Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Top

Collapse

Alternative Okinawa: Americans Out!

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Alternative Okinawa: Americans Out!

    (From the Logical case for anti-America sentiments topic).

    The myths and the realities ... a learning experience for me because I have not looked at the situation before and am making no intellectual pretensions about these roughly assembled notes.

    My position would be unapologetically pro self-determination and self-sovereignty ... but that there is no point me picking a fight if they were not able to nor going to back me.

    If I was Okinawan, I would be anti-bases.
    Originally posted by Lt. Gen. Earl B. Hailston, commander of the US Marine regiment based in Okinawa View Post
    Re: the governor of Okinawa and other Okinawan political leaders

    "nuts and a bunch of wimps".
    Originally posted by edin日本 View Post
    Yes, by all means let's kick the US military out of Okinawa. And then let's have these protestors use all the millions of dollars they possess to build new businesses and industries ...

    Once the US bases are gone the economy of Okinawa WILL tank. Property rates will crash and people will flee the island.
    I strongly doubt it.
    The figures * I read are:

    Tourist revenue is 16%
    Base revenue is 8% (some say 5%†)

    98% of 5,000,000 tourist are from the mainland.
    (I would accept this issue is new to me and so that needs qualifying. Average individual income derived from bases is estimated to be 10%)

    Extract from that:

    a) the long-term social, cultural and environmental costs (say -4%)
    Add back
    b) the likely existence of a large J-SDF base in its place, say +4%
    Plus an increase in J-SDF families, say +1%
    It would not be hard to see that 'USA Out' could be made to balance or have little economic impact.

    And it would lower the rape case and crime statistics ... both recorded and unrecorded and unprosecuted.

    In fact, the Japanese Communist Party calculated that the value of the bases was 420.7 billion yen and the return of all U.S. bases in Okinawa would bring about 2.2 times economic benefits (915.6 billion yen) to Okinawa and demanded that the government make efforts to get these U.S. base sites back to Japan.

    Reading further ... one can immediately debunk the myths of the bases being good for the island.
    Its nearly 5 trillion Yen investment in the years 1972 - 1996, largely in the form of public works, has done little to create a basis for sustainable development in Japan's poorest prefectrue. Quite the contrary. The agriculture and fishery economy, the distinctive biological and zoological endownment, and Okinawan society have suffered vast social, economic and ecological damage precisely as a result of Japanese-financed construction.

    Okinawa Citizens, US Bases, and the Security of Asia - Economic and Political Weekly
    It suggests to me that the money that went into Okinawa did not end up with the Okinawans but the usual depositories such as the large construction and infrastructure companies. Further more, the "leakage", income leaving the island, on tourist spending is around 40% which if plugged and kept on the islands could further balance the economy.

    The tourism industry employs many Okinawans, but only rarely in higher-echelon jobs. Most of that industry's profits go to corporations based elsewhere in Japan.

    The manufacturing/industrial sector is poorly developed. If the Okinawans were smart (which they are), or at least removed from under the thumb of Tokyo and freed from its bureaucratic bindings, they could replace the US military with some other international presence like a int. university, a proper Free Trade Zone and trade centers inviting more varied foreign investment.

    Background

    In 1879, Japan forcibly annexed the Ryukyu Kingdom. The main reason for Japan's takeover was the islands' geographic importance for military purposes. Okinawans became second-class citizens within Japan. Some have even argued that Okinawa was in fact Japan's first colony.

    In the 1880s, Japan's government was willing to cede part of the Ryukyu Islands to China in return for commercial considerations and even signed a treaty to this effect, but it ultimately failed to gain ratification from the Qing court. Following Japan's defeat in the Second World War, an agreement in 1947 was made with the American Occupation forces that, in return for a short occupation of the mainland, the US could retain possession of Okinawa Prefecture ... indefinitely.

    During WWII approximately 20% of the civilian population died (estimated civilian casualties of 90,000 to 150,000), most of the island's infrastructure, historical and cultural assets were destroyed. It was, at the time, largely an undeveloped sub-tropic agricultural society with its own unique culture.

    As a result, Okinawa Prefecture was under US military control from 1945-1972. These and many other events belie the Japanese government's claim that it regards Okinawa to be an integral part of the homeland. Between 1945 and 1950, the Americans occupied what Okinawan land they wanted, regardless of whether it had been publicly or privately owned.

