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voiceofokinawaAug. 29, 2014 - 08:03AM JST
turbotsat (Aug. 28, 2014 - 06:40AM JST)
Your analogy that bases and highways are the same is completely off the mark.
U.S. bases in Okinawa were built by the invading U.S. army for the sole purpose of contributing, first, to their military strategy to invade and occupy mainland Japan and, second, to make Okinawa a beachhead or fortress to establish hegemony in Asia, as Commodore Matthew Perry had already entertained in the 19th century.
Thus, the U.S. bases in Okinawa strongly smack of pre-World War II imperialism and colonialism however hard Washington may try to whitewash it. The reality of Okinawa always betrays Washinton's real intention.
Posted in: Onodera tries once again to get Saga support for Osprey deployment
voiceofokinawaAug. 27, 2014 - 09:51PM JST
It's so heartbreaking to see through fence wire traditional family tombs standing here and there inside the base. U.S. service members commuting from outside the base through the main gate may not notice their existence. Come to the PALS on the southwestern side of the runway and you will be able to see them for yourself.
When families need to visit the tombs to pay respect to the deceased or their ancestors on such occasions as obon, they must be issued with special passes for entering the base. U.S. military-issued passes to go to one's family tomb? What a world!
voiceofokinawaAug. 27, 2014 - 07:51AM JST
Thanks for providing two nice aerial photos now and then. Here's my comment:
There are more than 3 thousand so-called "military-land owners" for Futenma Air Station at present. The base was constructed, while area residents were forcefully herded into camps during and after the Battle of Okinawa, on the land the U.S. army encroached upon with impunity.
There were a dozen villages with a joint population of more than 12 thousand before the war, of which 6 villages (Ginowan, Kamiyama, Aragusuku, Nakahara, Maehara and Aragusuku) were completely swallowed up into the base with a 2,400-meter runway (later extended to 2,700 meters) . Other villages were only partially affected.
The U.S. action in acquiring the land was in clear violation of Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which states: "Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated."
voiceofokinawaAug. 26, 2014 - 12:43PM JST
There have been two separate issues involving plans to deploy Ospreys to Saga. First, in response to Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima's condition, for his approval of the Henoko relocation plan, that 12 or all of the 24 Ospreys now deployed at Futenma be moved out of Okinawa until the new base at Henoko is completed. This plan was scrapped, however, in the face of a strong opposition from the Saga authorities and residents.
The central government's second plan has nothing to do with the first plan. The government has recently hit a deal with Washington to buy 17 Ospreys for the JSDF to the tune of $1.7 billion (about $98 million per aircraft). Apparently, it must have been seeking a candidate site for the deployment of these 17 Ospreys and Saga Airport was singled out as the best site for various reasons, financial and strategic.
The coercive selling of the Ospreys to Japan by the U.S. is assumed to have three reasons: first, to recover R & D costs even if a little; second, to calm down the fear the Japanese people have about Ospreys; third, to let the Osprey-deployed JSDF deal with China when conflicts occur so that Futenma's 36th Marine Air Group can stay away from such conflicts A big deal! indeed.
Note that China is developing a high-speed helicopter with the speed and payload twice as much as the Osprey (China Daily, September 8, 2013). There is no doubt, then, that these high-priced U.S.-made aircraft will become white elephants sooner or later.
If Saga Prefecture rejects the central government's second plan, would these Ospreys be deployed to Okinawa? Not completely out of the question.
voiceofokinawaAug. 22, 2014 - 03:58PM JST
Tokyo must foot all the bills for the new base at Henoko that are estimated to be over $12 billion. Tokyo will also have to shoulder about $6.1 billion of the $10.2 billion necessary for infrastructure development for 8,000 marines moving from Okinawa to Guam.
Under the 2010 bilateral agreement, Tokyo must pay a total $11.35 billion to the U.S. coffer for a host-nation support (sympathy budget) during the 5-year period from 2011 to 2016.
The U.S. government has successfully cajoled the Japanese government into buying 17 MV-22 Ospreys to the tune of $1.7 billion (about $98 million per one aircraft).
The total sum amounts to an astounding $31.15 billion. Shouldn't this money be used for the reconstruction of the 2011 Tohoku disaster and the most recent Hiroshima landslide disaster areas?
The Henoko new base construction for the U.S. Marines is nothing but a waste of money -- and meaningless, too, as far as Japanese taxpayers are concerned.
