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What should happen to the US base on Okinawa?

10:44 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said it will not be feasible to entirely remove a controversial US base from the island of Okinawa. Should the base remain on the island?

The US Marines' Futenma base is deeply unpopular, and last month nearly 100,000 people staged a protest to demand that the base be removed.

Removing the base was also a key election pledge of the prime minister, but on a visit to the island, Mr Hatoyama said "realistically speaking, it is impossible" to fully relocate it.

The base, which has been on the island since 1945, is home to over half the 47,000 American troops based in Japan.

Do you live in Okinawa? What do you think of the prime minister's announcement? Is the base necessary for national security? Has the row over the base's future damaged ties with the US?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    "Do you live in Okinawa? What do you think of the prime minister's announcement? Is the base necessary for national security? Has the row over the base's future damaged ties with the US?"



    I don’t live in Okinawa but as the U.S. president Mr. Obama also pledged to seek a nuclear free world for which Noble intention was nominated the Nobel Peace Prize is rightly than that the U.S. pulls its bases and troops from everywhere back to the United States and if attacked defend itself as is the given right to every country as regards the Geneva Convention.

    If that is not done most probably such unrests and protests will be staged in the eastern European countries as well where his vice president Joe Bidden announced right after the Peace Nobel Prize nomination will actually NOT scrap the nuclear shields in Poland and the Czech Republic as the president declared But expand them onto the Baltic and the Black seas and over into the territories of Rumania and Bulgaria. In doing so it came out the American president and the vice president serve two different agendas, and one may say countries.

    At the presidential run campaign Mr. Obama also pledged to seek changing the American image into the eyes of the world those admitted the two previous administrations have done enormous damages in this regard. So if that is not done America will suffer even further decrease of its image on the international arena.

  • Comment number 2.

    Japan is surrounded by potentially hostile neighbours with whom it has a long history of brutal warfare- North Korea has actually launched missiles right over the top of Japan and Japan is one of the very few countries in range of potential North Korean nuclear weapons. Japan's post war constitution greatly limits the power of Japans military so if Japan ever was attacked it would need US help (the same applies to Taiwan and South Korea.. both have armies far smaller than their hostile neighbours). If the Japanese govt wants US help and the US are prepared to offer that help then there doesn't seem much to debate. Its no business of (mostly rabidly anti-american) european posters what defence agreement two mature democracies agree on.

  • Comment number 3.

    he should of done his homework before saying a whole bunch of things just to get elected.he is a big fraud.wake up to reality,we need the bases in japan

  • Comment number 4.

    I'd like to see the base removed as it's another example of America's world domination programme.
    I'd also like to see US naval bases removed from Scotland and an end to all ties with the US military and their government's foreign policy

  • Comment number 5.

    I think if the American GIs can control their behaviour there won't be so many problems. The fact that there have been so many violent and none violent crimes committed by U.S. soldiers enhances Japanese dislike for the American base there. The U.S. military commander, and others in charge need to make it clear to all American service men that they need to respect the local laws, customs, and not cause havoc, or they will be forced to leave due to popular and, or political Japanese pressure.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is simply not serious. If the Japanese really wanted the base gone it would be. Typical political posturing they are the same the world over.

  • Comment number 7.

    1. Attach a pin to the back of it then Mrs.CLinton or Obama could walk around with it on their lapel to show how proud they are of the AMerican effort in WOrld War Two.
    2. Put it in an envelope and send it back in the post to Washington so they could re-use it somewhere else in the world and not have to build a new base from scratch.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nothing wrong with the base being there the easy solution is that when the base personnel are of the base they are subject to the full force of the local law and that they are not allowed to be sent elsewhere to evade justice for crimes committed!

  • Comment number 9.

    The local Japanese economy will sufer -look what happened in the Philipines

    I look at it this way - Would you get remove your intruder alarm just because you haven't been burgled?

    Same with defence - just because you haven't been attacked by hostile nations doesn't mean your not at risk - Twice most of Europe disarmed - both followed by WW1 & WW2 !

    Japan, rightly of wrongly, has already been on the receiving end of nuclear weapons . Would N Korea, or the like, risk taking on the US War machine? The US are right to protect Japan , and Japan would be wise to keep them.

  • Comment number 10.

    How about hiding it in a packet of Cornflakes at a Children's Hospital?
    breakfast cereal and finds a free American Air Base in his bowl in the morning.

  • Comment number 11.

    I would love to see all US bases overseas closed and our troops brought home, but considering what is going on in the world, the threat posed by North Korea, and the extent of our global interests that is simply not in our best interest.

    This will probably sound very arrogant, but when a country attacks another country and is defeated militarily it loses the right, or at least the ability, to demand anything. We will close our bases in Japan when WE decide they are no longer needed.

  • Comment number 12.

    Perhaps it could be used to settle the Greek debt crisis. The Greeks get the American Nase on Okinawa and the banks get Greece in settlement of the country's debts.

  • Comment number 13.

    This agreement serves both countries. US presence provides a degree of safety especially from North Korea. The US benefit because they have a stronghold in Asia Pacific and they have Japan pay for this protection.

    The problem is the astronomical cost that burden Japan when they are in so much debt already but then you can argue that having a Japanese military force is more expensive. Regardless, I find it necessary for Japan to establish a military force as the US dictate Japanese politics and economy too much and play the joker in numerous negotiations. It will make Japan more independent and strong against its enemies as opposed to hiding behind big brother all the time.
    Secondly, the US military wreak havoc in Japan and they go unpunished for all their crimes. In case you don't know, these are crimes that in any other civilized country, you would face a court marshal. The number of rapes and physical violent crimes that only make the back pages relegated to a minute column shows how powerful the US influence remains in Japan. I've been to areas with a US base and it is by far the most uncomfortable experience I've ever endured. The scandals of how they mistreated civilians and prisoners in Iraq came as no surprise to me since I've experienced how primitive and barbaric the military are.
    If only Japan had a PM with integrity and a desire to do what politicians are meant to do .... but then they don't make leaders like they used to in any country.

  • Comment number 14.

    The base should be closed. This fact has nothing to do with Anti-Americanism as some claim. The arrogance of the US military is well known. ABU GRAIB maybe should ring some bells? Those who believe the Americans provide defensive support for the Japanese because they love them are really not from this world. The American colonial empire is collapsing in Asia with the rise of China. I suggest they get out before it gets to be more embarrassing.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think the base and most other American bases around the world should be closed. They protect others more than they protect us. Our aircraft carrier and submarine fleets are a far more versatile deterrent. And if the host country doesn't want us there, all the better to just pack up and go home. Japan can defend itself. So can South Korea. And if they can't, that's not our problem, it's theirs.

  • Comment number 16.

    Here we go again. The anti-American element comes out in full force. If the local populace wants to rid the area of an American military presence fine with me, that should also include the elimination of any defense agreements we may have with the host nation. Then if God forbid some aggressor nation hoists the Jolly-Roger my response is "go figure it out yourself".

