Japanese Activists Succeed in Expelling Half of U.S. Troops from Okinawa

okinawa_woodpecker_sm


Japan and US Agree on Okinawa Troop Withdrawal

David McNeill
Irish Times

Tokyo and Washington have finally reached a deal under which about half the US troops controversially stationed on the island of Okinawa, will be withdrawn, amid a major realignment of American military forces in the Pacific.

The agreement means that 9,000 marines will relocate, leaving about 9,000 to 10,000 stationed on Okinawa. Most of the marines will go to Australia, Hawaii and the Pacific island of Guam, home to about three dozen military installations and 14,000 troops.

Okinawans have long demanded a reduction of the heavy local US military presence. Two years ago, more than 90,000 protested to demand the removal of an American airbase, helping to topple then Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama from power.

The Yanbaru forest at the northern tip of Okinawa is home to endangered Okinawa woodpecker and other rare species whose plight has galvanized environmentalists to protest against the US base (Credit: IPS).

Protest in Tokyo in January 2010 including labor unionists, pacifists, environmentalists and students. Slogans are: ‘We don’t need Futenma base’ (red) and ‘We refuse new Henoko base” (blue) (Credit: AP, Daily Mail).

Washington agreed to slash the number of troops in a 2006 agreement that committed Tokyo to finding an alternative location for the Futenma air base, which squats in the middle of a crowded city. However, local opposition to building its replacement off a pristine coastal village in northern Okinawa forced both governments to decouple the plan.

Futenma air base runs through the middle of Okinawa. Since the islands reverted from US to Japanese rule in 1972, there have been 42 crashes of US aircraft, 37 cases of falling parts, 328 emergency landings, 17 landing failures (Credit: Reuters, The Guardian).

Protestors form human chain Japanese Defense Agency headquarters in Tokyo during the September 4, 2005 commemoration of the 10th anniversary of a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl’s rape by two USMC soldiers and one Navy Seal  from the Okinawa US military base. Between 1972 and 2009, there were 5,634 criminal offenses in Okinawa by US servicemen, including 25 murders, 127 rapes, 385 burglaries, 25 arsons, 306 assaults and 2,827 thefts (Credit: People Daily, The Guardian).

The wording of yesterday’s agreement insists that the replacement base “remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date,” but many experts believe the plan is not workable.

Japan was eager to complete the agreement, which capped years of difficult negotiations, ahead of a Washington meeting between prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and US president Barack Obama next week.

Announcing the deployment of marines in Australia, Mr Obama last year said the US was shifting its military focus away from the Middle East and towards the Pacific region, as part of what his administration calls “America’s Pacific Century”.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton also said that the US must “pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture” in the region.

The Asia-Pacific’s “remarkable economic growth . . . and potential for continued growth . . . depend on the security and stability that has long been guaranteed by the US military,” she said.

Japan will pay almost a third of the $8.6 billion (€6.5 billion) cost of moving the marines to Guam. The deal also means that the US government will begin returning land confiscated decades ago for military bases.

Okinawa is a sub-tropical island that hosted around half of the US troops stationed in Japanese territories (Credit: Daily Mail).

United States military bases in Japan (Credit: Wikipedia).

The Americans have been on Okinawa since invading in 1945, mounting an attack that wiped out close to a third of the local population and left 50,000 US troops killed or injured. In 1972, the islands reverted to Japanese rule but most of the bases stayed.

The bases already occupy a fifth of the main island and include Kadena, the biggest and most active US Air Force base in east Asia, and Futenma, which occupies 25 per cent of Ginowan city.

 

Sources: Irish Times | The Guardian | Daily Mail


Background:
Woodpecker Finds Allies Against U.S. Helicopters

 

 

Japan and US agree Okinawa troop withdrawal

David McNeill in Tokyo
Irish Times

Tokyo and Washington have finally reached a deal under which about half the US troops controversially stationed on the island of Okinawa, will be withdrawn, amid a major realignment of American military forces in the Pacific.

The agreement means that 9,000 marines will relocate, leaving about 9,000 to 10,000 stationed on Okinawa. Most of the marines will go to Australia, Hawaii and the Pacific island of Guam, home to about three dozen military installations and 14,000 troops.

Okinawans have long demanded a reduction of the heavy local US military presence. Two years ago, more than 90,000 protested to demand the removal of an American airbase, helping to topple then Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama from power.

