Anti-US governor wins Okinawa poll

The Japanese on the southern Island of Okinawa have re-elected incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who wants an end to the American military presence.

Nakaima, who wants the US base off Okinawa altogether, beat his opponent who agreed to relocate the base to a less crowded area on the island.

In May, Tokyo and Washington agreed to implement a 2006 plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area in Okinawa.

The move infuriated local residents, who view the base as a source of noise, pollution and serious crime –including rape.
Continue reading

Advertisements

US base row puts Japan coalition at risk

Japan‘s Social Democratic Party (SDP) is threatening to leave the ruling coalition over the controversial US military base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Senior SDP official Seiji Mataichi said Saturday that it was natural for the party to leave the coalition.

The development comes after the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed the SDP chief from his cabinet for opposing his decision to keep the American base on Okinawa.

Hatoyama has abandoned his campaign promise to move the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma off the southern Japanese island, resulting in a dramatic drop in his approval rating to nearly 20 percent.

The airbase has been under US command since after World War II. More than half of some 47,000 US troops in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.

Islanders have for long been opposed to the presence of US military personnel, who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents, on Okinawa.

Japan minister fired over US airbase

The Japanese premier fires a minister for rejecting Tokyo’s recent compromise with Washington on a controversial US airbase on Okinawa Island.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed consumer affairs minister, Mizuho Fukushima, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Tokyo and Washington have issued a statement, saying that Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern island of Okinawa would be relocated to a new site on the same island.

Fukushima told a press conference that she “could not betray the people of Okinawa,” Press TV’s Michael Penn reported. The former minister added that she “could not accept the plan to create a new US airbase on the island which would increase the burden for Okinawan people.”

Fukushima said that politics demanded trust and that if she betrayed her campaign promises to the people, she would be breaking that trust.

Hatoyama had run for premier on a campaign to materialize a “more equal” relationship with Washington. He had also promised to move the base off the island which houses three-quarters of the thousands-strong Japan-based US military.

Locals there have for long protested the presence of the military personnel who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents.

Fukushima had stood up to Hatoyama’s and other Cabinet ministers’ plea for her to endorse the agreement.

Her party, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, could, meanwhile, leave Hatoyama’s coalition, jeopardizing his chances in the Upper House elections set to be held in July.

Japan wants US military base out of Okinawa

Japan‘s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says he will devise a plan to relocate the US military airfield based in Okinawa as soon as possible.

Hatoyama made the remarks after a meeting with his foreign and defense ministers.

His government has called for the US to move its troops off the island, and even Japan altogether.

The new administration in Tokyo has also ordered an investigation into secret US-Japan deals ratified by previous governments.

Washington has about 47,000 troops based in Japan, more than half of which are on Okinawa.

US troops have been continuously stationed on the island since 1945.

Local residents have been angered by crimes committed by US service personnel.

In 1995 the rape of a schoolgirl by three US servicemen infuriated residents of Okinawa.

Continue reading

Asian leaders eye EU-style bloc

Asian leaders meeting in Thailand are discussing plans to “lead the world” by forming an European Union-style community by 2015.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama argued nations should take advantage of the region’s more rapid recovery from the recession than the West.

“It would be meaningful for us to have the aspiration that East Asia is going to lead the world,” he said.

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are meeting other regional heads at Cha-Am beach resort.

Continue reading