Japanese, U.S. Seal Okinawa Base Deal


Jacob M. Schlesinger
The Wall Street Journal
May 27, 2010

The Japanese government issued a joint statement with the U.S. formally sealing a controversial agreement to keep a large number of Marines on the southern island of Okinawa, after the Obama administration made some small concessions to help Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama save face for breaking a campaign promise.

The new pact, issued Thursday night in Washington, places greater emphasis than previous agreements on environmental protection, a major concern of critics of the plan for the military base. It includes a pledge to give Japanese officials greater access to U.S. facilities for ecological surveys, and a promise to consider “ways to introduce renewable energy technology” on the base.

To read the full story in the Wall Street Journal, click here.


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

Japan, U.S. Issue Joint Statement on Relocation of Okinawa Base   Xinhua,  May 28, 2010

Japan, U.S. Agree on Okinawa Marine Base Relocation   Businessweek,  May 28, 2010

Japan PM in Deal to Keep US Base on Okinawa   BBC News,  May 28, 2010

Hatoyama, Obama to Talk on Futenma Air Base


Vinay Sarawagi and Roshni Menon
May 25, 2010

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will speak with President Barack Obama over the phone Thursday to discuss relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station, the Kyodo news agency said.

Hatoyama and Obama’s talks will revolve around relocating the air station, which is in Okinawa Prefecture, to a coastal zone of the Marines’ Camp Schwab, also in the prefecture, the news agency said.

Ahead of the talks, the two governments may release a joint statement centering on agreements to build a replacement facility for the airfield in the Henoko district in Nago and reach a decision on the relocation plan by September, the news agency said it learned from Japan-U.S. diplomatic sources.

To read the full story at the Reuters web page, click here.


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

EDITORIAL: Obama to Okinawa: Abandon Hope and Change  Washington Times, May 25, 2010

Okinawa Decision Has Missile Defense Element   Aviation Week,  May 25, 2010

Fukushima’s Okinawa Trip Makes Waves   The Japan Times,  May 25, 2010

Hillary Clinton Begins Key Week-Long East Asia Visit



BBC News
May 21, 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Japan at the start of a week-long trip to Asia.

Her visit will be dominated by discussions over North Korea after investigators blamed it for the sinking of a South Korean warship.

She will meet the Japanese prime minister to discuss Japan-US ties and the future of the US military base on the island of Okinawa.

To read the full story on the BBC News web site, click here.


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

Q+A – U.S. Airbase row in focus as Clinton visits Japan  Reuters India,  May 21, 2010

Deal on Futenma expected May 28   Asahi Shimbun, May 21, 2010

Deal Seems Near on U.S. Base in Japan  The New York Times, May 20, 2010

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.

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

Reports: Hatoyama, Clinton to Discuss US Base


Eric Talmadge
Forbes.com (AP)
May 17, 2010

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who will reportedly meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week, vowed Monday to do all he can to resolve an impasse over the future of a major American Marine base by the end of the month.

Hatoyama is under increasing pressure to come up with a plan to move operations off the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the southern island of Okinawa in keeping with a pledge he made before becoming Japan’s leader last September.

To read the full story at the Forbes.com, click here.

Japan’s Kagoshima Stages Rally to Protest U.S. Base Relocation


May 8, 2010

Some 5,000 people rallied at a park in the city of Kagoshima Saturday to protest against the government’s plan to relocate some functions of a major U.S. military base from Okinawa Prefecture to Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, said reports from the port city on the southern coast of Kyushu island.

Present at the gathering were the three mayors from the island, including Isen town mayor Akira Okubo, who rebuffed Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama when talking about his relocation proposal in a meeting held Friday. “I conveyed (Tokunoshima) residents’ firm sentiment against (the proposal),” Okubo was quoted by Kyodo News as saying at the rally, which was organized by members of the Kagoshima prefectural assembly, excluding assembly groups of the Democratic Party of Japan.

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

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

Okinawans protested US bases on their island yesterday, shouting slogans as the prime minister visited. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

Japanese Leader Says Moving US Base Off Okinawa Unlikely


Malcolm Foster
Associated Press at boston.com
May 5, 2010

Japan’s prime minister said for the first time yesterday that at least part of a key US military base will remain on the southern island of Okinawa, a move that could reduce tension with Washington but dent his sinking popularity and raise the ire of island residents.

A dispute over the relocation of Futenma Marine Corps airfield has become the focal point of US-Japan ties since Yukio Hatoyama took office in September promising to move the base off Okinawa — contrary to a 2006 agreement with Washington that called for it to be moved to a less crowded, northern part of the island.

But on his first visit to Okinawa as prime minister, Hatoyama conceded it would be difficult if not impossible to move Futenma’s facilities off the island, which hosts more than half the 47,000 American troops stationed in Japan under a security pact.

To read the full story at boston.com, click here.

Residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa protest ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's arrival to the United States Marine Corps' Camp Schwab in Okinawa. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

Protests in Japan Over US Base 

May 4, 2010

Angry residents of Okinawa today rejected a plan by Japan’s prime minister to keep at least part of a controversial US base on the island, in what could prove a new blow to support ahead of an election.

The feud over relocating the Futenma US Marine base has shaken ties with Washington and contributed to Yukio Hatoyama’s tumbling support rates in the run-up to an upper house election his ruling Democratic Party must win to avoid policy deadlock.

Trailed by anti-base demonstrators on his first visit to subtropical Okinawa since taking office last year, Mr Hatoyama told local people in a series of meetings he wanted them to accept a plan that would keep some of Futenma’s facilities on the island.

To read the full story at irishtimes.com, click here.

U.S. President Questions Japanese PM’s Ability to Make Good on Okinawa Base Promise


April 18, 2010

U.S President Barack Obama questioned Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s ability to ” follow through” on resolving the issue of relocating a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa Prefecture, political sources said Sunday.

In discussions between the two leaders held recently in Washington on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Obama pointed out to Hatoyama that zero progress has been made on the increasingly thorny issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, sources said Sunday, despite Hatoyama’s self-imposed deadline of the end-of-May to settle the issue and pleas to Obama to “trust him.”

To read the full story on the Xinhuanet.com web site, click here.