Washington agreed to slash the number of troops in a 2006 agreement that committed Tokyo to finding an alternative location for the Futenma air base, which squats in the middle of a crowded city. However, local opposition to building its replacement off a pristine coastal village in northern Okinawa forced both governments to decouple the plan.

Futenma air base runs through the middle of Okinawa. Since the islands reverted from US to Japanese rule in 1972, there have been 42 crashes of US aircraft, 37 cases of falling parts, 328 emergency landings, 17 landing failures. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/07/okinawa-japan-military-tension.

The wording of yesterday’s agreement insists that the replacement base “remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date,” but many experts believe the plan is not workable.

Japan was eager to complete the agreement, which capped years of difficult negotiations, ahead of a Washington meeting between prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and US president Barack Obama next week.

Announcing the deployment of marines in Australia, Mr Obama last year said the US was shifting its military focus away from the Middle East and towards the Pacific region, as part of what his administration calls “America’s Pacific Century”.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton also said that the US must “pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture” in the region.

The Asia-Pacific’s “remarkable economic growth . . . and potential for continued growth . . . depend on the security and stability that has long been guaranteed by the US military,” she said.

Japan will pay almost a third of the $8.6 billion (€6.5 billion) cost of moving the marines to Guam. The deal also means that the US government will begin returning land confiscated decades ago for military bases.

Okinawa is a sub-tropical island that was the home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories (Credit: Mail Online).

U.S. military bases in Japan.

The Americans have been on Okinawa since invading in 1945, mounting an attack that wiped out close to a third of the local population and left 50,000 US troops killed or injured. In 1972, the islands reverted to Japanese rule but most of the bases stayed.

The bases already occupy a fifth of the main island and include Kadena, the biggest and most active US Air Force base in east Asia, and Futenma, which occupies 25 per cent of Ginowan city.

 

Source: Irish Times

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/0428/1224315293728.html

 

End of an era: U.S. cuts back presence on Japanese outpost Okinawa as 9,000 Marines prepare to move out

  • Marines will relocate to Hawaii and the U.S. territory of Guam – but 10,000 will stay on the island
  • Move will cost an estimated $8.6 billion

By Rebecca Seales
Mail Online

About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa will be moved to the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific, including Hawaii, under a U.S.-Japan agreement announced yesterday.

The move is part of a broader arrangement designed to ease tensions in the countries’ defense alliance, which stem in part from opposition to the American presence on the island.

It also reflects a desire by the Obama administration to spread U.S. forces more widely in the Asia-Pacific region, as America rebalances its defence priorities after a decade of war in the Middle East.
Moving out: Around 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa are to be relocated under a new U.S.-Japan agreement

Moving out: Around 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa are to be relocated under a new U.S.-Japan agreement

The agreement was outlined in a joint statement issued last night by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and their Japanese counterparts.

Citing an ‘increasingly uncertain security environment’ in the Asia-Pacific region, they said their agreement was intended to maintain a robust U.S. military presence to ensure the defence of Japan.

More…

Gun-ho! U.S. ignores warnings from China to stage war games exercise with Philippine forces in disputed waters
‘I hit my head and passed out’: Brazilian prostitute sues after Marines ‘shoved her out of US Embassy van and ran her over’
Wounded British servicemen honoured by Native American tribe in unique ceremony at the Grand Canyon

Okinawa: The sub-tropical island is home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories

Okinawa: The sub-tropical island is home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories

‘Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend,’ Mr Panetta said.

‘I look forward to deepening that friendship and strengthening our partnership as, together, we address security challenges in the region.’

As yet, there has been no indication of when the 9,000 Marines will leave Okinawa. According to the joint statement, their departure will come ‘when appropriate facilities are available to receive them’ on Guam and elsewhere.
Allies: U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Japan was ‘not just a close ally, but also a close friend’ to America

Allies: U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Japan was ‘not just a close ally, but also a close friend’ to America

Under the new agreement, about 10,000 Marines will remain on Okinawa, which has been a key element of the U.S. military presence in Asia for decades. The U.S. also has a substantial Air Force presence on the island.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said the country wanted to ‘reduce the burden on Okinawa,’ adding, ‘I think we have made some progress and this plan offers specific and forward-looking action.’

Japan and its territories are central to America’s strategy for deterring aggression in the region, and for reinforcing the Korean peninsula in the event of a North Korean attack on South Korea.

