Wednesday, April 12, 2017

114 noise complaints filed to US military in Higashi

March 23, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
At the Higashi village representative council’s regular meeting, it was announced that noise complaints filed against US military aircrafts went up to 114 cases between April 1, 2016 to March 14, 2017. This is twice the number of complaints in the previous year. Higashi village mayor, Morihisa Iju, revealed the figures in response to an inquiry from Shinji Isa during the meeting.
According to the village, there were 68 noise complaints filed regarding the MV-22 Osprey, and 46 complaints were raised for other types of US military aircrafts. That is double the number of complaints made in each category in 2015. The complaints were mainly made in the Takae district where a helicopter landing area is located. Mayor Iju said, “the helipad is relatively close to residential areas. I will demand the key parties ensure the living environment for villagers is not changed drastically.”
(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

North Korea decries US carrier dispatch as parliament meets

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea's parliament convened Tuesday amid heightened tensions on the divided peninsula, with the United States and South Korea conducting their biggest-ever military exercises and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier heading to the area in a show of American strength.
North Korea vowed a tough response to any military moves that might follow the U.S. decision to send the carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula.
"We will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions," a spokesman for its Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Guam official: Foreign worker problems in Saipan not happening here

Two additional human smuggling-related federal indictments allege hundreds of construction workers for a Saipan casino project were recruited in mainland China, brought in as tourists under a visa-waiver program and weren't paid what was promised to them.
The additional indictments, filed April 5, led to the arrest of two suspects who were allegedly part of the operation to use illegal foreign labor at the Saipan casino construction site, as they tried to depart on a flight back to China.
Six defendants and six federal human-smuggling cases have been filed in recent days in the federal court in Saipan.

Guam senator backs governor's U-turn on build-up

Governor Eddie Calvo is opposed to the United States increasing its military presence unless it allows more foreign workers into the US territory.
The number of military personnel on Guam is set to surge from 6000 to 11,000 as troops are relocated from Okinawa, Japan.
Senator Fernando Esteves said the federal government is not listening the people of Guam and the governor had no choice.
"Truth be told, as a colony the military and the federal government can do whatever it is they want without any consent from us. So I think the outcry and making bold statements like that is a good method forward."

Guam's struggle for self-determination

A debate is heating up on the US territory of Guam about its political future. The Pacific island’s attorney general has filed an appeal to a federal court ruling that struck down a planned referendum on its political status. The ruling revolves around Arnold Davis, a long-time resident of the island who sued the Guam Elections Commission for not allowing him to vote because he is white. According to the law in Guam, only native residents are allowed to vote in the non-binding referendum.  

Now, that question will go before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States.  The island’s official status is as a non-self-governing territory. Guam has no official representation in the federal government, and its people are not full citizens of the country. If the referendum hadn’t been delayed, native Chamorro people and their descendants would have been voting on three options for the future of Guam: statehood, free association, or independence from the US.

Monday, April 10, 2017

2,800 H-2B workers needed for buildup

The Department of Defense has acknowledged that projects for the construction of a Marine Corps base and related facilities on Guam would strain the island’s labor force, but the Pentagon continues to work with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to help Guam out, according to a recent federal report.
Guam’s nearly depleted pool of skilled foreign construction workers on H-2B visas has now numbered about 170, down from about 1,300 a year ago, said Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo on Thursday, who said he’s withdrawing support for the military buildup in Guam until the labor issue is resolved.
Calvo said with the worker shortage, most of the remaining skilled labor in Guam would work on the military base projects, leaving the civilian community with a shrunken labor pool. This would delay civilian projects and make them costly, compromising the local economy, according to the governor.

Bordallo seeks GAO review of Agent Orange on Guam

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo has asked the Government Accountability Office to review all documentation regarding the use of Agent Orange and other dioxin-based herbicides on Guam.
The Department of Defense has said Agent Orange was never present or transited through Guam, but veterans who were stationed on Guam during the Vietnam War, like Leroy Foster, have said they were forced to spray Agent Orange in military facilities and defense properties on Guam.
Foster, 68, now resides in Florida and said he now suffers from 33 diseases, including five different cancers as a result of spraying the herbicide that was widely used by the United States to kill vegetation during the Vietnam War.

North Korea missiles: US warships deployed to Korean peninsula

The US military has ordered a navy strike group to move towards the Korean peninsula, amid growing concerns about North Korea's missile programme.
The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships.
US Pacific Command described the deployment - now heading towards the western Pacific - as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region.
President Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.
"The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilising programme of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability," US Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham said.