Posted in: Gov't starts surveying seabed for Nago landfill work
voiceofokinawaAug. 21, 2014 - 06:25PM JST
turbotsat (Aug. 20, 2014 - 02:21PM JST):
You post your opinion as if you were a critique of great authority, saying that "If Japan didn't want the new base to be in Nago, it wouldn't be there. No use saying USA demanded it when USA has no right to demand anything. If Japan says no what's USA going to do?"
Are you sure of what you are saying?
When Yukio Hatoyama took office as the 93rd Prime Minister with the promise to Okinawans that he will relocate Futenma Air Station abroad or at least outside Okinawa, how did Washington react to this and what happened? Did Washington close the air base as was suggested? NEVER.
Tohru Magosaki, a former Japanese diplomat, details in his book ("The politicians who were wiped out by the U.S." (Shogakukan Publishers, 2012) how many U.S.-defiant Japanese politicians have been wiped out by the suzerain U.S. in the past.
As for this, Kakuei Tanaka comes into our mind at once. Of course, Tanaka's crime was concerned with the Lockheed scandal. But where was this scandal pried open first and for what purpose? Hatoyama and Ichiro Ozawa, for that matter, may fall under the category of these fallen Japanese politicians.
So your opinion lacks any substantial meaning.
voiceofokinawaAug. 20, 2014 - 02:08PM JST
turbostat (Aug. 20, 2014 - 04:11AM JST):
If Japan had asked the reluctant U.S. to come to Japan and defend it, then I would buy what you were saying. Japan should provide 88 bases with the U.S. military for free; shoulder all operation and maintenance costs of these bases, not just 74 percent of it; award compensation to Japanese victims involved in accidents caused and crimes committed by U.S. service members; pay salaries to all U.S. military personnel and civilian employees of U.S. and third-country nationality; and more.
But were U.S. military forces invited to station here for starters? Are U.S. service members invited guests? Are they "good neighbors" as they like to ballyhoo themselves?
Remember they were/are carry-overs from the post-war Occupation, a virtual occupation thus continuing. All other Allied powers withdrew their troops when Japan restored sovereignty in 1951. Why are U.S. forces still stationed here 69 years after the end of the war?
And when we ask them to close one out of 33 bases (Futenma Air Station) located in a crowded city section, the U.S. demands its replacement be built in Nago in northern Okinawa. This is probably the most preposterous and outlandish bilateral relation the world has ever seen.
voiceofokinawaAug. 18, 2014 - 04:36PM JST
The U.S. State Department naturally welcomed the start of construction work. This means Washington has been pressing Tokyo to go ahead with the agreed-upon relocation plan quickly, fully knowing that Tokyo might take most undemocratic and inhumane action.
Does the relocation reduce the U.S. military foot print on Okinawa, as State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says? In one area, maybe, yes, but in another area, no, NEVER. The overall burdens, that is, the U.S. military footprint, remain the same or will rather increase and perpetuate. The spokeswoman doesn't know the reality of Okinawa being a congested U.S. military colony. She is merely parroting what her superiors at the Japan desk told her to say.
The majority of Okinawans, more than 70 percent, are opposed to the Henoko relocation plan and fully support protesters and demonstrators now at Henoko. Activists on sea kayak trying to prevent landfill work, always daunted by a flotilla of coast guard ships, may be small in number but they have our full moral support and sympathy.
The U.S. intention to colonize Okinawa militarily is devilish and demonic, nothing different from erstwhile colonialism. Think about it, Ms. Harf.
voiceofokinawaAug. 17, 2014 - 11:40AM JST
Tokyo must foot all the bills for the new base at Henoko that are estimated to be over $12 billion, not to mention bills for Futenma's dismantling works. Tokyo is also financially responsible for recovering the status quo ante of the land. Tokyo has also agreed with Washington to shoulder about $6.1 billion of the $10.2 billion necessary for infrastructure development for 8,000 marines moving from Okinawa to Guam.
What else can one call these outrageous events except "rip-offs"? Why do such things happen for starters, with mainstream Japanese politicians and bureaucrats always cozying up to Washington and acting as they are dictated to by Washington?
