United States Department of States Briefing
December 3rd, 4pm, at the Department of State
-Department of State:
Mr. Kevin K. Maher, Director of the Office of Japan
14 Members of Alternative Break Trip to Okinawa, Japan,
2010, “U.S. Military Bases and Their Impacts in Okinawa,
※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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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.