February 6, 2008

Sea Cow Stymies Navy’s Okinawa Plan

The endangered dugong, a type of “sea cow” similar to Florida’s manatee, threatens to put the brakes on a huge military construction project in Japan.

A federal court in San Francisco ruled that Navy plans to build a new base in Okinawa would violate the National Historic Preservation Act by threatening dugong habitat.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that protecting the dugong could cut into related construction and service jobs, exacting a steep economic toll on economically depressed northern Okinawa.

U.S. military facilities in Okinawa have a long and controversial history, with resentment lingering over the rape of a schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen in 1995.

Plans for the new base were approved in the late 1990s, following Tokyo’s commitment of more than $900 million in tax breaks and stimulus programs for Okinawa.

Critics told the Monitor that the Japanese government shouldn’t link “economic assistance” to Okinawan support for the Navy plan.

Source:

“Ruling to protect dugong could put Northern Okinawa aid at risk”
Christian Science Monitor, February 5, 2008

9 thoughts on “Sea Cow Stymies Navy’s Okinawa Plan

  1. I am Okinawan, and a filmmaker with my husband. We focus on issues of controversy and interest in Japan and the USA.
    Our last film titled Why Okinawa? Messages from the People” covers the endangered Dugons because of the US Military Insistance on re-claiming ocean area to build a replacement base to the Futenma MCAS, which is not needed to begin with.
    Why Okinawa asks why is it necessary to build another Military base on Okinawa which is the size of New York City, when Okinawa already has 37 US Military Bases there and is forced to shoulder the burden of over 75% of US Military Foreward Base alignment in Asis.
    The answer for Okinawans is simple. We are peace loving people and Japan and the USA are bullies that want to force us to take what ever is forced on us and to do it without complaint as we have been forced to do for the last several hundred years.
    Kinuye Oshiro RAFilms and http://www.SilkDragonProductions.com USA/Japan

  2. Kinuye Oshiro, many Okinawan families get lots of money for the bases that the Americans occupy (land), it is not like the land is free.

  3. I think it’s important to keep in mind that the US already has military bases in Okinawa that are fine to use. A new military base would obviously have negative effects all around, the sea-cows, and the Okinawan opinions (stated above), clearly show that. We are not the only creatures on this planet and our disregard for other animals is going to come back to us somehow-Karma

  4. Susie – there is no such thing as karma. Aside from that, your view that the current bases in Okinawa are “fine to use” without a need for the one in question is based on what legitimate information about global security and military logistical needs? Is it based on any information at all, or do you just despise the idea of security through an armed presence in your love of sea creatures? Finally, do you imagine that a nuclear armed North Korea (who has already fired missiles over mainland Japan several times) will have more regard for the opinions of either sea-cows or Okinawans than the U.S. Navy?

  5. Susie – there is no such thing as karma. Aside from that, your view that the current bases in Okinawa are “fine to use” without a need for the one in question is based on what legitimate information about global security and military logistical needs? Is it based on any information at all, or do you just despise the idea of security through an armed presence in your love of sea creatures? Finally, do you imagine that a nuclear armed North Korea (who has already fired missiles over mainland Japan several times) will have more regard for the opinions of either sea-cows or Okinawans than the U.S. Navy?

  6. Currently we, USA, spend more in total for defense than the next dozen or more countries combined. Including N. Korea, UK, France, Russia and China. I say it is time to use some of that money to provide for our own people wiht better schools, hospitals, health care, and new forms of energy.

    Heck the only export we seem to be able to produce is war – Ike was correct and we need to go back and read what he said – he and Smedley D. Butler said about war. (Butler as in Camp Butler in Okinawa.)

    Our Navy has more carriers than any other country, in fact I believe only the French have non-jump jet carries like ours. We can get out Marines and Navy fighters anywhere in the world w/o Okinawa. It is time for Japan and the USA to let them have their Island back, after all had the Japanese not defended their homeland from Okinawa in WW2 we would have never stopped there.

  7. The US wants to solidify and even expand its military presence in the region, including Okinawa, even if it endangers the dugong. A trip the Okinawa Honto quickly shows just what a horrible place it is for military bases–it would be crowded even if the US military didn’t take up so much of the prime real estate. The US wants to stay in Okinawa and expand its presence in Guam–so it can fight three regional wars and drop more bombs on Afghanistan. The US’s military presence is now a bane, and one that costs Japan far too much money. Imagine if a fraction of that went to preserving the dugong’s habitat and ecotourism.

  8. One reader commented, in part:
    >>It is time for Japan and the USA to let them have their Island back, after all had the Japanese not defended their homeland from Okinawa in WW2 we would have never stopped there.<<

    I agree with thought that it is time for the US to get out of Okinawa, but actually the US long had imperial hands on the islands. Before the Black Ships steamed into Edo, they established re-supply bases in Okinawa. It is a ‘logical’ place to use as a base for projecting power in E. Asia due to it proximity to Taiwan, Korea, and S. Japan.