Satoshi Shirai dubs this "everlasting defeatism" (永続敗戦論). The catch is that these mainstream politicians, penchant for prewar-day values, are intentionally kept alive by Washington (a typical example was Nobusuke Kishi, Abe's grandfather and a Class A war crimes suspect) for its own benefits. As a result, they, the Japanese politicians, feel indebted to Washington, give great favors to Washington in matters of military bases and repeat visiting Yasukuni Shrine, forgetting that Japan was defeated in World War II,
Posted in: Buoys floated off Futenma replacement site in Okinawa
voiceofokinawaAug. 16, 2014 - 10:41AM JST
turbostat (Aug. 16, 2014 - 04:18AM JST):
Shame on you. Not all U.S. service members commit crimes or cause traffic accidents involving Japanese citizens. But you seem to think they do.
You say $38 million (your $380K is a miscalculation) per year that the Japanese government pays to Japanese victims for the U.S. in compensation for accidents (traffic, criminal, etc.) caused by U.S. service members, their dependants and civilian employees means nothing or negligible.
To me, even one dollar is way too much for such a purpose.
voiceofokinawaAug. 15, 2014 - 11:27PM JST
Rip-offs, indeed. Japan hands at the DOD's Japan desk are experts on such rip-offs. Poor Japanese taxpayers are always their easy preys for rip-offs and swindling.
The August 13 Japan Times has reported Japan had paid Y380 million in the past 10 years in compensation for accidents caused by U.S. service members and civilian employees.
Tokyo must foot all the bills for the new base at Henoko that are estimated to be over $12 billion plus dismantling of the old one at Futenma and recovering of the status quo ante of the land. Tokyo has also agreed with Washington to shoulder about $6.1 billion of the $10.2 billion relocation cost of 8,000 marines from Futenma to Guam.
Thus, one piece of absurdity after another. This is the end result of what they ballyhoo as the solidification of the Japan-U.S. alliance.
voiceofokinawaAug. 15, 2014 - 12:48PM JST
turbotsat (Aug. 15, 2014 - 09:06AM JST):
These base-operating costs are called "sympathy budget" in Japan, which implies that Japan is not obliged under any treaty to bear the costs but does so out of sympathy for the budget-pinched U.S. government. The U.S. government doesn't like the nomenclature and suggests to use a more euphemistic "host-nation support" instead.
Now, you suggest Japan pay 100 percent of the base-operating costs. Your suggestion is reasonable if and only if USJF personnel are mercenaries employed by Japanese taxpayers. But are they mercenaries?
According to DOD statistics, South Korea is said to have paid $21,772 and Germany $21,720 per one U.S. sercice member in 2012. Compare these figures with Japan's $105,976. You say this is not enough and are asking to increase Japan's share to $140,000. Would South Korea and Germany agree to pay the same amount as Japan's?
voiceofokinawaAug. 15, 2014 - 08:44AM JST
Disillusioned (Aug. 14, 2014 - 11:36PM JST):
There are 88 U.S. bases all over Japan (55 in mainland Japan; 33 in Okinawa), water areas (29 in Okinawa alone: 55,327 square kilometers) and airspace (20 in Okinawa alone: 95,000 square kilometers). The U.S. side says its military presence is a necessary measure, that is, deterrence against enemies trying to attack Japan. The USFJ brass say their service members are always prepared to give their life for the defense of Japan.
Believing these words, poor Japanese taxpayers are willing not only to host these bases but also even pay Y117.5 billion annually for their operation and maintenance (the 2010 bilateral agreement). The total sum Japan has paid to the U.S. coffer for this purpose since 1978 amounts to more than $35 billion.
Disillusioned, you are very frank to admit the U.S. military presence is not for the defense of Japan at all but it is the end result of the Pearl Harbor attack 69 years ago. You say, "Suck it up Japan! You rep (reap) what you sow!" You may be right but, if so, what is this bilateral relationship all about? A sand castle?
voiceofokinawaAug. 14, 2014 - 10:53PM JST
No one can dispute that Japan-based U.S. Marines are illegal squatters. The English version of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty vaguely states that U.S. land, air and naval forces are entitled to use bases in Japan. The Japanese version is more specific about these forces, stating explicitly that they are the Army, Air Force and Navy, thus excluding the Marines.
Note also that the Futenma Air Station that MAG-36 operates sits mostly on private lands, that were illegally confiscated in violation of Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land.
Thus, in every respect, the Marines in Japan (particularly in Okinawa) can be said to be illegally stationed in Japan; hence they are illegal squatters.
On what legal and moral basis, then, can Washington demand a replacement for Futenma and Tokyo give egregious benefits to these illegal squatters, by foolishly building a new base for them?
