hoserfella

    with the average age of Okinawans in mind, its comforting to know you could escape them by taking the stairs two at a time.

  • -2

    FPSRussia

    Good idea Okinawa. Okinawans are miles away and some guy in Tokyo is calling shots that affect your daily lives. I say go for it.

    However, it's not going to happen. It takes brass to make such a move. Freedom is usually paid for in blood. Okinawan people have a lot of conviction but do they have enough for this kind of move? I seriously doubt it.

  • 3

    JoeBigs

    Just another example why the DPJ needed to go, this guy is just another example of why the DPJ was bad for Japan.

    It's kind of funny how supporters of the DPJ wonder why their party was drubbed out of office.

  • 2

    Wakarimasen

    The Okinawan Independence Movement? Sounds like a long shot to me.

  • 0

    Takahiro Katsumi

    This is quite uncalled for coming from a former junior coalition partner whose key member demonstrated Osprey's safetiness by test-boarding one of them before the deployment to Futenma went through. Many Okinawans see the Kokumin Shinto Party as traitor, because they advanced the Osprey deployment plans.

    I don't know the context in which this sensational statement was made but I think Kyodo is simply trying to discredit the former cabinet member by citing his inappropriate statement. The substance of the statement, on the other hand, should be scrutinized separately.

  • 1

    CrisGerSan

    It is clear that this is one disatisfied ex office holder who is trying to make publicity and waves. I am sure that he fears are basically groundless and aired for publicity and he should behave better. Yes it is onerous to have such a large US base presence, but to throw this kind of threat out and then take no responsibility is the worst kind of grand standing. I am glad he is seen clearly for what he is by some posters.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    What kind of terrorism? It'll be setting fire to rubbish outside gates, sending harmful stuff like razor blades, bullets, white powder in the mail, that kind of protest action, I should imagine, if it ever happens.

    There always has been a deep undercurrent of resentment and dislike towards mainstream Japan, so it is possible that with enough pressure this could break the surface and burst out.

  • -2

    BertieWooster

    bokuwamo-san,

    There isn't all that much to do and the new places that open soon closed.

    It doesn't sound like you have spent much time here. There is plenty to do.

    People who get bored here are themselves boring.

    They bring their boredom with them.

  • -1

    Tony Ew

    @BertieWoosterFeb. 01, 2013 - 08:32AM JST

    There is a lot of anger here about the way Tokyo uses Okinawa and ignores its people's wishes. I don't think it will go as far as terrorism, however. For that to happen, another country would have to train up a few Okinawans and give them the money and arms to do it. At least that's been the pattern in Afghanistan and Mali. Independence would be a great move, however. Without the bases, they could turn Okinawa into a tourist paradise. With a duty free port, it could take the place of the old Hong Kong and become a huge shopping centre.

    If there is any talk of secession from Japan I can only see it coming from basing F35 stealth planes there. Last October there was talk from Pentagon to base it there . Current situation haven't reach the threshold of absolute need to drive out the US. As I mentioned elsewhere a F35 squadron there with potential nuke B61 tactical bomb will create a missile crisis like the Cuba Missile Crisis being the bombs are very powerful and can strike China within half an hour. Each bomb 50 kt and one F35 say with two bombs equals about six Hiroshimas! It is the stealth coupled with this bomb that makes it incredibly dangerous. I have to say this bomb may (stealth development?) or may not yet have being modified from earlier versions to fit the bomb bay. This will make Okinawa a target for China attack if the F35 ever get stationed there.

    The B61 cannot fit inside the F-22 Raptor's weapons bays and will instead be carried by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61nuclearbomb

    If Okinawa ever secede, she should make an agreement with Japan and US to be absolutely neutral forever and not allow China any influence to base military assets there. Just like Switzerland, that is all it takes to have a country without external forces interfering with their lives solely because of her strategic location.

    Okinawa definitely is an amazing location for Disneyland visits if built there for transit visitors, given the history there and people may want to visit to learn their longevity secrets! Yes, duty free shopping too!

