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voiceofokinawaDec. 08, 2016 - 02:58PM JST
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack by the Imperial Japanese Task Force, U.S. President Barack Obama published a statement on Thursday, in which he said the Japan-U.S. alliance would prove that even the most antagonistic countries of yesteryear could become the most intimate allies of today.
There's some misuse of words in Obama's statement, though. He should have said: The Japan-U.S. alliance proves one of the two most antagonistic countries of yesteryear could become the most faithful vassal of the other.
Washington's Japan hands, please address this disgusting situation. For starters, correct Okinawa's current state of affairs vis-a-vis U.S.A. which can be definitely called occupation.
Posted in: Abe going to Pearl Harbor for remembrance, not for apology: gov't
voiceofokinawaDec. 07, 2016 - 06:45PM JST
I'm not sure what's being negotiated between Tokyo and Moscow as regards the return of western Kuril islands. But suppose Moscow were insisting on maintaining Russian troops and missile bases there even after their return and that Tokyo were demanding for their unconditional return and Russian troops' complete withdrawal. Suppose also that the U.S. were always behind Japan's negotiating stance. Naturally, negotiations would come to deadlock.
You cannot discuss the Okinawa issue and the “northern territory” issue on the same plane. They have different historical backgrounds.
Posted in: U.S. to return Okinawan land to Japanese gov't on Dec 22
voiceofokinawaDec. 07, 2016 - 05:43PM JST
It is the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty that does all this trick. Through this device, the U.S. has kept controlling the Japanese people and their mind-set years after the occupation was long over.
So when the leaders of both countries say on every occasion that they have confirmed both nations' solid alliance, what does it mean to Japan and especially to Okinawa?
Posted in: Carter says U.S. satisfied with Japan's contribution to alliance
voiceofokinawaDec. 07, 2016 - 08:30AM JST
Is there anyone who doesn't welcome the return of 4,000 ha of base land? Here's a reason why Okinawa isn't all happy about this return.
The U.S. Marine Corps Northern Training Area, a.k.a. Jungle Warfare Center, has an area of about 7,800 ha, the largest U.S. military facility on land in Okinawa Prefecture. Combat-ready marines, stationed either in Okinawa or outside Japan, regularly train there to hone their jungle warfare skills (to defend Japan?).
In 1996, the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) specified in its final report that the U.S. would return a disused part of the Northern Training Area, mostly in Kunigami Village, of about 4,000 ha. We, of course, welcomed the news without reserve.
In 2005, nine years later, a condition was attached to the initially unconditional return of the land tract to the effect that 6 "helipads" be built in the remaining area for the 7 helipads that are in the area to be returned.
No big deal? Never. These "helipads" aren't helipads in the usual sense of the word but are colossal facilities for Ospreys and probably Harrier jump jets to land and take off.
If training involving the V/STOL aircraft started in a full swing, the destruction of natural environment in and around Takae village, around which these facilities are being built, would be devastating indeed, let alone destruction by the construction itself. The area is a partial habitat for endangered species of birds, Yanbaru rails (Gallirallus okinawae) and Noguchi woodpeckers (Sapheopipo noguchii). Naturally, there ensued a vehement local opposition to the construction of these so-called "helipads."
To which, the U.S.-servile central government responds by saying, "Doesn't Okinawa want the return of the significant portion of base land?" This is insulting indeed. In return for giving back the land tract, the U. S. will be able to maintain its firm grip on bases in Okinawa more than ever, whereby Okinawa's burden of shouldering the bulk of U.S. bases in Japan (currently 74% but after the land tract return 70%) will continue indefinitely.
Does the Abe government consider Okinawa as an integral part of Japan or does it consider it simply as a negotiable article in diplomatic dealings? Okinawa, an independent kingdom until 1872, was annexed to Japan in a very dubious fashion anyway.
voiceofokinawaDec. 07, 2016 - 07:53AM JST
You are telling the truth when you say, "Japan lost the war, and this is the price they pay for losing the war."
True, Japan lost the war. As a result, victorious U.S. forces occupied and controlled it until 1951 when it was granted "full" sovereignty once again by the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Okinawa trailed a different path from the mainland. It occupation formally ended in 1972 when its administrative rights were returned to Japan.
Did the U.S. occupation forces pack up and go home because Japan's occupation was over and because Okinawa was returned to Japan? No, they remained in full force, keeping their bases and areas almost intact. Thus, Japan's independence is only superficial, occupation still going on even today.
