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Injuries to Okinawa anti-base protesters ‘laughable,’ says U.S. military spokesman

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As the Japanese government intensifies its crackdown against demonstrators blocking construction of a new Pentagon base in the Henoko district of Nago city, Okinawa, a senior U.S. Marine Corps spokesman has weighed into the fray by accusing peaceful protesters there of faking their injuries.

On Jan. 22, Capt. Caleb D. Eames, deputy public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Installations Pacific, likened demonstrators to play-acting professional soccer players: “The attempt to appear injured is laughable when you see it in person,” he said.

Eames singled out for criticism demonstrators “lying on the road, holding onto a moving vehicle, and being dragged by their own choice, then claiming that they were scraped while in a peace protest.”

Eames made the comments in an emailed response to a Jan. 5 Japan Times article titled “Think tank gives Japan-U.S. diplomacy an Okinawan voice.”

Since the Japanese government restarted its survey work last year on the long-stalled project to replace Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawan demonstrators have been attempting to block the work from both the sea and the land. According to Nago city’s U.S. Base Affairs Section, between last November and Feb. 4, 12 demonstrators were injured by the police and Japan Coast Guard — five of whom were taken to hospital by ambulance. Injuries verified by Nago include a man whose rib was broken when he was shoved in the chest by a member of the Coast Guard on Jan. 16 and a 49-year-old man injured by the riot police on Jan. 23 who was left with injuries to his hand that he will take a month to recover from.

Given this long list of injuries, the Marine Corps’ accusations of fakery have infuriated many protesters.

“Almost every day, demonstrators are being injured on land and sea. Bloodied heads and broken bones. These are not the kind of injuries people can fake,” Fumiko Shimabukuro, 85, told The Japan Times.

On Nov. 20 last year, Shimabukuro — a survivor of the Battle of Okinawa — was knocked unconscious while attempting to block a construction truck entering the new base site. According to Shimabukuro and others on the scene, as she was holding the side mirror of the stationary vehicle, three riot police officers tightly encircled her, unpeeled her fingers and then, in a tactic that demonstrators say is common, they simultaneously stepped back, causing Shimabukuro to fall to the ground.

Knocked out, Shimabukuro was rushed to a local hospital, and she says the injury has left her unable to sleep or stand without pain.

Now Shimabukuro has thrown down the gauntlet to the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Before you say we Okinawans are pretending to be injured, come to Henoko and see conditions with your own eyes,” she said. “If you want to call me a liar then please come here and say it to my face.”

In his Jan. 22 email, Eames also accused anti-base demonstrators of “jabbing American employees with sticks” and “yelling English profanity and curse words” at his children.

On Feb. 8, The Japan Times contacted Eames to offer him an opportunity to clarify his Jan. 22 accusations against Okinawan demonstrators.

On Feb. 9, Eames replied that he had intended his comments to refer to demonstrators outside the Futenma air base in Ginowan, not Henoko; however, he failed to elaborate on the faked injuries or attacks on Americans that he alleges took place. Nor did he retract his comment that the injuries to demonstrators were “laughable.”

Eames claimed that his original comments were “simply sharing personal observations about situations I have experienced and viewed around Futenma, not Henoko.” He added, that they were not “an official statement representing official views of the Marine Corps or any other organization.”

Contacted for comment on Eames’ accusations, Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman, the director of public affairs, U.S. Forces Japan, said: “We were not aware of these alleged incidents, so we are not in a position to respond to this question.” In regards to violence against demonstrators, he replied, “It would be inappropriate to comment on domestic law enforcement matters.”

The alleged brutality against demonstrators is seen by many on the island as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to project a more aggressive image to opponents both abroad and domestically. In 2004 and 2005, peace campaigners successfully blocked government surveys on the new Henoko base site, forcing Tokyo to abandon the work. However, now, under Abe, the government appears determined to push through with the controversial project — even if it means resorting to violence against peaceful demonstrators.

In Henoko Bay, the government has established a temporary exclusion zone marked with orange buoys and enforced by dozens of Coast Guard speedboats. Members of the Coast Guard immediately board any vessels entering the zone and, in the case of canoes, they forcibly drag their occupants onto government boats.

During one such incident caught on video last September (viewable above), a member of the Coast Guard is seen grabbing a canoeist by his throat and screaming incomprehensibly into his face. The assault left the demonstrator with injuries to his neck that required two weeks to heal.

“The Japanese Constitution allows us the right to peaceful protest. But (the coast guard) grabbed the young man and started screaming in his face. We worried he was going to kill him,” Chie Miyagi, the Okinawa resident who took the video, told The Japan Times.

Increasingly, the Coast Guard is targeting members of the media attempting to film its confrontations with demonstrators. Last month, the Coast Guard dragged a boat carrying journalists from the area. Then, on Jan. 20, a Coast Guard member caught documentary filmmaker Asako Kageyama in a leg lock and apparently tried to seize her camera. Although the incident was caught on film by local media, the Coast Guard issued a statement in which it claimed its member was merely attempting to pass Kageyama on his way to the back of the boat.

On Feb. 2, the Coast Guard introduced a new — and potentially lethal — tactic. According to reports verified by Nago city, after detaining eight canoeists in shallow coastal waters, the Coast Guard took them more than 4 km from land where it released them — forcing them to paddle back to the shore. It repeated the tactic on Feb. 3, capturing 19 canoeists then releasing them into rough seas 4 km from shore.

“The Coast Guard treatment is abnormal,” said Nago City Assembly member Takuma Higashionna. “It’s the job of the Coast Guard and the police to protect people, not harm them. Such behavior is truly unforgivable.”

Higashionna believes that the Japanese and U.S. governments are ignoring the democratic will of the Okinawan people. In November, Gov. Takeshi Onaga was elected by a landslide on a platform to block the new base, and in December all of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party incumbents in Okinawa were defeated by anti-base candidates in Lower House polls.

Since winning his gubernatorial election, Onaga has been repeatedly denied meetings with Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Last month, the central government also cut the prefecture’s budget in a move widely seen as collective punishment for residents’ election of candidates opposed to the new base.

“The only reason Tokyo is pushing ahead with the base project is discrimination. If this were America, such a project would never be allowed. Nor would it be allowed on mainland Japan,” says Higashionna.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, in which more than a quarter of the island’s civilian population were killed in the crossfire between U.S. and Japanese forces. Today, many Okinawan survivors of World War II are involved in the new battle to stop construction at Henoko — among them 85-year-old Shimabukuro.

Badly burned in the war while sheltering in a cave in southern Okinawa, Shimabukuro was treated kindly by U.S. troops who fed her and tended to her injuries. However, along with many other Okinawans, that sense of gratitude has been eroded by decades of land seizures, crimes and accidents.

For many, the plan to build the new Henoko base is the final straw.

“In Okinawa, we believe in ‘Nuchi du takara‘ — life is precious,” said Shimabukuro. “If this new base is built, it will be used to kill people. So I owe it to all those who died in Battle of Okinawa to stop construction. Even if I’m injured again, I will never stop protesting.”

Comments: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • Katherine Muzik

    Captain Eames’ remarks are appalling. They are distressingly typical of the arrogance and ignorance displayed by the US Military Empire all around the world, and especially in Okinawa.

    In fact, the protesters at Henoko have been ardently but peaceably
    protesting US-Japanese plans to destroy the last coral reef ecosystem in Japan! It is a place of great beauty, as well as ecological and cultural importance. As coral reefs are perishing
    elsewhere, from the Caribbean to the Great Barrier Reef, this glorious Oura Bay ecosystem at Henoko has become especially valuable.

