Saturday, March 12, 2011

for 日本 with ♥♥

Children in Fukushima are scanned for radioactivity. Could someone remind me what standard of living we consider "worth it" even at the risk of creating these kind of memories for preschoolers?  Reuters photo via Al Jazeera
From Hisae Ogawa of Codepink JAPAN comes news of peril and survival, and relief efforts  getting underway. Even in the midst of the natural disaster compounded by radioactive contamination of Japan's people, Hisae-san was undeterred from her efforts to resist U.S. military bases in her native land. She wasn't too busy to share the text of this lecture by Kevin Maher, the ex-U.S. Consul General in Okinawa, given at American University last December. It is so full of fabulations and Orwellian talk that I was inspired to annotate it as I read. My comments, in bold, are dedicated to Hisae-san and all the brave protesters. May they be held safe from further depredations.

"U.S. Military Bases and Their Impacts in Okinawa, Japan"

-The controversial bases in Okinawa were originally in the middle of rice fields, but are now in the middle of towns because Okinawans allowed urbanization and population growth to surround United States facilities. Who do they think they are, using their own land as they see fit? Uppity natives.

-The US bases in Okinawa exist for regional security. for NATO. The Japanese obligation under the US-Japan security treaty is to provide land for bases. Because we say so. The relationship between Japan and the US under the security treaty is asymmetric and benefits the Japanese to the detriment of the US. This remark is such a steep lie it gave me vertigo. Japan is not obligated to defend the United States if US forces are attacked, but the United States must defend and protect Japan’s people and property. We can only imagine how much safer THAT makes the Nihonjin feel.

-Collective security is not a constitutional issue, but a policy issue. Remember that Constitution we insisted on that forbade Japan from having anything more than a self defense force,  and created all that asymmetry between us? Policy overrides it.

-Eighteen thousand (18,000) US Marines and an air wingare stationed in Okinawa. The United States needs bases in Okinawa for two reasons: bases are already there i.e. facts on the ground take on a life of their own and Okinawa is an important geographical location. Notice how these are the only situations where my fellow countrymen suddenly seem to develop a clear grasp of geography?

- (While showing a map of East Asia) US Forces Japan is headquartered in Tokyo and is the location of a logistics hub that would coordinate supplies and troops in theevent of a crisis. Misawa, an important base in the Cold War, is the closest U.S. base to Russia and the base at Iwakuni is only 30 min from Korea, yet Okinawa’s geographic location is important to regional security. Translation: we've got you covered. Okinawa is just one of many fiefdoms.

-Okinawa was an independent Kingdom paying tribute to China, although it has never been a part of China. The U.S. occupied Okinawa until 1972. For your own good.

-The Okinawan people’s anger and frustration is directed at Japan rather than the United States.The DPJ government does not understand Okinawa. The Japanese government does not have a “pipe” of communication to Okinawa. When I offer to contact people in Okinawa DPJ officials say “Yes! Yes, please!” Hilarious, in that this is probably his translation of DPJ officials saying "Hai, hai."  "Hai" is a very common polite word in Japanese, often meaning little other than "I hear you."

-One third of people believe the world would be more peaceful without a military. It is impossible to talk with such people. Mostly because they don't just say "Yes! Yes, please!" to my idiotic suggestions.
-The US will relocate 8000 Marines from Futenma to Guam in order to reduce the US Military footprint on Okinawa. The plan will allow the US to maintain a military presence in the region to provide regional security and deterrence capability. Under the Roadmap, Japan will provide money for the relocation and it is a sign of a tangible effort from Japan. ...

-Japanese culture is a culture of "Wa" (harmony) that is based on consensus. Consensus building is important in Japanese culture. While the Japanese would call this “consensus,” they mean extortion” and use this culture of consensus as a means of “extortion.” By pretending to seek consensus, people try to get as much money as possible. Okinawans are masters of “manipulation” and “extortion” of Tokyo. We taught them well (see Roadmap above).

-Okinawa's main industry is tourism. While there is an agricultural industry, the main industry is tourism. Although Okinawans grow goya, other prefectures grow more than Okinawa. Okinawans are too lazy to grow goya. This is so boorish it defies comment.

-Okinawa has the highest divorce rate, birthrate (especially out of wedlock) and drunk-driving rate due to Okinawa’s culture of drinking liquor with high alcohol content. Lazy brown skinned people should never do this, even though it may be fine even during the work day for people with the right genetic makeup.

-You should be careful about “tatemae and honne” while in Japan. Tatemae and honne is the “idea that words and actual intentions are different." e.g. see "Yes! Yes, please!" above. While in Okinawa, I said MCAS Futenma “is not especially dangerous." My statements caused Okinawans to protest in front of my office.Why can't they just forget about brutal rape and even murder of Okinawan women by marines already? Although Okianwans claim MCAS Futenma is the most dangerous base in the world, they know it is not true. Fukuoka Airport and Osaka Itami Airport are just as dangerous.

-Japanese politicians do Tatemae and Honne all the time Okinawan politicians will agree to a negotiation in Tokyo but return to Okinawa and claim they did not. The US Ambassador and other representatives to Japan are constantly criticized for speaking the truth because the Japanese culture is too focused on tatemae and honne. Wrong, that's NOT the reason. Guess again.

-The US Military and JSDF have different mentalities. The US Military trains to prepare for possible deployment, but the JSDF train without actually preparing for deployment. Possibly have they been infiltrated by "lazy" Okinawans?

-Local people oppose to night training by the US Military but it is necessary because modern warfare is far more important than human mental health, for which a good night's sleep is needed is often fought at night. Night training is essential to maintain deterrence capability. Because everyone knows that night raids in Iraq and Afghanistan have been really effective at reducing terrorism and improving security. Right?

-I don’t think Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution should change. I doubt it will ever be changed. It would be bad for the United States if the Japanese Constitution was changed because Japan would not need the United States’ Military. If the Japanese Constitution was changed the United States would not be able to use Japanese land to advance US interests. The high host nation support the Japanese government currently pays is beneficial to the US. We’ve got a very good deal in Japan. A deal so good that it made brave Japanese people protest outside my office.


That was the bulk of the speech. I'll add a link to the whole thing online if I find one.

Japan has quite a history of militarism itself. It's a casebook study for the need to bring war yen home, and what can happen when you fail to do so. A cabal of industrialists, generals and admirals led the country down a rapacious road of ruin. And to this day the weight of the industrial power that irradiated them remains firmly on top of the gorgeous Okinawa, forced to serve the U.S. military, "a good location" for tsunamis and worse.

ウチナー県 (Okinawan: Uchinaa-ken)

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