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30 December 2016

US Marine Osprey crashed in Okinawa, Japan! Finally!

An osprey (helo-plane type flying vehicle) crashed on the coast of Nago city, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, Dec 13. A major accident finally occurred 4 years after deployment in Okinawa. That was in fact, anticipated 4 years ago. Read this post.

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The crash site was near the US Marine Camp Schwab. The osprey seemed trying to land there after its propeller was damaged while inflight refueling training and had lost control of it. The accident was classified as Class A, highest rank, loss amount was more than 80 million US $. The osprey was torn apart to more than 4 pieces.

Top ranking official of US military stationed in Okinawa, named Nicolson, said Okinawans should appreciate pilots had avoided landing on nearby ground so no civilian casualty was caused. That comment outraged Okinawans who have been opposed to osprey deployment for a long time because of defective structure of the vehicle. Osprey cause accidents 3 times more frequent than other helicoptors. That rate has not changed since it was first introduced in US Marine more than 10 years ago.   

The news was reported and broadcasted nationwide. Not only Okinawa locals but Japanese citizens in general felt very distrustful of the U.S. army and the U.S government.

This crash accident is related to ongoing construction of new runways in U.S. Marine Camp Schwab site. A hundred ospreys will be deployed there after completion of the runways by landfilling the sea.

Okinawa governor, Onaga once cancelled landfill permit which was signed by a former governor but this month a week after the accident, Japan's Supreme Court made a ruling that Onaga's cancellation was illegal. Then he revived landfill permit but insists on his firm determination of stopping the construction by whatever method he could use. He still holds many authorities to do that.

Japan's central government and U.S. government do not mind local protest and proceed construction.

What will happen next year? The construction will never be done but distrutst and grudge will grow.

More news related to this construction and osprey will come up. US government might think it is a small matter in the far east. Actually this news is not widely reported in US.  

As I described in this blog, more Japanese are learning US military stationed in Japan no longer functions as defense. It is just for two nations' political or military establishment who want to maintain US-Japan defense treaty system.

At Japan's considerate citizen and Okinawa local level, US is just losing trust and friends by this issue.

US seemed very near-sighted. Maybe Japan is not very important any longer since China has become bigger economic power. But China cannot share the same democratic values with US like Japan does in East Asian region. Japan is necessary as bypass between US and China in many occasions.

But it is time that Japan diverts from friendship with America.

Okinawa might turn to be another Pearl Harbor between two nations.

Things might change if newly elected President Donald Trump alters the course. He may do so since he insisted on withdrawing US troops from Japan during the election campaign. He may find Okinawa bases are nothing but budget wasting place.

I am not very sure but he seems to know Japan very well since he has been to Japan many times as a businessman. One time he claimed Japan can defend itself like it did in the past like occupying China and ruled Korean peninsular. He looked not so intelligent but very clever and somehow very knowledgeable.

As for this Okinawa matter, Trump might be able to handle more wisely than Obama and Clinton (as Secretary of State) has done up to this point.

04 September 2016

Okinawans are Rosa Parks and LIBERTARIAN

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I stayed in Takae district, Higashi village in Okinawa Prefecture last week. I have been there more than 10 times in last 7 years. Okinawa is southernmost prefecture, 3 hour flight from Tokyo, which is tropical and whose population is 1.4 million. It is like Hawaii or Guam in the U.S.

Articles in Okinawa tag describes what is happening there. As described, Okinawans are in desperate situation. They confront with new US military construction plans. One is in Henoko, Nago city, where US Marine Camp Schwab is located. V shape runways construction is planned landfilling the sea by the beach of Camp Schwab.

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The other is Takae, Higashi village, where Northern Training Area is located.

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In Takae, construction of 6 helipads is planned in the forest near the villagers residential area.

In both cases, newly constructed bases will threaten the environment of locals as well as wildlife including endangered species. There have been protest movement such as direct action like sit-in at gates of the construction sites.

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The Japanese government is pushing forward the project using massive police forces to clear out.

In Takae, last month one gate was cleared out by removing sit-in tents at the gate. Security guards and policemen are stationed at the gate. The photos are Before on the top and After in the below.  

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But Okinawans never give in. That is their history. Since the end of second world war, Okinawa has been occupied by US military forces until return to Japan in 1972. The big bases remained even after the return to Japan.

They always had troubles with US forces. To counter the oppression, what they do is sit-in protest direct action. They keep on doing until they win. They have suceeded in the past.

This time they try. In the opposite side to the gate cleared out by the police, they set up another big tent that can house hundreds of people. There are tens of benches inside. The place was another important entrance for construction. The tent blocks contruction workers to transport machines and materials to another places. The authority demands them to clear out. They refused.

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Inside a meeting was held every morning. The leader of protest movement said, their policy is non-violent but disobedient to the authority like Rosa Parks, Dr. King and Gandhi. They might break some laws but that doesn't matter if we can stop the worst thing. We do not have to follow bad laws.  

I stayed in the tent and was told that just sitting on the bench is good enough to counter the police. If hundreds of people are inside, the police cannot move out so many people from such narrow place.

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They also do sit-in protest on the road that construction trucks pass. Their sit-in delayed construction.

That is Okinawan way. That has been going on for decades.

Due to such circumstances, Okinawa has been most autonomous prefecture in Japan. Okinawa went through unique path. There was an independent kingdom until late 19th century. The island was annexed to Empire of Japan then.  

The Okinawan government is now fighting against central government regarding landfill permit of Henoko sea. The Okinawan government invalidated landfill permit so the central government sued the Okinawa to make it validated. The verdict will be issued on 16 of September. The Okinawan government says it will fight until the end and halt landfill of Henoko and construction of new base anyway they can.

Recently independence movement has been discussed among Okinawans. They found belonging to Japan is no longer advantageous to their land. They have different kind of culture and geographically separated from mainland Japan. They always wanted to claim independence. Now their patience has reached beyond limit.

That is like LIBERTARIAN way of thinking.

Interestingly, ROSA PARKS and LIBERTARIAN are sprits of their oppressors' nation. Maybe because of that, some US veterans sympathised with Okinawans. Last week some members of Veterans for Peace joined the protest. Last month Veterans for Peace in Berkeley made a resolution that new US marine base construction should be halted.

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They showed up in the tent. I talked with them. They were surprised to know that during Vietnam war era, Agent Orange was used in the village and villagers were used as simulated VetCont targets in the training. One young member who was stationed in Iraq said he had been deceived by the government. They really learnt significance of this protest movement like their own.

ROSA PARKS and LIBERTARIAN may be globally common concepts for living life.

29 July 2016

US Marine helipad construction drives precious forest and human destruction, We'll "Try Everything" to stop that!

It is happening in Takae district, Higashi Village, Okinawa Island Prefecture, southernmost tropical region in JAPAN. The population of the prefecture is about 1.4 million. 3 hour flight from Tokyo. Kind of remote from main 4 islands of Japan. It is like Hawaii in U.S.

 

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In exchange for return of some portion of US Marine training area indicated in dark red, they demanded building 6 new helipads in the forest near Takae district (circled area), residence of 150 people. The locals have been fighting against the construction project for years. They set tents at gates of construction sites as barricades.  

 

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If the new helipad construction is completed, their residential area would be surrounded by helipads of ospreys that cause bigger noise and more frequent accident occurance than helicoptors because of defects of the structure.

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Helipads for ospreys are bigger than helicopters and destroy bigger areas of the forest. The forest is where endangered birds such as Yanbarukuina and Noguchigera inhabit. Not just forest destruction but big noise and heat waves can potentially threaten their lives. The heat waves ospreys release burn grasses on the ground.

 

2 of 6 helipads N4 were completed already and have been used even though the agreement states new ones would be used after all of them are completed. Then what happened is noise level of Takae district rapidly increased, tens of times more than before. 11 year-old boy got sick and had to evacuate from his local community.

Okinawa had been occupied by US military force between 1945, end of Pacific War and 1972. During Vietnam war, Takae residents were used as VetCon target in the simulation training by the military. Agent Orange may have been sprayed there.

Even after return to Japan, US military bases have remained based on US-Japan defense treaty, agreements between two soreveign nations. In 1996, US and Japanese governments agreed to return some areas of the bases to former land owners and Okinawan communities. But return plans come with relocation plans. Even the military occupied areas is shrunk, the base function gets bigger by providing new bases. Other case is Henoko-Oura bay sea located seaside of Camp Schwab landfill project for the relocation of Futenma base. A beautiful coral sea, where endangered specie, marine mammal dugongs inhabit. This issue have been discussed many time on this blog. Please check articles in Okinawa tag. This article is a good description of the issue.

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These plans have been met with local protest. Majority of locals dissapprove the plans. Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Onaga and mayors of Nago city, where Camp Schwab is located, majority of Okinawa prefectural assembly members and all elected members of Japan's parliament from Okinawa constituencies express objection to the landfilling and new base construction plan. As for Takae, last week the construction work resumed, Okinawa assembly made a resolution that the construction should be halted.

Okinawans are fighting against US military and Japanese government that follows its demands.

Last week Japanese government dispatched hundreds of police officers from mainland to suppress local protestants that kept on sit-in at the gate of N1 construction site. Their sit-in protest was once dissolved and their tents and cars as barricades were taken away forcibly but the protest still continued.  

 

Civil activists from all over Japan, and around the globe are backing this. Even in Tokyo, protest activities are going on. Mainstream media reported these events and more people learnt what is going on. Sorry, Americans, more Japanese hate your country.

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I want to give this song to protestors including myself. "Try Everything" to stop that! The forest is in fact zootopia. There may be monsters like PokeMon! They will "Try Everything" to stop destruction of their world.

22 June 2016

Obama's visit to Hiroshima and Mass shooting in Orlando, Florida

Last month, US president Obama paid visit to Hiroshima and hugged survivor of the atomic bomb which the U.S. force dropped onto the city.

For most Japanese he was very much welcomed because he was the first sitting president who paid visit although he never apologised for the atomic bomb attack.

Many people in the world wondered why Japanese are not so much angry with the U.S. for the atomic bomb attacks.

There are two major reasons. One is we are the one who started the war attacking Pearl Harbour, and the other is we are the aggressor in that period. Before the war between Japan and the U.S., Japan provoked war against China and invaded that nation. In fact, Japan is the first nation that targeted civilians in an enemy state. US modeled after that. Civilian victims in China actually outnumbered that of Japan. So Japan is not a pure victim of the war.

We should have mixed feeling about Hiroshima. Like Germans cannot easily accuse the allied force of atrocities in Dresden that claimed around 20000 lives.

Speaking of mass murder, the mass shooting occurred in Orlando, Florida this month was very shocking. Most of the victims are LGBT Latino people. However, the gunman's motive is still unclear.

Besides that, why is the U.S. still allowing such offenders purchase guns so easily? Even after the shooting US Senate voted down gun control laws. Gun lobbying is very powerful in the U.S.

Seems the U.S. is not the nation that can value human lives. Not just people outside but in their own land.

SO SAD!!

 

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