News / Asia

    US-Japan May Scrap Accord on Marines in Okinawa

    U.S. Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit haul a 155 mm Howitzer onto the flight deck of the forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown in Okinawa, Japan, February 2, 2012.
    U.S. Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit haul a 155 mm Howitzer onto the flight deck of the forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown in Okinawa, Japan, February 2, 2012.

    The two sides appear headed toward canceling a 2006 accord to relocate a US military facility.

    2006 accord, not implemented

    Japan and the United States appear to be heading toward canceling a 2006 accord that would have relocated a strategic American military facility to a less crowded part of the island of Okinawa.  This comes as the city at the heart of the base controversy has elected a new mayor.

    Impeded by activists and local politicians who want U.S.military bases and their personnel moved off Okinawa instead of relocated to other parts of the island, influential Japanese officials, according to sources, are concluding the agreed-to plan with Washington will not be implemented.

    That would mean the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station remains operational in the middle of the heavily congested city of Ginowan.

    Newly elected mayor, appeal for resolution

    On Sunday, voters in Ginowan elected Atsushi Sakima as their new mayor.

    Cheers of “banzai” erupted in Sakima's campaign headquarters when word came he was assured victory over a leftist anti-base hardliner.  But Sakima also campaigned on a pledge to have the Marine air station removed from the island.  

    He reiterated that stance to reporters in his first comments as mayor-elect. Sakima said, along with Okinawa's governor, he wants to appeal to the central government for resolution of the issue of the air station and moving the Marines to reduce the burden on the local population.

    De-linking relocation of air station from marine movement

    Media reports last week said some U.S. Marines based on Okinawa, numbering about 1,500, would move to the Japanese mainland.  But the former U.S. consul general on Okinawa, Kevin Maher, said there are no signs that is being seriously considered.

    “I have been told by people both in the Japanese and the U.S.governments that the idea of moving some number of Marines to mainland Japan, to Iwakuni specifically, is not something that is being discussed by the governments," he said.

    They would be part of around 8,000 Marines, originally scheduled to move from Okinawa to Guam, based on the six-year-old agreement on realignment of American forces in Japan.

    The United States and Japan jointly announced last week they are de-linking the relocation of the air station from the movement of the Marines from the island.

    Maher, now a consultant, said the Japanese government has failed to explain to the Okinawans why the U.S. bases are vital.  The former head of the State Department's Japan office contends the bases are critical not only for Japan's security, but Okinawa's as well, especially at a time when China is quickly expanding its blue water naval capabilities.

    “A lot of that is aimed at the southwest islands of Japan, the Ryukyu islands.  If you look at the first island chain strategy of the Chinese that includes the islands of Okinawa, the Chinese strategy of area access and denial very directly impacts the islands of Okinawa.  So the Okinawans just have to understand that they are in a situation and a location that is strategic," he said.

    Okinawa hosts nearly half of the 50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan, including 18,000 Marines.

    Maher retired from government service last year, after alleged controversial remarks about Okinawans attributed to him were published by a Japanese news agency.  Maher has denied that he made any offensive comments during an off-the-record briefing to university students in Washington.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora