Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Futenma, an unnecessary fuss?

It seems to be about impossible to understand what is really going on with the Futenma mess. An article challenging some of the Japanese government claims at Japan Focus (Japanese Bureaucrats Hide Decision to Move All US Marines out of Okinawa to Guam, by Gavan McCormac and Sakai Tanaka) does not help:

...according to the investigations of Mayor Iha and members of the Ginowan City Assembly, American forces have already been implementing a plan to relocate to Guam not only the command unit but also, by 2014, the majority of combat forces and even logistic sections including supply units.

Tanaka makes the obvious conclusion that if true:

"This means that the great fuss over the removal to Henoko that has been festering over the past few years may have been completely unnecessary from the beginning."

McCormac believes that Hatoyama's decision not to make a decision on Futenma until after the New Year has a huge symbolic importance and may signal "a possible changing of tide of history in East Asia, and especially the US Japan relationship."

Some polls have shown that a majority of the public thinks Hatoyama has mishandled the issue (Observing Japan has details of various poll results) and I have neither seen nor heard anything that gives any hint that the public would like to see the US military out (folks in Okinawa may have a different view). I wonder just how huge any change would really be?

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