The Obama administration believes the new agreement with Japan will make the alliance more sustainable, while also giving the Marines more regional flexibility.

Between 4,700 and 5,000 Marines will relocate from Okinawa to Guam, while the remainder of the 9,000 will be transferred to Hawaii or be part of a rotational presence in Australia and elsewhere in the region.

Earlier this week, Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie said he expects around 2,700 Marines will be moved there.

The cost of relocating Marines to Guam is expected to be around $8.6 billion, and defence officials claim Japan will pay $3.1 billion of this.

The total cost includes an unspecified amount for possible construction of new training ranges in the Northern Mariana Islands that could be used jointly by U.S. and Japanese forces.
Controversial: The transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because of issues surrounding the U.S. air base Futenma

Controversial: The transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because of issues surrounding the U.S. air base Futenma

The agreement also calls for a phased return to Japanese control of certain parcels of land on Okinawa which are presently used by the American military.

The shift of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because it was linked to the closure and replacement of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Okinawans fiercely oppose the existence of Futenma, and believe the base should be closed and a replacement established overseas or elsewhere in Japan. The U.S., however, has insisted that Japan should find a Futenma replacement on Okinawa.

For now, the dispute remains unresolved.

The accord was timed for completion before Japanese Prime Minster Yoshihiko Noda’s scheduled visit to Washington on Monday for talks with President Barack Obama.
ONGOING TENSIONS: THE SHAMEFUL CRIME WHICH TURNED OKINAWA AGAINST AMERICAN TROOPS

The U.S. military presence on Okinawa has been a cause of historic tension between America and Japan.

Many of the island’s residents view the troops as a cause of congestion and increased crime.

Much of the bad feeling has its roots in the 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl by three American servicemen.

U.S. Navy Seaman Marcus Gill and U.S. Marines Rodrico Harp and Kendrick Ledet kidnapped the schoolgirl before beating her, duct taping her eyes shut and raping her.

Gill pleaded guilty to the rape, and the other two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

A Japanese judge sentenced Gill and Harp to seven years’ imprisonment, while Ledet received six and a half years.

The men were released in 2003, and dishonourably discharged from the U.S. military.

Unsurprisingly, the incident provoked a public outcry, and the people of Okinawa placed a full-page advert in the New York Times condemning the rape and other aspects of the U.S. presence on their island.

Although top U.S. government officials publicly apologised for the crime, tensions continued to brew and the incident remains fresh in the minds of many.

 

Source: Mail Online

 

End of an era: U.S. cuts back presence on Japanese outpost Okinawa as 9,000 Marines prepare to move out

  • Marines will relocate to Hawaii and the U.S. territory of Guam – but 10,000 will stay on the island
  • Move will cost an estimated $8.6 billion

By Rebecca Seales
Mail Online

About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa will be moved to the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific, including Hawaii, under a U.S.-Japan agreement announced yesterday.

The move is part of a broader arrangement designed to ease tensions in the countries’ defense alliance, which stem in part from opposition to the American presence on the island.

It also reflects a desire by the Obama administration to spread U.S. forces more widely in the Asia-Pacific region, as America rebalances its defence priorities after a decade of war in the Middle East.
Moving out: Around 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa are to be relocated under a new U.S.-Japan agreement

Moving out: Around 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa are to be relocated under a new U.S.-Japan agreement

The agreement was outlined in a joint statement issued last night by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and their Japanese counterparts.

Citing an ‘increasingly uncertain security environment’ in the Asia-Pacific region, they said their agreement was intended to maintain a robust U.S. military presence to ensure the defence of Japan.

More…

Gun-ho! U.S. ignores warnings from China to stage war games exercise with Philippine forces in disputed waters
‘I hit my head and passed out’: Brazilian prostitute sues after Marines ‘shoved her out of US Embassy van and ran her over’
Wounded British servicemen honoured by Native American tribe in unique ceremony at the Grand Canyon

Okinawa: The sub-tropical island is home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories

Okinawa: The sub-tropical island is home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories

‘Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend,’ Mr Panetta said.

‘I look forward to deepening that friendship and strengthening our partnership as, together, we address security challenges in the region.’