We are witnessing a comedy opening at Henoko, with Abe and his counterpart in Washington playing leading actors in this utterly unlaughable drama.
voiceofokinawaAug. 14, 2014 - 07:48AM JST
NMBY. No prefecture is willing to sacrifice itself by hosting Osprey deployment however temporary it may be.
On December 27 last year, Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima agreed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to relocate the functions of Futenma Air Station to Henoko in Nago, Okinawa, on condition that Futenma be closed in 5 years and that the Ospreys there be deployed somewhere in mainland Japan until the Henoko new base is completed.
The Abe administration approached Saga Prefecture for its approval of the plan but didn't get Saga Governor's favorable assurance. Meanwhile, the U.S. military voiced opposition to it, citing reasons of no importance. Thus came the central government's scrapping of the plan.
The central government has been preaching us Okinawans for years that the relocation of Futenma to Henoko is absolutely necessary for maintaining security and deterrence. But the Saga saga clearly shows that it doesn't think so at all at heart because Futenma, they betrayed to say, can be dysfunctional in Okinawa for more than 10 years while the construction of a new base continues at Henoko.
voiceofokinawaAug. 11, 2014 - 08:35AM JST
The name "Senkaku" comes from English "Pinnacle Islands." The HMS Samarang made a port at Ishigaki Island three times and on its second port calling in May, 1845, it launched out upon an exploration of the hitherto-unheard-of island group which the islanders called Iigunjima. Approaching the island group northward from Ishigaki Island on May 8, they must have been struck with the similarity of the first approaching island to Bartolome Island in the Galapagos, which is famous for its Pinnacle Rock, thus calling the island group Pinnacle Islands. The Japanese name "Senkaku" was coined after this by a natural history teacher named Hisashi Kuroiwa, in 1900, who hailed from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku and taught at Okinawa Normal School.
Posted in: Them's fighting words! The politics of place names
voiceofokinawaAug. 09, 2014 - 05:04PM JST
Why are these barren islands called "Senkaku" by Japanese and "Diyaoyudao" in Chinese?
I re-post the following piece that I posted as a comment on "China says it is ready to talk if Japan admits isles are disputed" run on JT (Sep. 22, 2013):
Common nouns in a language are very ad hoc in naming objects. There's no reason why things are called as they are in languages. However, proper nouns are different from common nouns in that there's always reasons behind -- why they are called by such and such names.
Kubajima (久場島）or Huangwei Yu （黄尾鱮）in Chinese in the Senkaku/Diaoyudao Islands was an important landmark for ancient Ryukyu (Okinawa) seamen and traders navigating on the Okinawa-Fuchuan sea lane. These seafarers, who were thoroughly familiar with the Senkaku waters more than anyone else, called this landmark "Kubajima" because, according to one theory, the island was covered full with “kuba” (or Areca) palms. But I think it was called by that name because the island's shape is quite similar to that of another island called Kubajima, that is located about 40 km west of Naha, Okinawa Island, on the same sea lane. When necessary, the former was called "Iigun Kubajima" to distinguish it from the latter.
Isn't Chinese "Huangmao (Yu)" （黄毛）as recorded by Chen Kan （陳侃, 1534）and "Huangwei (Yu)" recorded elsewhere, meaning yellow hair or tail, a phonetic conversion of Kuba(-jima)? Note that the k-sound of Japanese (and Okinawan) ordinarily corresponds to the h-sound in Chinese. Or did the Chinese think the island was inhabited by mythic animals with yellow tails or hair and so named it as such?
The easternmost island in the chain is officially called Taishojima in Japan, but historically it used to be called Kumi-Akajima by Ryukyu seamen. Here, too, we see the same mechanism of nomenclature as in the case of Kubajima. There's an island called Akajima in the Kerama Islands whereby Kumi-Akajima in the Senkakus must have been named after this with Kumi added to differentiate it from its namesake.
The Chinese calls this island Chiwei Yu (赤尾鱮), meaning "red-tailed island." Did they believe the island was inhabited by red-tailed animals? Isn't it a semantic conversion of what Ryukyu seamen called (Kumi) Akajima (久米阿嘉島）, which could mean "a red island" in their folk etymology?
The name "Senkaku" comes from English "Pinnacle Islands." Nineteenth-century British Royal Naval seamen and explorers called the islands by that name for obvious reasons. Approaching the island group northward from Ishigaki Island, they must have been struck with the similarity of the first approaching island to Bartolome Island in the Galapagos, which is famous for its Pinnacle Rock, thus calling the island group Pinnacle Islands. The Japanese name "Senkaku" was coined after this by a natural history teacher named Hisashi Kuroiwa, who hailed from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku and taught at Okinawa Normal School.