  • Comment number 17.

    Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was elected (at least partly) on his promise to close this base. The protesters are reinforcing the message loud and clear: No American base! The protesters don’t even want the base moved somewhere else on Japanese land. Quite simply, they want the Americans out.
    The intensity of the protest is telling Hatoyama that if he thought he could get elected and then persuade the local governments to backtrack, he was wrong. Such is thre strength and anger behind the protests.
    Isencho Mayor Akira Okubo has rebuked Hatoyama:
    He took us for granted. He didn’t ask us.
    No matter what island is considered (and there has been talk of relocating the American base e.g. to Tokunoshima), the consideration is met with more protests and resistence.
    In 1960, the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan was signed. The status of the United States Forces in Japan was defined in the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The treaty is still in effect and the Japanese foreign policy is based on these reciprocal obligations.
    Many Japanese citizens appreciate these constraints. Even so, they want (at the very least) a reduction in the number of US military bases in Japann. Many of the bases, such as Kadena Air Base are located close by residential districts. Just the noise!
    There have been @ 200,000 accidents and crimes involving US soldiers, in which 1,076 Japanese civilians have died (These stats are from 2004). Over 90% of the incidents were vehicle or traffic related.
    According to the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, US personnel have partial extraterritorial rights; so in most cases suspects are not so much as arrested by Japanese authorities.
    In 1995, the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl led to demands for the removal of all US military bases in Japan. She was not the first to be raped, and most certainly was not the last. Japan designated February 22cd as a Day of Reflection for all US military facilities in Japan, setting up a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force.
    There isn’t ONE base in Japan, there are literally hundreds, as though the Americans believe they own Japan and have the right to deploy their American presence into every nook and crany.
    I cannot possibly list them all, but here are some of the Japanese stations:
    Camp Chitose, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Prefecture
    Yokota Air Base, Fussa, Tokyo
    Camp Zama, Zama, Kanagawa
    White Beach Area, Okinawa Prefecture
    Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
    Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
    Camp Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture
    United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Sasebo, Nagasaki
    United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Kanagawa
    Etc. etc. etc. etc.
    I think the accidents and crimes comitted by the American deployment ought to be sufficient to challenge the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.

  • Comment number 18.

    I do hope the Russians and N koreans won't see US withdrawal as an opportunity to be mean to the Japanese (Sakahalin and Kuril islands) and S Koreans.

    I'm sure they won't.

  • Comment number 19.

    If i was an American taxpayer i would demand that all overseas bases be removed and let the countries they inhabit defend themselves.
    Too long the Americans have shielded the Japanes and Europeans from hostile forces and that has allowed these countries to put money into other sectors of there economies instead of defense.
    America is $13 trillion in debt from it military assistance to others and what did they get for it?.

    Bring your boys home and see the Europeans especially cower to Russian demands.

  • Comment number 20.

    Build a burger king there.

  • Comment number 21.

    Over 85% of locals oppose the base, and it covers 20% of the islands. That means the base must go.

    Where the troops, planes, and ships go shouldn't be a problem, since the US already has tons of bases throughout the region.

  • Comment number 22.

    "14. At 1:02pm on 04 May 2010, Fred Brun wrote:
    The base should be closed. This fact has nothing to do with Anti-Americanism as some claim. The arrogance of the US military is well known. ABU GRAIB maybe should ring some bells?"

    Abu Graib? Is that the best you can come up with? Some Iraqis were humiliated by some junior american soldiers. Compared to what USED to happen there its less than nothing in comparision. Its not like British soldiers didn't do similar things either and compared to what Japanese soldiers did 70 years ago (which is why the US have bases in Japan) the Americans look whiter than white.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said it will not be feasible to entirely remove a controversial US base from the island of Okinawa. Should the base remain on the island?"

    It should be a matter, first and foremost, for the Japanese electorate and then the Japanese and US governments, of course.

    But you just have to have a laugh at Yukio Hatoyama, whose political traits seem to be universal for all politicians, regardless of nationality or political spectrum - including our own Gordon Brown's, and especially our underwhelming Tony Blair - which are initial definitive promises for difficult issues, followed by backtracking couched in muddy excuses.

    What does "not be feasible to entirely remove" mean anyway? You either remove something or not; a "partial" base is still a base.

    And if the base stays because of US pressure, then it's still Japan's fault- don't they have the personality to say no? And if it's instead because of a fear of China's military, then the Japanese should not complain either, when they spend so little for their own defense relative to their GDP.

    You can't skimp on military spending, invite others instead to defend you, and then complain about their presence.

  • Comment number 24.

    Maybe it's better to ask when will Japans neighbors want it to re-arm?

    RE: "Those who believe the Americans provide defensive support for the Japanese because they love them are really not from this world. The American colonial empire is collapsing in Asia with the rise of China. I suggest they get out before it gets to be more embarrassing."

    Who believes the US defends Japan out of love??? The expanding Japanese empire took on the US in WW2 and lost. After the war, the US prevented Japan from having a military strong enough to tempt it to try again. Also note that the US did not keep Japan or Germany after the war. If the US intended to have an empire, those two countries would have been the most desirable nations in the world to keep. Also note Germany and Japan are extremely wealthy today. Funny way for the US to run an "empire". I guess now you'll say we're just dumb? Eagerly awaiting your next anti-US rant, I remain your humble servant....

  • Comment number 25.

    While the base might be removed, Japan wants a US military presence, so it would simply have to be moved elsewhere, which would be just as unpopular.

    It will be up to the base commander, to be sure that US military personnel behave properly, and the only way to do that, is to limit off-base leave, and to have severe punishments for bad behavior off base.

    It is the behavior of US soldiers, when off base, that the locals object to. Japanese and US cultural behavior, is quite different.

  • Comment number 26.

    Japan are more than capable of maintaining a fairly strong armed force to protect itself without American assistance. Bush pretty much had the right idea in cosying up to Koizumi and Abe and trying to push them into changing the constitution and thus alleviating the pressure on American forces (as well as the taxpayers back home.) Had the Diet not been so fractured, and without too many corrupt liberal elites (who are completing destroying this country) it may well have been a possibility.

    Hatoyama somehow believes that the bases can magically disappear through the will power of the Americans who are going to suddenly give them up one day and then by dreaming up a future for Japan without any defense policy. He should never have pledged something so ridiculous, without thinking it through.

  • Comment number 27.

    If they prefer to deal with China on their own, that is their decision to make.

    I'm tired of indulging Japanese xenophobia.

    We could also use a little more distance between us on trade.

  • Comment number 28.

    #19 "Bring your boys home and see the Europeans especially cower to Russian demands."