As yet, there has been no indication of when the 9,000 Marines will leave Okinawa. According to the joint statement, their departure will come ‘when appropriate facilities are available to receive them’ on Guam and elsewhere.
Allies: U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Japan was ‘not just a close ally, but also a close friend’ to America

Allies: U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Japan was ‘not just a close ally, but also a close friend’ to America

Under the new agreement, about 10,000 Marines will remain on Okinawa, which has been a key element of the U.S. military presence in Asia for decades. The U.S. also has a substantial Air Force presence on the island.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said the country wanted to ‘reduce the burden on Okinawa,’ adding, ‘I think we have made some progress and this plan offers specific and forward-looking action.’

Japan and its territories are central to America’s strategy for deterring aggression in the region, and for reinforcing the Korean peninsula in the event of a North Korean attack on South Korea.

The Obama administration believes the new agreement with Japan will make the alliance more sustainable, while also giving the Marines more regional flexibility.

Between 4,700 and 5,000 Marines will relocate from Okinawa to Guam, while the remainder of the 9,000 will be transferred to Hawaii or be part of a rotational presence in Australia and elsewhere in the region.

Earlier this week, Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie said he expects around 2,700 Marines will be moved there.

The cost of relocating Marines to Guam is expected to be around $8.6 billion, and defence officials claim Japan will pay $3.1 billion of this.

The total cost includes an unspecified amount for possible construction of new training ranges in the Northern Mariana Islands that could be used jointly by U.S. and Japanese forces.
Controversial: The transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because of issues surrounding the U.S. air base Futenma

Controversial: The transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because of issues surrounding the U.S. air base Futenma

The agreement also calls for a phased return to Japanese control of certain parcels of land on Okinawa which are presently used by the American military.

The shift of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because it was linked to the closure and replacement of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Okinawans fiercely oppose the existence of Futenma, and believe the base should be closed and a replacement established overseas or elsewhere in Japan. The U.S., however, has insisted that Japan should find a Futenma replacement on Okinawa.

For now, the dispute remains unresolved.

The accord was timed for completion before Japanese Prime Minster Yoshihiko Noda’s scheduled visit to Washington on Monday for talks with President Barack Obama.
ONGOING TENSIONS: THE SHAMEFUL CRIME WHICH TURNED OKINAWA AGAINST AMERICAN TROOPS

The U.S. military presence on Okinawa has been a cause of historic tension between America and Japan.

Many of the island’s residents view the troops as a cause of congestion and increased crime.

Much of the bad feeling has its roots in the 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl by three American servicemen.

U.S. Navy Seaman Marcus Gill and U.S. Marines Rodrico Harp and Kendrick Ledet kidnapped the schoolgirl before beating her, duct taping her eyes shut and raping her.

Gill pleaded guilty to the rape, and the other two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

A Japanese judge sentenced Gill and Harp to seven years’ imprisonment, while Ledet received six and a half years.

The men were released in 2003, and dishonourably discharged from the U.S. military.

Unsurprisingly, the incident provoked a public outcry, and the people of Okinawa placed a full-page advert in the New York Times condemning the rape and other aspects of the U.S. presence on their island.

Although top U.S. government officials publicly apologised for the crime, tensions continued to brew and the incident remains fresh in the minds of many.

 

Source: Mail Online

 

End of an era: U.S. cuts back presence on Japanese outpost Okinawa as 9,000 Marines prepare to move out

  • Marines will relocate to Hawaii and the U.S. territory of Guam – but 10,000 will stay on the island
  • Move will cost an estimated $8.6 billion

By Rebecca Seales
Mail Online

About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa will be moved to the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific, including Hawaii, under a U.S.-Japan agreement announced yesterday.

The move is part of a broader arrangement designed to ease tensions in the countries’ defense alliance, which stem in part from opposition to the American presence on the island.

It also reflects a desire by the Obama administration to spread U.S. forces more widely in the Asia-Pacific region, as America rebalances its defence priorities after a decade of war in the Middle East.
Moving out: Around 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa are to be relocated under a new U.S.-Japan agreement

Moving out: Around 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa are to be relocated under a new U.S.-Japan agreement

The agreement was outlined in a joint statement issued last night by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and their Japanese counterparts.

Citing an ‘increasingly uncertain security environment’ in the Asia-Pacific region, they said their agreement was intended to maintain a robust U.S. military presence to ensure the defence of Japan.

More…

Gun-ho! U.S. ignores warnings from China to stage war games exercise with Philippine forces in disputed waters
‘I hit my head and passed out’: Brazilian prostitute sues after Marines ‘shoved her out of US Embassy van and ran her over’
Wounded British servicemen honoured by Native American tribe in unique ceremony at the Grand Canyon

Okinawa: The sub-tropical island is home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories

Okinawa: The sub-tropical island is home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories

‘Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend,’ Mr Panetta said.