  • -4

    BertieWooster

    Dara Danh,

    I don't think it's fair that Okinawa is bearing most of the burden in hosting half of all the U.S. bases while Mainland Japan is less burden. Tokyo should really listen to the Okinawan who suffer mainly from congested cities with the bases, noise pollution and crimes commited by U.S. personnel.

    I don't think it fair that ANY part of Japan has to bear the burden of hosting US troops. The financial burden is huge and the bases are a waste of space.

    Japan doesn't need protection because no one is attacking it. I don't believe the "Yellow Peril" neurosis that the U.S.A. seems to be trying to create in order to justify its military presence.

  • -3

    BertieWooster

    I don't see independence happening so easily for Okinawa, however, but at least, the Tokyo government should show some respect for this area and act like the democracy that it says that it is.

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    nandakandamanda-san,

    What kind of terrorism? It'll be setting fire to rubbish outside gates, sending harmful stuff like razor blades, bullets, white powder in the mail, that kind of protest action, I should imagine, if it ever happens.

    Honestly, I don't think it will be even that.

    Okinawans are just not that aggressive. Sitting outside gates yes, but setting fire to rubbish outside gates? I don't think so.

    However, as brother Yubaru pointed out, taking the struggle to Tokyo is an excellent idea. The Japanese media has tried to ignore much of what has been happening in Okinawa simply by not mentioning it. A big demonstration in the capital cannot be ignored.

    Also, there is power here. I have been very impressed by the Okinawan politicians I have heard speak. Glancing down at their notes only when they have to check figures, they address the people in front of them.

    Which is more than I can say for the central government politicians I have heard speak. Most of them sound like they are reciting lines.

    Which is probably what they are doing.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    BertieWooster: "I don't see independence happening so easily for Okinawa, however, but at least, the Tokyo government should show some respect for this area and act like the democracy that it says that it is."

    The government of Japan has always and does continue to treat the Okinawan people differently (worse) than the rest of the nation, but they cannot show Okinawans more respect when Okinawans lie to themselves and do not respect themselves. Start with the self, then affect change in others. Okinawans are being so hypocritical on the base issues it is astounding -- and to threaten with terrorism and seccession will only guarantee a much harder line from the Tokyo government. Meanwhile the few whining Okinawans will keep on doing so while they make a living off the bases and the US military.

  • -2

    gokai_wo_maneku

    Well, I had no idea Okinawa people were so evil. And now they are running that nice Okinawa tourism campaign. But really, what are the Okinawa people going to think of these comments. These comments should be a reason for sucession.

  • 0

    Debucho

    Okinawa represents less than 5% of Japan's population. They should and do have small representation

  • -2

    Zenpun

    smithinjapanFEB. 01, 2013 - 12:56PM JST

    Meanwhile the few whining Okinawans will keep on doing so while they make a living off the bases and the US military.

    It will not be end of the world for Okinawans even US base have gone. If someone want to kiss Marine boots, it is entirely their affair. Not to expect everyone should follow their way. True some will be lost the jobs. That jobs are replaceable . Beside that most of jobs created by base are low paid hospitality jobs. It is their land. It is their affair. It is their decision to choose their own destiny.

    The course of Okinawans are not depending on others.

  • -2

    YuriOtani

    badsey3 the leases are with the Government of Japan and not the Okinawa Prefecture. Second the USA would have to pay all of the bills and lease money. While they are good bases the new Ryukyu Kingdom can not pay the bills. The odds of this happening are low but better than me winning the Power-ball lottery! As I said China would probably have the new country in a tributary relationship. Having these islands free of American bases would be priceless to them. A lot of Japanese would return to the "home islands". So we will be growing food and taking care of tourists. I can think of worse fates.

  • 0

    tokyo-star

    Okinawa represents less than 5% of Japan's population. They should and do have small representation

    They are wanting more because they bore the brunt during WW2, and still bear the brunt of the US forces in the country today.

  • 1

    heretoolong

    So "the central government has stood firm on its plan to move the Futenma Air Station from a residential district of Okinawa to a sparsely populated shoreline area." Great, let's purposefully destroy the beautiful Okinawan coral reefs - sounds like a brilliant idea to me. If they want to move some troops, send them to Iwakuni.