AG files notice to appeal Davis case

The Attorney General of Guam will be taking the decision in the Dave Davis case up on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.  The “Notice to Appeal” was filed this afternoon in the District Court of Guam. Last month District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood ruled in favor of Davis who questioned the constitutionality of Guam’s plebiscite law which only allowed for “native inhabitants” of Guam to vote.  
Davis filed his case in November 2011 after he was not allowed to register to vote on Guam’s political status.  He argued that his constitutional rights were violated. Specifically, he claims the prohibition from registering to vote, is a violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Organic Act of Guam and his Fifth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment rights.
In her decision Judge Gatewood concluded that although the court recognizes the long history of colonization of this island and its people, and the desire of those colonized to have their right to self determination, the court must also recognize the right of others who have made Guam their home. She ruled the plebiscite law was unconstitutional and banned its enforcement.  

Davis seeks $930K worth of fees for plebiscite lawsuit

Arnold “Dave” Davis is seeking close to $1 million in attorneys’ fees and costs for a lawsuit he filed against the government of Guam six years ago for preventing him from participating in a plebiscite vote because he was a non-native inhabitant of the island.
In a motion for costs and attorneys’ fees filed in the District Court of Guam on Friday, Davis requested the court award him:
• $869,639.15 in attorneys’ fees;
• $51,063.95 in non-taxable expenses;
• $3,525 in expert fees; and
• $5,104.25 in taxable costs.

Canadian helicopter buzzes Tumon beachgoers

Many Sunday beachgoers in Tumon Bay were jolted by the sight and sound of a military helicopter that flew low over Tumon Bay toward the end of yesterday's international marathon, which was attended by thousands of people.
The helicopter is not one of the U.S. military's.
It was a visiting naval helicopter from Canada, which, following the episode that some tourists and residents captured on cameras and videos, was advised to avoid flying close to the civilian community.
"The helicopter that flew over Tumon Bay this morning was a Royal Canadian Navy helicopter," said Lt. Timothy Gorman, public affairs officer for the U.S. military's Joint Region Marianas, when asked for comment.

Editorial: Buildup, war reparations, tax refunds: They’re all connected

Intertwined Guam issues came to a converging point last week.
First, more on the military buildup.
Gov. Eddie Calvo surprised many last week by announcing he'd withdraw support for what's been agreed between the United States and Japan, to reduce about 9,000 of the U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa, and move 4,100 of them to Guam, where a Marine Corps base is being built.
The Guam part of this bilateral agreement between the two nations has been in the execution phase for years now, with about $500 million of the Japan- and U.S.-funded projects completed or under way. High-level Japanese officials have been visiting Guam the past few years, to check on the progress of its investment toward easing the number of U.S. troops in Okinawa.

Official: US Navy strike group to move toward Korean peninsula

WASHINGTON – A U.S. Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, a U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday, as concerns grow about North Korea's advancing weapons program.
Earlier this month North Korea tested a liquid-fueled Scud missile which only traveled a fraction of its range.
The strike group, called Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and will make its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity.
"We feel the increased presence is necessary," the official said, citing North Korea's worrisome behavior.

US flexes muscle in Korea

Sends carrier strike group towards Korean peninsula

The Pentagon says a Navy carrier strike group is moving toward the western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests and continued pursuit of a nuclear program have raised tensions in the region, where U.S. Navy ships are a common presence and serve in part as a show of force.

Pyongyang figured in phone talk

On Saturday, President Donald Trump and South Korea’s leader, Acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn, spoke by phone. The White House said the two agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

"Respect the CHamoru People" rally draws hundreds

Guam - The Adelup lawn was packed today as hundreds of protesters gathered for the "Respect the CHamoru People" rally that had been organized in response to the Dave Davis decision last month.
In that case, federal Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled in plaintiff Arnold "Dave" Davis' favor challenging Guam's decolonization registry that only allows "native inhabitants" and their descendants to register.
Those registered in the Decolonization Registry would have an opportunity to vote on Guam's political status plebiscite for three options: independence, statehood or free association, but only after the registry reaches a certain threshold.
Davis sued GovGuam when he was denied registry arguing that the Decolonization Registry law discriminates against him because of his race. The decision drew backlash from the local community because of the case's racial and discriminatory undertones. 

Why Asian Countries Don’t Want to Choose Between China or US

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump's talks in Mar-a-Lago will be closely watched by China's neighbors in Asia. The deputy director of the Institute of Asian and African Countries at Moscow State University, Andrei Karneyev, spoke to Sputnik about this development.