‘I look forward to deepening that friendship and strengthening our partnership as, together, we address security challenges in the region.’

As yet, there has been no indication of when the 9,000 Marines will leave Okinawa. According to the joint statement, their departure will come ‘when appropriate facilities are available to receive them’ on Guam and elsewhere.
Allies: U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Japan was ‘not just a close ally, but also a close friend’ to America

Allies: U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Japan was ‘not just a close ally, but also a close friend’ to America

Under the new agreement, about 10,000 Marines will remain on Okinawa, which has been a key element of the U.S. military presence in Asia for decades. The U.S. also has a substantial Air Force presence on the island.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said the country wanted to ‘reduce the burden on Okinawa,’ adding, ‘I think we have made some progress and this plan offers specific and forward-looking action.’

Japan and its territories are central to America’s strategy for deterring aggression in the region, and for reinforcing the Korean peninsula in the event of a North Korean attack on South Korea.

The Obama administration believes the new agreement with Japan will make the alliance more sustainable, while also giving the Marines more regional flexibility.

Between 4,700 and 5,000 Marines will relocate from Okinawa to Guam, while the remainder of the 9,000 will be transferred to Hawaii or be part of a rotational presence in Australia and elsewhere in the region.

Earlier this week, Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie said he expects around 2,700 Marines will be moved there.

The cost of relocating Marines to Guam is expected to be around $8.6 billion, and defence officials claim Japan will pay $3.1 billion of this.

The total cost includes an unspecified amount for possible construction of new training ranges in the Northern Mariana Islands that could be used jointly by U.S. and Japanese forces.
Controversial: The transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because of issues surrounding the U.S. air base Futenma

Controversial: The transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because of issues surrounding the U.S. air base Futenma

The agreement also calls for a phased return to Japanese control of certain parcels of land on Okinawa which are presently used by the American military.

The shift of Marines from Okinawa to Guam has been in limbo for years because it was linked to the closure and replacement of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Okinawans fiercely oppose the existence of Futenma, and believe the base should be closed and a replacement established overseas or elsewhere in Japan. The U.S., however, has insisted that Japan should find a Futenma replacement on Okinawa.

For now, the dispute remains unresolved.

The accord was timed for completion before Japanese Prime Minster Yoshihiko Noda’s scheduled visit to Washington on Monday for talks with President Barack Obama.
ONGOING TENSIONS: THE SHAMEFUL CRIME WHICH TURNED OKINAWA AGAINST AMERICAN TROOPS

The U.S. military presence on Okinawa has been a cause of historic tension between America and Japan.

Many of the island’s residents view the troops as a cause of congestion and increased crime.

Much of the bad feeling has its roots in the 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl by three American servicemen.

U.S. Navy Seaman Marcus Gill and U.S. Marines Rodrico Harp and Kendrick Ledet kidnapped the schoolgirl before beating her, duct taping her eyes shut and raping her.

Gill pleaded guilty to the rape, and the other two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

A Japanese judge sentenced Gill and Harp to seven years’ imprisonment, while Ledet received six and a half years.

The men were released in 2003, and dishonourably discharged from the U.S. military.

Unsurprisingly, the incident provoked a public outcry, and the people of Okinawa placed a full-page advert in the New York Times condemning the rape and other aspects of the U.S. presence on their island.

Although top U.S. government officials publicly apologised for the crime, tensions continued to brew and the incident remains fresh in the minds of many.

 

Source: Mail Online

Japan and US agree Okinawa troop withdrawal

David McNeill in Tokyo
Irish Times

Tokyo and Washington have finally reached a deal under which about half the US troops controversially stationed on the island of Okinawa, will be withdrawn, amid a major realignment of American military forces in the Pacific.

The agreement means that 9,000 marines will relocate, leaving about 9,000 to 10,000 stationed on Okinawa. Most of the marines will go to Australia, Hawaii and the Pacific island of Guam, home to about three dozen military installations and 14,000 troops.

Okinawans have long demanded a reduction of the heavy local US military presence. Two years ago, more than 90,000 protested to demand the removal of an American airbase, helping to topple then Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama from power.

