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  1. #1

    Anti-U.S. military protests attract thousands in Naha, Tokyo

    Link to Story: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/...tokyo-1.415315

    Anti-U.S. military protests attract thousands in Naha, Tokyo






    CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — An overflow crowd of some 65,000 angry and frustrated people packed a sports stadium Sunday for a protest of anger and frustration to demand that U.S. forces leave Okinawa and drop a plan to move Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a more remote area on the island.
    Similar demonstrations were also scheduled in 41 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. More than 7,000 people gathered outside the Japanese parliament building in Tokyo to join the demand for a U.S. pullout and to bash Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    A recent rash of crimes, including the slaying of a 20-year-old woman that has been linked to a U.S. civilian base worker, have tapped into Okinawa resentment over the disproportionate number of U.S. troops here, compared with the rest of Japan, and a sense of abandonment and betrayal by the central government even after it regained control of the island in 1972.
    With U.S. servicemembers, family members and others with SOFA status strongly encouraged to avoid the protest area, Gov. Takeshi Onaga called for a total withdrawal of Marines.

    “I will never forgive the inhumane and brutal act that trampled women’s human rights. I am indignant,” said Naga, who won election on an anti-base platform.

    Speaker after speaker made emotionally charged addresses at Onoyama Stadium in Naha that had a couple of Japanese reporters crying. “We have endured cruel treatment for 70 years, even after the reversion of the island,” a student said in English after speaking to the crowd in Japanese. “We are your neighbors. We are your friends. But we want the bases to be gone. This is not how we want our country to be.”
    Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine added “Nothing has changed” in the decades since World War II, when Okinawa was devastated during a protracted battle after an invasion by U.S. troops who then took control of the island.

    Suzuyo Takazato, co-representative of an anti-military women’s group, Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, read a letter written by the father of Rina Shimabukuro, 20, who was found dead in an Okinawa forest a month after she disappeared in April. In the letter, he lamented his loss and the suffering of other victims of U.S. servicemember crimes. Kenneth Franklin Gadson, a civilian base worker and former Marine who goes by his wife’s family name, Shinzato, is suspected by Japanese authorities of killing Shimabukuro while seeking a stranger to rape. “Why did my daughter have to be a victim?” her father said in the letter. “Why was it her? Why did she have to be killed? I now share the sorrow and pains that countless number of families have felt in the past.”

    Morimasa Goya, chairman of the Kariyushi Corporate group, said he would do all it takes to fulfill the wish of the victim’s father — to make his daughter the last victim.

    “Today is Father’s Day. Had it not been for the brutal murder, the victim’s family would be enjoying a happy day today,” Goya said.
    Onaga said he visited the site where Shimabukuro’s body was found to offer flowers and apologized for not being able to protect her. He said when three servicemembers raped a Japanese schoolgirl in 1995, he vowed to not let such a thing happen again, “but I could not change the political system to prevent it,” Onaga said.

    Demonstrators at the Japanese parliament building in Tokyo chanted: “Don’t forgive the murder of the woman,” and “Return her life.” “These incidents happen as long as there are bases,” Nahoko Hishiyama, one of the organizers, told the crowd. “Our peace comes at the expense of Okinawa.”

    Much of the sentiment there was against the prime minister, who was depicted on a number of posters as Adolf Hitler. Participants blamed Abe for the recent incidents on Okinawa by allowing the U.S. military to be stationed in Japan. “Let’s all join to bring down Abe administration, which is the root of all evil,” said Ken Takada, a representative of one of the organizing groups.
    In Okinawa, Onaga criticized the Abe government for its insistence that the new airfield at Henoko is the “only solution” to the issue of Futenma’s location in a heavily populated area.

    “There is a high wall that divides us and the central government. … I am resolved to (do) my best to tear down the wall,” Onaga said. The long-simmering resentment toward the central government was also clear.
    “We, Okinawa people, have harbored a sense of mistrust toward people in the mainland,” said Shizuo Toma, 72, of Naha, who echoed statements by many people who want want to see all Marines leave Okinawa. “The mistrust will not go away easily.” An American, Bill O’Donnell, a 72-year-old former Navy petty officer 3rd class who lives on Okinawa after being stationed here in 1969-70, watched the speeches and said: “We should go home. We should have gone home” in 1972. “This used to be the “Keystone of the Pacific,’” said O’Donnell, of Geneva, N.Y. “It isn’t anymore.” People started arriving two hours before the 2 p.m. scheduled start of the Okinawa protest and soon packed the stadium’s seats, infield and back walls. Hundreds more were turned away to watch outside on video monitors. An estimated 200 media from all over Japan also were on hand, and news helicopters buzzed overhead. Organizers placed the number of protesters at 65,000.

    Onaga got a strong ovation as he arrived and after every pause in his speech. Following the rally, he told reporters that Okinawa’s people’s anger has reached its end. “To not let it be repeated again, I will demand a drastic change in the status of forces agreement, withdrawal of Marines and reduction in the military presence” on Okinawa, Onaga said. “This is my unwavering determination.” A resolution was submitted along the same lines.

    The demonstrations were sparked by the series of crimes that have inflamed emotions on Okinawa — home to more than half of all U.S. servicemembers in Japan — and elsewhere.

    Shimabukuro’s slaying, the rape of a Japanese woman by a Navy sailor and a wrong-way crash by another sailor that has been linked to DUI, led to tightened alcohol and liberty restrictions for U.S. troops and tainted President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Japan last month where he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.

    Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

    What do you guys think? Should America pack and go?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ulmita View Post
    What do you guys think? Should America pack and go?
    Considering the rest of japan doesn't think so, no. The general populace of japan isn't anti-war, they just amended their constitution so they could send troops to fight in foreign countries.

