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Tag Archives: Carl Levin

John Feffer: Jim Webb’s Parting Shots (on Okinawa & more)

In this June 16, 2011 tribute to Senator Jim Webb, John Feffer reflects on the Webb-Levin-McCain alternative to the Obama administration's plan to build another U.S. military base in Okinawa: In mid-May, he teamed up with Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) to issue a statement offering an alternative to the current U.S. plan to build another military base in Okinawa and expand the existing facilities on Guam. The Obama administration has been so hell-bent on creating another U.S. base on Okinawa, over the objections of the vast majority of the citizens of the Japanese island, that it went so far as to precipitate the resignation of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama when he had the temerity to balk at the economic and political costs. At a time when the administration has asked the Pentagon to contribute to overall budget cutting, the price tag for the reorganization of U.S. force structure in the Pacific is both enormous (over $27 billion) and, according to a recent GAO report, consistently underestimated. Webb's alternative – moving capabilities from the aging Futenma Marine air base to the nearby Kadena Air Force base – is not ideal, but it's at least a starting point for discussion. But the Obama administration, which has prided itself on its ability to listen, has closed its ears both to Okinawans and the Webb-Levin-McCain initiative.

Gavan McCormack: “Deception and Diplomacy: The US, Japan, and Okinawa”

East Asia scholar Gavan McCormack addresses the US-Japan relationship in light of the following matters: the Mitsuyaku (secret US-Japan diplomacy) brought to light since 2009; the cache of cables from US Embassy Tokyo (and Consul General Naha) to Washington released by Wiki-leaks in May 2011; the December 2010 "confession" by former Prime Minister Hatoyama admitting no real security need for another U.S. military base in Okinawa; the 2011 "Maher Affair"; and the shock waves of recent (2011) shifts in thinking on the Okinawa question at high levels in Washington. In conclusion, McCormack pays tribute to the contribution of Okinawan engaged citizenry in Japanese democratic culture. In a dictatorship, the Henoko "replacement" project could still proceed, with citizens who stood in the way being arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. What the Kan government seems still unable to recognize, but Washington (or at least Senators Levin, Webb, and McCain and General Jones) has begun to concede, is that, at least so long as democratic institutions survive, there is no way to persuade or even to compel the submission of determined opponents, and therefore no way the Henoko project will proceed. After 15 years of struggle, the Okinawa movement has accomplished a signal victory. It has saved Oura Bay. It may be only one step in a struggle that seems to know no end, but it is a hugely significant one.

Okinawa Times: “Okinawa Says No: Futenma reversion demanded, without relocation on the island”

The Okinawa Times, one of Okinawa's two major newspapers, published editorial writer Takayuki Maeda's direct message to Washington and Tokyo during last week's visit by U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Jim Webb to the island. The article is accompanied by a timeline of Okinawa's demand for Futenma closure and resistance to a "replacement" base at environmentally sensitive Henoko and Oura Bay, habitat of the federally protected Okinawa dugong. The chronology begins with the crime that catalyzed widespread Okinawan anti-base activism: the September 4, 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year old girl by 3 U.S. servicemen and ends with the March 6, 2011 public disclosure of former U.S. State Department Director of the Office of Japan Affairs and U.S. Consul General of Okinawa Kevin Maher's description of Okinawans as "masters of manipulation and extortion."

Ryukyu Shimpo: “Open Letter to Mr. Carl Levin”

In an open letter to Senators Carl Levin and Jim Webb, the Ryukyu Shimpo asks them "to show the true worth of American democracy" and "to respect the will of the people of Okinawa and informs them: "April 28 is the date when the United States and Japan concluded both the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in 1952. With this, Allied Occupation forces withdrew from Japan and Japan attained independence. The San Francisco Peace Treaty determined that Okinawa and Amami Oshima would be separated from the mainland islands of Japan and put under the control of the U.S. military."

Okinawans urge Senator Carl Levin to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to create jobs at home, not to build a new base in Okinawa

Senators Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Jim Webb, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee and member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, are visiting Okinawa today and tomorrow. Okinawans greeted the senators with signs urging them to use U.S. taxpayer money not to build a new military base in Okinawa, but to create jobs at home. The official U.S. unemployment rate is over 8%.

Okinawa Governor Nakaima: Proposed “Futenma replacement” base at Henoko impossible

Next week Governor Hirokazu Nakaima will reiterate to U.S. Senator Carl Levin the same request he and a group of Okinawan mayors from base-hosting communities handed to Prime Minister Kan on Feb. 8. of this year: Close U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma and cancel the plan for a "Futenma replacement" base at Henoko and biodiverse Oura Bay. The governor’s request to Sen. Levin will be following a 15-year sit-in protest at Henoko; a 3-year protest at Takae in Yanbaru Forest; numerous statements, plebiscites, resolutions, elections, and annual mass protest rallies across Okinawa— all demanding the closure of Futenma and the cancellation of plans for further U.S. military construction in Okinawa. During today's announcement to the Japanese media, the governor wondered why the U.S. government has not yet been able to understand that new base construction is "impossible." Washington knows the environmentally devastating base plan involves the destruction of the only habitat of the endangered and beloved Okinawa dugong.