    I suggest that Captain Eames visit Oura Bay to see for
    himself the thousands of species of fish, the hundreds of species of corals, shellfish, seagrasses, marine algae, etc., that construction of the Marine Base will tragically destroy! New species, undescribed species, endangered species, “useful” species, all will be irreversibly lost if the destruction is allowed to proceed. Perhaps he will retract his shameful remarks upon seeing its beauty and importance, and be able to sympathise with the protestors, who are so justifiably angered by the destructive activities of the military-industrial complex in Okinawa, now and during many previous
    decades. Katherine Muzik, Marine Biologist, Kaua’i

    • Ernest Schaal

      I don’t know if Captain Eames was telling the truth or not, but even if he was, his comments probably did his cause more damage than good. It shows an attitude of indifference to the local nationals that has made the Marines so unwelcome in Okinawa.

      • CrimsonTears

        I don’t know the entire story, but I agree that he should have handled the situation differently. As an officer in charge of forces overseas, he should know better than to make such comments. It’s foolish remarks like his that cause other countries to look unfavorably upon the United States. It’s truly unfortunate, because some people don’t realize that the actions of the few don’t represent the entirety of a nation.

      • bob

        No not hardly, it’s stupid idiotic weak minded liberal thinking that has others looking at the US as weak minded.

    • たいがあ@英語で世界に発信

      What should be noted here is nobody are not sure what has been going on. Even the journalists are not welcome there. How can we know the truth?

      • bob

        Idiots can never handle the truth to begin with so what’s the point. But if you really want to know the truth, China will eventually take Japan and the US will pull out of Asia. That much is inevitable, if this current Japan admin and powerful business leaders haven’t started they will soon enough, I vote on the latter it has started.

      • kyushuphil

        The truth is a series of black hole torture sites around the globe.

        America needs the crudest of methods to go along with the lies built into all its name-0brand advertising.

        These corporate interest have no concern for humanity at all — only for more corporate profit.

        And that’s the truth.

    • bob

      Be lucky my generation wasn’t in power as we would have made Okinawa conquered spoils of war and turned it into real US property forever as a spite against Japan just like what the great leaders did to the Native Americans at the Black Hills to this very day.

      What this agitators need is a real old fashioned beat downed to take them back to the beat downs in the 50’s. Augh those were the days. Instead of crying about spilled milk they should be complaining at Kume island where the real mining and damages you mentioned will soon commence.

      • Gordon Graham

        Wait! Let me stop laughing for a minute. Aren’t you the poster who mocked the Japanese for their bad English? Oh the irony! Thanks, for the chuckle, Bob.

      • bob

        you bet , sometimes a chuckle goes a long way. The one’s that really need it the most are the liberals with no common sense and fall back on education as the answer to all, while they keep dreaming of the utopian world. Please, piss on that.

    • kyushuphil

      Thank you, Katherine.

      I share your shame and embarrassment at the cynical vulgarity of official Americans.

      It’s not just the military that breeds ignorant contempt for the cultures America imposes itself on. Look at the entire ten-year period of lies 50 years ago to convince the Japanese that nukes would be totally safe, always cheap.

      Look at TPP coming down the pike now.

      • forsetiboston

        “Nukes” including Fukushima have still killed less people and wildlife than oil, coal and natural gas. Perhaps you should do a bit of research. Furthermore the plants were safe – TEPCO made decisions to maintain the plants in a particular manner making them less safe than some of their BWR brothers. Also as I recall it was the very anti-nuclear Prime Minister at the time injecting himself into purely engineering decisions.

        As for Okinawa, I agree the US should just leave the islands, and when the PRC come to take the Senkaku’s let them keep on trucking through Okinawa. We’ll stop them when they try to claim Hawaii as sacred Chinese lands. Though by then Okinawa will probably be begging for Chinese occupation to stimulate the economy because god knows they get more than a few Yen revenue from those bases being there.

        In all seriousness I’m sure the strategic advantage is important otherwise why would anyone deal with the drama around the base? As for the jarhead who so eloquently spoke out of turn – he should (and probably will) be relieved of whatever command he was in.

      • kyushuphil

        Accounting for nukes differs from all other accounting.

        This is because coal, oil, etc. do not continue to demand astronomical spending on clean-up, storage, decommissioning, and other costs 1,000s of years going forward.

        Nukes and nuke waste continue to emit radiation, poisons, toxins big-time far into the future — and no one has had the nerve to present a realistic bill for that to anyone now.

        Fu Manchu and friends now riding a wave of world dominion? Cute, but that scenario befits western history of crusades, missionary expansionism. This history in 1,000s of years has never been Chinese.

        If you’re planning to open up a comic book industry charting your fanciful Chinese history, please account, too, for the pressures even to keep that state intact, given great Uighur and other breakaway pressures from its southwest territories, given the great pressures coming from the hundreds of millions of rural poor far from the seacoasts, and given the great environmental pressures coming from all over the country even to sustain recent growth.

      • forsetiboston

        They do not? Last I checked we are still spending on the gulf oil spill. There are more than one coal ash issues in the US (alone) which yes ::gasp:: has radioactive and other nasty properties. So please spare me your save the earth holier than thou opinions. Again research here is king – tell me what percentage of that dastardly radioactive waste remains highly radioactive for 1,000s of years again. Speaking of comic books, and tell me of the oil cost my good friend? Just where do we mark off all of these deaths to control oil fields. Where would you like to put the Ukraine? We know Putin wants his pipelines to go through there since it’s the express route to the EU for nat’gas. Coal extraction in the US, Australia, Mongolia, China and elsewhere. How many deaths from coal mining, how many deaths from coal particulate in the air, how many deaths from global warming? Tell me oh wise one – where shall we put that in the comic? Near the back? Nobody has the guts to take on big oil and coal interests either.

        Fu Manchu? Wow, how politically sensitive of you. If you read what I wrote I’m not advocating staying in Okinawa, in fact I think it should go back to Okinawans and the Japanese should keep their tax dollars on the “mainland” so to speak. I’m merely suggesting that China is being aggressive, and if you don’t realize that you either a.) can’t read, and/or b.) haven’t spent any time in greater Asia over the last several years.

        Agreed re: missionary expansion. Religion is the opiate of the masses and it is having its day of reckoning more or less. Agreed re: China’s issues with internal problems – however if you use an ounce of common sense what happens when a totalitarian state is threatened from within? They lash out at their crafted enemies. Why do you think there has been an increase in anti-Japanese sentiment in recent years? It’s a distraction plain and simple, and what better way to distract people from problems internally than to poke externally?

        Further – China has enough money to send Putin cash to keep him on his feet. I hardly think they worry (or more likely care) about the Uighurs, and Tibet. They have their eyes set on a much larger prize. If you get over to China talk to folks between 25-40 and see just how much they even know about the rural poor vs. how many 100s of millions are now in the middle class.

      • Katherine Muzik

        Gee. Where did you visit? In fact, documented fact, Oura Bay is absolutely lovely, Oura Bay is one of the most beautiful places left on Planet Earth, so I can only imagine you have been restrained by your military masters, or your diving mask is fogged?
        The Oura Bay marine life is diverse, exquisite, unique, and one of the last best places on this Planet. As I write this comment, it is being irrevocably crushed. Shame on you, for favoring injury and death. Katherine

      • forsetiboston

        Thanks Katherine I’m not sure where this comment came from. I don’t believe I made any negative comment regarding the beauty of Okinawa? I also never supported the movement of nor maintaining a base in Okinawa. I support returning the Okinawa islands back to Okinawans and thus keeping any Japanese tax revenues in Japan. I also fully support returning US troops deployed abroad back to the US.

      • Eric Gray

        I worked on Camp Schwab for a year and frequently swam the two km or so from the beach around the islands and back. It was pretty but not the most diverse underwater landscapes that I saw in over 500 SCUBA dives in the waters around Okinawa.

      • kyushuphil

        Nobody’s done a cost analysis breaking down the long-term for nukes (strontium cesium etc.) as opposed to oil, coal, etc. But you seem to be in a dither to lash out at anyone who doesn’t jump to your oil-coal-only fulsomeness.

        And so much patronizing language. My. My.

        I guess you don’t want to know the costs, any costs, of nukes, so thus when you play dumb at half-0life issues that go to 1,000s of year. Hysteria takes over, leading quickly enough, too, to your shouts of Yellow Peril! Yellow Peril!

        I say TPP is a far worse menace, based simply on the takeover of national sovereignty in all signatory countries which must defer to corporate interests doing all in the future on steroids as they have for years with coal, gas, oil, nukes, cars, neon, plastics, shopping malls, advertising, and systems of schools all servile to all this.

      • forsetiboston

        Let me provide a bit of a background here. The original comment you posted attacked two separate issues. One condemning the entire nuclear industry (because it came from America) the other jumping on the US military. I got onto the bandwagon with both – one the nuclear comment. Providing 24/7 365 power with a 90%+ capacity factor costs money, the waste can be dealt with as France actually does, or we can switch to SMRs or Gen 3 or Thorium whatever, renewables backed by natgas and coal (as Germany does) is not the answer.

        I’ll just return back to my original comment. Like most Americans not in the 1% I do not support the American military hanging out in Japan. Not the Navy in Yokuska the Air Force wherever they may be, and not the Marines in Okinawa. I think they should be gone from Japan. Japan should take care of Japan or be swallowed up by, ah what did you say “Yellow Peril.” I don’t actually care, we have more than enough problems in our own backyard without our “Leaders” giving lip service to Japan knowing full well we will never back it up.

        TPP is a nightmare for all of us, “average” Americans and Asian countries alike. So we agree on at least 90% of your blather, we disagree on Nukes because guess what – we have to get the power from somewhere and yes I support very low to ~zero carbon nuclear versus natural gas and coal. Sorry it’s not a cost issue for me, I think the power industries should be socialized anyway.

      • kyushuphil

        If we argue nukes or some other alternate(s), are we taking for granted that the current (and currently increasing) levels of consumerism are God’s wish for us?

        American biz schools invest enormously in whetting the appetites of all the world for more cars, more highways, more skyscrapers with millions of windows that can never be opened, more neon advertising, more TV advertising, more name brand marketing, more plastics, more chemicals for every mother’s milk, more consumer finance debt traps, more fast food, more junk food, more highway cloverleafs eating up more good farm land, more massive parking lagoons around the shopping malls, More ATVs, more celebs huckstering more gangsta fashion for more big corporate profit . . . are you still reading? Is this the point of our status quo — that God has ordered us all into the pits of gaudy, vulgar, endless materialism — with no more “humanities” or even essay writing in the schools to balance it at all?

      • Gordon Graham

        more computers to spend more time writing more diatribes about consumerism

      • Yosemite_Steve

        You think that’s computer translated Gordon? No way any computer can translate that well, imo. This prose is quite coherent and grammatical (might be some tiny mistakes somewhere but nothing leaps out at me). Tone and the strength of argumentation leaves much to be desired but the basic language is quite sound, I think.

      • Gordon Graham

        I just find it amusing when someone bemoans materialism from their very own plastic, electronic toy.

      • forsetiboston

        We agree on the consumerism thing. It is out of control, however with a billion people coming into this so called “middle class” there will be no slowdown anytime soon. So, we either look on and watch as they (and us) build dirty coal and now gas plants to replace them (50% less dirty dirty fuel) or we have some effort to replace that cycle.

        I’m not sure it’s the American biz schools building empty cities in China now is it? That is pretty much an internal Chinese issue that they are wrestling with. No Americans were involved in how China is bringing it’s people into the new China. As for the Malls, one has to look no further than one of my favorite places to visit (possibly on earth) Ibaraki, Japan. In Tsukuba City alone there are no no less than three malls, none of which are American. So, you see – you can sit back and point fingers at Americans forcing a way of life down people’s throats. Or alternatively you can sit back and watch people latching on to this so-called American way of life and spiraling down the drain….

        If you spend anytime in the metro areas of the US, be they in the Northeast, the Nortwest, California, even parts of (yes) Texas you will see a big push towards organic “stuff.” Equally you will see a large pushback against “crap” food. Furthermore, in California (for which I can speak directly) particularly in Northern California on the coast side where there is money there are a lot of folks just like you (and yes me) who are asking the same question you pose. Is it all worth it for corporate profits – 99.99% of which we don’t see?

        I don’t know, but it’s being played out in places that aren’t American, and sure the US is an easy target that much is for sure. But within the US there is a good deal of introspection going on, particularly after Obama turned out to be just another republicrat.

        As for Fashion, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Anyone in Tokyo would agree with me on this – you don’t look towards the US for fashion, but you could point the finger at the French and Italians lust for whatever is “hot.” They have their own type of consumerism, and to be fair to the French anyway – at least they try to take care of their people..

        Fair points all, but back to the topic. We need the Marines out of Okinawa. And we need a power source to support consumerism which is not going away in our lifetimes. As for God, seeing what I’ve seen in this lifetime in my opinion there is no God, if there were we would not be where we are.

      • kyushuphil

        The problem with departmentalism in “higher” ed is that it has otherwise bright boys and girls trained not to see connections when in fact connections are vital.

        The monster empty apartment cities in China — the shopping malls you note in Japan — all are impossible without the machinery of international finance. Why do you think the government of China wants Nike and all those other American corporations to be producing in China? It means not just sweatshop jobs, but, more importantly for all the cadres, billions and billions in Chinese skim and investor profits.

        Ditto Japan. The real estate, consumer finance, and other banking interests here are all closely tied to the U.S. dollar and to Japanese and American corporate undertakings at the highest levels, in both the U.S. and in Japan.

        Be very careful, please, in dissing the U.S. role in international fashion. You never heard of gangsta? Blue jeans? Cargo khakis? Baseball caps? Hoodies? Sneakers? All American in origin. All American in continued marketing with major celebrities — with the highest-priced U.S. celebrities appearing on billboards and magazines here in Japan, not the U.S.. And almost all the production of these “goods” is still corporate American — facilities mostly in China.

        Ib nuke safety, I’m just a bit incredulous that you think safety’s been achieved (in France), even while producers of the toxins and wastes in Japan and the U.S. have never heard of this achievement.

      • forsetiboston

        The US blocked the breeder reactor technology that France uses to reprocess spent fuel into usable fuel again. Why? The US wants highly enriched Uranium cut and dry. By extension Japan was blocked for years to use Breeder Reactors – plain and simple. So yes, they have not “heard” of this achievement so much as they have been forced to turn their collective backs on it.

        Regarding the hoodies, and khaki’s and all the other fashion.. I think you greatly overrate the US contributions to fashion. I travel to Japan enough to see the occasional advert featuring a Gaijin. It’s mildly amusing, however I also hit the bookstores enough to see the countless magazines weighing more than a small child filled from front to back with Japanese designs, French, Italian, and others. Bags by Gucci? Not by L.L. Bean that’s for sure.

        Further, to counter point your China opinion that China wants Nike in China for investor profits. By Chinese law if you manufacture in China you have to take a Chinese partner on with more than a 50% stake in the organization. So, you see, China wants cars, shoes, clothes, reactors (yes gasp their nuclear program is growing by leaps and bounds) made in China to effectively strip the technology and resell it. Ask the Japanese bullet train manufacturers about that.

        But now we’ve strayed way, way off topic indeed. International finance is another problem, it is led by the dollar, it was built by Americans but it is impossible to point a finger directly at the ‘states’ any longer. It’s much bigger than you or I. The global 1%-sters would be a good place to start.

      • kyushuphil

        Thank you for your info on breeder = news to me.

        For sustenance, given the choices, I’m now reading Wendell Berry’s latest — just out this wee — “Our Only World: Ten Essays.”

        He doesn’t have the specifics I’d like to see, carrying his observations to the rest of the world. That is, what America did first to itself, as he described in “The Unsettling of America” 40 years ago, it has since been doing on steroids to rural cultures globally. This has set in motion the mass displacements, and worse.

        At least, however his abstracting, generalizing mind works well.,

      • Yosemite_Steve

        K-phil, unwarranted claiming of ‘patronizing!’ while being very patronizing yourself is immature and you might as well give yourself a red card and leave the game after that. Really bad style fail for you here imo. Sorry for being so blunt but you need this advice!

      • kyushuphil

        Is this even English? It’s a complete sentence:

        “Really bad style fail for you here imo.”

        Why write to exhibit oneself only as illiterate?

      • Yosemite_Steve

        Well, if you’re not native, then you do deserve a lot of credit for being able to write as well as you do, but you should realize how very childish your argumentation is. Honestly it’s bad enough to provoke a very rude remark from a normally polite stranger. I assume that you are not native since you don’t seem to recognize ‘fail’ for ‘failure’. And unfortunately you will probably insist that I’m an idiot. Well, I tried to lend you a clue young man. Maybe you will understand better later. I don’t expect any thanks of course. That’s not a snide remark, and I’m not being cute, just brutally honest.

    • masagata

      US is against Japan’s whaling and dolphin hunting. Dugongs are marine mammals, aren’t they? Why push for such environmentally very harmful project in the country you’re accusing of?

      • We’reAlmostCyprus

        Gee, you seem so genuinely concerned about the dugong, which I would deeply respect if only the Okinawans were concurrently doing anything at all to curb the activities that have brought the species to its current low populations levels over the past decade.
        .
        The species is NOT threatened with its continued existence due to the loss of its foraging habitat in the Ryukyus (the basis for their current concern) – the population is being decimated because it is the incidental bycatch of Okinawan commercial fishing activities all around Okinawa. The OKINAWANS are to blame for its demise, but that doesn’t play into the anti-base rhetoric of Okinawan politicians – they would NEVER actually consider restricting commercial fishing on Okinawa to benefit the dugong!

        Japanese and U.S. military activities on Okinawa haven’t taken a single dugong to date, yet to hear the Okinawan politicians, and the ranting of their anti-base constituencies, the Government of Japan and U.S. military are solely to blame for the species decimation.

        I sure hate to be the one that points his finger at the elephant in the room… but this is a classic case of Okinawan HYPOCRISY!! Using false concerns for an endangered species in order to achieve political (anti-base) goals, all the while completely IGNORING the very REAL threats to the species that continue to exist TODAY, unaddressed!
        Of course, the even BIGGER picture is that most Okinawans don’t really want the military to leave. As the poorest Prefecture in all of Japan, they are skillfully playing a game of whining just loud enough to get ever more concessions from the Government of Japan, but not loud enough to force the economic gravy train to actually leave Okinawa.

      • masagata

        According to the WWF, Green Peace, and NACSJ research, in that construction area traces of dugongs biting were found and claim loss of inhabitant can be a major threat to dugongs lives. Dugongs are designated as national treasure in Japan. Since the number of the specie is very small. We have to save them anyway regardless of locals activity in the past. It is like stopping Japan’s whaling after whales were drastically decimated due to American and Euripean whaling in the past.
        Okinawans want US military to leave. In the past they had no choice but to rely on them since it was unjustly occupied. Economic reliace on US military has become so small that they foresee more growth after the lands were returned. The prospective new base in Henoko just destroys tourism asset for them.

      • masagata

        According to the WWF, Green Peace, and NACSJ research, in that construction area traces of dugongs biting were found and claim loss of inhabitant can be a major threat to dugongs lives. Dugongs are designated as national treasure in Japan. Since the number of the specie is very small. We have to save them anyway regardless of locals activity in the past. It is like stopping Japan’s whaling after whales were drastically decimated due to American and Euripean whaling in the past.
        Okinawans want US military to leave. In the past they had no choice but to rely on them since it was unjustly occupied. Economic reliace on US military has become so small that they foresee more growth after the lands were returned. The prospective new base in Henoko just destroys tourism asset for them.

      • We’reAlmostCyprus

        There is a difference between taking actions that threaten the continued existence of the species, and those that simply impact them. Hunting impacts them, so every fish taken from the sea – tuna, mackerel, tako, ika, hotate, every species that shows up on a ball of rice in a sushi shop, impacted the species. But I doubt the Japanese would consider that a threat to the continues existence of the species.
        Same for the dugong. One has to look at what has caused the population to decline, and so far, I doubt that a bunch of people standing around a table only PLANNING to build a project that is no different than a hundred other projects already built by the Okinawa Prefectural Government, has had an effect on the dugong.
        I like how you blame the Americans and the Europeans for decimating the whale populations – Japanese are never to blame. You sound exactly like our own dear little feeble-minded Democrats in America – nothing is their fault.
        As I said before, Okinawans have become MASTERS at playing the game of whining just loud enough and long enough to obtain ever more concessions out of the Government of Japan (e.g., MONEY) up in Tokyo, but not so loud that they actually force that gravy train to leave.
        Tell me, why would anyone on Honshu spend MORE money to fly to Okinawa for a vacation that it costs to fly to Hawaii? Or Guam? I’ve lived on Okinawa for many, many years – frankly, it’s not all that great for tourism. In fact, if it weren’t for the lands set aside for joint U.S. and JSDF use (e.g., Northern Training Area, Central Training Area, Kadena, Foster, Torii Station, etc.), the island would be not much better than a toilet.

      • masagata

        Masters at playing game is old generation’s stigma. Now the things has changed. Tourism weigh very much. US military bases just occupy and create very small jobs and no tax mone to the municipal govnt. I live in Tokyo. I have been to Hawaii and Guam several times. They are great places. But after all Okinawa is better because it is part of our land. No passport is needed. Good for elderlies to live since they can speak Japaese.
        I enjoyed staying in Okinawa a lot. It has very unique culture and much better food than Hawaii and Guam. Maybe only for Japanese? But at least for Japanese.
        US bases just cause noise and pollution and even crimes. After all you are foreigners. US military is for US interests. Their existence was supported by our tax money. Not from yours. Okinawa foresees more economic growth by using current occupied lands. Builiding condos and resort facilities. In fact it was proven recently in some returned lands. That is why their attitude changed. Because US military base existence on the island they cannot have good city architectural plan that is so potential.
        I guess, your govnt should be concerned about this issue. Since more Japanese are aware of this issue, we would not like your people anymore. China is a big Asian business partner but they do not share political values with you. It is a one-party communist state controlling various un-unified people. We are democratic nation. That is why construction cannot proceed smoothly.

      • We’reAlmostCyprus

        Crime – did you know that Americans commit FAR fewer crimes than Okinawans, per 1,000 people?
        Did you know hat Americans generate FAR less trash than Okinawans, per square kilometer, filling up the landfills far slower than Okinawans would?
        Did you know that American taxpayers back in America pay MILLIONS of U.S. dollars every year to run the Department of Defense’s environmental conservation program on Okinawa, fighting to PRESERVE Okinawan natural and cultural resources?
        Finally, how many Okinawans are going to be to afford the 300,000 to 400,000 yen/month rents that Okinawan landlords charge the THOUSANDS of American families that live off-base?
        City architecture plan? You mean a “plan” to fully develop every developable square kilometer on the island so that it all looks like Tokyo-to? If you and they were really concerned about their environment, and the health of the dugong, then they should all be SCREAMING to keep the Americans on the island – at least WE are preserving the Ryukyu Islands for generations to come.
        Now you show your TRUE objective… and as I stated earlier, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with saving the dugong!!

      • masagata

        That expensive rent fees I think comes from our Sympathy Budget, Japanese tax payers money. Dugongs are important as long as US protests Japan’s whaling and dolphin hunting. Actually Defense Department just depends on GOJ’s manipulated reports of dugongs. I don’t know how they apply conservation program on Okinawa. Actually in some returned places toxic materials are found. They are free from damage or compensation .
        The island doesn’t have to look like Tokyo. At least better look after grotesque American bases are gone.
        Anyway, the point is US military are not welcomed and useless. More of us learn that. I don’t think you should continue living on the island comfortably in such situation.
        In Henoko, marines are shut down from drinking alcohol in local bars. What kind of people joing the military?
        All I can say, by proceeding this project US loses trust and other things from Japan. Loss is bigger than what you might gain.

      • We’reAlmostCyprus

        I can tell you don’t know much about the U.S.-Japan relationship, period. The rent fees come right out of money collected from taxpayers in the U.S., not Japan. Jap[an doesn’t pay a single yen for rents.
        As for dugongs, they are at the northernmost extent of their range in the Pacific Ocean, plentiful in the Indo-Pacific region. So the species is being limited by environmental factors (water temperatures) from migrating any further north. So, as one would expect, their numbers vary from year to year – it might also help of Okinawans bothered to look for dugong ELSEWHERE on the island besides just Henoko. Survey data is woefully lacking, except where the Okinawans want to use the number to their advantage. “Gee, there are a lot more dugong at Henoko than that plce we don’t ever look for them… we think.”
        As for “toxics” being left behind, if you did your research, you’d find that we’re talking primarily about petroleum, oils and lubricants. And that’s all part of the Status of Forces Agreement the U.S. has with the GoJ. We don’t have to clean up when we leave, and the GoJ doesn’t have to reimburse us for the BILLIONS we invested using U.S. taxpayer dollars in building up and maintaining the infrastructure of the base – buildings, road networks, drinking water transmission lines, wastewater systems, electrical grids, etc.
        As for “grotesque American bases, I suggest you do dome Google mapping even around Tokyo – it’s easy to find the U.S. military bases… they’re the GREEN SPACES in Tokyo. American military bases are REFUGES for wildlife displaced by the encroachment of Japanese development. Naval Air Station Atsugi used to be out in the rice fields of Kanagawa!

      • Eric Gray

        “At least better look after grotesque American bases are gone. ”

        Interesting point of view. When viewed from the air, the US bases in the southern third of Okinawa are some of the greenest places in the area. All of my Okinawan friends whom I took on base over the years remarked at how peaceful the bases were when compared to the hustle and bustle off base.

        Yes, the airfields can be be a bit noisy at times, however so are the myriad dump trucks, construction sites, political sound trucks, and bosuzoku motorcycle groups roving the streets at night.

      • Eric Gray

        “Masagata”

        Not sure who you are as your profile doesn’t indicate your name, gender, or much else about you so not sure how to address you, however I would like to make a few comments.

        “US military bases just occupy and create very small jobs and no tax mone to the municipal govnt.”

        Not exactly. Though there is no direct tax revenue to the local governments as there is with private industry, there are a number of other revenue sources for local governments with the US Bases. 1. Most of the base land is owned by Japanese citizens and they receive substantial money in rent from the Tokyo government. This money is taxed.

        2. the Okinawans who work on base receive a salary which is taxed.

        3. Tokyo provides a subsidy directly to the city/town office that the base is in that is directly tied to the number of US servicemen assigned to the base. I haven’t seen the specific amount for several years but recall that the figure was approximately $1,100 per year per servicemen.

        4. Many married Americans live off base in Okinawa and their rent money goes directly to the local community.

        5. There are indirect economic effects with all of this direct impact. There are disagreements as to what this specific indirect effect is, but I think we can all agree that people who spend money in an economy have a positive effect on those they spend their money with.

      • Eric Gray

        “US military is for US interests. ”

        Perhaps. However the primary US interest in the economic growth of liberal democracies and freedom. That is also one of Japan’s interests as well, therefore the mutual interests of Japan and the US intersect quite well.

      • Eric Gray

        “Economic reliace on US military has become so small that they foresee more growth after the lands were returned. ” (sic)

        that isn’t correct. The impact of the US bases in Okinawa is the second largest part of the Okinawa economy.

        What would be your suggestion to replace that?

      • Eric Gray

        “US is against Japan’s whaling and dolphin hunting. Dugongs are marine mammals, aren’t they?”

        This is non sequitur. The US is not advocating hunting dugongs. The US is trying to reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa by shifting an airbase from an urban area into a more remote area at the request of both the Tokyo central government and the people of Okinawa.

    • We’reAlmostCyprus

      Maybe you should actually go grab a tank and go dive the site – I have. It looks absolutely NOTHING like you describe, but hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of your anti-base rhetoric!!

      By the way, what is the Okinawa Prefectural Government doing to halt the massive red soil runoff that occurs after each and ever rainfall, smothering whatever is left of the corals around Okinawa, or to control the massive “land reclamation” projects (also know as indiscriminately filling in the shallow coastal region with soil to encourage more land development) occurring all around the island?

      Let’s start with a discussion of the land reclamation project that filled in the Awase tidal flats in Nakagasuku, a project for which the Okinawa Prefectural Government ADVOCATED. The wetlands adjacent to Awase on the Awase Communication Station is all that’s of valuable tidally-influenced habitat in that area, and that is being protected from further development by the U.S. Navy.
      Oops… it doesn’t support the rhetoric, so by definition, it must not be true.

  • Testerty

    Okinawans are conquered people, first by the Japanese, then by the Americans. Conquered people should know their place in the food chain.

    • Gordon Graham

      More ballsweat from testicles

    • bob

      hell yea, too bad our generation was not in power or these sums of bitches would never have gotten anything back but instead made the entire Japan islands spoils of war and turned them into bonafide US property.

      • Gordon Graham

        Yeah, and Canada should have turned the US into a bonafide US property after they whooped them in the war of 1812. That way the Murkens would be speaking proper English and not Hillbilly

      • bob

        true, I can’t say I would disagree there, but in time the rebel criminals would defeat the Canadians and possibly use France to stick it to them. Viva La France

      • forsetiboston

        Vive La Quebecois. But unfortunately I don’t think it pans out that way..

      • Sam Griffin

        Just out of curiosity, how exactly did Canada “whoop” America in the War of 1812 when Canada didn’t become a country until 1867? Was time travel involved? When I researched the war of 1812 on wikipedia, encyclopedia britannica, etc. I learned that the war of 1812 was fought between the U.S. and the British Empire and ended in a stalemate. Do you have access to some secret information the rest of us don’t?

      • CrimsonTears

        As a born citizen of the United States, we were taught in school that we were pretty much “whooped” in every engagement that we tried advancing into Canada (British territory). Not to mention the British managed to actually burn down the White House and the only reason we didn’t lose D.C. was because of a freak storm. Despite a “stalemate” I think we got really lucky if anything during the War of 1812. It’s not exactly secret information if our own schools are teaching it.

        That’s what the “constitution state” is teaching anyways. History is always told a bit differently depending who you hear it from.

      • Gordon Graham

        I was being flippant to Billy Bob Hillbilly…My comments weren’t to be taken seriously

      • forsetiboston

        I wish that Canada had taken over the US. We could then have nationaliSed healthcare and no more debate on the 2nd Amendment. Consequently we would have a massive pipeline running through the centRE of Canada to the Province of Louisiana. But hey can you imagine how big the NHL would be!

      • Sam Griffin

        “That way the Murkens would be speaking proper English and not Hillbilly”

        Also just like to point out that to most people outside North America the U.S. accent sounds the EXACT same as the Canadian accent. We might actually have the two closest accents on the planet right now.

  • timefox

    They are same as a terrorist.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      You are the same as a moron.

      • bob

        haha thanks for putting it down..

  • warforbankers

    The angloUS empire needs to dismantle its colonial military bases around the world. I actually read they are planning to withdraw soldiers from Germany.

    • CrimsonTears

      Just out of curiosity; why?

    • bob

      anglo US empire? please we all bleed the same color. What you prefer you may get what you wish for but like all things be ready to meet your future….lean Mandarin or Cantonese is my advice to you.. and while you’re at I hope your bullet proof at the back of you head because as soon as the US pulls out, the Empire will be shortly upon you.

      • Tap Hue

        America is about to ruin itself in yet another war. It no longer believes in itself and has been overrun by barbarians. Pseudo-occupation in Japan will come to an end.

      • bob

        well you’re kind of late in your remark as about ruining itself no thanks in part to fascist liberals and weak kneed politicians who lost their balls. As for overrun by barbarians hardly likely to call the liberals barbarians, more like fascists.