According to Karneyev any scenario regarding the development of Sino-US relations directly affects the interests of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The first personal meeting between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump can lead not only to reformation of Sino-US relations, but it can also cause profound changes in the Asia-Pacific region,” the analyst said.
Most of all, judging by an article published in the South China Morning Post, Asian countries are concerned that the US leadership in the Asia-Pacific region can become a subject of deals during the summit.

Navy: One Guam approach still intact

Joint Region Marianas Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield expressed her belief that the Programmatic Agreement had not been breached despite the governor's assertions that it clearly has.
Guam - Govenor Calvo is defending his newfound position on the military buildup in light of critics who say he’s taken an extreme approach to the federal government.
Joint Region Marianas Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield also reacted to the governor’s statements and seemed to be unaware of the grim picture the governor painted of life outside the base.
There’s support but also some backlash in the last 24 hours since Governor Calvo boldly announced his withdrawal of support for the military buildup. Key among the reasons is the H2B crisis that has created an extreme shortage of foreign labor on Guam contributing to the start of what appears to be the island’s economic downfall.
"I've talked to many folks in the construction industry telling me that [they're] having a difficult time getting projects because [they] have no workers," noted Calvo.

Governor no longer favors military buildup on Guam, wants feds to address foreign worker visas

HAGATNA, Guam — Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo has announced his administration no longer supports the U.S. military buildup on the island because of the federal government's high rate of denials for temporary foreign worker visa applications.
Calvo said Thursday the government's decision to deny nearly all H-2B visas has resulted in a worker shortage and a potential economic downturn for the island, The Pacific Daily News reported. He cited recent construction projects that never received bids due to a lack of workers as well as the rising costs of homebuilding.
"The biggest obstacle to prosperity on Guam has not been any local politician, but the federal government," Calvo said. "We cannot afford to wait any longer."

Support or not, Guam military buildup projects proceeding

Whether or not Guam's governor supports the construction of a Marine Corps base on the island, military projects related to the $8.7 billion plan have moved forward, and will continue.
To date, approximately $500 million in construction projects have either been completed or awarded and underway, according to Joint Region Marianas, which coordinates and oversees the projects in Guam.
The projects are in preparation for the relocation of about 4,100 Marines from Okinawa to Guam several years from now, under an agreement signed between the United States and Japan to draw down the amount of U.S. troops in Okinawa.
On Thursday, Gov. Eddie Calvo surprised many in Guam when he announced at a Rotary Club of Guam meeting that he would no longer support the relocation of Marines to Guam, also commonly referred to as the "military buildup."

Woman Arrested Near US Base in Okinawa for Biting Police Officer

On Thursday, Japanese authorities arrested a woman and charged her with causing bodily injury and obstructing a police officer after biting an officer outside of US Marine Corps Base Camp Schwab in Okinawa.

The woman was arrested around 9:25 a.m. local time, and was one of three arrests made near US military bases in Okinawa that day, Stars and Stripes reports.
A Nago prefectural police spokesman said the officer was attempting to stop the woman from running to the highway near one of the base’s gates when she bit the officer on the arm, leaving bite marks. 
Authorities have not released information on the woman, and it is not yet clear whether she belongs to protests groups that often demonstrate against the US military’s presence on Okinawa. Two people who ignored police warnings and crossed property lines at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and at Schwab were also arrested that day.

Friday, April 07, 2017

What if ...? Decolonization from a family perspective

By Juan Flores, Guam Daily Post
Apr 7, 2017 

What if we took a family perspective on the island's decolonization issue? How can the issue be addressed if we looked at it as if it were a parent-child issue? What avenue should we take to address the issue and come to a satisfactory resolution?
The early American colonists did not take too well to the rule imposed on them by the king of England. They chose to take matters into their own hands, take advantage of the ocean between them and the imperial rulers, and fight to earn their independence. The relationship between a colonizing power and the people subjected to colonial rule, can be likened to an abusive relationship between a parent and a child. Regardless of some isolated incidents of benevolence, the colonizing powers subject their colonies to painful and unwarranted experiences the way abusive parents treat their innocent children. The colonists had no recourse but to stand up to and fight the imperial power. Unlike the colonists, abusive children can turn to and be supported by outside authorities who are looking out for the well-being of all children.