    Sadly the US army has no control over what Russia charges for its gas exports. In the 1960's Russia might have enforced its 'demands' with tanks. These days Russia dominates Europe with fossil fuel exports and there's nothing NATO can do to stop that. The US bases in Europe mostly support US military ops in the mid-east. They have little defensive value for Europe.

  • Comment number 29.

    The American Congress should eliminate this base at Okinawa. The Pentagon spends too much money on Japan. Defense systems are a priority for the government. An old marine camp is like a lame duck.

  • Comment number 30.

    Dear Japan,

    YOU LOST THE WAR YOU STARTED. You are now surrounded by hostile neighbors. When the US base becomes a major factor in protecting your nation of ungratefuls, you will still be able to say THANK YOU, AMERICA.

    You're welcome.

  • Comment number 31.

    The US base should be removed if we are to abide by democractic principles but, as often the case, Democracy simply means US/UK interests.

  • Comment number 32.

    Do you mean there won't be world war three then?

  • Comment number 33.

    How can the Japanese PM state that it is not feasible to remove the US base? That is pure stupidity. The US troops stationed there cannot act in a civilised manner and as such the people of Okinawa want the US base closed. Do what the people who live on the Island want. What good is the US base doing?

  • Comment number 34.

    Do you know Japanese military budget? It’s about $45 billion, the top seventh in the world. The role of US troops in Asia must have ended after cold war. Though why we have to continue compensating US military budget in spite of severe recession.

  • Comment number 35.

    Just for the record of corrections on some comments:
    How can anyone with sound mind possibly claim such foolish hypocrisy Japan is being “protected” by the U.S. forces? What kind of a twisted mind could possibly adopt such absurdity? …it equals perversion to claim “protection” while is clear occupation. How can a country that bombed them with A-bombs, and there was no need thus the WWII was already over, and declared victory remaining there ever since with their military bases foolishly boast “protecting them” while clearly occupying them. Or do we have so different educational systems that some of us are even confused on what is right or wrong?

    How come after the Americans illegally bombed Serbia 78 consecutive days tried to put their bases there and the Serbs kicked them out “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE” but accept them as “protectors” could not sell them this “protection” silly bluff?
    Now they try the same silliness in eastern Europe pretending and confusing themselves into their stunning Hypocrisy protecting eastern Europe form Russia than from Iran and in the end as usual they DO NOT KNOW what they talk or do.
    Pack the bags and GO HOME FELLAS …STOP embarrassing yourselves thus becoming a laughing stock …GO HOME AND STAY HOME!

    And American people WAKE UP finally; what we say here got absolutely NOTHING to do with your so-called “anti-Americanism” a childish attempt escape but see the reality …those “protections” protect the astronomical wealth of those behind the military complex and the rich American elite [capitalists in general as regards NATO] BUT for the American people cost trillions. The astronomical sum 13 trillion doesn’t ring hell of a bells into your heads? WAKE UP! Once YOU, the American people, did STOP the foolish and unjust war in Vietnam many of your sons died for nothing and YOU can do it again by demanding from your government STOP the wars.

  • Comment number 36.

    31. At 2:54pm on 04 May 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    The US base should be removed if we are to abide by democractic principles but, as often the case, Democracy simply means US/UK interests.

    You're kind of missing the point: neither the UK US or Japan ARE democracies. The US is a republic and Japan and the US are constitutional monarchies. The reason none of them are democracies can be easily seen by reading HYS..... what the tabloid reading mob want is not necessarily very smart.

    Incidentally I love the way people like you criticise the UK as if we're still running 1/4 of the globe. Take a look at what China, Russia or even France get up to on a daily basis.

  • Comment number 37.

    " 34. At 3:25pm on 04 May 2010, yourfriendjapan wrote:
    Do you know Japanese military budget? It’s about $45 billion, the top seventh in the world. The role of US troops in Asia must have ended after cold war."

    You clearly don't realise that the US (and Britain) is still officially at war with North Korea (and therefore by implication China). The Korean war was halted with a ceasefire in 1953 but the war has never ended. Given the possibility that North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship killing 46 people that war could kick off again any day.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    If Japan wants to change its pacificst Constitution, rearm its military, and compete directly with China then they can just go right ahead. Uncle Sam would love to save some money by not having a base in Okinawa. So long as our Navy can port in Japan as needed who cares? All I know is removing the US military from the Pacific equation gives China a strategic advantage. If Japan is cool with that, so am I. Good luck to you...

  • Comment number 40.

    I see the same old stupid anti-American song and dance from most of the posters here. Completely moronish nationalists who somehow convince themselves it is the Americans who have screwed them over- what rubbish! Oh yes, the world would have been so wonderful if only the Soviets and Mao had prevailed. I say let us Euros and Japanese fend for ourselves. Boy, then we'll see the fireworks! Uh, sorry America, we're just silly and resentful people who can't stand being up-staged and relegated to second or third class nation status- our pride simply can't handle it. So we criticise you in order to inflate our own deflated egos. "We're are somebody!" is our pathetic battle cry. No wonder the Americans ignore us! We behave like spoiled little children. We'll complain no matter what America does and that's a fact! Unfortuneately, this is a self criticism we can't bring ourselves to make.

  • Comment number 41.

    The Rights of Okinawans should be paramount. They want the US out.

    So the Government of Japan should seek to bring this about.

  • Comment number 42.

    @Muhammad Zuman, post #23;

    "And if the base stays because of US pressure, then it's still Japan's fault- don't they have the personality to say no? And if it's instead because of a fear of China's military, then the Japanese should not complain either, when they spend so little for their own defense relative to their GDP.

    You can't skimp on military spending, invite others instead to defend you, and then complain about their presence."


    They're not skimping on anything; nor are they "inviting" anybody to defend them.

    The treaties they signed with the US after their WWII prevent them from spending more than a certain amount on their military - or even, from having a real military - and also require them to accept US bases on their soil.

    What they're doing now, then, is the complete opposite of what you're suggesting; far from neglecting their own defense and inviting others to do it for them, what they seem to be doing here is declining any support from others, and accepting responsibility themselves?

    If they actually do it - and, as others have said, this does seem more like political posturing from the Japanese PM than anything else.

    And if the Americans will agree - which, given how scared they seem to be of North Korea and China, I can't see as being very likely.

  • Comment number 43.

    There are as many as 12 information collection centers in one’s body irrespective of whether or not the objective is alive or static of which one is free to control the entire but always remain hidden in one. Therefore such centers are required to keep oneself intact and alive without doing of harm to none. Hence this is more of an order than treating it otherwise. It is no doubt a truth that USA had dropped Nuclear Devices to explode at Hiroshima and Nagasaki on command of the situation and hence was a forceful compulsion to make the second world war see an end and not against the General Public of Japan to hold any hatred by one to the other.

    Neglecting some isolated happening now and then due to the presence of American troops at Japan, it is for overall good to the entire sub-continent. At no point of time, America ever dictated terms on the internal Affairs of Japan, which the entire General Public of Japan must understand to accommodate the Americans not to disturb the arranged order. Without the presence of USA; there would not have possibly that much of Economic Growth within the Country of Japan. With so many adverse interests available in the area it is good for the Country of Japan not to disturb the present tie-up at this point of time when we are fighting with imbalances of everything everywhere. We only hope that good sense prevail on the part of both the parities to amicably settle the matter of dispute for overall good to the world as a whole ignoring one’s individual discomfort arose on either party for whatever reason.

    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA PhD)

  • Comment number 44.

    US troops are sited in force around the World unnecessarily. Modern transportation and modern weapon delivery systems mean that siting all but a token force for liaison purposes in friendly countries is, in peacetime, wholly redundant. The US should remove all bases from Europe, Japan, the British territories of Ascension Island and Chagos Island (which is supposed to be a NATURE RESERVE!)and return either to their nation-sized naval task forces circling the planet or home shores.We must never forget that JFK intended to overthrow the UK civil government in time, of the then anticipated, global war '...to ensure consistent British co-operation and response under US leadership...'

  • Comment number 45.

    I think folks need to appreciate that a great number of Americans, possibly even a majority, are so over the idea of our men and women, our money and our committments being expended on these overseas bases and on the defense of others. Especially when those we ostensibly protect are not grateful but resentful. Fine. Fend for yourselves. It worked in 1914-17 and 1939-41 and I see no reason why it cannot work again, can you?

  • Comment number 46.

    For An administration which is perpectually in deficit since last two decades should welcome any move to cut their defence spending through closure of any bases out side US.This is all the more in line with the avowed new policy of Pres Obama to be non-interventionalist in foreign relations

  • Comment number 47.

    2. At 12:01pm on 04 May 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    "Japan is surrounded by potentially hostile neighbours with whom it has a long history of brutal warfare- North Korea has actually launched missiles right over the top of Japan and Japan is one of the very few countries in range of potential North Korean nuclear weapons. Japan's post war constitution greatly limits the power of Japans military so if Japan ever was attacked it would need US help (the same applies to Taiwan and South Korea.. both have armies far smaller than their hostile neighbours). If the Japanese govt wants US help and the US are prepared to offer that help then there doesn't seem much to debate. Its no business of (mostly rabidly anti-american) european posters what defence agreement two mature democracies agree on. "


    This is a typically American view of the world, where everyone needs the support of the US in order to remain peaceful - a complete fallacy. Here we actually have an American defending Japanese defence policy based upon the perceived threat from North Korea - butt out America, the only reason Japan wouold ever be a target for NK is because of the US base on Okinawa!

    North Korea is a crumbling shell of a country, and if we were allowed unfettered access to the nation, we would probably laugh at the state of the place. It's 50 years behind the rest of the world. NK knows that one nuke fired would result in the end of the entire country and its populace, so they're never going to fire a shot in anger. Never.

    The USA has no right to keep bases in any country apart from the USA. The base in Okinawa is a throwback to the last world war - America's failure to realise that there's a new world order (that doesn't include them) will spark World War III. America should stop being the world's policeman, and go back to the 300 years of isolationism that the world enjoyed up until the late 1800s. The 'agreement between mature democracies' isn't strictly speaking an 'agreement', and there's growing resentment to the presence of US troops in Japan. Why won't the US listen to the democratic will of the people of Japan? Because so long as the USA is the world's policeman, it can use war to help prop up its bloated capitalist economy, as it has done for the past century. If the USA stopped going to war all the time, it would've been bankrupt long ago.

  • Comment number 48.

    I have trouble understanding why we continue to maintain a large military presence in Asia. China is more of an economic partner than the Soviets ever were. As for North Korea, it is a country on the verge of stravation lead by a manic -- if prosperous South Korea cannot defend itself from its smaller neighbor there is no point in defending South Korea.

    The bases have long since served their purpose. Shut them down and move the fleet to Guam (so long as it does not tip over, as that Congressman warned).

  • Comment number 49.

    The Japanese will decide for themselves if they want to continue their military alliance with the US, or become a satrapy of China. If they want us Americans to close our bases and leave, we'll do so, just as we did in the Philippines. The point is that it's their decision, and we'll abide by it.

  • Comment number 50.

    I went to Okinawa for a holiday 2 years ago. I remember driving on a double track road when I had to avoid what looked like bubble gum balls thrown from a large 4x4 vehicle. This truck also had a very large barbecue with associated propane gas bottle unsecured in the rear with the door tied half shut. I had to get past the truck to avoid further items being thrown out the windows. I was both shocked and disappointed, but not much surprised, when I saw that the items were thrown from the window by a group of children going wild in the back seats. The white male driver with bare torso seemed not to care one bit.

    The US troops in Okinawa treat the Island with complete disrespect. I know that the official line is that they should treat the local population with great care but a few murders and several rapes carried out by US troops over recent years sum up the extent of success of this policy.

    The majority of Okinawan's want the US troops to leave. This is despite the fact that the troops and their families are a huge source of revenue for the Island.

    I have lived in Japan for seven years. I have always found the Japanese people to be one of the most welcoming in my life's experiences. That they have had enough of the US bases on Okinawa speaks volumes for the extent to which the US personnel living on the bases have made themselves unpopular on the Island.

    The US needs to withdraw it's troops before they do fundamental damage to the US / Japan relationship. I would hazard a guess that most of the damage is done by just a few out of control individuals. Sad to think that the reason they might have been inclined to get so much out of control may relate to the deeper personality of what, in times of war, would be considered a "good soldier"!

    I would move immediately if these "good soldiers" were forced into my home town and I am pretty sure that you would have a lot to say if they became your neighbours. I think that it is a disgrace that the US allow their citizens to inflict such pain onto their hosts in Okinawa. I am sure that if the Island were less remote they would have been forced to move long ago. The continued involvement of the US in this area looks like a hidden type of occupation which is now long past it's reason for existence.

    I would sum up my short time in Okinawa as a step back into post WW2 Japan with the occupying force still calling the shots. I felt sad coming from the main Island and seeing what life was like in Okinawa and comparing it to my experiences on the mainland.

  • Comment number 51.

    Why does to BBC want to know our thoughts on US bases in Japan.
    THIS A MATTER FOR THE CITIZENS OF THE USA AND JAPAN AND IS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CITIZENS OF GREAT BRITAIN, UNLESS ONE IS ANTI AMERICAN.
    THERE ARE ENOUGH PROBLEMS FOR US BRITS TO SOLVE. IS THE BBC ANTI AMERICAN?

  • Comment number 52.

    We must understand that the USA is the overwhelming protector of all countries that follow openess and democracy. There are a lot of openly hostile nations and organizations in the world, and if you think that they wouldn't be that way if we in the West disarmed and offered friendship, then you are absurdly naive. Put aside the sterotypes and hope that America remains strong.