    • masagata

      Germany doesn’t pay as much host national support as Japan does. For US military, Japan is cheaper place to stay.

      • forsetiboston

        Germany also has a formal military that can engage enemy combatants. Japan, well, Japan wants it both ways. On the one hand you want to get rid of US bases, on the other hand you don’t want a military.

        In fact, what does Japan want? Or should I say what does Okinawa since it’s not actually Japan now is it.

      • masagata

        The bottom line is even when china, Russia or NK attacks, US would not help us. US cannot fight against those countries because US govnt would not allow that. US-Japan security treaty works only if US president and parliament approve that. In current situation very unlikely. China is biggest business client for US. So we only have to rely on our self-defense force. Maybe not enough but that is the only choice. We might have to amend constitution in reality. Of course not easy to that because public opinion still opposes amendment of Pacifist constitution. Anyway we have to handle that ourselves. That is what a severeign nation has to do.

      • forsetiboston

        Good points all, and China is a huge business partner for Japan which is why all of the chitter chatter about Senkaku, etc. is just a platform for the CCP to distract their people.

        I agree re – constitution it’s time to get the pen out.

      • Eric Gray

        “The bottom line is even when china, Russia or NK attacks, US would not help us.”

        Sir or ma’am, you are very incorrect. The US has pledged to support our allies for nearly 70 years. The US has shared much of our defense technology such as the Aegis to help protect Japan. The presence of US troops in Japan assist in protecting Japan from external aggression.

  • Lincolnman

    Well, more anti-US/anti-GOJ propaganda and fabrication – please, take this article with a grain of salt – it’s intent is to inflame and inspire support for the author’s well known anti-US agenda.
    This article belongs on Pravda, not the Japan Times.

    • Btd

      Yes, all propaganda, the US, my god, the only nation on the planet that does only good! We should be grateful to them for having us nuked and for warmongering all over the planet, because, yes, they are the chosen people! Satire off

      • Gordon Graham

        That said, there’s no way the guy in the video was injured in any way…scared maybe, but not injured

      • bob

        what they need is to be reminded of the old fashioned beat downs like our grandfathers did to them. Sometimes a smack across can put them back in their place.

  • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

    Blah, blah, blah…. Japanese are so good at over-reaction that I agree with the Marine. They probably are faking a large part of their strife. Visit northern Guam where the military has done an excellent job of preserving the environment. And many other places around the world, such as Diego Garcia, where the environment is pristine thanks to military borders. WE kill the environment, not the military. WE vote morons into office, not the military.

    • bob

      well said, in my book its time to take the can of whoop ass. Okinawa and Japan should have been conquered and made into US property under spoils of war. This way for sure they would be speaking English not engrish or japglish.

      • Gordon Graham

        They’d be speakin’ dat dum gad Murken…dat Billy Joe un Shaquelle dun do. They’d have to change the Toys R Us signs to We Be Toys

      • bob

        I doubt they would be that bad, but dumbass McArthur is to blame since he went against the wishes and grand scheme of the big house.

  • Robert Eldridge

    Please do not delete my comments and videos, that support the accusations in the story.

    • jwtn

      I can’t believe that you claim to be a respectful scholar, do you understand that the Okinawans will not support you at the will. Its time for the marines to come back to America they should have left a longtime ago.

  • Robert Eldridge

    Bases are also used to protect people and respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises, the majority of the Marine Corps’ work in the Asia-Pacific theater nowadays.Curious this is not mentioned in the connection to MCAS Futenma (or the FRF). See related flyer. http://www.okinawa.marines.mil/Portals/190/Docs/HADR.pdf

    • masagata

      That is what JSDF and other domestic institutions can do alone w/o US military. Even if we need help. we do not have to provide such huge bases and budget to you. Just waste of tax money. Futenma is result of violation of Hague Convention, unlawfully occupied.

      • Eric Gray

        “Futenma is result of violation of Hague Convention, unlawfully occupied.”

        In what way? Futenma Air Station was agreed to by both the Japanese and US governments as part of a treaty.

  • ron

    That right there is true showing of these people and their protest. I’ve experienced it for the last three years. Looks real peaceful eh… Get real.

    I love living here, and I am an extremely respectful guest, but these protesters try to get in your car, damage it, harm you, etc…

    • jwtn

      if you actually have any respect for them then maybe its time for you to leave

  • JHK

    I was born in Canada, and it is my Right to be there. But if I went to Iran and one person said they didnt want me there, it is their Right upon me so I leave.

    That is the Principle of Sovereignity, it is written in both American and Japanese Law, it is Universal Law, which both abe and obama have sworn to uphold, consequently before God(swt).

    • Gordon Graham

      What if 500 people want you to stay and 1 person wants you to leave?

      • JHK

        Then I would leave. But for an american military, it takes one abe to invite, and 500 million to say get out. But we are approaching the 5 Billion people soon.

      • Gordon Graham

        Correct me if I’m wrong but the American military has been here before Abe was elected by the citizens of Japan

      • JHK

        abe has been around since after Emperor Jimmu. Anglo america came in a black ship saying let us in. Eventually, like every other country, including south korea, you’ve forgotten the concept of reading between the lines. And consequently slanty eyes implies inability to see the eyes. Can you read between the lines? Hint, 5 billion people.

      • JHK

        Another hint, Boko Haram.

      • JHK

        I could get more explicit, but it wouldnt do any good here, and and would be much more appropriate when you meet your Maker(swt).

        And China looks to be sending their red boats to hawaii, saying let us in, can you read between those lines yet?

      • Eric Gray

        “abe has been around since after Emperor Jimmu”

        Wow, PM Abe looks good for being over 1300 years old… Ahem.

      • JHK

        Yes his family name abe has claims to taking the thrown after Emperor Jimmu. I wouldn’t say the double chins and cheeks look any good, nor the leadership, so I presume it was that bad back then as well.

      • Yosemite_Steve

        Are you unaware that the latest Okinawa election resulted in rout of the LDP and election of a replacement governor who ran on an anti-base platform? And that current base expansion is opposed by a large majority in Okinawa?

        What if 50,000 people in Okinawa want you to leave and 50 million mainlanders don’t care because the bases are a thousand km away from them? What is the correct democratic solution? I don’t think the answer to that question is simple but I think the rights of the locals should be respected, don’t you?

      • Gordon Graham

        If I’m not mistaken there’s a base in Yokosuka which is surrounded by some 30,000,000 people. Hey I’m for amending article 9, but then the Japanese military will need to expand won’t they? Perhaps Okinawans would prefer to be annexed by China, I don’t know. If they don’t want the military there then I can understand…better brush up on their Mandarin though

      • Yosemite_Steve

        There are no plans to expand Yokosuka as far as I know. If anything the strategy has been to relocate US forces to Okinawa as far as I am aware – I’m no expert on the recent history.

        Yes, the people of Okinawa are inevitably screwed because they can’t secede from Japan and I doubt they can resist the will of Tokyo when push comes to shove. But I don’t blame them at all for objecting as vigorously as they can. There is also the small matter of history starting with the well documented forced suicides and murders of many civilians by the Japanese army ahead of the US invasion, to say nothing of the forced expansion of foreign military bases in urban neighborhoods with past history of helicopters falling out of the sky into school yards and the like.

        The Okinawan’s are in a tough position to resist but “screw them if they don’t like it” doesn’t seem like a very reasonable reaction as far as this observer is concerned.

      • Gordon Graham

        Of course, you’re right…I was being facetious

  • Raansu

    Just as there are protestors there are just as many people who don’t mind the bases being there and fully understand the economic value of them being there. Sadly the media only concentrates on the negative things in life.

    My time in Okinawa was amazing and I personally have nothing but positive things to say about the locals. Great people, great culture.

  • たいがあ@英語で世界に発信

    One thing that cannot be denied is concrete blocks weighing 20 ton are damaging coral reef of Oura bay and endangering few remaining dugongs. The opinion of environmentalist and marine biologists are not being weighed there.

  • たいがあ@英語で世界に発信

    I am one of the Japanese who are concerned about this issue. But this article is poorly written. I would not authorize this article if I had been the editor. Stick to guidelines. Tell us the facts and figures no tearjerkers. It reminds me of Fukushima disaster, Ontake eruption last September. In such extreme situations it is hard to grasp what is going on. Tell us the circumstances facing journalists and photo journalists in Okinawa. I am so sad few media are covering this incident. It could be much worse than fragmentary reports just as I have seen in aforementioned incidents. Win full media access at Henoko so that we can get closer to the truth.

  • http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/ Tomokazu Takamine

    Caleb D. Eames’ remarks could help increase tension between US military and Okinawan people.
    This goes against the mission of joint public affairs (PA) of the United States Forces. In the Joint Publication 3-61 Public Affairs, William E. Gortney, VADM, USN Director, Joint Staff, stressed that The First Amendment Guarantees the Freedom of the Press. He writes, “The US military has an obligation to communicate with the American public, and it is in the national interest to communicate with the international public.” This publication also says propaganda has no place in DOD PA programs.

    • bob

      media censorship is what one should be fighting against.

  • bob

    Never trust these sneaky slanted eyes is what my WWII great granddaddy said, they will stab you in the back…guess he knew them best..

    • CrimsonTears

      I guess it’s a good thing you have to be educated to hold any power in the United States then, huh? Your grandfather also probably lacked the understanding that we’re all the same genus and species, sharing 99.5% of our DNA with each other and that differences such as skin pigmentation are caused by environmental influences. You really think imaginary borders drawn on a globe differentiates you from anyone else? No, it’s simply idiocy and poor education which breeds mindsets such as yours.

      • bob

        blah blah blah, keep it simple ok. But just for you and only because its you I will elaborate some more. The greatest generation that kicked ass and had not only education, but “COMMON SENSE” of which today even the highly education do not is the HUGE difference along with liberalism and multi-culturalism which historians have proven has never worked or ever will. So keep dreaming you UTOPIAN idiot because in reality on this earth that just isn’t gonna happen until the final end. And that my friend is not idiocy but liberals like yourself who don’t have a pair or ball less Common Sense fall back on calling others and elevating themselves as educated but dumb as rocks.

  • bob

    Time to open up the can o whoop ass and make them remember Pearl Harbor.

    • Gordon Graham

      Sure, make them remember the shellacking they gave the US Navy to give them some confidence in building up their military

  • Eric Gray

    Sadly, Japan Times is not reporting this on a balanced basis. I lived in Okinawa for over 15 years prior to moving to the U.S. last year and I must say that Capt Eames is accurate in his comments. I have also had profanities screamed at my family and I by ‘peaceful’ protestors around both Camp Schwab and Futenma. I have witnessed – both in person video and on video – those same ‘peaceful’ protesters reaching in open windows, attempting to grab Americans, and jumping on private vehicles.

    Frankly, if one was to observe these protesters with a clear eye, one would realize that they are engaging in classic confrontational tactics while over reacting to the inevitable demand by law enforcement to follow Japanese laws.

    I see comments about how the bases would be used to ‘kill people’ but the author ignores the clear fact that US bases in Japan have been used to support humanitarian missions throughout Asia – to include in Japan after 3-11 – and have saved countless lives.

    I do wish that the Japan Times would do a better job at reporting the facts in this case rather than engage in an obvious attempt to sway public opinion.

    • bob

      I couldn’t agree more, but the Japan Times is now fully controlled and manipulated by anti US and any shellacking against what they don’t others to know is removed. The revenge will be in living long enough as the US pulls out one day and China takes over. Good luck with that JT.

      • forsetiboston

        I agree with both of you but it’s not really up to the Marine to make the claim. No matter how frustrating it is you have to know that’s going to come right back at you.

      • bob

        only in Japan

    • forsetiboston

      JT has been slipping for years and currently whatever group is running the paper has a very obvious agenda. Not just on this base issue but on a myriad of other issues. If you travel in Asia and find yourself in Japan as I do when they ask you what paper you want when they bring you to your room tell them “FT” and be done with it.

    • redstukov

      Hello, real American here. Right wing Americans like Eric Gray have absolutely no qualms about falsifying “personal stories” just as the “Britain First” movement uses memes to hide its extremely bigoted anti-Muslim agenda. They put as their sources of information the extremely shameless tabloids breitbart and drudge report who literally use as evidence all sorts of hearsay, rumors, and poorly edited video and audio to pervert evidence to their own disgustingly hateful agenda. This portrayal through “personal testimony” is just shameless mccarthyism meant to make protestors to appear criminals, their go-to tactic (hence the “law and order” stance of Nixon during the uprisings of the 60’s as a not-so-subtle labeling of protesters as criminals). republican pigs like Eric Gray feel like they are unwelcome for their pro-imperial stance in a place where the residents overwhelmingly reject US imperialism, its just the false sense of persecution that beneficiaries of white privilege, such as eric gray, feel whenever they don’t 100% of all of their demands. And as for a dose of reality the base in Okinawa is regularly used to ferry arms, ammunition, and soldiers for the occupation of the ME, and anyone can look to Hurricane Katrina and its response to see that the US military will only respond to disasters when they have a massive PR budget to sell their “humanitarianism” and as long as it doesn’t help blacks.

      • Eric Gray

        “redstukov” – not sure what your real name is or anything about you thanks to you hiding behind a pseudonym.

        In any event, when you revert to ad hominem attacks without discussing the substance of an argument, you’ve not started off on a good foot…

      • redstukov

        when you start by spamming links to badly edited propaganda videos in a blatant NED puppet show, i don’t have to show you anything but the contempt deserved of the US invasion and occupation forces. As for substance, you literally have no posts before you made this sockpuppet to spam these prepared videos, get massively upvoted in a suspiciously organized manner, and you’re expecting me to be fooled? i mean srsly, lying republican scum like you have no shame. BTW you need to reveal your obvious financial connections as a contractor for the US military.

      • Eric Gray

        Mr/Ms “redstukov”, your logic is as infallible as your grammar and capitalization.

        As Mark Twain said, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference” so I’d rather not continue our “debate,” such as it is. Best of luck in your academic pursuit of the written word!

  • Tap Hue

    Quit Japan!

  • Tap Hue

    You’d say that too were foreign military bases being built in America.

  • Merchant Mmo

    Something is wrong in the head with some of those aggressive people… They are no different than the actions of the group they are protesting against

  • bob

    The Japanese shadow bosses nor the media can handle the real sentiment of the American majority public and how many Americans feel should have happened on the days following the WWII due to the atrocities by Japan. Simply put as spoils of war, Japan should have become US “real property” and another state. Thanks to McArthur’s selfish ambitions that didnt’ happen and today the Emperor system is still alive. The Japanese people remain ignorant despite all the education as they lack common sense a major fault of the school system. I do not despise the Japanese people but empathize with them. Historically what happens in war especially when dealing with Eastern nations spoils of war is very common and will continue to be common. I am offended by the media not allowing posters to express their individual freedom of expression as the moderators of the JT will not allow the Japanese people or anyone who wishes to use that right to do so unless it favors what JT and its shadow bosses want posted and that would be something along the lines, “no more US presence in Okinawa or Japan, get out”. that is what they want and allow anything less is removed.

  • A W Koyama

    I concur with Mr. Caleb D. Eames’ statements and I know over 100 other Americans and Okinawans that can support his claim. I used “Mr.” and not “Capt.”, because Mr. Eames was giving his personal opinion and sharing his experiences that he & his family encountered with protesters in Okinawa, and he was not official speaking for the US. Government at the time.

    I have worked on Okinawa for over 20 years now, and it makes me very depressed that a respectable newspaper like the “Japan Times” did not verify Mr. Jon Mitchell’s sources. In Okinawa, we see this type of baseless propaganda reporting from the Okinawa Times & Ryukyu Shimpo newspapers. We would not expect this from a mainland-based newspaper which should be able to see the situation for what it really is.

