United States Department of States Briefing

December 3rd, 4pm, at the Department of State

Participants

-Department of State:

Mr. Kevin K. Maher, Director of the Office of Japan

Affairs

-American University:

14 Members of Alternative Break Trip to Okinawa, Japan,

Winter Break

2010, "U.S. Military Bases and Their Impacts in Okinawa,

Japan"

Presentation

 ※All opinions and claims are from Mr. Maher

-I was the Consul General in Okinawa until 2009. It is

said that a half of U.S. bases in Japan is located in

Okinawa, but the statistic only includes bases used

exclusively by the US Military. If all bases, US bases

and bases jointly used by the US and JSDF, are

considered, the percent of bases in Okinawa is much

lower.

-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.

-The US bases in Okinawa exist for regional security. The

Japanese obligation under the US-Japan security treaty is

to provide land for bases. The relationship between Japan

and the US under the security treaty is asymmetric and

benefits the Japanese to the detriment of the US. 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.

-Collective security is not a constitutional issue, but a

policy issue.

-Eighteen thousand (18,000) US Marines and an air wing

are stationed in Okinawa. The United States needs bases

in Okinawa for two reasons: bases are already there and

Okinawa is an important geographical location.

- (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 the

event 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.

-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.

-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!” The LDP communicated with Okinawa and

understood Okinawan concerns better than the current DPJ

government.

-One third of people believe the world would be more

peaceful without a military. It is impossible to talk

with such people.

-The 2009 electionbrought the DPJ to power, which was the

first change in the government of Japan.Hatoyama was a

leftist politician. Despite the DPJ and PM Hatoyama, the

US and Japan managed to issue the 2+2 statement in May.

(Mr. Maher left the room and two his colleagues gave a

lecture about the US-Japan economic relationship. Mr.

Maher returned to resume his lecture and the two

officials left the room.)

-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. The DPJ government has

delayed implementation, but I am confident that

government will implement the existing plan. Tokyo needs

to tell the Okinawan Governor, “if you want money, sign

it [agree to the relocation plan].”

-There is nowhere else to base US Marines. The DPJ

suggested a replacement facility in mainland Japan, but

there is no place in mainland Japan for the US Military.

-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.

-Okinawa's main industry is tourism. While there is an

agricultural industry, the main industry is tourism.

Although Okinawans grow goya, other prefectures grow

morethan Okinawa. Okinawans are too lazy to grow goya.

-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.

-You should be carefulabout “tatemae and honne” while in

Japan. Tatemae and honne is the “idea that words and

actual intentions are different." While in Okinawa, I

said MCAS Futenma “is not especially dangerous." My

statements caused Okinawans to protest in front of my

office. 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.

-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.

-Local people oppose to night training by the US Military

but it is necessary because modern warfare is often

fought at night. Night training is essential to maintain

deterrence capability.

-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 paysis

beneficial to the US.We’ve got a very good deal in Japan.