U.S. hopes for progress with Abe gov't on Futenma base issue

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  • 3

    some14some

    USA - top beneficiary of Senkaku-Diaoyu rock conflict !

  • -8

    notasap

    Japan and the US have a natural partnership in that they are both democracies and both tied closely in economic terms. I for one am more optimistic for Japan and the US in the Western Pacific area now that Abe is back in power. Those that want to lick the boot of China on the other hand are naturally frightened by a more assertive Japan and the USA who will help keep Japan's sovereign lands free from the taint of Red China. I bet the economy of Japan does something it has not done is a good while and booms over the next six months to a year.

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    The US has assigned an impossible task to Japan with the Futenma base to test its loyalty to the US. Hatoyama was snubbed because he dared stand up to the US and called for a more independent Japan. Too bad Japan doesn't realize that the US is only using Japan as a disposable vassal state for their own global hegemony. The US-Japan relation is seriously lopsided in favor of the US, and Japan benefits nothing from it.

    Japan ought to focus more on Asia and Europe rather than the out-of-control and collapsing empire that is the US.

  • 2

    YuriOtani

    The Governor will not sign off on the construction permit. Thus nothing will change, there will be no new American airfield on Okinawa. Our Governor has been in office 6 years. There have been 7 Prime Ministers during this time. Honest Abe is not going to be able to get that new American airbase built.

  • 3

    Yubaru

    The Governor will not sign off on the construction permit. Thus nothing will change, there will be no new American airfield on Okinawa.

    Ahhh....to the uniformed, let me educate you about something here. The governor does not HAVE to sign off on the project for it to actually happen.

    Yes, it would be easier for Abe if he did, BUT if Nakaima decides not to sign off on it Abe has it well within his power to change the current regulations. (The Gov only has the power to stop any new construction if it includes any landfill projects that include any of the surrounding water around the island.)

    The LDP with Komeito have more than enough votes to ensure that if Abe chooses to override Nakaima on this issue in the interest of NATIONAL DEFENSE, there is NOTHING Nakaima can do to stop it.

    This is VERY possible, and it's very easy to understand why the US believes that the issue can FINALLY be resolved.

    In the long run this is probably the best thing for Okinawa as well, because other bases then will be closed and the national government will funnel more money into the island to assist in improving the local economy.

    Our Governor has been in office 6 years. There have been 7 Prime Ministers during this time.

    Your Govenor is Mary Fallin and has been in office less than one year!

    You really dont know Japanese politics to use this as an example. Gov's do not change when parties change power. Nakaima is also LDP and ONLY decided to join the anti-base group just prior to the last election. The leopard changed spots before and will do so again if he sees the benefit to himself.

  • 3

    Serrano

    YuriOtani - The governor will be overridden, just like the farmers in Chiba were overridden to build Narita Airport.

    Thomas Anderson: "Japan benefits nothing from it ( the U.S.-Japan relationship )

    I dunno... keeping Japan out of trouble and providing open markets for its products benefits Japan, no?

  • -4

    BertieWooster

    Poor old US military.

    It seems that no one wants them.

    Okinawa certainly doesn't.

    Mainland Japan doesn't either.

    And according to a documentary I watched last night, Guam, Hawaii and the Philippines wouldn't have them at any price.

    What's the panic anyway?

    China?

    Why is the U.S.A. so fixated on China?

  • -1

    Probie

    Why is the U.S.A. so fixated on China?

    If you don't know that, you have problems...

  • 2

    megosaa

    whatever the decisions are, Okinawa will still be screwed over.

  • -2

    voiceofokinawa

    As a diplomat representing the democratic U.S. government, Kurt Tong had better know how to deal with this Futenma relocation issue. He shouldn't pressure the forthcoming Abe government to relocate Futenma within Okinawa like a baggage on a carousel.

    The Futenma issue can never be solved simply by moving the base to Henoko in northern Okinawa. The consensus here is that it should be moved out of Okinawa and outside Japan without any strings attached. The U.S. government doesn't have an inherent right to demand anything in return for its closedown. As I said elsewhere repeatedly, the land on which Futenma sits was forcefully requisitioned by the occupying U.S. military. Naturally, it must rather be returned to Okinawa with compensation.

    Does the U.S. military policy toward Okinawa conform to the democratic principles on which the U.S. was founded, Mr. Tong?

  • 0

    Yubaru

    The consensus here is that it should be moved out of Okinawa and outside Japan without any strings attached.

    Let me correct this for you, the opinion of less than 1% of the population of Japan.

  • -2

    BertieWooster

    voiceofokinawa-san,

    The Futenma issue can never be solved simply by moving the base to Henoko in northern Okinawa. The consensus here is that it should be moved out of Okinawa and outside Japan without any strings attached.

    Exactly, that's what I notice too.

    Unfortunately it seems that Yubaru-san didn't see the word "here."

    Just to avoid any further misunderstanding, "here" = "in Okinawa."

    If the truth were known, no one wants the US military anywhere near them, in Okinawa, on the mainland of Japan, in Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines or South Korea.