  • 0

    Tony Ew

    @FPSRussiaFeb. 01, 2013 - 11:22AM JST

    Good idea Okinawa. Okinawans are miles away and some guy in Tokyo is calling shots that affect your daily lives. I say go for it. However, it's not going to happen. It takes brass to make such a move. Freedom is usually paid for in blood. Okinawan people have a lot of conviction but do they have enough for this kind of move? I seriously doubt it.

    Actually it is not that difficult if somebody understand how to conduct a long campaign! In a democratic society you don't need to pay with blood but with organizational skills, well funded operations and dedicated core people to get the job done. Just like US elections, it take many many months of sustained effort to reach critical mass. Hunger strike, big newspaper coverage. That wili make US and Japan freak out! Just see what Gandhi, Corazon Aquino did with People's Power. That is all it take to put pressure on the governments especially if done in Tokyo repeatedly.

  • 2

    marilu

    Bokuwamo is correct in his comments above. An example: one woman I know, who is actually from the mainland, but spent her high school years in Canada, is virulently anti-American and is very acid-tongued when talking about the US, especially when talking about how "racist" the US is for not having an open borders policy, which is hilarious coming from a Japanese.
    .

    Anyway, my point is that despite her hatred and disdain toward the US, she has no qualms making a living in Okinawa working on one of the bases.

  • -3

    BertieWooster

    heretoolong-san,

    If they want to move some troops, send them to Iwakuni.

    Sounds like a good idea.

    The Senkakus would be another excellent choice.

    They could drink 24/7 and NO ONE would be inconvenienced!

  • -2

    BertieWooster

    marilu-san,

    Let us not forget that you are talking about ONE person.

  • -2

    BertieWooster

    tokyo-star-san,

    They are wanting more because they bore the brunt during WW2, and still bear the brunt of the US forces in the country today.

    True, but actually, it started way before that.

    When Japan was trying to annex the whole of Asia before WWII, Japan occupied Okinawa and forced Okinawans to speak Japanese, making any Okinawan who used their mother tongue wear a wooden collar. In WWII, they forced thousands of Okinawans to commit group suicide. Those Okinawans who found refuge in caves, they pushed out, straight into American fire, women, children, whatever.

    Believe me, this is not a small matter.

    And Abe wants to rewrite the history books.

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    smithinjapan,

    Okinawans are being so hypocritical on the base issues

    Could you give us some examples?

    and to threaten with terrorism and seccession

    They aren’t.

    This is the horrorshow imaginings of one Shozaburo Jimi, who used to be minister in charge of financial services and postal reform, according to the article above.

    the few whining Okinawans

    Who's whining? MOST of them are shouting.

    they make a living off the bases and the US military.

    Do you have any idea how FEW make a living off the US bases?

    Less than 4 per cent of the Okinawan economy.

    Most of the money made in Okinawa is from tourism.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    Okinawa represents less than 5% of Japan's population. They should and do have small representation

    How about less than 1%, with Japan's population at over 120 million, and Okinawa's population being a bit over 1.4 million, their representation is appropriate to it's size.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    Do you have any idea how FEW make a living off the US bases? Less than 4 per cent of the Okinawan economy.

    This is wrong, it is closer to 10%. The other thing you consistently overlook are the cities, towns, and villages around the bases that get a HUGE boost to their economies directly and indirectly from the bases.

    People who don't live around them tend to be blind to the facts.

  • -4

    BertieWooster

    Yubaru,

    You're probably a little behind the times.

    In 2010, according to the BBC, it was 5%:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Prefecture

    Wikipedia is a little more up to date and they have it at 4%:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11390281

    Since the curfew, my guess is that it's even lower.

    But I don't have an exact figure to give you and even if I did, you would probably try to say I was wrong.

    The vast majority of US military shop on base. Why not? The PX or BX, whatever it is is much cheaper and sells the kind of items that better suit their palate - in the case of food - and waistline - in the case of clothing.

    Visitors to Okinawa, by which I mean non-military visitors, spend money in hotels, Kokusai dori, Hamby Town, Shintoshin, even, gawdelpus the "DFS!"

