Japan’s PM Could Go it Alone on Futenma


David Allen and Chiyomi Sumida
Stars and Stripes
May 20, 2010

Failing to get support from junior members of his ruling coalition for his plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama may break with the coalition and make his proposal public without their approval.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Monday in Tokyo that there may be a way for Hatoyama to keep his pledge to present a relocation plan by his self-imposed May 31 deadline without getting the Social Democratic Party or the People’s New Party to agree.

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Reversal on Futenma Promise Could Have Political Cost for Hatoyama


David Allen
Stars and Stripes at allvoices.com
May 7, 2010

Yukio Hatoyama’s future as Japan’s prime minister could be cut short after he admitted Tuesday that his campaign promise to move all U.S. Marine Corps air operations off Okinawa was ill conceived.

Political analysts say Hatoyama’s inability to “relieve the burden of Okinawa,” which hosts the bulk of the U.S. military in the country, makes him appear weak and could lead to his resignation.

He has yet to announce which of several alternatives he will recommend for shifting Marine air operations on Okinawa once Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is closed. But there have been calls for his resignation, some from his own party, if he fails to produce a favorable plan.

To read David Allen’s analysis at allvoices.com, click here.


Additional reporting on this issue can be found at the links below:

Japan Mayors Rebuff PM Hatoyama’s Okinawa Alternatives  BBC News, May 7, 2010

Island Mayors Rebuff Hatoyama   The Japan Times, May 7, 2010

Japanese PM Plans Second Trip to Okinawa to Brief Residents on U.S. Base Relocation Plan Xinhuan,  May 7, 2010

Futenma Farce   The Economist,  May 6, 2010

Hatoyama Blasted for U-turn   The Straits Times, May 6, 2010

Japanese PM’s Reversal on US Base May Have Political Cost   Voice of America, May 5, 2010

Official: Japan Nearing Decision on Futenma Site


David Allen
Stars and Stripes
April 25, 2010

Japan’s government may take one step closer during the weekend to choosing an alternate site for relocating Marine air units now on Okinawa.

The proposed relocation site for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan will be announced to the government’s ministers and leaders of the three-party ruling majority by Sunday, according to Mikio Shimoji, a member of Japan’s Diet from Okinawa who met Thursday with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano.

Hirano said the government will call for a meeting of ministers by Sunday, Shimoji said on his blog late Thursday.

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Okinawa Rally Could Draw 100,000 People


David Allen
Stars and Stripes
April 23, 2010

The U.S. military on Okinawa is advising Department of Defense personnel and their families to stay away from the village of Yomitan on Sunday, where a large anti-base rally is scheduled.

Organizers said Wednesday they expect 100,000 people to gather at the village sports complex for the 3 p.m. event. Among featured speakers will be elected officials and union leaders.

If the size of the crowd turns out to be as big as predicted, it will be the largest anti-base event on Okinawa since 58,000 people gathered in Ginowan in October 1995 to protest the abduction and gang rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by two Marines and a sailor.

To read the full story in  Stars and Stripes, click here.