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Obama Agrees to Reassess U.S. Base on Okinawa

Posted on Nov 14, 2009

Okinawan protesters want the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to be shut down.

Amid continuing protests by Japanese civilians on Okinawa, President Obama has announced he will create a “high-level working group” to discuss the future of a U.S. Marine Corps air base on the island, a move that appears to be aimed at mending relations with Japan.

The New York Times:

President Obama, seeking to mend fences with Japan, America’s most important Asian ally, announced Friday that he would establish a high-level working group on the contentious issue of the continuing presence of a Marine base on Okinawa.

The decision, announced at a news conference with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama just hours after he touched down in Tokyo to begin his first presidential trip to Asia, appears to represent a concession by the Obama administration to at least consider Japan’s concerns about the base, which is unpopular on Okinawa and which the new Japanese government had promised to try to move off the island.

Less than a month ago, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates seemed to shut the door on renegotiating a deal reached in 2006 to relocate the United States Marine air station in Futenma to a less populated part of Okinawa.

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By bogi666, November 15, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Okinawa has been protesting against the America bases there for 50 years. The Japanese, being the racists they are, have not supported them glad to have them on their version of Puerto Rico,consider the Okinawans 2nd class citizens. I was there in the 60’s and remember the peaceful demonstrations.

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By denk, November 15, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment


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By denk, November 15, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

fret not….“boys will be boys”

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By grumpynyker, November 15, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It would be nice if Team Obama rethought wasting funds
maintaining military bases all over the globe and
continuing the occupation of Palestine.

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By Howie Bledsoe, November 15, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment
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More slick talk from Barry. Expect to see nothing happen.  We will get out of Okinawa when we shut down Guantanamo, hold open negotiations with Iran, withdraw from Afganistan, and have a transparent wall street.

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By david dixit, November 15, 2009 at 4:06 am Link to this comment
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There is no reason for a US base in Japan… Why is it so hard for Americans to understand that most of the rest of the world does not want an American military presense of ANY SORT whatsoever !

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By Carl, November 14, 2009 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

That is correct, a Pentagon “working group” will do nothing but delay and delay as Generals insist all of “their” bases are vital to security. Don’t these people understand that Japan belongs to the Japanese people? If they want us to leave, we leave, or bomb them.

Hopefully, someone will present Obama the truth, which the Japanese, American people, and Congress will endorse. The simple solution is here:

Please pass it along.

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By gerard, November 14, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

Okinawa occupation is a long-existing, thorny problem and it’s a move in the right direction to just get it on the table at last.  Successful negotiations may gradualy lead to reductions in any number of other bases US holds and dominates throughout the world.  This is devoutly to be hoped!  But as in a lot of other cases, thousands of people make money from such set-ups, and they will fight to keep their income, especially since it comes from that bottomless pit, the military-industrial complex.    Any reduction will make a meaningful difference to the Japanese people, especially the much abused Okinawans who suffer at the hands of both Japan and the U.S. under present arrangements.

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By dihey, November 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

When you want to have nothing done set up a commission or a working group.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, November 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

President Obama has announced he will create a “high-level working group” to discuss the future of a U.S. Marine Corps air base on (Okinawa).

This so-called “working group”, culled, no doubt, from a short list of MIC ass lickers will conclude that in order to keep the United States from being attacked by Monaco, the base on Okinawa will be maintained at any and all costs.

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By henry hope, November 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment
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A good piece on Okinawa today, the bases and rememberance of Okinawan past.

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