    Stand in Main Place, Shintoshin for longer than five minutes and you'll hear Taiwan Chinese, Korean, Aussies, you name it.

  • -1

    Flyfalcon

    Very well said BertieWooster San

    Some posters have been exaggerating US base contribution to Okinawa economy. Not all of the staff are well paid. For example, Junior staff pay are low. Their purchasing powers are just fractions of foreign tourists. As a low paid staff, they spent only for a few drinks at Bar. Not in fancy restaurants or hotels.

    Even Okinawans have got economic losses for accommodating the base. They used beaches for shooting ground. Kin Red Beach Training Area, Kin Blue Beach Training Area and White Beach Area etc.. Imagine if there are no training in those area, tourist will enjoy sight seeing there. Locals will establish more business there.

  • 1

    Serrano

    "Okinawa has long had a history of independence movements"

    Unfortunately these independence movements were unable to shake off Japanese rule after around 1872.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    @Bertie.....I will change this to 5.3 % overall, but still stand behind the statement of the municipalities situated around the bases that rely on a huge portion of their tax base and other direct and indirect income from the bases.

    This information is from Okinawa Prefecture and NOT wiki!

    http://www.pref.okinawa.lg.jp/site/chijiko/kichitai/documents/panf-1.pdf

  • 1

    badsey3

    The people of Okinawa need a long-term plan that people can accept and support. The worst thing you can do is have chaos (fear/terrorism). The city engineers should build a mock-up of what the city will look like with the bases gone and have the people look at it and keep this open (could be online-virtual, with feedback). Compare that to what they have now.

    =the politicians of Okinawa need to start taking responsibility for the future also. Huge constant (not-chaotic) pressure must be put on these people to accept this new responsibility that the people are asking/demanding. People need to join citizen and business groups to address the change and politicians.

    Worst case scenario could be for the base to move and it becomes a huge tourist destination = you lose all culture. --> that's why you need city/culture engineering. Balance is essential to life.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    The base contributes significantly to Okinawa's economy, with an annual impact estimated at $700 million. This includes salaries of local employees, rent for off-base housing and contracts with local companies. Additionally, more than 7,000 Japanese citizens who own land on Kadena receive land-lease payments from the Government of Japan.

    This is "just" Kadena. $700 million I guess is peanuts to some people but that amount can not be recovered by tourism in Okinawa for the Town of Kadena alone.

    Kadena is just one of numerous municipalities that are alive today thanks to the US bases. That number also does NOT include the base lease payments which takes the total over $1 billion (US) per year. Let's see how the prefecture can replace that without assistance from the national government.

    http://www.kadena.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet_print.asp?fsID=12710&page=1

  • 0

    Yubaru

    The city engineers should build a mock-up of what the city will look like with the bases gone and have the people look at it and keep this open (could be online-virtual, with feedback). Compare that to what they have now.

    Here is one of the biggest problems, city planners are stuck because of the number of individual land owners who are unwilling to part with their land for the betterment of the overall community. It is next to impossible to get them to cooperate and all one will get is a cluster of new apartments, lawsons, and family marts with a AEON or San-ei shopping center for people to SPEND money not make it.

  • -1

    hidingout

    Independence would be a great move, however. Without the bases, they could turn Okinawa into a tourist paradise.

    Why do they have to remove the bases to do that? You do know that Hawaii - one of the most famous "tourist paradises" in the world - is home to roughly double the number of military personnel found in Okinawa. I guess they probably have Osprey there too!

    With a duty free port, it could take the place of the old Hong Kong and become a huge shopping centre.

    Who'd going to pay for the development if (laughable as it is to consider) Okinawa tries for independence? And, are you sure you want to be turned into a "huge shopping center"? Ever walked Kalakaua Street after dark? Watch the drugs and the prostitution and the violent crime flow in. Okinawans will be begging for the good old days when the worst crime they saw was the odd drunken American sailor.