    I would hope that Abe will represent his people and not just kowtow to his "advisors."

  • 1

    edojin

    Abe & the rest of the LDP are "yes men" when it comes to U.S. requests/demands. Look for Futenma to be moved up north to Henoko in the very near future. As "Yubaru" & "Serrano" state above, the governor of Okinawa does not have the power to rule in this, the Futenma/Henoko, case. That's just the way it is ...

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    What's likely to happen is that Abe will demand US security in regards to defebse against China but will be, as he was last time, wishy washy about Futenma.

  • -1

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    I would hope that Abe will represent his people and not just kowtow to his "advisors."

    That seems to represent the general attitude here, and that's all very well. But ultimately the problem is that Japan does not have an independent defense. As long as it is dependent on the US for defense, the US will continue to retain the current speaking power, especially on defense issues.

    If Japan is really dedicated to saving Okinawa from the "horrors" of the American bases, it will have to divert 1-2% of its GNP from the burgeoning welfare and public works programs to the defense program. With carefully invested 2-3% GNP defense to include a nuclear capability, Japan will probably have enough to turn itself into a tough enough nut that American defense assistance becomes merely "very nice" instead of a life and death problem.

    But while it is probably within Japan's ability to choose such a path, politically it is impossible. Sigh...

  • 1

    Fadamor

    But while it is probably within Japan's ability to choose such a path, politically it is impossible. Sigh...

    Nah. It's a piece of cake! Seeing as Okinawans are the only ones demanding that the U.S. troops leave, increase the tax rate on the Okinawans accordingly to pay for the increase in defense spending that would accompany any reduction in U.S. forces! It's only fair.

    Speaking as an average American, I don't care one iota about whether U.S. troops are in Japan or not. If the Japanese really thought it was that big of an issue, they would have terminated the security agreement as soon as they unilaterally could (specifically, ten years after the agreement was signed.) By the 11th anniversary of the signing, the only remaining U.S. troops stationed in Japan would have been the embassy guards. But that didn't happen. The security agreement is still in force and so the needs of the U.S. in regards to defending Japan are going to still take priority over a bunch of entrepreneurs who want to use base property to build tourist hotels.

    The marine air base needs to stay in Okinawa. Whether it remains where it is or moves out in the country is the only issue at hand. That the Okinawans refuse to accept the planned move gives lie to their claims that it's all about "safety of the neighborhoods and noise". That was just a heavy smokescreen that was exposed when the Okinawan's bluff was called and plans were made to move the base where there was NO city to endanger or annoy with noise.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Japan cannot do without the US defense, bottom line. So they need to live up to their promises and not just wink and say "trust me" and then turn around and play the opposite card. If they truly want to get rid of the US then Okinawa, as Fadamor points out, is going to have to increase it's spending 10-fold for protection -- for which it will blame the government.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    Actually I mischaracterized myself. I am not an "average American". If you asked an average American about Futenma airbase, you would get a blank stare in return. This is not a knock on them, they just have more important things to worry about than some local dispute in a foreign country. To be sure, the dispute DOES get reported in U.S. papers, but even the Washington Post rarely allocates more than a column or two to the Futenma debate. I guess that's because the dispute is between a Japanese prefecture and the government of Japan, rather than specifically with the U.S. military.

  • 0

    YuriOtani

    Fadamor she is not my Governor as I did not vote for her or any candidate. Brad Henry was in office 8 years before being forced out by term limit.

    It does not matter what Americans want for Okinawa. Might as well ask what Okinawa people want in America. The people of Okinawa will not accept another American airbase. Perhaps the American Marines will help defeat the protestors and they can bash in some heads. Honest Abe is not going to have his way. It will take another Okinawa only law to build the base and there will be the devil to pay!

    It matter not what I write because the anti base people do not need my permission. I am just writing what will happen. As for voting I always vote for anti base. That is my right under a democratic government. The early Americans would say we have the right under God for self determination.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Fadamor she is not my Governor as I did not vote for her or any candidate. Brad Henry was in office 8 years before being forced out by term limit.

    That's great, but I didn't say anything about governors. That was Yubaru who commented on who was governor.

  • 0

    YuriOtani

    Fadamor Prime Ministers in Japan are lucky if they last a year. Both of the above Governors enjoyed wide spread support from the people. When Honest Abe tries to impose the new base it will be his downfall. He can not serve both the Americans and Japanese people. He needs to serve the Japanese people to survive politically.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    The early Americans would say we have the right under God for self determination.

    Yes they would, but in order to get that right they revolted from the ruling government. Are you prepared to secede from Japan?

  • -1

    YuriOtani

    Fadamor you are being silly now (not an insult) as the Okinawa people have no weapons. If needed the US Marines would leave their bases and put it down. Second the new Ryukyu Kingdom would be very poor. Am so sleepy and do not see any road leading to succession even if the people of Okinawa wanted it. I would not be in favor of it. Having said that all of the Okinawa only laws need to go away.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    It doesn't necessarily take a war to secede. If a petition to secede was presented to the Diet, Japan might say "good riddance" and cut you off without debate. What it WOULD take, however, is a willingness to abandon any and all benefits that being a part of a larger nation afford. It would also entail funding your OWN defense forces. Obviously, you would be asking the U.S. forces to leave ASAP. Prefectural infrastructure upgrades would no longer receive additional monetary support from Tokyo. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to tax your new country enough to be able to fund such an endeavor?