It is the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty that does the whole trick.
voiceofokinawaDec. 06, 2016 - 06:31PM JST
Article 6 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty or more formally the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America" stipulates that "[f]or the purpose of the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East," U.S. forces are granted to use bases and areas in Japan. In other words, the bases and areas which the U.S. forces have used as Occupation Forces will continue to be used the same as before with a new justification added to the effect that they are for the defense of Japan and its vicinity.
Now, Article 24 of SACO, a bilateral agreement concomitant to the Security Treaty, stipulates the U.S. will bear all expenditures necessary for the maintenance of the U.S. Forces Japan without cost to Japan (Clause 1) while Japan will furnish bases and areas without cost to the U.S. (Clause 2).
The question I want to raise here is: Have the provisions specified in these agreements been strictly abided by the U.S. side? Hasn't the U.S. violated the provisions specified there from time to time, oftentimes blatantly?
First, on what legal bases can the U.S. military use these bases and facilities for no purpose other than of defending Japan. The area the Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet is responsible extends far beyond Japanese waters. The marines stationed in Okinawa are training jungle warfare skills
probably for use in Southeast Asia and, as revealed recently, to fight against drug wars in Central and South Americas.
The U.S. mainland-based national guards fighter jets often come to Kadena Air Base and remain there for several months to train.
During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars the U.S. military freely used bases in Okinawa as staging posts matter-of-factly.
Aren't these U.S. actions in blatant violation of Article 6 of the Security Treaty, which stipulates that the U.S. military is granted to use bases and areas in Japan to defend Japan and its vicinity only?
voiceofokinawaDec. 06, 2016 - 08:12AM JST
Thank you very much for the reference.
Here's my recapitulation of the data presented in the report:
International Comparison of U.S. Base Cost Sharing
Base facility costs:
Japan: Japan pays 100%; S. Korea: S. Korea pays 100%; Germany: U.S. pays all;
Italy: U.S. pays all
Japan: Japan pays 100%; S. Korea: U.S. pays all; Germany: U.S. pays all ;
Italy: U.S. pays all
Over-all cost sharing ratio:
Japan: about 75%; S. Korea; about 40%; Germany: about 30%; Italy: about 40%;
In addition to the so-called sympathy budged, Japan must shoulder SACO-related costs and U.S. forces realignment costs, which amounted to 440 billion yen (about $470 million) in 2015.
voiceofokinawaDec. 05, 2016 - 11:07PM JST
Article 24 of SOFA, a rider to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, stipulates the U.S. will bear all expenditures necessary for the maintenance of the U.S. Forces Japan without cost to Japan (Clause 1) while Japan will furnish bases and areas without cost to the U.S. (Clause 2).
Thus, the Japanese taxpayers, believing the U.S. military presence is solely for the defense of Japan and security in the region, have squandered money in the name of "host-nation support" for the maintenance of U.S. bases and facilities, 87 in all. For the next 5 years starting fiscal year 2016 that will amount to 946.5 billion yen (or about $9 billion) .
The U.S. Navy (the 7th Fleet) based at Yokosuka and the Marine units stationed in Okinawa are not for the defense of Japan, as people naively believe, but are deployed there as part of the U.S. military's global strategy, as many pundits point out. We know bases in Okinawa were used with impunity as staging posts for overseas troop deployment in the Gulf and Iraq Wars and, before the reversion, in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
According to yesterday's Ryukyu Shimpo, members of the Higashi Village Council were allowed to make a tour of the Jungle Warfare Training Center recently and told by an officer in charge there that the purpose of the center was not simply training to hone marines' jungle warfare skills but also their narcotics warfare skills to check narcotics smuggling in the U.S.
So, I suggest Tokyo tell visiting Carter Japan have to pay no money at all for the upkeep of the U.S. military stationed in Japan. Japanese taxpayers shoulder costs for furnishing 87 U.S. bases and areas and are obliged to pay indemnity for damages derived from those bases (noise and toxic pollution, crimes committed by military service members, etc.).
Trump's suggestion during his campaign that Japan pay more or U.S. troops withdraw from Japan may have been the ambitious candidate's tall talk to win votes for his presidency. Paradoxically as it may sound, though, Trump has pried open the hitherto tightly closed doors to the Japan-U.S. alliance, bringing about a rare chance to revisit the bilateral security treaty under which Okinawa has suffered so much and for so long.