  • -1

    hidingout

    Actually it is not that difficult if somebody understand how to conduct a long campaign! In a democratic society you don't need to pay with blood but with organizational skills, well funded operations and dedicated core people to get the job done. Just like US elections, it take many many months of sustained effort to reach critical mass. Hunger strike, big newspaper coverage. That wili make US and Japan freak out! Just see what Gandhi, Corazon Aquino did with People's Power. That is all it take to put pressure on the governments especially if done in Tokyo repeatedly.

    Hey Tony, you sure seem well versed in the tactics of applying political pressure by the use of demonstrations and civil disobedience. Why don't you do something really useful and suggest some of these "people power", "arab spring", "occupy wall street" type tactics that you so clearly admire to your countrymen in communist china. Now there's a place in real need of some serious shaping up.

  • -3

    BertieWooster

    Probie,

    Anyway, if these "domestic terrorists" hate the U.S. so much, why wouldn't the attack the bases in Okinawa?

    I'm sorry, but you don't get it.

    For one thing, there are NO "domestic terrorists."

    The guy in the article above, Shozaburo Jimi, 68 years old, is worried about this possibility.

    He may also be worried about Martians landing.

    Who knows?

    He's not talking about something that's happened.

    Just something that HE thinks might happen.

    Okinawans don't hate the US.

    Are the newspapers full of acts of violence against US servicemen?

    Okinawans are - generally speaking - extremely tolerant and seriously laid back.

    It's not about hating the US at all.

    It's about having HUGE areas of your small island occupied by foreign troops.

    It's about losing buckets of money because large areas of potentially high income producing land is used by the above mentioned foreign troops.

    It's about having to put up with nearly 50,000 troops, including their dependants when the whole population of Okinawa is only 1.4 million.

    It's about having extremely noisy aircraft take off and land above highly built up areas, like Futenma.

    It's about random acts of violence, rape, etc., by US servicemen.

    And all this for no apparent reason.

    All Okinawans want is to have their OWN land.

    Is that too much to ask?

  • 1

    brknarm2012

    Before getting your panties in a bunch, take this guy Jimi's words for what it's worth: NADA. For some reason he's think he knows what Okinawan's want.

  • 3

    hidingout

    I think ol' Jimi got paid by the same source paying other washed up politicians like Niwa and Hatoyama.

  • -2

    badsey3

    Those people that think Okinawa has no value if the bases leave? -Why do you think there is a base there in the first place. Logically there must be some value or else they would have left a long time ago. Just being the warmest place in Japan is very strategic right now for well over 50% of the aged populace of Japan who would like a winter break.

    =If this is going to be about financials/value then maybe the people of Okinawa can set up a trust, or even savings accounts to build up assets to help leverage future developments. Money is power to politicians. Maybe the politicians are asking "show me the money." Even more powerful would be to take their fiat money and buy physical gold/silver = taking their money out of the Japanese system at a time the politicians are demanding inflation.

    You want a war politicians in Tokyo? Do you want Okinawa turning their backs to Japan and turning in their Yen? As people are starting to see this war is not about American Servicemen (and Women) in Okinawa and maybe people do need to start shutting down the streets of Tokyo. I thought the protests in Tokyo were sort of misguided because they were new/different -but that is what is needed here. -obviously protests in Okinawa has done little to nothing.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    It's about losing buckets of money because large areas of potentially high income producing land is used by the above mentioned foreign troops.

    You call an AEON or Family Mart high income producing? With the exception of a few locations the bases are not prime real estate, quite the opposite. All they would be good for is more unnecessary housing and money sucking ventures. IE Okinawa City.....

    It's about random acts of violence, rape, etc., by US servicemen.

    No, no, no....it's more about trucks making mistaken U-turns in public school driveways.

    All Okinawans want is to have their OWN land.

    Remember to differentiate between nationality and origin.

