360° Coverage : Okinawa Vote Rebuffs Japan, U.S. Plans For Marine Base

2 Updates
Okinawa Vote Rebuffs Japan, U.S. Plans For Marine Base

Okinawa Vote Rebuffs Japan, U.S. Plans For Marine Base

Jan 19 2014, 4:34pm CST | by

The U.S. and Japan face another obstacle on the way to construction of a new U.S. marine air station in the village of Henoko on the northeast coast of Okinawa. That’s because voters in Nago City,...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

39 weeks ago

Okinawa Vote Rebuffs Japan, U.S. Plans For Marine Base

Jan 19 2014, 4:34pm CST | by

The U.S. and Japan face another obstacle on the way to construction of a new U.S. marine air station in the village of Henoko on the northeast coast of Okinawa. That’s because voters in Nago City, which includes Henoko, have voted by a decisive margin, in the face of intense pressure by Japan’s ruling Liberal-Democratic Party, to reelect a mayor who’s adamantly opposed to base construction.

The victory of Susumu Inamine to a second four-year term over a candidate handpicked by the LDP to try to throw him out of office adds fuel to the fire of long-boiling protests against building the base on landfill off the beach at Henoko. The vote count, 19,839 to 15,684, small though the numbers might appear, has repercussions far beyond Nago city.

Inamine defeated Bunshin Suematsu despite promises by Japan’s conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, of $300 million annually in aid for the next eight years along with a special $50 million package for Nago, covering a small port, forest and farmland beyond the urban sprawl around the Okinawa capital of Naha. Now the question is how or whether the central government can go ahead with the plan to extend land off the beach to build the base in place of a marine air station in Futenma in the city of Ginowan in the densely populated area north of Naha.

The government is counting on the support of the governor of Okinawa, Hirokazu Nakaima, who has endorsed the Henoko project. Abe won Nakaima’s approval in December after dangling the prospect of a significant increase in the aid that the government for years has been pouring into Okinawa, a relatively poor prefecture with little major industry.

Strategically, Okinawa’s main significance is the presence of 28,000 of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan. The U.S. Air Force operates a critical base at Kadena, north of Naha, and U.S. marines are stationed at a number of others bases, including Camp Schwab on the northeast coast, from which marines deploy on missions from east Asia to the middle east. The Henoko air station would be an extension of Camp Schwab.

In the aftermath of the vote, the government may attempt eventually to exercise its power to staunch the protest, removing demonstrators from a camp that they have set up on the beach at Henoko and barring them from the village. Nago Mayor Inamine can frustrate efforts to bring equipment and supplies to the beach but may not have the power to cut them off entirely.

Although anti-base forces would appear to have scored a major triumph, the base also has its advocates. Some local merchants see it as a source of much needed income for an area that’s suffered economically.

The concept of a base at Henoko has been a focal point of protest ever since the U.S. and Japan agreed in 2006 to move the marine air station there from Futenma. That deal came a decade after the two nations agreed in principle on the need to relocate the marine air station after massive protests over the rape in September 1995 of a 12-year-old girl by a sailor and two marines from Futenma.

The protest has not diminished despite plans to relocate about 10,000 marines to Pacific bases elsewhere, including Guam, Australia and Hawaii. Over the past year, Okinawa officials have expressed fears about what they see as the dangers posed by the marines’ new Osprey helicopters, whose tilt rotors enable them to take off vertically and then tilt forward for horizontal flight.

At the same time, pressure for building the base has mounted as tensions rise around the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea about 250 miles southwest of Naha. China also claims the islands, called the Diaoyu in Chinese, and has included them in an Air Defense Identification Zone that conflicts with Japan’s ADIZ.

Chinese aircraft have flown into air space around the islands while Chinese fishing boats regularly go into surrounding waters patrolled by the Japanese Coast Guard. The islands, uninhabited but formally part of Okinawa prefecture, are 185 miles east of the mainland China coast, 105 miles from the northeastern corner of Taiwan, which also claims the islands for the “Republic of China,” and 110 miles west of the nearest Japanese island.

Historical issues lie at the crux of the protest. The U.S. military presence on Okinawa dates to the battle for the island in the Spring of 1945 in which more than 200,000 people died, including 94,000 civilians. The battle, the bloodiest of the war in the Pacific, cost the lives of 94,000 Japanese soldiers and 12,400 U.S. marines, army soldiers and sailors.

Okinawan people, although Japanese citizens, often feel estranged from “mainland” Japan, which annexed Okinawa, formerly the Ryukyu kingdom, in 1879 after having dominated the Ryukyu island chain for more than 250 years. Okinawans fear the presence of the bases exposes them to another war in which they would again be caught in the crossfire.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

'Time to rename medicines for mental health'
London, Oct 20 (IANS) In order to remove confusion for patients who could be prescribed drugs that appear to be unrelated to their condition, the world's major psychiatry organisations are proposing to completely change the terminology of the drugs used in mental disorders.
 
 
How to prevent brain damage after trauma
New York, Oct 20 (IANS) A treatment to prevent the body's immune system from killing brain cells can reduce the brain damage caused by head injuries, a study co-authored by an Indian origin researcher has found.
 
 
Heart attack ups depression risk in women
London, Oct 20 (IANS) Women are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression after a heart attack than men, new research shows.
 
 
Vitamin B12 could detoxify pollutants
London, Oct 20 (IANS) Looking at how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants, researchers have discovered that vitamin B12 could be the key to combating pollution.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla