Protesters demonstrate against US military bases on Okinawa. The Japanese government faces opposition to plans to keep US troops on the island. Photo: AP

Second Battle of Okinawa Looms as China’s Naval Ambition Grows

Pacific island is home to 34 US military bases and focus of escalating tension between Japan and China

David Hearst
March 7, 2011

In a whitewashed bunker cut into the limestone of the southern tip of the island of Okinawa, the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Navy prepared to make its last stand.

In June 1945, in one of the last, blood-soaked spasms of the second world war, a quarter of the civilian population died as US troops stormed the island.

Inside the bunker, imperial army troops pulled the pins of their grenades rather than surrender. One corner of the tunnel is peppered with shrapnel marks. The Japanese script on the wall still carries the defiant message: “American soldier Pigs! We will soon turn the battle around. Then we will reduce your numbers.” It frequently gets lost in translation. “We cover it up when the Americans come round here,” the guide said.

Today the island chain finds itself at the centre of a second battle of Okinawa. The military threat comes from China, intent on securing its sea lanes and pushing back America’s naval power into the Pacific.

To read the full story at the, click here.

Controversy Over U.S. Base in Okinawa


Warren Mass
New American
May 21,2010

The British Guardian newspaper on May 21 quoted from a statement made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reporters in Tokyo that a dispute between the United States and Japan over the future of a U.S. airbase in Okinawa would not affect the countries’ “rock solid” 50-year-old alliance.

“We both seek an arrangement that is operationally viable and politically sustainable,” said Clinton, at the start of a three-nation tour of Asia that will include visits to China and South Korea. “The goal of our governments remains unchanged: we want to maintain the security of Japan and the stability of the region.”

To read the full story at the New American, click here.


For additional information on this issue, please refer to the following reports:

Clinton Kicks Off Asia Tour  PressTV,  May 21,2010

Japan Prime Minister Accepts Relocation Plan  KUAM News, May 21, 2010

US and Japan Strive to Meet Deadline for Okinawa Airbase Decision   The Guardian Weekly, May 21, 2010

Photo: AFP

Japan Not Ready for Base Deal


The Straits Times (AFP)
May 18, 2010

Japan won’t be ready to resolve a row over a controversial US airbase when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Japan later this week, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said on Tuesday.

Mrs Clinton will visit Japan on Friday, mainly to discuss a sunken South Korean navy ship now suspected to have been caused by a North Korean attack, as well as Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Okada said in a news conference.

Tokyo and Washington have quarrelled for months over where to relocate the locally unpopular US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station now located in a city area of the southern island of Okinawa.

To read the full story in The Straits Times, click here.

Okinawa Rally May 15, 2010

Okinawa Marks 38th Anniversary of Reversion to Japan


Bangkok Post (AFP)
May 15, 2010

Thousands of people rallied in Okinawa on Saturday to mark the 38th anniversary of its reversion to Japan from US occupation, as the island seeks to cut its still heavy US military presence.

Around 2,500 people marched in several groups around the Japanese subtropical island, organisers said, chanting: “Let’s create a peaceful Okinawa without military bases.”

To read the full story at the Bangkok Post, click here.

Japan Moves to Settle Dispute with U.S. over Okinawa Base Relocation


John Pomfret
The Washington Post
April 24, 2010

The Japanese government indicated Friday that it would broadly accept a plan to relocate a U.S. Marine Corps base on Okinawa, a move that could ease months of discord between the two allies, U.S. and Japanese officials said.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada presented U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos with a proposal to settle the dispute, telling him that Japan was moving toward accepting significant parts of a 2006 deal to move the Futenma air station from the center of a city of 92,000 to a less populated part of Okinawa, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

To read the full story at The Washington Post, click here.

Dispute Over Marine Base Sours
U.S. Ties With Japan


Eric Talmadge
The Associated Press (Chicago Tribune)
January 6, 2010

When the U.S. took over a Japanese airfield here in the closing days of World War II, it was surrounded by sugar cane fields and the smoldering battlegrounds of Okinawa. It is now the focus of a deepening dispute that is testing Japan’s security alliance with the United States and dividing its new government in Tokyo.

A large city has grown up around the base, and helicopters and cargo planes from the U.S. Marine Corps facility buzz so low over Futenma No. 2 Elementary School, whose playground fence borders the facility, that the windows rattle and teachers stop class until the aircraft are on the ground.

To read the full story in the Chicago Tribune, click here.

Scrap Bill to Ratify Guam Treaty


Japan Press Weekly
Akahata editorial (excerpts)
April 3, 2009

Japan’s parliament will soon begin discussing the Japan-U.S. agreement on the implementation of the relocation of a part of III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) personnel and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam, which, if enacted, will force Japan to pay the relocation costs.

To read the Akahata editorial click on the link below.

Scrap bill to ratify Guam Treaty.