  • 0

    bokuwamo

    There are a few statements being made that seem to be bias or have maybe hidden agendas attached to them. Saying that the US bases contribute little to the local economy, this is false. Government figures on how Okinawa is effected financially by US bases, do not account for many things. Such as the rents paid to locals and keep in mind that a lot of mainland Japanese own real estate in Okinawa. Mainland Japanese have also purchased a lot of land leases from Japanese locals, which locals complained about being cheated on, reported her in Japan Today. Japanese insurance companies receiving premiums from foreigners for cars and housing, used/new car sales, private employment of locals through US based personnel, subcontracting Japanese companies and the list goes on and not forgetting what is referred to as only a small contribution to the local economy the US personnel buying of food and drinking as well clothing. Local Japanese healthcare that accepts US healthcare providers insurance.

    The big hotels here that compete with each other for the US personnel visits is a pretty big contribution to the local economy also.

    Living in Okinawa for over 8 years gives me some insight to local conditions, certainly not a expert, others here have lived a lot longer and have more experience.

    Some foreigners who are for the bases to be closed, have their personal reasons that are more for personal gain than anything else, English schools, teaching English to locals. Closed the bases and more students for them, Foreign local businesses that are competing with businesses that are on the bases, communications, beauty care, clothing and on and on.

    In 2007 when the bases were put on lock down, it took only a few weeks and posted in Japan Today news were articles with statements were locals saying "Please take the restrictions off, I can not pay my mortgage."

    It was posted here that there is much to do in Okinawa for tourists and that can support Okinawa, I don't know what I m talking about when I previously posted that there isn't. Besides the few well known big attractions, Pineapple Park, The Caves, etc.. Tell me what are the big attractions, please? Yes, there are some beautiful views and world class scuba diving here. That is going to support Okinawa's economy?

    Knowing some locals who work in the hotels here. I have heard many times that the mainland Japanese coming here have said to them, "There really isn't much here, is there?" Okinawa has to hope that mainland high school and college students don't stop making Okinawa part of their adult adventure. That rich Japanese mainland men don't stop using Okinawa as their meeting place for the love life.

    There are a lot more than just one local with two faces when it comes to supporting the removal of the bases and their other side that using base access for everything possible. Keep in mind that when one local has the base access they are usually buying for more locals who want items from the bases. I have seen where 70 year old women have their carts full of meat, they are not buying $300.00 worth of meat to eat themselves. Just smal example.

    Staying with my earlier posting remark, When Japanese in Okinawa acknowledge that they are Japanese citizens living in Japan and have been for a very long time. That will be a good starting point for any discussions about bases.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    The people of Okinawa want someone to listen to them. That someone is the central government. Doesn't look like it's going to happen. It's like they are on different planets.

  • 0

    Sperry

    It is long past time for the American's to remove their military presence from Japan. Japan is quite capable of ably defending itself.

    Even today, Okinawa is considered hardship duty by the rank and file of the military. Sadly, they are the ones who make it so.

  • -2

    Tony Ew

    @hidingoutFeb. 01, 2013 - 08:31PM JST

    Hey Tony, you sure seem well versed in the tactics of applying political pressure by the use of demonstrations and civil disobedience. Why don't you do something really useful and suggest some of these "people power", "arab spring", "occupy wall street" type tactics that you so clearly admire to your countrymen in communist china. Now there's a place in real need of some serious shaping up.

    No, whatever I said is public knowledge. I just present the facts, that's why I love history! Don't think others are that stupid. They know what I know, this is not classified information. And I am not one of the anarchist,activists, instigators however one may perceive me. Never been to any mass demonstration, except an anti union protest IN AMERICA! FBI, NSA knows who I am even if you can't figure me out!

    You have to thank Facebook. Anything is easy now with a few keystrokes otherwise how does Arab Spring comes about? You need to ban Facebook in Okinawa if people are that fearful of talk of independence.but then that is against democracy freedom of speech, isn't it?

  • 1

    Yubaru

    It is long past time for the American's to remove their military presence from Japan. Japan is quite capable of ably defending itself.

    Actually no it isnt, but to explain the rationale behind that would take volumes.

  • -4

    Tony Ew

    @sillygirlFeb. 01, 2013 - 07:45AM JST

    Sounds inciting to me

    @ YubaruFeb. 01, 2013 - 07:49AM JST

    This dude sounds like someone who shouldn't be allowed to make any statements in public.

    @NZ2011Feb. 01, 2013 - 08:18AM JST

    This dangerous talk, and backed up by very little actual evidence, but fairly typical of fear based tactics used by politicians all around the world.

    @smithinjapan

    I'm sorry, but that, and seccession, are nothing short of veiled threats, and at the very least the man should be taken into custody for questioning. If he knows anything about a potential terrorist strike then he should be willing to divulge it or be seen as aiding and abetting

    Sounds like good 'ole freedom of speech to me if you are really a democratic society.You have Quebec, CA secession talk freely, Scotland, UK secession talk freely and right here in US Texas secession talk freely. Why is democratic Japan so uptight about it? You can't have it both ways, reporting good news and not reporting uncomfortable news.

    It will pass as possible incitement if you are a Commmunist country. This is not a hate crime or encouragement to secede, but just public expression of fear this might be a possibility. However if there is REASON TO BELIEVE he INCITE, show evidence and charge him! I love to see under which section, which article of the law a prosecution can be brought against him and not flimsy charges like those done in China!

  • 3

    JoeBigs

    This is just another DPJ politician promoting his anti-Japan beliefs just like former PM Hatoyama.

    He is probably looking for funds from the PRC.

    Soon he and Hatoyama will start an all clown circus and sing and dance like trained bears for their PRC masters.

  • 0

    AustPaul

    Rather stupid remark by a pollie, what basis is there for this? He will probably explain later that he was 'misinterpreted'!

  • -1

    tmtmsnb

    Why gave Okinawa back to Japan (US owned it because of unconditional surrender) when US needs it?

  • -1

    Xeno23

    Suggestion for Okinawa: become independent, then institute a tax haven status and an international banking zone: Boom time!

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Suggestion for Okinawa: become independent, then institute a tax haven status and an international banking zone: Boom time!

    Interesting idea! Become the Asian version of Swiss and Caribbean banking!

  • -7

    BertieWooster

    Xeno23,

    Suggestion for Okinawa: become independent, then institute a tax haven status and an international banking zone: Boom time!

    Exactly. When we gave Hong Kong to the Chinese, it died overnight. Okinawa could very easily take over this position. A tax free zone, in a perfect location. With a mild climate, gorgeous natural scenery and its own culture, food and music, it's ideal for tourism.

    This is why people want the bases OFF this land, so that it can be developed for peaceful purposes.

  • 1

    tmtmsnb

    Independent? You are a great schemer. China says its history book says the whole Okinawa belongs to China. Okinawa ---title holder of record of the shortest lived independent nation ever---one day, awarded by Guinness.

  • 0

    bokuwamo

    BertieWoosterFEB. 03, 2013 - 05:11PM JST Xeno23,

    Suggestion for Okinawa: become independent, then institute a tax haven status and an international banking zone: Boom time!

    Exactly. When we gave Hong Kong to the Chinese, it died overnight. Okinawa could very easily take over this position. A tax free zone, in a perfect location. With a mild climate, gorgeous natural scenery and its own culture, food and music, it's ideal for tourism.

    Just to be clear for people who are not aware, "when we gave Hong Kong back to the Chinese". So you are using we, in the sense that your are British correct? The British controlled Hong Kong with a 99 year lease.

    Okinawa has it's own culture, really. Do you live in Okinawa? The Okinawa prefecture that is and has been a part of the country Japan, where the language is Japanese, government, school system, currency, national holidays and customs.

    Okinawa had a language of its own a very long time ago, that very very few use anymore, even the famous hai sai isn't used all that much, with the exception of tourist spots. Each prefecture still has a little of its own dialect going on. The old Hogan language that is used by very few in Okinawa is sprinkled with Japanese words for the most part.

    I will repeat, besides some beautiful views and a very few tourist attractions, what is going to attract massive tourist to Okinawa? On top of that a suggestion of a tax free zone, for what? The few things that locals make by hand? Those few things will support an independent Okinawa?

  • 1

    bokuwamo

    BertieWooster Okinawans are just not that aggressive. Sitting outside gates yes, but setting fire to rubbish outside gates? I don't think so.

