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Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:24 AM

Marines Struggle as Tensions Rise in Okinawa

Source: Wall Street Journal

January 3, 2013, 8:47 p.m. ET
Reporter's Journal
Marines Struggle as Tensions Rise in Okinawa

CAMP FOSTER, Japan—On Thanksgiving Day, a 20-year-old American Marine stationed here on Japan's southern island of Okinawa was playing parkour, an extreme sport in which participants jump over urban obstacles.

He fell from a wall onto the property of a public building as he back-flipped—and was arrested for trespassing and held for six days, before being released without charge.

~snip~
Strains and misunderstandings between the U.S. military and the local population in Okinawa have risen in recent weeks, even as defense officials in Tokyo and Washington pledge closer military ties between the two allies, especially as Japan is mired in a tense territorial dispute with China.

The spark was the alleged sexual assault of a local woman by two American sailors in October, which set off strong protests on the island that serves as a U.S. military hub in East Asia—one that is increasingly important for Washington as it pivots more heavily to the region. The two sailors have been indicted by Japanese authorities and are awaiting trial.


Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323689604578217873597101726.html

19 replies, 3620 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Marines Struggle as Tensions Rise in Okinawa (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 OP
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #1
hbskifreak Jan 2013 #2
SkyDaddy7 Jan 2013 #6
MessiahRp Jan 2013 #7
Setsuna1972 Jan 2013 #18
lib2DaBone Jan 2013 #3
Ash_F Jan 2013 #4
unhappycamper Jan 2013 #5
Setsuna1972 Jan 2013 #8
Grins Jan 2013 #9
Grins Jan 2013 #10
Setsuna1972 Jan 2013 #15
Grins Jan 2013 #19
Tempest Jan 2013 #13
Setsuna1972 Jan 2013 #14
Tempest Jan 2013 #16
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #11
jwirr Jan 2013 #12
bemildred Jan 2013 #17

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:28 AM

1. We should leave the island.

If we can build drilling rigs in the ocean, we could figure out alternatives to Okinawa. We are causing problems there and should leave.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 04:56 AM

2. I disagree

I do not think we should leave Japan. As with anyone who breaks a law, there should be consequences on the individual, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater by packing up and leaving a strategic Asian toehold. I was a Marine and was stationed in Okinawa, MCAS Futemna for 6 months. Let me tell you, my only interraction with ANY of the locals was when I bought Yakisoba at Momma's Restaurant at the bottom of Suicide hill. There were, of course, a lot of bars in Oki, to support drunken fools like myself. But there were no local women in attendence; they were all imported filipinas. When you are there, it is never really spoken out loud, but the locals clearly don't like the USMC being there, anymore than I would enjoy having a Japanese Marine Base here in Long Beach. Over 60 years later, their loss from WWII is still being rubbed in their faces every time they look into our eyes. I mean, I get it, and I respect the loss of face they must feel. But they need to get over it. Our presence there started out as an occupying force that has transitioned into a regional protective force. Japan is our friend now...one of our good friends. And if our friendship is suffering because of a few dishonorable and criminal actions by some American Serviceman, then they must be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and we need to HONOR our friendship with that country and stay put.

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Response to hbskifreak (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 06:41 AM

6. I totally agree!

Japan needs us & we need Japan especially with China starting to bully everyone in the region. Punish the Marines who break the law!!

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Response to hbskifreak (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:14 AM

7. The only reason one needs a "strategic toehold" is if they plan to provoke others into war.

There's no reason at all to maintain permanent bases everywhere. None.

We have good relations with Japan. If they need us or we need them in some crisis situation, we'll have each other's backs. But to stay there permanently is a waste of money and with the Marines there that keep committing crimes as it seems, a waste of goodwill.

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Response to hbskifreak (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 10:46 PM

18. I agree with you 110 percent !

A few bad apples shouldn't paint every single service person and their families as a bunch of out of control maniacs. And simply packing up for the states wouldn't help things either--that'd only make things WORSE for the entire region.

But there are some people here on DU who simply don't get it. And I don't understand their thinking at all...

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 05:22 AM

3. Bring our troops home

 

Re-build America first.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 05:51 AM

4. Maybe a grown man and service member of the United States should not be playing parkour

"The two sailors have been indicted by Japanese authorities and are awaiting trial."