The Meiji government called the largest island in the chain "Uotsuri-jma", which is an apparent translation from "Diaoyudao". It also called the adjacent islands lying southeast of it "Kita Kojima" (North Islet) and "Minami Kojima" (South Islet) respectively. The Chinese names "Bei Xiaodao" and "Nan Xiaodao" definitely come from these Japanese names.
Ancient Ishigaki fishermen called the island (group) "Iigun-jima." "Iigun" (rhymed with "eagle") means the head of a spear used in dive-fishing, a fishing method probably unknown to the ancient Chinese. The reason why it is called so is similar to why the highest mountain in the Japan Alps in Honshu is called "Yarigadake." The top of the rugged mountain reminds one of the head of a spear ("yari").
Why did the Chinese call the island (group) Diaoyudao, a fishing island? Did unworldly men, as often depicted in Chinese drawings, go there and spent days angling for fish? Or have Chinese fishermen come here to engage in blue-water fishing since ancient times? Note, however, that blue-water fishing started only recently with the development of modern refrigeration technology.
Isn't "Diaoyudao" a semantic conversion of what Chinese royal missions to and from Ryukyu were explained to by Ryukyu seamen and traders traveling and navigating together aboard the same tributary and trading ships? Note that Chinese royal envoys came to Ryukyu Kingdom 25 times during the period from 1373 to 1866. During the same period, Ryukyu seamen, traders and the Ryukyu King's appreciatory envoys sailed to China more than 200 times.
All these linguistic and historical facts must be taken into consideration before anyone says anything definite about sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyudao Islands on the basis of nomenclature.
voiceofokinawaJul. 24, 2014 - 12:39PM JST
Kishi was held at Sugamo Prison only as a Class A war crimes suspect but was never indicted. So he was not a Class A war criminal. Thank you for the correction.
Posted in: Ozawa says Abe's policy shift risks taking Japan down dangerous path
voiceofokinawaJul. 24, 2014 - 10:07AM JST
From Constitutional Revision to Re-interpretation
Isn't this policy change by Tokyo along the lines of U.S. instructions?
At a news conference held on July 10, 2001, just two months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker had suggested that the Japanese Constitution be revised so that Japan could send SDF contingents overseas to cooperate effectively with U.S. forces. His opinion was a telltale reflection of Washington's decades-old stance on that matter.
In an interview article in the March 2004 issue of Bungeishunju magazine, then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage expressed high hopes that the war-renouncing Japanese constitution must be revised for the sake of a stronger Japan-U.S. alliance. He had earlier expressed the same view at the Japan Press Club.
It soon turned out, however, that it would take too long a time, or probably be almost impossible, under a current provision stipulating constitutional procedures for the Japanese government to revise the constitution. So the so-called "Japanophiles" such as Joseph Nye and Richard Armitage started saying the re-interpretation of Article 9 would do just as well in effectiveness as actually revising the constitution.
Shinzo Abe is a grandson of Nobusuke Kishi, 56th and 57th Prime Minister, who was convicted as a Class A war criminal at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. Abe was Secretary-General of the LDP from 2003 to 2004, Chief Cabinet Secretary under the third Koizumi administration from 2005 to 2006, Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and has been one since 2012. His actions for constitutional revision and then re-interpretation prove to parallel the counselling or ill-advice by the above-mentioned "Japanophiles."
The bottom line: the Japan represented by Abe is no other than a U.S. vassal that does everything faithfully along the lines dictated by the suzerain U.S.. No wonder Okinawa remains a U.S. military colony 69 years after the end of World War II.
voiceofokinawaJul. 18, 2014 - 11:21AM JST
Nowhere in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is stated that the U.S. Marines are entitled to station in Japan. The English version of Article 6 of the treaty vaguely states: "[T]he United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan," using terms in combat situations. The Japanese version is more concrete, stating explicitly that those forces are the Army, Air Force and Navy, with the Marines excluded.
Before they discuss how the JSDF can cooperate effectively with the USFJ by revising or reinterpreting the peace constitution, they should discuss if the U.S. military presence in Japan is legitimate at all for starters.
Note that the U.S. forces are using bases, water areas and air space in Japan for whatever purpose they want, despite the fact that Article 6 of the treaty stipulates the U.S. is granted to use these bases for "the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East."
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