    Okinawa remains Japan's poorest prefecture, with a per capita income level approximately 70% of the Japanese mainland average and twice unemployment. Post WWII, it has been remade as a service economy, largely serving the bases.

    Okinawa Prefecture comprises only 0.6% of the whole Japanese territory and yet is home to 78% of the US Military installations in Japan (20% of the best land of the mainland). Much of the land was forcibly taken from residents. 40% of people who live in the Kadena town think that having military bases in their town is not be a plus for them, only 16% of people do.

    The recent development is having a detrimental effect on the environment. Its coral reefs are dying and beaches are being spoilt. Over-fishing has led to the decline of that industry. Highly carcinogenic materials (fuels, oils, solvents, heavy metals and DU rounds) are regularly released during military operations and the people suffer deafening noise from low-flying military aircraft.

    Dozens of barrels of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange were buried in the late 1960s beneath what is now a busy neighborhood in the central Okinawa Island town of Chatan, near Araha Beach.

    Public works ill-suited to the environment of Okinawa have resulted in the widespread destruction of Okinawa’s mountains, rivers, and sea.

    Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA, Article 4), the U.S. is not responsible for environmental clean-up of land or water and host communities are not adequate provided with information on the extent of military contamination.

    The islands are home to the worst kept "secret" nuclear weapons.

    Last edited by beentheredonethat; 2012-03-03, 12:30 AM.

  • #2
    Economics

    In order to create the current situation, the exchange rate between the dollar and the 'B Yen' was artificially distorted (the ‘B yen’ was worth about a third of the mainland currency). This had the effect of removing any incentives for Okinawa to produce its own goods for ‘export’ and made the economy heavily dependent on imports. This was an effective 'containment and control' policy which aimed to tying the Okinawan economy to the Americans. Thus, the agricultural prefecture of Okinawa was artificially forcefully transformed into a service-based economy dependent on the custom of the American military. The revenue stream was generally directed out of the region and the local economy did not prosper as much as might be expected from the visual transformation it underwent.

    The "development fund" it is paid is of around three billion yen pa. Yet Nago City’s agricultural output in the early 1990s was over nine billion yen pa, the highest in all Okinawa. Now it is only six billion, a drop of three billion. Just by regaining that three billion we can obviate the need for three billion yen in development funds.

    Japan pays $100,000 per capita, or "per US soldier" every year.

    Crime

    Military personnel who have injured or, in some cases, killed local people through negligent driving have not been brought to trial in local courts. This has angered local people who see it as a daily manifestation of U.S. insensitivity and high-handedness.

    There have been approximately 5,584 criminal incidents involving members of the US military in the 36-year period (1972-2008) since Okinawa was officially returned to Japan. Of those, murder, armed robbery, arson and rape accounted for 559 cases. There are over 100 serious traffic accidents involving US military-associated vehicles each year, and the numbers have been increasing in the last 5 years to around 160-180 accidents a year.

    Prostitution

    After the war, approximately 10,000 Okinawan women coerced into prostitution poverty, currently 7,000+ Filipinos are employed in the 'entertainment' industry

    Okinawan opinion

    Quality of life: 84% of Okinawans felt there was a disparities between the mainland Japan and Okinawa Prefecture. However, many feel Okinawans fare better under the American than they did under the pre-war Imperial Japanese masters.

    On the US military bases:
    66% wanted a "phased reduction"
    22% wanted "the immediate removal of all bases"
    only 10% were content with "the situation as it is now"
    Conclusion

    To put it bluntly, Okinawa is being shafted by Tokyo who is being shafted by Uncle Sam. Decision being made by the US are then forced upon Okinawans by Tokyo which regularly holds closed door or secret meetings, ignores local democratic opinion and makes unfavorable and counterproductive decisions.


    Base Return Action Program
    * The American Village: Redefining Security in a "Militourist" Landscape, Ayano Ginoza (JSS 2007)
    Okinawa: Effects of long-term US Military presence
    See also:
    Ryukyu-Okinawa History and Culture Website and its Facebook page
    Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles, Bibliography
    Myth of Bases Economy in Okinawa
    The Development of Okinawa Economy and the North East Asian Regional Cooperation, Ebina Yasuhiko
    Political Economy of the Free Trade Zone in Okinawa, Nukumi Tetsuro
    Overview of Okinawa
    Close the Base
    Last edited by beentheredonethat; 2012-03-03, 12:31 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Indeed.

      And the bad publicity the Americans have received has kept many Japanese tourists away..
      (I have heard that first hand.)