Calvo retracts buildup support

“I am against this buildup until there are changes. I cannot see more construction activity going into that base.” – Gov. Eddie Calvo

After Gov. Eddie Calvo announced yesterday he would no longer support the relocation of almost 5,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, certain government officials and Guam's largest business organization raised questions, or disagreed.
The governor, speaking at the Rotary Club of Guam's luncheon meeting at the Pacific Star Resort, made the announcement to prompt the federal government to approve petitions from Guam employers for foreign skilled workers on H-2B visas. Calvo also said he had asked elected Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson to join the Guam Contractors' Association in their lawsuit against the federal government.
The governor has previously said federal immigration authorities have reversed from approving nearly 100 percent of petitions for Guam-bound, H-2B workers, to nearly 100 percent denials over the past year.

Governor Calvo: I no longer support the military buildup

"Myself and my administration will no longer support the buildup. We will not support further progress on the military realignment on Guam and so long as the federal government continues to choke our economy," - Governor Calvo announced to the Rotary Club of Guam.
Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo in a surprising move boldly announced he is now against the military buildup--a complete 180 from the start of his administration. 
"Myself and my administration will no longer support the buildup. We will not support further progress on the military realignment on Guam and so long as the federal government continues to choke our economy," the governor announced to the Rotary Club of Guam Thursday.
The reasons behind this change of heart? Calvo blames increased costs of construction and lack of foreign labor.
“The federal government has not kept up to its side of the bargain. There has been a breach that made sure our island would not be negatively impacted by a shift in military forces,” he shared.

Visa denials lead Guam to oppose Marine Corps move

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Gov. Eddie Calvo said Guam will no longer support a planned U.S. military buildup critical to realignment plans in the Asia-Pacific region, unless the federal government allows more foreign workers to come to the island.
The Thursday afternoon announcement came following a Government Accountability Office report – released Wednesday – that said the Marine Corps has neither a reliable schedule for moving 4,100 Marines from Okinawa to the tiny Western Pacific territory, nor a plan to address delays caused by labor shortages and endangered-species protections.
“When the Department of Defense signed a programmatic agreement, we agreed to a mutually beneficial buildup — the idea being what’s good for inside the fence is good for outside the fence. It was the One Guam approach,” Calvo said in a statement. “But the federal government hasn’t kept up with its part of the bargain. There has been a breach in the agreement that was made to ensure Guam is not negatively impacted by the shift in military forces.”

Pence to make trip to Asia-Pacific amid Korean tensions

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence plans to travel to South Korea and Japan later this month amid simmering tensions along the Korean peninsula over North Korea's attempts to advance its nuclear and missile programs. 

The White House said Thursday that Pence would depart April 15 on a 10-day, four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region that will also include stops in Indonesia and Australia and a visit with U.S. troops in Hawaii.

Pence's itinerary will focus on U.S. military and economic alliances in the region and feature sessions with business executives and foreign leaders. 

The vice president is expected to meet with acting South Korea Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Guam Governor not supporting US military build-up

The Governor of Guam, Eddie Calvo, has withdrawn his support for the build-up of United States military forces in the US territory.
The number of military personnel on Guam is set to surge from six to 11 thousand as troops are relocated from Okinawa, Japan. 
Mr Calvo said the federal government's ongoing denial of temporary worker visas for the territory is having a devastating impact on the territory's economy.
In a video posted by Pacific Daily News, Mr Calvo said he was reversing his staunch support of the build-up.

Former U.S. Pacific Command Chief Indicates if China “Tangles with US Navy, They Will Lose”

Retired U.S. Adm. Dennis Blair, previously served as the head of the U.S. Pacific Command said that China does not have the capability to push the U.S. Navy out of the Asia Pacific region as he indicate that if China’s might “tangle with the U.S. Navy, they will lose.”
In the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Maryland, Blair refuted those who claim that “in the event of a conflict over places like Taiwan and the Senkakus or the South China Sea, China would actually win or cause enough damage to American forces for us to pull back.”
China’s military has made headways with massive reforms and modernization program as their strength is projected with their expanding naval and aviation capabilities including their missile warfare striking ability.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Anti-U.S. base activist lashes out at tactics used in Okinawa

Hiroji Yamashiro barks slogans against construction of a new U.S. military base in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 1, the 1,000th day of protests. (Mahito Kaai)
NAHA--A prominent anti-U.S. base activist recently released after five months in custody accused authorities of strong-arm tactics to suppress freedom of expression.
“I felt that long-term detention was meant to intimidate Okinawans,” said Hiroji Yamashiro, chairman the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun.
The southernmost prefecture hosts 70.6 percent of all U.S. military installations in Japan.
Yamashiro, 64, was arrested late last year on suspicion of causing injuries during a protest, along with forcible obstruction of business. He faces two other counts and is now on trial.

