The Futenma Marine Air Base in Okinawa: The almost legendary

aggravation of Okinawa residents with the noise of the base and

the disruption caused by the Marines that inhabit it is creating

big headaches for Japan's new government.



The Okinawa Times, Japan

It's Time to End Japan's 'Servitude to America'


"The Noda Administration's 'servitude to America' becomes more abundantly clear with each passing day. One can't help feeling a sense of impending crisis and disappointment. … In this multi-polar era, it's a mistake to choose entrenched values that place American interests and diplomacy above all else."




Translated By Anthony Figueroa


November 14, 2011


Japan - The Okinawa Times - Original Article (Japanese)

Japanese farmers from Miyagi Prefecture, badly hit by the tsunami last march, shout slogans against the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade zone. The sign reads, 'Protect Japanese land and food.'

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Obama outlines America's pan-Pacific trade plan at the APEC summit, Hawaii, 00:01:18, Nov. 13.RealVideo

It appears that the masks are finally off. The Noda Administration's "servitude to America" becomes more abundantly clear with each passing day. One can't help feeling a sense of impending crisis and disappointment.


On November 12th, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and U.S. President Barack Obama met to discuss Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and an environmental impact assessment to be submitted by the Noda government to Okinawa Prefecture this year on relocating the U.S. Marine Corp's Futenma Air Base to Henoko in Nago City.


While reiterating its commitment to moving the base, the Obama Administration is the party that assigned this "homework" to Japan, and expressed expectations of "further progress." But since talks to move the base have hardly been held at the appropriate diplomatic levels, such promises of supposed progress will be utterly impossible to keep.


Many Okinawa citizens ask, "Is this false pretense really the way Foreign Minister Maehara wants to proceed in Okinawa?"


On November 4th, Maehara, both foreign minister and Democratic Party policy chief, "secretly" embarked on a trip across Okinawa Prefecture. Maehara's wish to meet Okinawa Prefecture Governor Hirokazu Nakaima caused local speculation to skyrocket.


Initially, Maehara was supposed to travel on November 5th, but about noon on the 4th, conveniently timed news reports said that his trip to Okinawa was canceled. On that same evening, an unusual entry into Okinawa was reported. The deceptive travel plan, which kept citizens and the media in the dark, was an evening flight from Haneda Airport on the 4th. Kina Shoukichi, Democratic Party leader in Okinawa, is said to have traveled with Mr. Maehara. It was yet another case of leaked information from "sources" close to the meeting.


Why did Mr. Maehar, in the midst of the maelstrom of debate over the TPP, feel the need to conduct a "secret" visit - all the while creating suspicion among Okinawa residents? Mr. Maehara's actions apparently reflect a desire to protect the integrity of local governors he planned to visit. But it was a courtesy understood and accepted as a way of adhering to the American agenda and completely bypassing the people of Okinawa.


In the November 10th edition of this newspaper, former diplomat Ukeru Magosaki wrote of the feeling of deja vu that permeates the debate on both the TPP and Futenma.


The dubious logic surrounding the Futenma debate that, "The U.S. Marines are a necessary deterrent,” in reference to the U.S.-Japan agreement, is identical to the equally questionable reasoning regarding the TPP: that to "revitalize its economy," Japan's participation in the TPP is essential. The recrimination and division over the TPP comes from supporters of the U.S.-led effort. They blame former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's policy of condemning the situation, but tolerating America's military presence as long as it remained outside Okinawa.



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At the Japan-U.S. summit in September, Prime Minister Noda, who has put great effort into backing Japan's participation in the TPP as well as advocating the relocation of Futenma, made a snap decision for cabinet members to visit Okinawa to implement the "assignment" given him by Washington.  



In this multi-polar era, it's a mistake to choose entrenched values that place American interests and diplomacy above all else. From this period on, this is a common layer of danger when it comes to political philosophy.


At an Okinawa Prefecture conference on November 14th, a written opinion seeking the abandonment of the environmental impact assessment for the Futenma relocation will be proposed to a special meeting of the Diet where it is expected to pass unanimously.


This movement should be extended to include ever city and community within the prefecture. It is essential that the prefecture's citizens express a strong political will so that they are heard by politicians who are on the fence and have stopped even thinking about the issue.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Nov. 25, 3:38pm]


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