    Some problems with the story can be found with the video introduced at the top of it with the altercation between a protester and the Japanese Coast Guard.

    Some key facts about this video/incident include:

    1. The video was taken last August, not recently.

    2. The JCG’s primary mission is water safety for everybody. The protester was in an area he could not be in, and was adequately warned against trespassing prior to entering. He did not have on a life preserver vest; therefore, he was not only risking his life but the lives of others. Furthermore, August is very hot in Okinawa, and the protester apparently was not only not caring for about their own safety and were risking the life of the JCG who could be injured and drowned in any altercation with a trespasser or by becoming dehydrated from the sun, heat, or related stress of being on call out at sea. Quite often, the protesters are pulled by boats with engines and have caused a chaotic situation in the waters even before the boring surveys were getting started. I respect the JCG for the hardship they are going thru to keep the peace on the open ocean because the open waters are not forgiving. I don’t recall your having done a story about the protester who died last year when he was not wearing a preserver vest, or about the former prime minister Hatoyama riding in an overloaded boat, or about the recent incident when unlicensed school children were allowed to drive a protester’s boat (against motor boat regulations), or the incident a couple of years ago when a local child was caught in the ropes of an illegally docked protesters boat and drowned.

    3. The JCG’s second primary mission is security for the workers conducting the survey and other related work out in the open seas. We are very lucky the JCG is doing a professional job in security with very little support from the local police, because there is a very high risk somebody could drown or a protester could attack the workers, as they did in 2004, stopping the original surveys.

    The JCG needs to focus on protecting the coastal integrity of Japan, including its territories, preventing or disrupting illegal fishing and poaching of red coral, and the loss of other natural resource than worry about the same 10-20 Japanese getting paid to protest in the open waters for media attention. I will blame the media if one more person dies because they are encouraging this type of illegally activity action.

    Today a prestigious newspaper lost credibility with one of its readers, and I will spread the problems in your reporting until I see it corrected. Stories don’t make a newspaper. Integrity does. When your reporters, free lance or otherwise, write out of a desire for attention or due to an agenda, they erode that integrity

  • masagata

    That depends on the situation before and after. I do not think he really meant to say “i will kill you.” Didn’t they insult protestors someway? The bottom line is you are very unwelcomed people on the island. I myself feel distrustful to US military. We know you no longer functions as defense nor deterrence. You are behind enemy lines in an allied nation. Try not behave like an oppressor, be humble.

    • Eric Gray

      “You are behind enemy lines in an allied nation. ”

      This does not make any sense.

  • masagata

    These protestors you mention might be radical, but that doesn’t deny the fact that majority of the islanders dissaprove Futennma relocation project. Think about it. Your behavior is so arrogant and we are sick of that. That makes us disrespect your country. Are you treating Japan like an enemy state? If so, just tell the public, then we will find out your country is no longer friend to us. No base is needed. I became very reluctant to buy US products including Disney recently. This relocation project and your behavior are very irrational in that sense.

    • Eric Gray

      “Are you treating Japan like an enemy state? If so, just tell the public, then we will find out your country is no longer friend to us.”

      Sir or Ma’am, Japan is one of the closest allies that the US has and the relationship is closer now than it has been in decades. Both Japan and the US realize – along with other allied nations – that our economic futures are intricately linked and that we must work together closely to assure our peoples’ futures or allow nations who do not want freedom to gain strength and influence.

  • We’reAlmostCyprus

    Based on the article above, I think the distrust of which you speak might just run BOTH ways!

  • forsetiboston

    Couldn’t have put it better myself sir. I’d say we just return Okinawa to Okinawa and Senkaku to China. I’m tired of tax dollars going to support the Okinawans anyway. That statement could come from an American or a Japanese – pretty interesting.

    • masagata

      Most of expenditure of US miliatary in Okinawa comes from Japanese tax payer’s money, so called Simpathy Budget or Host National Support. That is why US marines and other divisions want to stay in Japan because it is a lot cheaper. Especially for marines which has been shrinked by US government, Okinawa is the only place to stay. If they have to leave, they just lost jobs. Marines might be absorbed to ground force because these days there is no need for such function.
      As for new construction in Henoko, it is estimated 1 trillion yen (80 billon US dollars) is the cost and after completion, maintenance cost is 20 billion yen (200 million US $) but that who takes care of maintanance budget is not yet determined.

      • forsetiboston

        I don’t disagree, I think we need to rotate the Marines back stateside and process them for discharge. The US military is a monster that needs its wings clipped. We all counted on Obama to end wars and guess what, the only difference between him and a Republican is still up for debate.

      • Eric Gray

        “Especially for marines which has been shrinked by US government, Okinawa is the only place to stay. If they have to leave, they just lost jobs. ”

        The entire DoD has seen a reduction in end strength because of the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only the Marines.

        As far as your comment about Okinawa being the only place to stay, what is the source of you incorrect assumption?

  • masagata

    The protestors there are like Rosa Parks in your country or sometimes radical as Malcolm X (but not Black Panthers). On the other hand you act like KKK or Alabama politicians.

  • Skalla

    Yankee Go Home ! Have the Americans forgotten that Okinawa is Japanese, not American, and that Japan is a democracy ?…

  • Skalla

    Warning : Evil moderators on this site ! Maybe I was wrong … Maybe Japan is not a democracy, as there is no freedom of expression ?…

  • masagata

    See the film, Avator.
    That is exactly what is happening in the sea. Some plants in the filem are modeled after real ones exist in the sea.
    Marines vs. Native people. Real Hollywood drama is happening.

    They are like Native Americans or Indian in your homeland. You should support them if you respect your native people who settled down in the continent tens of thousands years before Europeans.
    Or still invading? Then they shall have rights to fight against you for freedom. Freedom, Freedom, Isn’t that your people’s favourite right? You are always proud of fighting for freedom when it is challenged by someone else. That is exactly what they do.

  • masagata

    What do you want to prove by showing the video or showing up yourself in Sakura Channnel (weird comical cable programs)? Such radicals might be problem. Have you ever thought of what is behind? What is the root of the problem?
    You can never be a bridge between your country and Japan. Your attitude is very offensive.
    By the way, if you have a chance to talk with Sakura channnel people, ask how they feel about supporting the foreign military that executed A class criminals enshrined in Yasukuni shrine on current Emperor’s birthday?
    They say Tokyo tribunal was unfair and unlawful biased towards Japan side. They claim Rape of Nanjing never happened, it was made up by Communist Chinese.
    Do you agree with them? Does that represent your govn’t’s opinion? I will ask US embassy about that.

  • Yuki Hashimoto

    I wish Masagata (Straight Form? Narrow-minded? how can I render his name into English?) and others who hide with internet names to show their real names, like Katerine Muzik, Ernest Schaal, Robert Eldrige do and a few ohters do. Your statements matter only when you put one’sname and reputation to it. Those that did do so knowing they are taking a stand. Those that don’t, like Masagata, are in the words of the people (Americans) he seems to hate, “cranks.”

  • Eric Gray

    “Sounds double standard.”

    Double standard. I would agree on that but not in the way that you might think. I wonder why is is acceptable to do land fill in Naha, Awase, Nago, Chatan, and many other towns in cities in Okinawa but not in Henoko. That is certainly a double standard.

  • Eric Gray

    “Sir, the bottom line is your presence no longer functions as defense nor deterrence.”

    Really? Have you taken a look of late at Chinese aggression in the Senkaku islands, North Korean threats to both South Korea and Japan, or Russian military aircraft flights near Japanese territory?

    “We know the only reason your military stays in Japan is save cost because Japan pays sympathy budget.”

    Source of this “knowledge” please?

    “A lot of young marines come from poor family and end up joining marines.”

    Partially true. The US military does serve as an excellent way for young people from poor economic background to get an education, learn about the world, and gain critical experience in the world. This element of your statement, though partially true, is non sequitur to your argument.