      So, we can assume domestic tourism would increase if the Americans left.

      Comment


      • #4
        Okinawa Anti-Base Protesters Remember WWII

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
          And the bad publicity the Americans have received has kept many Japanese tourists away..
          (I have heard that first hand.)

          So, we can assume domestic tourism would increase if the Americans left.
          That is a very, very good point ...

          Comment


          • #6
            Come to Paradise! (... build a military base, occupy it and rape the women).

            Locals try to find their own way of life whilst it goes on. The soul of Okinawan music and cultural diversity ... Part Two here.

            Last edited by beentheredonethat; 2012-03-03, 01:03 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
              Indeed.

              And the bad publicity the Americans have received has kept many Japanese tourists away..
              (I have heard that first hand.)

              So, we can assume domestic tourism would increase if the Americans left.
              Would it? As I see it Okinawa would become another Subic Bay. Officially only a small amount of the money the Okinawan economy earns comes from the US bases, unofficially with the various businesses, government grants and other under the table goodies that the Okinawans currently get and would see cease if the bases left the economy would immediately go into a tailspin.

              Now, if there was an actual plan for rebuilding after the bases left in a way that would benefit the Okinawans I might change my opinion. But knowing the Japanese government, there isn't a plan or if there is one it will only benefit some big construction companies that are based in the riding of some Minshuto or Jinminto bigwigs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just nice pictures and music ... now, that's a blue sky!

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's a nice place except for the Habu and Mamushi and the fresh outta boot US Marines and the fact that none of the natives believed that I wasn't USMC despite wearing a t-shirt with a maple leaf and saying "Made in Canada" on it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by edin日本 View Post
                    It's a nice place except for ... the fresh outta boot US Marines.
                    They are a bit like members of a cult, aren't they?

                    Except a lot more able to willing and able to inflict pain than a Mormon or Hare Krishna.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
                      Indeed.

                      And the bad publicity the Americans have received has kept many Japanese tourists away..
                      (I have heard that first hand.)
                      makes sense! I guess that is why J-tourism to places like Hawaii and Guam far exceeds that of the Ryukyus.....
                      (I think you should stop listing to fellow crack enthusiasts)!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by well_bicyclically View Post
                        makes sense! I guess that is why J-tourism to places like Hawaii and Guam far exceeds that of the Ryukyus.....
                        (I think you should stop listing to fellow crack enthusiasts)!
                        Actually, they didn't go there either.
                        The group of Japanese people from my town I was referring to chose another Japanese island instead, because they said they preferred one without an American base.

                        They were big spending 50+ year old people. No drug users amongst them.

                        I also interviewed 20 other people for a project.
                        I asked them where they would go for holidays if they were given a free ticket to anywhere.
                        NONE of them picked Hawaii or Guam or anywhere else in the US.
                        The answers were all Asia and Europe, except a couple said Egypt and one said Australia.

                        I don't claim to know how Japanese people think.
                        But I do listen to what they say.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
                          Actually, they didn't go there either.
                          The group of Japanese people from my town I was referring to chose another Japanese island instead, because they said they preferred one without an American base.

                          They were big spending 50+ year old people. No drug users amongst them.

                          I also interviewed 20 other people for a project.
                          I asked them where they would go for holidays if they were given a free ticket to anywhere.
                          NONE of them picked Hawaii or Guam or anywhere else in the US.
                          The answers were all Asia and Europe, except a couple said Egypt and one said Australia.

                          I don't claim to know how Japanese people think.
                          But I do listen to what they say.


                          well... as long as your "sampling" was statistically sound....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by beentheredonethat View Post
                            They are a bit like members of a cult, aren't they?

                            Except a lot more able to willing and able to inflict pain than a Mormon or Hare Krishna.
                            That's one of the reasons I always say "Take a knife to a fistfight and a 9mm pistol to a knifefight."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am sure that there must be a reference to it somewhere above, and I just missed it.

                              But just in case it wasn’t actually there – and at the risk of being redundant – it seems to me that the purpose of, and the benefits that Okinawa and the rest of Japan obtains from these bases … are… economic in the sense that they enjoy economic freedom, the right to use Yen as their currency, the right to use Japanese as their language, the right to travel unimpeded to the rest of Japan, along with a few more rights… that they would not likely enjoy – were Okinawa a part of the Empire of Communist China.

                              So what is the crap about percentages of economic contribution all about?

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X