Veterans support aid for radiation, Agent Orange exposure

“The VA continues to claim that there was no Agent Orange in Guam. But there are consistent reports that show that cleanup measures were taken here because water sources here were even tainted.” – Robert Celestial

More than a dozen military veterans testified yesterday in favor of two resolutions that would add Guam veterans and civilians to a number of federal radiation and chemical exposure compensation proposals.
The Guam Legislature’s Committee on Culture and Justice held a public hearing for resolutions introduced by Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje that support Senate Bill 283, which would add veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands to the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.
The measure funds the medical expenses of such veterans who suffer from cancers and other diseases connected to the exposure of radiation from nuclear testing.

GAO-17-415, Marine Corps Asia Pacific Realignment: DOD Should Resolve Capability Deficiencies and Infrastructure Risks and Revise Cost Estimates, April 05, 2017

What GAO Found

The Department of Defense (DOD) has coordinated the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to other locations in the Asia-Pacific region through developing a synchronization plan and organizing working groups. However, DOD has not resolved selected identified capability deficiencies related to the relocation of Marine units; training needs in the region; the reduction in runway length at the Futenma Replacement Facility in Okinawa; and challenges for operating in Australia. DOD guidance indicates that mission requirements—which would include the capabilities needed to fulfill the mission—largely determine land and facility support requirements. If DOD does not resolve the selected identified capability deficiencies in its infrastructure plans, DOD may be unable to maintain its capabilities or face much higher costs to do so.

Guam governor withdraws support for military buildup

Gov. Eddie Calvo said his administration no longer supports the military buildup, citing the federal government's high rate of denials for Guam's temporary foreign worker visa applications. He called on the island's attorney general to join the lawsuit filed by a dozen Guam businesses contesting H-2B visa denials.
Calvo made the announcement at a Rotary Club of Guam meeting Thursday, April 6.
Twelve Guam businesses filed a federal lawsuit last October, alleging the high rejection rate constitutes an unlawful change in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service policy.
According to Calvo, across-the-board visa denials have been tantamount to "economic sabotage and warfare on loyal American citizens."  
With all the disorganization in Washington, D.C., Calvo said, drastic steps are needed to draw attention to Guam.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

No good news for Guam in Trump budget - Rory Respicio

A great deal of chaos has consumed the first couple months of President Donald Trump's administration, including the expansion of the Russia collusion scandal, the Muslim immigration ban and ongoing court battles, and the embarrassing but thankful collapse of Trumpcare.
In the middle of this chaos a few weeks ago emerged the Trump budget plan for the coming fiscal year. In Trump's budget proposal, funding for every department and agency was slashed except for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. It remains unclear if there would be any benefits to Guam from the increases to these departments. Homeland Security's increase mostly goes to building a wall on the Mexican border. The Defense and Veterans Affairs' increases proposed by Trump may have no impact on the planned military buildup or local veterans services, especially as the increase for the VA was only half of what national veterans organizations were seeking from the White House.

North Korea launches medium-range ballistic missile: U.S. military

North Korea launched a missile that landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. military's Pacific Command said in a statement on Tuesday.
Initial assessments indicate it was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile, the statement said. It was launched from a land-based facility near Sinpo, North Korea.

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington)

Retired admiral: China's not driving the US out of the Western Pacific

OXON HILL, Md. — The "chattering classes" in Washington are pushing the perception that China is besting the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific and that it could defeat the American fleet in a clash over territory, said retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who once commanded Navy forces in the region.
Blair, who spoke at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Maryland on Tuesday, denied the U.S. has lost its dominance in the region and warned the message coming from think tanks, including Rand and the Center for Strategic and International Studies — and even some in the Pentagon — could cause the Navy to lose its way at a crucial time.

Russia Deploys Warplanes to Eastern Military District in Response to US Drills

The Russian MiG-31 and MiG-31BM interceptor jets took part in this week's large-scale drills of the country's Eastern Military District, an apparent response to increasing US military activity in the Asia-Pacific region, according to RIA Novosti.

On Monday, the MiG-31 and the MiG-31BM supersonic interceptor aircraft took part in large-scale war games in Russia's Eastern Military District, 
RIA Novosti quoted the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry as saying.
The press service added that the MiG-31BM is not only capable of fighting enemy aircraft, but also tackling cruise and ballistic missiles at any height.
"So the MiG-31 interceptors are becoming a major part of the missile defense system of the Russian Far East amid growing US military activity in the Asia-Pacific," RIA Novosti said.