    You don't know about the riots in the 60's? I m surprise with your vast knowledge of the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, There is information and pictures available if you want to read up about the fires, destruction of property and so on, during these riots. Of the Japanese people living in the prefecture of Okinawa.

    Another thing you should read up on is the history of how Japan and China got involved with the island. Long long ago. Way before WWII.

  • 1

    ryukyustriker

    Okinawa want to suceed ,but its been too long and now Okinawa is very dependent on Japan. Don't be deceived by the politicans on Okinawa. They only act as if they want to suceed but they are only after the huge amounts of subsidy they recieve from Japan. It goes same for the Anti-base movement. Stricly money driven. They want to get their hands on the land only to sell to a corporation that is Japanese owned and line only their pockets and screw over the people of Okinawa. Its very dirty. I was born and raised in Okinawa and have seen many bases go only to have a Japanese corporation buy the land and build their business destroying local businesses. When a company that is not domestic to Okinawa is present. 70% of that money does not circulate in Okinawa. It leaves Okinawa and right to Japan. Local business keep that 70% of money local. Yes I want Okinawa to be independent but that is a far far away dream.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    If the Okinawans voted to secede from Japan, the U.S. forces couldn't do a thing. The reasons are multiple: First, the Americans agreed to defend Japan from OUTSIDE aggression. Okinawa does not qualify as an "outside" entity and a peaceful vote to secede is not "aggression". Second, since I can remember, we've always been about "the power of democracy". To quell a peaceful secession would be antithetical to everything we've stood for.

    The worst thing the Okinawans could do is go guerrila. As long as the secession remains peaceful, I doubt even Tokyo could generate any support from the U.N. in trying to prevent it. Any heavy-handed tactics they tried to use would make them look as bad as Syria's leadership.

    Actually, I take that back, the WORST thing Okinawa could do is secede. They don't believe us, but they won't be independant much longer than it takes ships to sail there from one of the surrounding countries. The location of their island is too nicely placed for controlling access to the Pacific from the East China Sea. The Okinawans have been cursed by having their island in a highly desired location, politically. Even if/when the Americans leave, whichever country is in control (and it won't be Okinawa) will need to defend their new-found island and so all the existing bases will continue to be used. Okinawa will be trading one "guardian" for another.

  • 1

    JTDanMan

    Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

  • -4

    Tony Ew

    @JTDanMan

    Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

    Yes, it could happen if some rich China men invest in Okinawa like they buy up land for spring water to export to China up in Hokkaido and also invest in holiday resorts. But will Japan welcome these investors or just make laws to discourage Chinese investments? That is what China is doing to Taiwan now by investing in her economy, sending boatloads of tourists there. This soft power is one way China use to stop the independent movement in Taiwan so you can figure it could work it's way through Okinawa too with goodwill and economic interaction making Okinawans less dependent on Tokyo. But it may happen only if Japan don't put in roadblocks.

  • 0

    Moondog

    BertieWooster wrote:

    Okinawans are just not that aggressive. Sitting outside gates yes, but setting fire to rubbish outside gates? I don't think so.

    I'm afraid you're mistaken. I remember a huge anti-B52 demonstration in '68 or '69 at at the Mizugama entrance to Kadena AFB on Hwy 58 (called Hwy 1 in those days). I lived nearby in Kadena town at the time and hid in my house while it was going on. Later after it was over, there were hundreds of stones, clubs, and broken construction helmets, etc. strewn along the highway.

  • 0

    Takuma7

    what about the Koza riot in the 70's?

  • -1

    Moondog

    I wasn't there in '70 but I think the Koza riot was more significant because it was spontaneous. Most of the other demonstrations were planned.

    I think one of the reasons the '70 riot happened (aside from the car accident) was that Okinawa was in the transition period between US and Japan rule. As of Jan 1, 1970, the Okinawans were able to display the Japan flag. Prior to that it had been illegal. Everyone knew the Americans would no longer be in charge starting in '72 so they were emboldened to resist and protest the police presence.

  • -1

    Akemi Mokoto

    I really think Japan should stop turning a blind eye to the people of Okinawa and comply with their reasonable request.

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