  • 1

    Yubaru

    What it WOULD take, however, is a willingness to abandon any and all benefits that being a part of a larger nation afford. It would also entail funding your OWN defense forces.

    This is the problem in a nutshell. The people in Okinawa who are against the military and bases (btw they are typically against BOTH JIETAI and US Military) want the freedom of being a part of Japan without any responsibility for it's defense.

    Okinawa would fall apart within months if it separated itself from Japan. Only lunatics and ignorant fools would think that Okinawa could survive on it's own.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Fadamor she is not my Governor as I did not vote for her or any candidate. Brad Henry was in office 8 years before being forced out by term limit.

    You missed the point entirely.

  • 0

    bajhista65

    It's about time to free Okinawa from US Military Bases. It's been squatting there fro sooo many years now. It's not doing Okinawa. Japan any good but problems. Let the bases out and Japan will even save lots of money in helping maintain those bases for USA.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Let the bases out and Japan will even save lots of money in helping maintain those bases for USA.

    Would you mind explaining how Japan will save money? And if the US leaves, why would Japan maintain the bases for the USA in the first place?

  • 0

    YuriOtani

    Japan would save a lot of money from the removal of the American bases. Would only have to place another squadron of F 15 aircraft to replace the Americans. Most of what is in Okinawa is not for the defense of Okinawa. All of that new land will be put back into Okinawa for the use of Okinawa people. I would want to grow rice on my property. Then the land can stay in my family. Turn ground used to kill into feeding hungry people.

    Fadamor I have never asked for an Independence Ryukyu Kingdom. I do demand Okinawa receive equal treatment under Japanese law with no special Okinawa only laws. A bit of semi-autonomous would be nice but complete independence no.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Would you mind explaining how Japan will save money? And if the US leaves, why would Japan maintain the bases for the USA in the first place?

    I think he's just having issues with his English. The way I'm interpreting what he was trying to say, he's claiming that the bases are no benefit to the defense of Japan. His claim of saving money is based on the fact that Japan spends money on the operation of the bases now. I guess he thinks the bases would be closed if the Americans left and the expenditures would no longer be needed, but he's failing to realize that Okinawa STILL will need defense forces, so the bases would be kept open but staffed with JSDF personnel. Instead of saving money, Japan would be spending MORE money to completely staff and operate the bases. Just one of the "inconvienient truths" that the anti-American contingent knows about but doesn't like to talk about.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Most of what is in Okinawa is not for the defense of Okinawa.

    That's an incorrect statement. ALL of what is in Okinawa is not for the defense of Okinawa. It's in Okinawa for the defense of JAPAN. Okinawans have this humorus tendency to pretend that the prefecture of Okinawa has some sort of priority over what happens in Japan and anything in Okinawa has to be directly related to the prefecture. It's almost cute how their naivety knows no bounds.

    You've invoked America's Founding Fathers in saying that you have a right for "self-determination", yet disavow any desire to actually GIVE yourself "self-determination". You apparently would much rather complain about Tokyo not listening to your demands than to actually do something to make your demands be taken more seriously (like, say, separate from Japan and form your own government). That's certainly your choice to make, but don't try to equate the American Founding Fathers to the Okinawans. When it comes to a comparison between them, the Okinawans are found to be severely lacking in backbone. The Americans in 1776 actually DID something about their situation. The Okinawans would rather just whine.

  • -2

    YuriOtani

    Fadamor the American founding fathers had to use force for their independence. They had weapons to be able to do this. The people of Okinawa do not have any weapons. There is nothing we can do but talk. The mainland people have made Okinawa the place for the majority of American troops. They had a very short occupation by American troops while Okinawa is still occupied by the Americans. They have all of the best land and disrupt both sea and air traffic. You go on about no backbone but just you wait until Honest Abe tries to make that new airbase. We have no weapons just ourselves. The founding Americans had weapons and if you say Japan took our weapons you are wrong. The Americans took all weapons from the Okinawa people. Again there is nothing we can do but talk and demonstrate.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    Again, there's no reason you HAVE to use force. The lack of weapons actually HELPS you. If the people of Okinawa decide to secede, Japan would look totally in the wrong if they went in and suppressed it with the military. The U.S. would likely opt out of assisting Japan in that instance because - again - there is no excuse to be sic-ing the military after unarmed civilians. If Japan demanded that the U.S. help under the terms of the security agreement, that might actually force the U.S. to be the one to unilaterally terminate the agreement.

    If the overwhelming majority of Okinawans decided to secede, there's not much Japan can do about it and remain on the "high ground". Remember that little thing about Article 9? Civil Wars count as wars that Japan can't start, either.

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