Futenma Watch: Unlike Obama, Hatoyama Owns His Broken Promise

Something about the culture causes  Japan’s version  of liberals   (in reality they tout  a different mix of policies than US liberals)  to be embarrassed when they break a promise, and to own up.

BBC News – Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama resigns amid Okinawa row.

A lot of external pressure feeds this amazing behavioral phenomenon which caused Yukio Hatoyama to step down from his post as prime minister.

Yes, it’s that nagging Futenma problem again. Hatoyama promised to pull the base out of Okinawa-ken  and he couldn’t get it done with the Obama administration.  So the fourth japanese prime minister in four years,  is leaving his post.

An old problem of mal-distribution returns repeatedly to haunt Japan.  They loaded the southernmost province with the bulk of the US military bases.  Now even the mainland  Japanese (Yamatunchu)  feel sympathy for Okinawa because of this burden….. but “Not in my neighborhood” remains  a huge problem.   The even larger difficulty is extreme instability  in N.  Korea and other parts of Asia,  compounding Japan’s feeling of need for the U.S. military presence.

This Futenma business could bust up the government coalition in Japan

Fukushima hints at SDP’s departure from gov’t coalition+.

Mizuho Fukushima was dismissed from the Cabinet by Yukio Hatoyama due to her dissent  with the latest agreement between the U.S. and Japan on the Futenma base.   That agreement is to move most operations to the  Henoko district of Nago — still on Okinawa.  Fukushima regarded that as a broken promise to the Okinawans, and refused to approve the agreement.

This could mean a breakup of the three party government coalition in Japan, as the dismissal of Fukushima is regarded by many as a dismissal of her Social Democratic Party.

Rally in Okinawa – Ready to Lose Futenma Marine Base.

Ryukyu Shimpo.

Brought to you by Google translator, which butchers Okinawan sites badly….

Big rally Sunday (over Saturday night for us) in Yomitan with about 90,000 in attendance, and another 10,000 stuck in traffic jams. Okinawans are eager to get rid of that Futenma Marine base, which adds so much noise and disaster to the atmosphere of Ginowan. They don’t want it moved north to Henoko (Nago area), or even offshore of Katsuren Peninsula (near Uruma). The latter two sites are less populous, but tearing up more real estate, and environmental impact are big concerns.

Imagine one out of 14 people in any state of the U.S. attending a tea party. That’s the percent head count at this rally in Okinawa. Those people have long been ready to lose military bases, despite the negative impact that would have on their economy.

Tiny Okinawa has been hosting almost 80 percent of the U.S. military bases in Japan.

The Katsuren site had been the latest relocation possibility, even favored by some local business leaders, and made somewhat more attractive by including a relocation of Air Self Defense Forces from Naha as well as the Futenma base. It seems from the Ryukyu Shimpo article that this idea has also lost support.