  3. #3
    Well, if Trump is elected we may very well pull out. In my opinion we should. It is time for Japan to do their own defense.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Ulmita View Post
    It's what happens when you enlist criminals into your army. The crimes by the thugs of the US army are well known and their complete lack of discipline and respect even more so. That's not to say there aren't a lot of armies that aren't worse, but the US army should lead by example and needs to stop covering up and hiding shit like this. For a nation that rambles on about freedom, liberty and higher morals, the US army sure likes to ruin all three.
    One bad apple spoils the bunch.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripster42 View Post
    Considering the rest of japan doesn't think so, no.
    pretty sure Okinawa is very staunchly against the American occupation as they see it?
    Social democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism....
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    The Undying Wildtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creamy Flames View Post
    It's what happens when you enlist criminals into your army. The crimes by the thugs of the US army are well known
    Except, the crime in question wasn't committed by a soldier. It was a civilian.
    He who can read, shall have an advantage...

    Different source:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w...ines/86110434/
    "The pen is mightier than the sword.. and considerably easier to write with."

  7. #7
    Merely a Setback Hubcap's Avatar
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    Hmmm, why would Ultima post something like this?

  8. #8
    Hah. Not so funny when hundreds of millions are blamed for the actions of a small, radical minority now, is it?

  9. #9
    The Undying Wildtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostpanther View Post
    Well, if Trump is elected we may very well pull out. In my opinion we should. It is time for Japan to do their own defense.
    The US forces would hate to give up their base presence in that neck of the woods.
    It serves US interests a lot more, than Japanese interests.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubcap View Post
    Hmmm, why would Ultima post something like this?
    In all fairness, it's all over the news.
    One really has to put on some blinders to dodge them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Breccia View Post
    Hah. Not so funny when hundreds of millions are blamed for the actions of a small, radical minority now, is it?
    I see what you did there.
    But different mechanics.
    "The pen is mightier than the sword.. and considerably easier to write with."

  10. #10
    Just make it cost the Americans more money if you want stuff to change.

    make the road to the base a toll road, start charging tourist prices to soldiers for off base stuff, start taxing supplies to the base heavier, etc. i'm sure there are ways to motivate them to take this matter more seriously.

  11. #11
    Banned Paklaaji's Avatar
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    Woah, thousands on a weekend day in a country of +125 million people.

    Impressive.


    Get lost Ulmita and take your pathetic agenda to 2chan or something.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Wildtree View Post
    The US forces would hate to give up their base presence in that neck of the woods.
    It serves US interests a lot more, than Japanese interests.
    It serves their interests as well though. The US military presence is probably the only thing keeping Japan from getting involved in a war with China that they would probably lose. On the other hand, our military is probably also one of the main reasons why any kind of sustainable peaceful co-existence in that region is impossible.

  13. #13
    Banned Paklaaji's Avatar
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    Meanwhile in the non-Kremlin twisted sense of reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macaquerie View Post
    It serves their interests as well though.
    Of course it does. Never said otherwise.
    Just said who benefits more of the two.
    "The pen is mightier than the sword.. and considerably easier to write with."

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    Banned Paklaaji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macaquerie View Post
    On the other hand, our military is probably also one of the main reasons why any kind of sustainable peaceful co-existence in that region is impossible.
    This is what the Chinese would say.

    Everyone else in the immediate region is doing their best to draw US in to the entire West Pacific theatre - Philippines asked US to leave in the 90`s. And US did.
    Now they are offering their ports & military base for permanent US presence. India is a very enthusiastic participant of US-led drills in the Indian Ocean and Philippine Sea, for example. RIMPAC is getting bigger every single year. Australia, India - all of them are on P-8 buying spree (other military equipment and systems as well).

    Every single non-China aligned country in the region is all-hands for forging even stronger ties between them and US.

  16. #16
    The Undying Wildtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paklaaji View Post
    Meanwhile in the non-Kremlin twisted sense of reality.
    What's the Kremlin have to do with this now?
    The news sources posted are both US sources.
    One is an Army news magazine, the other one the country's largest news paper.
    "The pen is mightier than the sword.. and considerably easier to write with."

  17. #17
    There are way too many bases and service members in Okinawa. The military presence in that area is out of hand. Having been there twice, I felt bad for the locals, since the people stationed there acted like asshats. Sure, some of the locals rely heavily on the money that the bases bring, but most want them to simply go away. We don't need a dozen bases on a tiny island. If anything, move some of them to Guam, and bring the rest back to America.

  18. #18
    The Insane
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    Isn't it time for Japan to kick the US military out anyway? I mean come on. It's been long enough. Japan is a sovereign country, not a US colony.
    things worked out better than we had planned • now everything's ruined, yeah

  19. #19
    Banned Paklaaji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildtree View Post
    What's the Kremlin have to do with this now?
    The news sources posted are both US sources.
    One is an Army news magazine, the other one the country's largest news paper.
    Ulmitas agenda and politics are obvious.

    However I`m not denying this story - but considering all the things he could`ve made a thread about, he chose this.

    Who cares, some people in Okinawa have been protesting against US presence for decades now - if US didn`t leave in the relatively peaceful 90`s and early 00`s, it sure as hell won`t leave now. And that is assuming Japan would even consider making such a request.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydänyö View Post
    Isn't it time for Japan to kick the US military out anyway? I mean come on. It's been long enough.
    No.

    And don`t ask again.

  20. #20
    The Insane
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paklaaji View Post
    No.

    And don`t ask again.
    Are you Japanese? Because, I mean, you'd kind of have to be to get a say. Right?

    I'm just saying that I can definitely see why they'd be protesting. I'd want to protest too, if a foreign country had military bases in Finland.
    Last edited by Sydänyö; 2016-06-19 at 02:41 PM.
    things worked out better than we had planned • now everything's ruined, yeah

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