Washington agreed to slash the number of troops in a 2006 agreement that committed Tokyo to finding an alternative location for the Futenma air base, which squats in the middle of a crowded city. However, local opposition to building its replacement off a pristine coastal village in northern Okinawa forced both governments to decouple the plan.

Futenma air base runs through the middle of Okinawa. Since the islands reverted from US to Japanese rule in 1972, there have been 42 crashes of US aircraft, 37 cases of falling parts, 328 emergency landings, 17 landing failures. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/07/okinawa-japan-military-tension.

The wording of yesterday’s agreement insists that the replacement base “remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date,” but many experts believe the plan is not workable.

Japan was eager to complete the agreement, which capped years of difficult negotiations, ahead of a Washington meeting between prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and US president Barack Obama next week.

Announcing the deployment of marines in Australia, Mr Obama last year said the US was shifting its military focus away from the Middle East and towards the Pacific region, as part of what his administration calls “America’s Pacific Century”.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton also said that the US must “pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture” in the region.

The Asia-Pacific’s “remarkable economic growth . . . and potential for continued growth . . . depend on the security and stability that has long been guaranteed by the US military,” she said.

Japan will pay almost a third of the $8.6 billion (€6.5 billion) cost of moving the marines to Guam. The deal also means that the US government will begin returning land confiscated decades ago for military bases.

Okinawa is a sub-tropical island that was the home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories (Credit: Mail Online).

U.S. military bases in Japan.

The Americans have been on Okinawa since invading in 1945, mounting an attack that wiped out close to a third of the local population and left 50,000 US troops killed or injured. In 1972, the islands reverted to Japanese rule but most of the bases stayed.

The bases already occupy a fifth of the main island and include Kadena, the biggest and most active US Air Force base in east Asia, and Futenma, which occupies 25 per cent of Ginowan city.

 

Source: Irish Times

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/0428/1224315293728.html

 

 

Japan and US agree Okinawa troop withdrawal

David McNeill in Tokyo
Irish Times

Tokyo and Washington have finally reached a deal under which about half the US troops controversially stationed on the island of Okinawa, will be withdrawn, amid a major realignment of American military forces in the Pacific.

The agreement means that 9,000 marines will relocate, leaving about 9,000 to 10,000 stationed on Okinawa. Most of the marines will go to Australia, Hawaii and the Pacific island of Guam, home to about three dozen military installations and 14,000 troops.

Okinawans have long demanded a reduction of the heavy local US military presence. Two years ago, more than 90,000 protested to demand the removal of an American airbase, helping to topple then Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama from power.

Washington agreed to slash the number of troops in a 2006 agreement that committed Tokyo to finding an alternative location for the Futenma air base, which squats in the middle of a crowded city. However, local opposition to building its replacement off a pristine coastal village in northern Okinawa forced both governments to decouple the plan.

Futenma air base runs through the middle of Okinawa. Since the islands reverted from US to Japanese rule in 1972, there have been 42 crashes of US aircraft, 37 cases of falling parts, 328 emergency landings, 17 landing failures. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/07/okinawa-japan-military-tension.

The wording of yesterday’s agreement insists that the replacement base “remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date,” but many experts believe the plan is not workable.

Japan was eager to complete the agreement, which capped years of difficult negotiations, ahead of a Washington meeting between prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and US president Barack Obama next week.

Announcing the deployment of marines in Australia, Mr Obama last year said the US was shifting its military focus away from the Middle East and towards the Pacific region, as part of what his administration calls “America’s Pacific Century”.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton also said that the US must “pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture” in the region.

The Asia-Pacific’s “remarkable economic growth . . . and potential for continued growth . . . depend on the security and stability that has long been guaranteed by the US military,” she said.

Japan will pay almost a third of the $8.6 billion (€6.5 billion) cost of moving the marines to Guam. The deal also means that the US government will begin returning land confiscated decades ago for military bases.

Okinawa is a sub-tropical island that was the home to around half of the U.S. troops stationed in Japanese territories (Credit: Mail Online).

U.S. military bases in Japan.

The Americans have been on Okinawa since invading in 1945, mounting an attack that wiped out close to a third of the local population and left 50,000 US troops killed or injured. In 1972, the islands reverted to Japanese rule but most of the bases stayed.

The bases already occupy a fifth of the main island and include Kadena, the biggest and most active US Air Force base in east Asia, and Futenma, which occupies 25 per cent of Ginowan city.

 

Source: Irish Times

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/0428/1224315293728.html

 

Leave a Reply