I thought US military could not be prosecuted by foreign courts. At least that is what happened to the guy who crushed those two Korean girls; the US court let him go. Is the treaty with Japan different?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 06:09 AM

5. Bad behavior in Japan and Okinawa has been going on for a while now:

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:20 AM

8. The Marine who was doing the urban jumping

Or whatever...he didn't exactly try to hurt anyone. Dumb, but not a criminal act. I also understand how it would feel to have the Marines in your backyard, especially after having lost such a major battle over 60 years ago under such brutal conditions. My Japanese language teacher in college is from Okinawa, and she wasn't shy in expressing her great displeasure of ANYONE associated with the US military. when she learned that I had joined the Army, she simply stopped all contact with me--despite the fact that I was never stationed in Okinawa nor did anything bad period while I was in Japan.

This isn't the time to leave Okinawa, especially with a new government in Tokyo who isn't helping things with their hawkish policies towards China. The Chinese wouldn't wait for a full minute to attack Japan if the uS packed up and left them to fend for themselves.

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Response to Setsuna1972 (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:41 AM

9. Bunk

...The Chinese wouldn't wait for a full minute to attack Japan if the uS packed up and left.."

China and Japan are the world's second and third largest economies. China's economy is very fragile and has a population with expectations of economic advancement. Any disruption could cause internal dissent in China that is dependent on exports to the US and Japan. Do you really think they would risk their peace, prosperity, and stability on emotion just because the U.S. cleared out? These guys are not Neo-conservative Republicans.

What is going on in Okinawa has been going on for decades and I can fully understand your language teacher's attitude toward you and the military. The US has been meddling in the affairs of Okinawa, Japan, and South Korea since 1945 and it has never stopped. We should have been out of there by the Kennedy administration. The Russians are not in East Germany, or Poland, or Hungary...so why is the US still in the Pacific nations?

If you get a chance, pick up this book by Chalmers Johnson: Nemesis.
Or: "Blowback"
And an article by Johnson in the LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/06/opinion/la-oe-johnson-20100506

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Response to Grins (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:03 AM

15. what did I do ???

I didn't act stupid while I was in Japan, you basically called me one of those fools who went around drinking and starting trouble That's a rather bad statement on someone you don't even know ! So I'm a bad person just because I was stationed in Japan...wow.

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Response to Setsuna1972 (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 11:43 AM

19. I don't know what you're talking about.

I'm sorry you took offense, but you're going to have to point that out to me.

I never said nor impugned anything about you or your character. I only said that I understood what your language teacher felt when he/she saw an American military uniform.

It was the same when I wore the uniform of an officer during Vietnam. Like anyone in uniform then, I (and you, later, to your teacher) represented the worst in American(s). The then Chief of Staff of the Army even publicly stated that when people looked at an American in uniform, they didn't see Pete from Peoria, they saw My Lai! Your teacher saw you in that uniform and you became, from his/her experience, someone completely different.

Go read those Chalmers Johnson books and you will see why, in regard to Japan, and Okinawa in particular. You won't find someone being merely stupid as in the article, but hundreds of rapes (and the shame and abortions that result from them), assaults, murders, drugs, drunken brawling, with the perpetrator(s) "suddenly" being reassigned home or to another country to never face the judgement of a court. Not to mention the (illegal) storage and transit of nuclear weapons, relocation of people from their ancestral homes, pollution of their land and water with munitions, fuels, chemicals, the constant noise of weapons and low-flying aircraft, etc, etc.

The 1952 Treaty of San Francisco ended the U.S. occupation of mainland Japan, but not Okinawa. Okinawa became, basically, a US military colony, and has remained so ever since. After 67 years of unnecessary occupation, Okinawans disgust with Americans is fully justified.

You could also Google Johnson and read his articles on-line.

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Response to Setsuna1972 (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 10:41 AM

13. LOL! You're out of your fucking mind.

"The Chinese wouldn't wait for a full minute to attack Japan if the uS packed up and left them to fend for themselves."

China's second biggest trading partner is Japan, genius.

There is absolutely no reason for China to upset that balance.

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Response to Tempest (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:00 AM

14. You didn't have to cuss at me

That wasn't necessary man... And I still stand by what I posted--Japan's current government snt exactly a peacnik group.

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Response to Setsuna1972 (Reply #14)


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:51 AM

11. We should surrender our Empire and bring all of our troops home for good.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 10:14 AM

12. Anyone who has ever read Chalmers Johnson's book "Blowback" knows we have long over stayed

our welcome on that island and further that we are not needed there.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:24 PM

17. Leave. Just leave. Think of the money we would save. nt

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