The lame-duck U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter's visit to Japan should be watched with this in mind.
voiceofokinawaNov. 25, 2016 - 11:43AM JST
(Sequel to my post above)
Particularly, on matters related with the Japan-U.S. security alliance, it's apparent that Japan faithfully follows what the U.S. dictates to it. So when Washington says it wants Futenma to be relocated to Henoko, it says, "Yes," without paying any regard to a strong local opposition. When Washington asks Tokyo to buy 25 Ospreys for the SDF, it agrees automatically.
When Washington wants to attach a condition, 9 years later, to an originally unconditional agreement to the effect that 6 "helipads" (colossal landing and take-off facilities for V/STOL aircraft) be built in the Northern Training Area near Takae village in northern Okinawa, Tokyo agrees to it almost in a knee-jerk fashion.
This servitude nature of the Japanese government is confirmed by the Oct. 6 Japan Today article, "Clinton 'accepts' Abe's dealings with Russia: ex-U.S. official", in which Kurt Campbell, who served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs from 2009 to 2013, is quoted as saying that, on matters related with the Japan-U.S. security alliance, the U.S. side has made most of the decisions with Japan quite content with that practice.
Posted in: Defense adviser sees chance to update alliance with U.S.
voiceofokinawaNov. 24, 2016 - 12:05PM JST
His remark is about political negotiation leverage toward China and Russia with U.S. backing Japan.
Are you sure Ishiba's remark is about Japan's independent policy making toward China and Russia, which the U.S. has always backed? Hasn't the U.S. always intervened when Japan tried to independently pursue a friendship policy towards these countries in the past?
Edwin O. Reischauer, U.S. ambassador to Japan under Kennedy and Johnson administrations, for example, intimidated then Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ohira by saying that, if Japan went out of the U.S. sphere of influence and embraced friendship policy toward the Soviets and China, the U.S. would invade Japan again and occupy it.
Thus, Japan's incipient omnidirectional foreign diplomacy dissipated almost immediately. Look at the Hatoyama administration's fate, too, that tried to pursue the same foreign policy line. It collapsed miserably under a blatant U.S. pressure.
voiceofokinawaNov. 24, 2016 - 10:02AM JST
You say occupation means the military dictates the government of the country it occupies. But hasn't the U.S. dictated Japan what to do about defense, economy, foreign policy and all?
The Nov. 21 Japan Times article of the same story, "Powerful Japanese lawmaker urges re-evaluation of U.S. relationship with Trump taking office," quotes Ishiba as saying; “Japan must stop being a nation that changes its policy per foreign pressure, whether it’s about the economy, security or finance,” he said.
Ishiba's remark is indicative that Japan has always followed policy lines dictated by the U.S. in everything concerned with economy, security and even finance.
voiceofokinawaNov. 24, 2016 - 07:27AM JST
I said the U.S. cannot ask other countries to increase their defense budgets following its own example but you seem say, Yes, it can.
The U.S. maintains a huge military presence in Japan as if it were still occupied like it was during the Occupation period: 1945-1951 in the case of mainland Japan and 1945-1972 in the case of Okinawa. Okinawa's case shows military occupation is still going on literally, not simply figuratively. Under such circumstances it's nonsensical and farcical for the occupation side to suggest Japan increase its defense budget more.
voiceofokinawaNov. 23, 2016 - 06:34PM JST
U.S. spends 3.3 percent of their GDP in defense. Japan at meager 1 percent?
Because the U.S. spends 3.3 percent of its GDP for defense, it cannot ask other countries to follow suit, for example, asking Japan to increase its defense budget.
voiceofokinawaNov. 19, 2016 - 08:29AM JST
The Northern Training Area, a.k.a. Jungle Warfare Center, has an area of about 7800 ha, the largest U.S. military facilities on land in Okinawa. Marines regularly use it for training jungle warfare skills.
In 1996, the U.S. promised the unconditional return of an unused partt, mostly in Kunigami Village, of about 4000 ha. It goes without saying that we rejoiced at hearing the news.
But in 2005, nine years later, a condition was attached newly to the initially unconditional return of the land to the effect that 6 "helipads" be built in the remaining area not for return for the 7 "helipads" that are in the area to be returned.
No big deal? Never. These "helipads" aren't helipads in the usual sense of the word but colossal landing and take-off facilities for Ospreys and probably Harrier jump jets.
If training by V/STOL aircraft started in a full swing, the destruction of natural environment in and around Takae village would be devastating indeed, not to mention destruction by the construction itself. The area is a habitat for endangered species of flora and fauna. Naturally, there ensued a vehement local opposition to the scheme.
voiceofokinawaNov. 18, 2016 - 04:04PM JST
There was a beautiful pine tree-lined highway in the area where the Futenma air station is now located, connecting Shuri, Naha with Futenma to the central and northern regions on the island before the war, with a number of villages dotting along the way. The largest was the Ginowan village, an administrative center of the whole municipality.