Okinawa Prefectural Archives releases 580,000 pages of Battle of Okinawa-related US military documents

March 31, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On March 31, the Okinawa Prefectural Archives will release to the general public roughly 584,000 pages of strategy report documents created by U.S. army and marine troops during the Battle of Okinawa. The documents were gathered from among documents held at the U.S. National Archives and collected by Japan’s National Diet Library. This is the largest batch of Battle of Okinawa-related documents ever released at once by the Prefectural Archives. It is expected that Okinawa releasing as a collection these important documents gathered individually by researchers in the United States, Tokyo and elsewhere will lead to advancements in Battle of Okinawa studies.
The released documents contain, among other things, Japanese military documents seized by the U.S. military during the war and records of interrogations of Japanese soldiers taken prisoner by the U.S. military. The majority of Japanese military-related documents were burned after the war, leaving many unanswered questions about the Battle of Okinawa, but these records may play an important role in filling in those gaps.

N. Korea still years away from developing submarine missiles: U.S. Pacific Fleet chief

By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- A top U.S. naval commander said Tuesday that North Korea appears to still be years away from fully developing the technology needed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
"To launch those missiles from under the water is very, very complicated," Adm. Scott Swift, who commands the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in an interview. "I think it's still years away before that technology is developed."

   He cited what the U.S. military has "seen and knows" but would not specify the grounds of his assessment.
The admiral stressed the seriousness of the North's general ballistic missile capability coupled with its nuclear program. It has carried out five known underground nuclear tests and stated the goal of miniaturizing nuclear bombs to fit on to various types of missiles in stock.

Pornography and prostitution are “sexual exploitation”

March 28, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
Author Minori Kitahara interviewed by Ami Chibana
The situations in which young women are likely to be pulled into the sex industry and the issue with people being forced to make an appearance in porn – what exactly is in the background of this huge industry revolving around sex and where exactly does the problem lie? We asked author Minori Kitahara, who is also interested in sexual violence that stems from the U.S. military bases.
Question: We heard you attended an Okinawan citizens meeting held last June in Naha that protested the incident of a U.S. military personnel sexually assaulting and murdering a local woman. Could you tell us more about that?
Answer: I think that people should never be allowed to talk about sexual violence committed by U.S. military personnel as if it is a “natural occurrence” that happens because the bases exist. Last year’s incident made me realize that there really is a need to come up with theories to pinpoint the assailant’s liability.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

4 US servicemembers arrested over the weekend on Okinawa

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Four arrests — two on drunken-driving charges — mark the most over a single weekend for servicemembers on Okinawa since a string of alcohol-fueled incidents last year inspired protests and efforts to combat the problem.
A sailor and soldier each face charges in separate drunken-driving incidents from Saturday and Sunday. A Marine sergeant was arrested Saturday and charged with stealing a smartphone at a massage parlor. Also that day, a Marine major was detained at Naha Airport after leaving ammunition in his luggage.
The arrests caught the eye of prefectural officials who swiftly condemned the alleged actions.

Comments open on war claims filing date

The federal government's Foreign Claims Settlement Commission is accepting public comments on an interim final rule that establishes a prospective filing date for World War II reparations claims from Guam.

According to a notice from the Office of the Federal Register, the commission intends to publish a notice in June through Guam media announcing a deadline, which can be no later than 180 days after the enactment of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.
Comments can be submitted to Jeremy R. LaFrancois, chief administrative counsel, Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, 600 E Street NW., Room 6002, Washington, D.C., 20579. 
All comments must be submitted on or before June 2.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Opponents mark 1,000th day of protest over U.S. base in Okinawa

Holding placards, demonstrators protesting the construction of a new military base gather near the U.S. military’s Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 1. (Mahito Kaai)
NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--Drizzly weather and the passage of almost three years have not cooled heated opposition to construction of a new U.S. base here.
On April 1, hundreds of demonstrators marked the 1,000th consecutive day of their sit-in protests in front of a U.S. military base.
In the milestone protest, an estimated 600 opponents showed up to shout slogans near a gate at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab. Construction of a new airfield has been under way in the Henoko district of this city to relocate the functions of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is located in the prefecture’s Ginowan.
The demonstrations began in July 2014, when the central government reportedly began the process to prepare for the Futenma relocation.
Since then, opponents have pitched tents, held gatherings and staged sit-ins in front of the Camp Schwab gate until being dispersed by riot police, a process repeated daily.