  • Comment number 53.

    Japan should understand that it cannot be trusted. Despite their protestations of honesty they are without morals and do not understand the meaning of the word compassion.
    For this very reason it is essential to keep them under the thumb until all ideas of expansionism and imperialism has been totally and utterly eradicated.
    The weak Governments of the world ignore this advice at their peril.

  • Comment number 54.

    Japan illustrates an almost tepid approach to teaching the war years to its children. Perhaps many of those Japanese currently protesting outside, what was actually a former imperial Japanese airfield, are merely ignorant of why it is there. This alone makes me support US bases on Okinawa. Many hundreds of thousands of people died because of notably brutal Japanese Imperial aspirations in Asia. The battle for Okinawa was particularly brutal. The USA conquered Japan, imposed a pacifist constitution and erected bases because: 1) of the strategic imperative; 2) as a reminder to the Japanese that they REALLY erred in 1941.

    Bases in Japan are akin to bases in Germany. I'm sure both countries rail at their presence, but really have little leverage to expedite their removal. Imagine the Russians being pressured to give back Konigsberg to Germany, they'd merely play reals of war and holocaust footage.

    Japan needs to accept that they cannot dictate timelines on base closures. They lost that right nearly 70 years ago when the first bombs fell on Pearl Harbour and Hong Kong. And, continuing such nationalist inspired pressure on the USA will merely reinforce why bases should remain.

    Arguments aside, merely waiting another 20 years would probably suffice. Because, by that point, mostly all USA WW2 vets will be dead of old age. When those generational memories fade and if Japan is still acting in a civil manner, so to might the calls from within the USA for bases to remain in Japan.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm a former U.S. Marine that was stationed in Japan in 1997 and think we should just leave all bases around the world. The only thing that all of the countries appreciate is the paychecks the troops get. But a few years ago when we said we were going to reduce our troups in Germany, the Germans got extremely upset, complaining about what will happen to their economy.

    The world can have it both ways. You either want our bases and stop complaining or kick us out. When is the last time you heard countries demanding that we remove all of our bases? Never. I'm somewhat conservative, and believe in a strong military, but I'm tired of the complaining. I would rather us have our troops at home with their families and friends, and spending the paychecks here.

    But then, who will protect Europe and Asia, when something does happen. And something will happen one day. Europe couldn't even go into Kosovo to stop the totally weak and small forces there. We had to go and stop the carnage. An extremely small and country, and all of Europe could do nothing but ask the U.S. to get involved. And that is what happened, Europe asked Clinton to stop the genocide.

    And don't even think about expecting the U.N. to stop anything. Remember Rwanda? I say bring all of our troops home and let the U.N. protect everyone else. We will take care of ourselves.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think it would be a sensible idea if we had foreign bases in the US.
    And as Ahmadinejad of Iran said on the Charlie Rose interview last night, despite Iran getting political behind the scenes from the US flak from the IAEA who's going to monitor the nuclear wmd decrease between the US and Russia? Are we to know whether the US will allow an independent body onto their soil to monitor events and do the tally? I would be extremely surprised if this were ever to be the case.

    I totally sympathise with Japan. Get rid of those US bases. It's an outrage and the posture that they're there to protect the peace in Asia and between Japan and China is nonsense. Japan and China can agree or disagree between themselves.

    Oh, and are we to know whether the US as decreed under GW Bush are still to maintain 14 permanent US bases in Iraq? - Right on Iran's doorstep? So please, enough with the Police of the world who initiate regime change under lies to the world at the UN.

  • Comment number 57.

    I personally see no practical reason for the United States to retain military bases in Okinawa or anywhere else in the Far East.Today nobody threatens Japan or any other country in that part of the world and Japan could amend it's constitution to permit it to rebuild it's military if it wanted to.

  • Comment number 58.

    Sell it to the Chinese.

  • Comment number 59.

    If they never start to negotiate, they will never succeed. "Every long journey starts with the first step" as the Chinese saying goes.

  • Comment number 60.

    52. At 5:51pm on 04 May 2010, Neal Richardson wrote:
    We must understand that the USA is the overwhelming protector of all countries that follow openess and democracy. There are a lot of openly hostile nations and organizations in the world, and if you think that they wouldn't be that way if we in the West disarmed and offered friendship, then you are absurdly naive. Put aside the sterotypes and hope that America remains strong.

    ---------------------

    It sounds like you gained these delusions of grandeur from an episode of G. I. Joe rather than reality. The US sold weapons to Saddam in the 80ss. They overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran and installed a puppet dictator. They funded insurgencies in Latin America by selling weapons to oppressive regimes world wide. They've supported numerous dictators and invade countries unilaterally.

    American foreign policy has nothing to do with " protecting countries that follow openness and democracy", it's about serving their, and only their interests with little regard to any resultant collateral damage.

  • Comment number 61.

    42. At 4:17pm on 04 May 2010, Khrystalar wrote:
    "They're not skimping on anything; nor are they "inviting" anybody to defend them. The treaties they signed with the US after their WWII prevent them from spending more than a certain amount on their military - or even, from having a real military - and also require them to accept US bases on their soil."
    You are right, and I stand corrected.
    It just makes me wonder though, how Germany and Italy can have a major militaries - ones have taken part in peacekeeping operations globally, the former engaged militarily in Afghanistan; the latter in Iraq too.
    Perhaps the difference is that both Italy, and especially Germany have rightly atoned many times and have compensated much more their victims, whilst Japan still has not yet fully done so (and to be fair to the Japanese, part of that is due to the Eastern concept of shame at apologizing, rather than a lack of remorse). Consequently, a rearmed Japan may be viewed with more alarm by it's neighbours than a US presence (although from Chinese and North Korean viewpoint it's no choice at all).
    "What they're doing now, then, is the complete opposite of what you're suggesting; far from neglecting their own defense and inviting others to do it for them, what they seem to be doing here is declining any support from others, and accepting responsibility themselves?"
    A very astute and viable alternative that escaped me until you pointed it out. It is food for thought and I will ponder it (though I must regrettably admit to being a bit slow on that front).

  • Comment number 62.

    I would imagine that is between the Japanese and Americans to work out.

  • Comment number 63.

    History suggests that the Japanese are not a compassionate people and are seriously xenophobic. The Americans are there for a reason that was once good and probably still is. Remember, the Pearl Harbour thing was only 70 years ago - not long in world history - nor was the brutal massacre of 200,000 Chinese in Shanghai. It isn't only an American presence that protects Japanese from N. Korea, that presence also protects China, the Pacific and America from another Japanese incursion, not that China needs so much protection these days.

  • Comment number 64.

    ~9 >>Twice most of Europe disarmed - both followed by WW1 & WW2 !

    I think you have your facts wrong !! Before WW1, the British Empire was the mightiest military force in the world. The French empire was not very far behind and the Americans were a rising world power especially after they defeated what was left of the Spanish empire during the Spanish-American war when they grabbed Cuba, Panama, Peurto Rico, Costa Rica and the Philippines !!

    Before WW2, the British still had a great empire and military although the French empire was already rather shakey !! America had risen to a world power. The rest of Europe other than Germany didn't amount to much at all. That's why most of it fell to the Germans so quickly.

    As for the Okinawan base, if the locals don't want them there, then they should go !! However, the Japanese prime minister is right in that one cannot simply get rid of such a large base overnight. If there is a plan for a phased withdrawal, that should satisfy everyone.

  • Comment number 65.

    Addendum to #9 - >>The local Japanese economy will sufer -look what happened in the Philipines

    You are comparing apples and oranges !! The Philippines is a country that had been looted by decades of corruption and much of its people still live below the poverty line. The Japanese are a major manufacturing and exporting country whose people have a better life-style than the Brits !!

  • Comment number 66.

    "realistic" seems to me to be euphemism for "Japan cannot afford the planned move".


  • Comment number 67.

    #24 >>Also note that the US did not keep Japan or Germany after the war.

    So Hollywood strikes again !! America won WW2 single-handed. They also cracked the Enigma code by sending out a sub disguised as U571 to steal one of those machines !!

    Oh, and Rambo won the Vietnam War single-handed only nobody told the Vietnamese !!

  • Comment number 68.

    #37 >>You clearly don't realise that the US (and Britain) is still officially at war with North Korea (and therefore by implication China).

    China never officially entered the Korean War !! All Chinese troops in Korea were "volunteers" !! Equally, neither the US nor Britain (nor Aussieland) officially entered the Korean War either !! It was the UN that fought that particular war !! This is what is known as proxy wars !!

  • Comment number 69.

    #48 >>The bases have long since served their purpose. Shut them down and move the fleet to Guam (so long as it does not tip over, as that Congressman warned).

    The people of the Marianas Islands in general and Guam in particular are already waging a losing war against the invasion of plastic and other rubbish that were thrown into the sea and swept into their area by the ocean currents. Add another massive US base there and they might as well accept their fate as the world's biggest rubbish dump !!

  • Comment number 70.

    #52 >We must understand that the USA is the overwhelming protector of all countries that follow openess and democracy.

    So it's very "open and democratic" to kidnap people and stash them away in Guantanamo Bay Hilton indefinitely and without trial for no reason; or set up *secret* torture cells in other people's countries !! Or depose the freely and democratically elected Allende government !! The sheer hypocricy in this statement is blinding !!

  • Comment number 71.

    Many Okinawans likely still regard the U.S. bases as representing an occupying power because of World War 2, but also may not be pleased with at least of some of Tokyo's policies regarding Okinawa. The Prime Minister apparently is attempting to compromise between Okinawan demands about the American presence and the fact that the bases remove pressure from Japan regarding its security from any overseas threats.

    However, Japan is capable of providing most if not all of its own security, while the U.S. wallows in financial red ink in part because of its military commitments overseas. But the U.S. is reluctant to withdraw its forces from Okinawa as that would diminish its regional influence and power.

  • Comment number 72.

    #58 >>Sell it to the Chinese.

    Naw !! They can get better and cheaper from the Philippines !! Better weather, too !!

  • Comment number 73.

    I don't live in Okinawa. But as an American Tax-Payer, I'd say get our boys home and open a new or reopen an old military base in California or Hawaii and spend the money on our local business instead of spending millions a year on that Japanese island. Should be good for both our local folks and the Japanese protesters, well except the ones that run business near the Okinawa base and the rest of Japan who have been benefiting from our military umbrella. Japan has a second or third largest economy, they should be able to defend themselves against threats from other countries.

  • Comment number 74.

    Its one of those facts of history that are no longer relevant... world war 2 ended over 60 years ago now. Its the same as British bases in Germany, their reason to exist ended when the Berlin wall fell.

  • Comment number 75.

    #63 >>nor was the brutal massacre of 200,000 Chinese in Shanghai.

    Actually it was nearer 360,000 Chinese and it was in Nanking (now called Nanjing) !

    As for what the Japanese were or were not, it must be remembered that it was the Western powers in collusion of a foreign dynasty that oppressed and exploited China throughout the 19th and into the 20th century and gave rise to Japanese imperialism. A resurgent China is more than able to counter any new Japanese imperialism. American bases in East Asia are no longer necessary for local peacekeeping.

  • Comment number 76.

    64. At 6:53pm on 04 May 2010, ishkandar wrote:
    ~9 >>Twice most of Europe disarmed - both followed by WW1 & WW2 !

    "I think you have your facts wrong !! Before WW1, the British Empire was the mightiest military force in the world. The French empire was not very far behind and the Americans were a rising world power especially after they defeated what was left of the Spanish empire during the Spanish-American war when they grabbed Cuba, Panama, Peurto Rico, Costa Rica and the Philippines !!"

    At the risk of letting facts spoil your veritable orgy of anti-American screeds (feel better now, do we?), the US never "grabbed" Costa Rica or Panama from anyone. Certainly not the Spanish. They were not Spanish colonies in 1898. Indeed, Panama didn't even exist in 1898 as a separate country, being part of Colombia. There's a wonderous thing called Google (yikes it's American!) which might be worth trolling to learn a thing. Or two.

  • Comment number 77.

    The question is too simplistic in relation to the political situation between America and Japan,however,Japan has a relatively mature democracy and is capable of deciding in a democratic way(referendum),just what the majority want.What they want will depend on various factors,like whether or not there will be any balanced views in their media,how much real and true information regarding the bases positive and negative effects on the Island is available to the general public.Information like,how much the local economy benefits,how the base affects the local environment,whether or not it makes the Island more of a target in a possible conflict with another regime or by terrorist attack.It would be interesting to know more about the 100,000 protesters,were they all Okinawwan?,were they all Japanese?what was the demographic for the 100,000,did bus loads of students from all over Japan converge on Okinawa?,did the Japanese communist party boost what might have been a lesser number of protesters? also,How do the Americans behave around the Islanders?Has there been/is there,intermarriage? I would assume there must be some.Of course there is the small matter of international relations,there is probably still a post-ww2 pact between America and Japan,the Americans are powerful friends to have,which is why a majority of countries would rather stay onside with them,regardless of their disastrous foreign policy over oil deposits that they covet.Japan has no oil...maybe a starting point for the reasons their government want to keep the base in a form/to a scale that's acceptable to the American military and government.Japan also has some extremely hostile neighbours,as well as sitting at the hindquarters of the Russians.All in all a complex and by not readily resolvable situation,the tendency to be simplistic inevitably results in many overly simplistic "answers" to the problem.In the realest of senses,my opinion is irrelevant to the Japanese,who must resolve this as they see fit.

  • Comment number 78.

    Wouldn't it be refreshing to see the policy of GW Bush on Vieques applied to this situation?

  • Comment number 79.

    The Japanese are still suffering from defeatist syndrome, untill they recover fully, they will not recognize that the American Millitary base in Okinawa is a symbol of American millitary Power and Victory over Japan. Okinawa is simply a war booty for the victorious U.S millitary.

  • Comment number 80.

    Read up on the rape of Nanking and see if you still feel like crying about Abu Graib. The Japanese cruelty even made the Nazis cringe.

    China was only one of the many nations they invaded.

    Every one of their neighbors remembers the Japanese brutality in World War II.

  • Comment number 81.

    We Americans suck at this empire business. We spend billions of dollars and countless lives defending our "Allies." And in return we get Economic competition or Political rivalries. We defend Western Europe from Soviet aggression. In the end the result wasn't Pro-American puppets and slaves to the American market. Save South Korea from Communism and end up with more economic competition and more potential for the Deaths of American service members. Save Japan from being defenseless in the face of a very angry increasingly hostile Asian community or suffering Soviet occupation like Eastern Germany. In the end we get Economic competition and ungratefulness.

    We should give up the American Empire, it only seems to benefit those under our umbrella. And what's the point of having an umbrella if you're the only one getting wet. I mean at least the British and French empire got Gold, Slaves, Tea, and Cheap labor. Can someone throw us a bone?

  • Comment number 82.

    63. At 6:48pm on 04 May 2010, doctor bob wrote:
    History suggests that the Japanese are not a compassionate people and are seriously xenophobic. The Americans are there for a reason that was once good and probably still is. Remember, the Pearl Harbour thing was only 70 years ago - not long in world history - nor was the brutal massacre of 200,000 Chinese in Shanghai. It isn't only an American presence that protects Japanese from N. Korea, that presence also protects China, the Pacific and America from another Japanese incursion, not that China needs so much protection these days.
    ----------------


    According to Winston Churchill in 'The Gathering Storm' the US meddled and destroyed a very cordial and prompt relationship between the UK and Japan. One does need to go back further to see how events developed into the Second World War. The US, the UK and the Japanese had a naval tonnage agreement. It would appear that the US ignored it. One glance at the back of the book to see the tables reveals a marked increase in US naval power back then.

    Most importantly: there was no need to drop 2 atomic bombs on Japan. The Japanese had already tried to surrender. The US is responsible for the nuclear arms race that arose thereafter. Do you think the Russians were about to trust after that? Or anyone else? GW Bush during his presidency said, 'you're either with us or against us' after 911. This has been the prevailing attitude in US foreign policy for a very very long time. It does involve strong arm tactics behind the scenes and covert operations should they ever be listed out would force the US to turn its face away in shame. What is their version of democracy anyway? No healthcare for over 30 million people, a 'keep-em-stupid' television news service nationwide, a financial system that can create a wrecking domino effect globally, illegal invasions, junk food spread globally, additives, repulsive juvenile television programmes dumbing down English speaking countries and subverting their own cultures, endless computer programmes we all have to learn every five minutes without giving us a break from it, ridiculous language, a past president who couldn't even string a sentence together, asinine religious notions and cults that also influence foreign policy decisions, and all this from I quote from Charlie Rose last night during his television interview with Ahmahdinejad from Iran, 'The longest democracy in the world'.

    Eh? I thought it was Iceland meself!!! Apologies, but I am heartily sick of the US influence on the world.

  • Comment number 83.

    In my opinion, the Japanese government should tell the US government to pack up and leave! Course our government wants to expand its position in the world and attempt to dominate other countries. Why should Japan pay out so much to have foreign troops on its soil when it can have its own armed forces.
    Bring our troops home, cut cost and use the money properly within the boundary of the United States. We don't need to be in the number of countries we are in. Africacom in Germany while the troops are in South Africa near the horn - doesn't make sense!

  • Comment number 84.

    I believe Japan contributes a substantial sum towards the upkeep of the Futenma base. The way I see it, this is in effect Japan leasing a credible deterrent in a neighborhood that has some serious military players, namely N Korea, China and Russia.

    Japans post WWII constitution written for them under the auspices of total surrender massively restricts Japans future military size etc so Japan can't fully rearm to counterbalance say, China and therefore must rely on US power in the region as a counterbalance.

    So unless the Japanese rewrite the constitution and trigger a massive regional arms race as a result, the US for better or worse will have to remain in the region.

    I'm no proponent of foreign military forces of any country occupying large swathes of another country but to me the presence of US forces in Okinawa is better than an arms race and more instability - and is cheaper for the Japanese.

  • Comment number 85.

    If the key issue is a small minority of US Marines from the Futema Base on Okinawa behaving poorly, disrespecting Japanese norms and culture while off base, simply subject them to the Japanese court system and be punished through the Japanese legal system. I would imagine that some of these yahoos would not dream of behaving like this in their home town back in the states. The American military courts should add their own weight. A few bad apples give all American service personal a bad name world wide. I remember reading about a few incidents when I served in the US Army in what was West Germany years ago.

  • Comment number 86.

    It' funny and frustrating to read the many ignorant comments on this issue from people who have absolutely nothing to do with it. I am in the Navy, have been in Japan my entire adult life, and can speak Japanese fluently. My soon to be wife is also Japanese, and is ironically from Okinawa, though not mainland Okinawa. Whilst I am not stationed in Okinawa, I have been there 17 times to date, and the study of this issue is actually a part of my job. Going over it in detail though would require a series of articles so I'll avoid that, but one thing that stands out to me is that most Japanese people could actually really care less. The news may fool you into thinking that there is a nationwide uproar, but they don't really care, and tellingly support for the U.S. Japan alliance amongst the Japanese population is high, another thing that's hurting the Prime Minister. Also, unlike many of the Europeans that I've met, Japanese are not seemingly Anti-American at all. One thing though that surprised me, is that many Japanese while not harboring any anti-American or anti-base feelings, are dead set against an increase in Japanese military capability, my lovely future wife included, because thats what they learn, especially in Okinawa, which is unrealistic. In this case, Japan cannot have its cake and eat it too. Japan could not very well wish the Americans away to have no plans to increase its own military capabilities, especially in regard to China. Doing so would be very irresponsible, and depressing once reality set in. This situation is more far reaching and has far greater consequence on the region than many care to realize unless you are the front line of it, which I definitely am. It's more than angry rants of "kick them out", or "we should pack up", and it's bigger than just Nago, Okinawa, the U.S. or Japan.

  • Comment number 87.

    Why does the USA need a base on Okinawa?

    The Japanese have had a free ride since WWII, they have not had to defend themselves against anyone since losing the war, it is time they pulled their weight in world security.

    Not having to pay their way has meant they could spend money on industrial development, given interest free loans over a decade to their companies to operate in a world market place that had to pay realistic interest rates for capital.

    When I worked in Japan, the company I was with had project loans at 0% and these bought construction equipment for overseas projects, the money bought Japanese equipment, components and materials - westdern companies could not compete against such a low mobilisation cost base.

  • Comment number 88.

    #86, I'm afraid my Japanese is still in the development stage, I haven't lived all my adult life in Japan, and unfortunately I haven't been to Okinawa yet. On the other hand I do already have a Japanese wife, and have lived in Japan for 8 years, but, even though I'm European, these factors don't give me moral authority on this issue.

    You say 'Japanese people could actually really care less'. It may be the case in certain quarters, but out of hand you are dismissing some of the population, important enough for Mr. Hatoyama to court their support with his election pledge to remove the base. You might agree, as the Japanese are a comparatively passive people, it's sometimes difficult to gauge their views on something. You haven't provided any numbers, and your argument is at odds with the Japanese who were asking me whether President Obama was being condescending to Mr. Hatoyama recently when he told him Japan WOULDN'T be removing the base, would it?

    This article is not for you, a foreign national, to dictate what Japan can and cannot lawfully do on its own territory, but about Mr. Hatoyama breaking an election promise because of American strongarm politics.

  • Comment number 89.


    If Hatoyama fails to keep his promise to the Okinawans, his days as the premier are numbered, especially when his party’s internal squabbles get out of hand.

    It is funny. For the past several years, no Japanese premiers would last more than a year or thereabout. Could Hatoyama?

    In the meantime, the US base has outlived its purpose after 65 years. Isn’t it time to quit?
    (vzc43)

  • Comment number 90.

    The presence of US military on Okinawa has most likely prevented war between Japan, China, and North and South Korea. Since we live in different times, leaving Okinawa would not stop the US from delivering its war machine from carriers and missiles. Storming beaches such as WWII is not necessary today. So, in that case, I am all for getting out of Okinawa, and letting Japan defend itself.

  • Comment number 91.

    I'm an American Conservative. Close the Base on Okinawa I dont see any Japaneese helping us in Iraq or Afghanistan.
    Pull our Troops from South Korea too as I don't see any Koreans helping us in Iraq or Afghanistan either.
    Let Japan and South Korea deal with N Korea get their own damn armies and pay for them too
    If Germany want out of Afganistan we pull out of Germany too what are we there to prop up their country they don't even have the will or the birthrate to resist the Islamics taking over there Germany's gone too, bye bye.
    You Brits and these sick Lefties lunatics who infect your country running down everything America does to try and help the world, you want us out of your country you want Islam good luck with that.
    It is time for America to re-evaluate the world and see who is willing to stand up for a democratic western lifestyle and who is not, time we pull back to Fort America.

  • Comment number 92.

    I as an American am sick of paying for the security of ingrates, in Europe or Japan. Close the stupid thing down and pull out of Europe and South Korea as well. Let Russia and China push them around.

  • Comment number 93.

    #91 - 1-poorly-pup


    "I dont see any Japaneese helping us in Iraq or Afghanistan."

    In 2004, the Japanese government ordered a deployment of troops to Iraq at the behest of the United States: A contingent of the Japan Self-Defense Forces was sent in order to assist the U.S.-led Reconstruction of Iraq.

    "Let Japan and South Korea deal with N Korea get their own damn armies and pay for them too"

    Japan spends $48.8 billion a year on defense (7th highest in the world). If you want to change the constitution you wrote for them limiting defense spending as a percentage of GDP to 1% then I'd imagine they would spend more.

    Korea spends $28.5 billion a year or 11th largest defense budget.

    "If Germany want out of Afganistan we pull out of Germany too what are we there to prop up their country they don't even have the will or the birthrate to resist the Islamics taking over there Germany's gone too, bye bye."

    Are you seriously stating that no US bases in Germany would mean the country would become an Islamic state?

    "You Brits and these sick Lefties lunatics who infect your country running down everything America does to try and help the world"

    I thought an American conservative such as yourself would be all for free speech and people voicing their opinions, or is that only when those opinions match yours?

    "It is time for America to re-evaluate the world and see who is willing to stand up for a democratic western lifestyle and who is not, time we pull back to Fort America."

    I would imagine the people of Iraq would concur wholeheartedly with your last sentence.

  • Comment number 94.

    Thank you for those numbers #93. And we all know where a lot of that money ends up.

  • Comment number 95.

    I'd rather they pulled out of uk first!

  • Comment number 96.

    If the People don't want it there it should be GONE, it was an Election Pledge.
    Big question should be whether Japan wants to continue "Hosting" 47,000 US Marines and provide Transit facilities for US Warships, Subs and Planes, plus pay US $6.4 Billion annually for the priviledge.

    With what US has done since WWII without paying Reparations or Ransom, it's past time for Japan to stop the Extraction.

  • Comment number 97.

    I concur that most of the protests are over the behavior of the base personnel. As if having a foreign military base on your own soverign soil wasn't bad enough, there's rapings and killings going on as well. The Futenma base is smack in the middle of the city, so the residents have to put up with helicopter and jet noise every day at all hours, which can get tiresome. I think relocating it to a more remote area would be best.

    Lastly, in the unlikely event that Japan is attacked, the bases serve as great targets, and if we're there solely as a vestige of empire, or at best, projecting force to "protect" an ally, at the very least we could remove ourselves from a dense population center filled with innocent civilians.

    Insofar as the bases being "needed," I do not think they are. With today's technology, Guam, the Philippines, Marshall Islands, American Samoa, and Hawaii could be used to project enough force to influence the region. I say, remove the bases and get on with it. American forces are staged throughout the Pacific rim with hundreds of thousands of marines at the ready to our most viable threats.

  • Comment number 98.

    So many excuses why it is GOOD for Japan to have foreign army at their door steps. Just like the Soviets staying in EE for 45 years, the US has its own strategic interests having nothing to do with Japan. Honest and open talks are missing here. Frankly, the US army may go home. All those nations are grown ups and rarity who wants to be nursed by the USA.

  • Comment number 99.

    paul wrote
    "Uh, sorry America, we're just silly and resentful people who can't stand being up-staged and relegated to second or third class nation status- our pride simply can't handle it. So we criticise you in order to inflate our own deflated ego"

    What do the following have in common?
    Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nicarague, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Quemoy & Matsu Island
    Taiwan Straits, Congo, Laos
    Dominican Republic, Korea,Thailand, Grenada, Lebanon, and a few others

    They have all been invaded, bombed or covertly terrorised by the US since WW2.
    Apologies for being "silly and resentful". How proud Americans must be

  • Comment number 100.

    I believe this is a matter to be left to the Japanese and American governments to resolve. We, in our small, bankrupt islands on the outer fringes of the EU may have our opinions on the subject but will anyone want to listen.

 

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