All these villages were destroyed to the nail during the war because the area was one of the fiercest battle grounds in the Battle of Okinawa. For about two years after the war, the villagers were herded in semi-concentration camps like all other islanders who surrendered to or were captured by the invading U.S. forces.
When they were allowed to "return home," what they found there was a vast stretch of a military base, with their old villages and farmlands all gone into the base. Here's a witness's testimony that confirms it.
"When I returned to my old village Oyama, released from a concentration camp in September 1947, our property of more than 1-hecter had been requisitioned with an ancestry tomb included for the construction of the base" -- Shinsho Aniya (April 4, 2016 article run on The Okinawa Times).
There's some truth when Yubaru says about the area where the Futenma base now stands: Places there "were for the most part vacant, and had very low populations, if any people living there at all."
But I suggest he say things after confirming the facts. Don't opine things like a know-it-all. Go visit the Ginowan City Museum at Mashiki, Ginowan City (Phone: 098-870-9317) to see what the area had been like before the war destroyed it all.
voiceofokinawaNov. 18, 2016 - 11:41AM JST
Something fishy is going on in this ruling. The real culprit responsible for this noise pollution is no other than the U.S. military and yet the ruling says Japan cannot regulate the operation of the U.S. military.
Translation: The U.S. military presence is above and beyond the Japanese constitution. What a poor independent nation Japan is in spite of PM Abe's high profile celebration of April 24 as Japan's Independence Day.
Let me repost what I said on the thread for the Sep. 24, 2016 JT article, "Okinawa appeals high court ruling supporting U.S. base transfer plan" (posted 08:29AM JST):
Since Chief Justice Kotaro Tanaka's repealing in 1963 of the Date judgement, it's been customary for justices to stick to the line laid down by Tanaka and, therefore, that any lawsuit by residents against damages caused by the U.S. military, such as noise and toxic pollution, has almost always been lost to the plaintiff.
We often hear that judges who rule against this line are demoted to positions in the boondocks. We also know that Tanaka was in close contact with the executive branch as well as the U.S. side before he gave that Supreme Court Judgement. Japan is not an independent sovereignty as yet --. a sycophantic vassal of the great U.S.A. judicially as well as politically.
voiceofokinawaNov. 15, 2016 - 05:04PM JST
Yubaru, you suggest;
Pick the one that is unlike the others:
(A)Toyota (B) Nissan (C)Honda (D) US Military
You want me to pick (D) U.S. military because the other three are private car makers, not military entities, don't you? They are not comparable at this level, of course, whereby no analogy can be made at this point. But, mind you, those Japanese car makers have made inroads into the U.S. market, built plants and offices, employing thousands of workers, thus allegedly contributing to local economy.
If those Japanese car makers in the U.S. and the U.S. military in Japan are comparable with each other in this respect, then one can make an analogy quite easily. Just as the U.S. military in Japan can demand the Japanese government for more money for the upkeep of their bases and facilities, so these car makers can demand the U.S. government pay expenses for the upkeep of their companies and facilities, including water and utilities, as well as employees' salaries.
Do you still insist an analogy doesn't work here? Let me hear your say.
voiceofokinawaNov. 15, 2016 - 03:25PM JST
Only when the analogy fits the argument or point attempted to be made, and in your case not even close.
Let us not be like know-it-alls. Please explain in plain language why in my case an analogy doesn't work.
Otherwise, your response is nothing but whining, never a rational and convincing argument.
voiceofokinawaNov. 15, 2016 - 11:56AM JST
If the analogy doesn't get across your head, then how about this one? Suppose Russian or Chinese troops were stationed in the U.S., occupying so much land, sea and sky as bases, and demand the U.S. government pay more for the upkeep of these bases. How would you respond?
One uses an analogy to get a complex reality to be understood easily. So don't simply say the analogy I use is not a reality.
voiceofokinawaNov. 15, 2016 - 10:57AM JST
The nearly 200 billion yen (or about $1.9 billion) budget doesn't go directly to the U.S. coffers but stays in Japan, as you say. But the expenditures must be borne by U.S. taxpayers by nature, not Japanese taxpayers.
Can Toyota, Honda or Nissan demand that the U.S. government (U.S. taxpayers) shoulder salaries, utilities and other operation costs for their companies, saying the money falls into local economy after all?
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