US military helicopters flying in Okinawa near the Futenma Air Base (PressTV)

Future of Okinawa Base Strains U.S. – Japanese Alliance

Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
January 24, 2010

The people of Okinawa and the U.S. Marine Corps agree on at least one thing: The Futenma Marine air station is a noisy dinosaur that needs to move elsewhere — and soon.

Smack in the middle of this densely packed city of 92,000 and taking up about a quarter of its land, the air base torments its neighbors with the howl of combat helicopters and the shudder of C-130 transport planes.

“The noise is unbearable,” said Harumi Chinen, principal of Futenma No. 2 Elementary School, where about 780 children study in buildings next to the airfield. “A school should be very comforting and safe. That is not the case here.”

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

For additional reporting on the situation in Okinawa, click the links below.

Edano Visits Futenma Airfield,   The Japan Times Online,  January 23, 2011

F-15 Drills Moving to Guam from Okinawa,  The Yomiuri Shimbun,  January 21, 2011

Gates Eases Up on Okinawa Base Relocation,, January 14, 2011

Okinawa U.S. Marine Base Angers Residents and Governor,   Huffington Post, Stephen Nessen, January 4, 2011



Japan Backs Down on Runway Change in US Base Plan


AsiaOne News (AFP)
May 19, 2010

Japan has told the United States it will back down in a dispute over the relocation of an unpopular US airbase and build offshore runways on landfill rather than pylons, a report said Wednesday.

In the row over the base on the island of Okinawa, Japan had proposed building the runways on pylons to minimise the impact on a marine habitat, but Washington argued this would heighten the risk of a terrorist attack.

The concession, reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, would be the latest twist in a long-simmering dispute over what to do with the controversial US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, now located in a crowded city area.

To read the full story at asiaone news, click here.


For additional information on this issue, please review the reports below:

Approach Paths Limited for New U.S. Airstrip  The Japan Times (Kyodo News), Dec. 6, 2006

Thousands Rally for Okinawa Dugong, Letter Protesting Base Relocation Hand-delivered to Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama. May 14, 2010

Naval Gazing in Asia  Foreign Policy,  May 18, 2010

U.S. Court Rules in the “Okinawa Dugong” Case: Implications for U.S. Military Bases Overseas  Critical Asian Studies 40:3 (2008),  Miyume Tanji