Saturday, December 28, 2013

(OT) Abe's Visit to Yasukuni Shrine Was Timed With Progress on Okinawa Base

Japan's Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine on December 26 to the resulting loud condemnation of the world's governments and entities.

It was exactly when the prospect of a breakthrough in the construction (or prep thereof) a new US military base in Okinawa was greater than ever (and sure enough on the next day the governor of Okinawa gave his approval of the project, to the loud condemnation from Okinawans who felt betrayed by the governor).

I thought these two events were related, and were presented as a "package", so to speak, to the US government. It is as if to say:

"I visited the shrine. So? I also won the approval from the Okinawa governor of a long-standing issue of a new base in Okinawa. Add two together. Is it net positive or negative for the US interest?"

Abe was confident, clearly, that the it was net positive for the US, and went to the shrine.

The Wall Street Journal's article (12/28/2013) seems to agree with me, though all I can read, as a non-subscriber, is the headline and the first paragraph (emphasis is mine):

Abe's Style Presents U.S. With Dilemma

Japanese Prime Minister Timed Shrine Visit Around Progress on Okinawa Base, Aides Say

TOKYO—In just a matter of days, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn both praise and censure from the U.S., underlining how his assertive style presents a dilemma for Washington policy makers needing his help to counter China's influence in the region.


Anonymous said...

1) To make the four-sided game complete, did the Okinawa or even Japan population protest the planed visit to Yasukuni shrine ?
I would say no. Abe cleverly didn't go this summer and gave no advice to his government. Probably keeping his rounds for later.
2) The US rents the land for their bases, wether they are in Okinawa or in... Tokyo prefecture. They pay dear and cash. Is it very honest from Okinawa people to ignore this huge income, when their economy is very poor ? (Correct me if I am wrong.)
3) Japan has not suffered the pain of beeing occupied by a waring country - the US occupation did free the Japanese of their military junta.
It will be a huge task to get rid of the dirty past with China and Korea. Japan, as an aggressor, should take the lead in apologizing and normalizing the relationship between theese three. Whatever it takes to apologize once, twice, or a thousand times. Even if China over-uses the argument of war as an ever-ready hammer to bash down Japan.


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Phiphi, as far as I know, the land for the US bases in Japan was mostly owned by the national government. When it was in private hands, it was taken using the eminent domain ("the government has the need for it"). The landowners are compensated by the Japanese government, not the US government. The Japanese government pays for the upkeep of the US troops, to the tune of 700 billion yen (US$7 billion) per year.

As to your 3), ask Okinawans.

Anonymous said...


in case I 'd had misleading information related only to the Tokyo and Yokohama US bases, I checked with my Japanese sources of information, focusing on Okinawa. They say the US are renting for good, to the local or national government, in a complex financial system. Which doesn't prevent the national gov. to also pay...
Here it's one say to another, I can't make it out, and will switch back to my own tasks, the new year is coming soon.
Yet I can testify the city hosting a US base in Tokyo has very deep pockets, that enable it wellfare, education, arts and investments programs, and very low local taxes.
Otherwise, I know that a neighbourhood of war aircrafts, nuke navy or Ospreys is scary and disturbing, and that thousands of service-men around are no more pleasant. The surroundings of bases are no place for children, nor to have one single drink too much. OK.
I asked some reliable sources : wouldn't it be time the US let the Japanese run their own country their own way and leave Japan ? The answer was repeatedly : we would like it, but it's impossible.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Abe's behavior should be seen as a "pissing match" of sorts with North Korea's Kim family where each does their very best to exceed the other in the belligerence of their decision making?

Lobbing missiles over Japan several years has been exceeded by Abe's lack of will with Fukushima: they're poisoning the oceans.

"Also Monday, North Korea's state media said that Abe's shrine visit was tantamount to a "declaration of war" against people in Asia and the rest of the world.

"Japan has now turned into a war state deviating to the right and fascism," the official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary."

Anonymous said...

Phiphi, as far as the law goes, the Japanese government pays.

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