Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hundreds of big bikes headline Sunday festival - - Okinawa News, Classifieds, Events, Culture, Forums, and more!

The throaty roar of Harley Davidson motorcycle engines will set the tempo Sunday for the Gate 2 Festival taking place on newly renamed Koza Gate Street.

In a throwback to days past, Okinawa City has renamed Gate 2 Street, taking the area back to a time when the city itself was Koza. The Gate 2 Festival will entertain Sunday afternoon and evening, with events free.

Opening Ceremonies start at 12:45pm, followed...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Toys for Tots campaign kicks off on Okinawa

Every year, units all over the Marine Corps participate in the Toys for Tots campaign, collecting charitable donations of new, unwrapped toys during November and December and distributing them as Christmas gifts to needy children.

Marines have distributed over 332.5 million toys to more than 158 million needy children since 1947, according to a Nov. 3 Marine Corps press release. The goal of the charity is to build self-esteem and motivate needy children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.

Donation collection boxes will be set up all over Okinawa until Dec. 22, including post and base exchanges on Camps Foster, Kinser and Courtney and Kadena Air Base.

The toys will be distributed to military family members on Okinawa military installations. The Toys for Tots volunteers will also be working with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force to distribute toys to Okinawa schools and orphanages, according to Staff Sgt. Roberto P. Raniero, the Toys for Tots coordinator on Okinawa.

Toys will be sorted by age and gender and checked for safety and propriety.

'We take into account who the toys are going to,' Raniero said.

Last year, Toys for Tots donated more than 6,000 new toys to local schools for the handicapped, orphanages and children's hospitals, according to Raniero.

'We give a lot of toys to the underprivileged children of Okinawa,' he said. 'We want to show them that the Marines here want to make a difference.'

Toys for Tots identifies military families in need during the holidays and helps ensure the children of struggling families get a new toy. Last year, Toys for Tots on Okinawa distributed more then 3,000 toys to children of military families in need.

By working with the Japanese military, Raniero hopes more toys can be received and distributed.

"The more people we help and the more children that get a toy from us, the better," Raniero said.

Local organizations or individuals who wish to receive toys can contact Raniero at 645-8066. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the Toys for Tots campaign can also contact Raniero.
Christmas Tree

Friday, November 18, 2005

Marines to leave Okinawa…..Here's the catch!

Marines to leave Okinawa…..maybe!

Thousands of US Marines will be redeployed to Guam as Japanese and American leaders work to reduce the burden on Okinawa Prefecture.

The headlines shouting the transfer of III Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters from Camp Courtney to Guam, together with 7,000 administrative, logistics and support troops, have generated a lot of excitement. The $4 billion plan would create new housing, schools, training areas, a hospital and even new bases in Guam, with troops beginning the move in 2008.

The Catch that could sink the entire deal:

Moving the Marines is linked to moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City to Camp Schwab on the island’s northside, and that is anything but certain. While everyone wants Futenma out of the crowded metropolitan Ginowan area, seemingly nobody wants it anywhere in Okinawa.

Governor Keiichi Inamine is the point man in a crusade to stymie the Marines airfield move anywhere within his prefecture. Simply stated, he wants it gone completely.

Richard Lawless, U.S. deputy undersecretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Affairs, says the 2012 date is a target, but emphasized that there will be no Marines moved if the Futenma construction is not achieved.

Base employees speaking out:

Lost in the shuffle of the new security treaty being developed between Japan and the US are the voices of nearly 9,000 individuals who work for the US forces in Okinawa.

They’re the ones facing losses of jobs if the agreement goes through, and 7,000 Marines are removed from Okinawa. Bases realignment would strip many of the positions, placing Okinawans out of work at a time when the economy is lagging. The Japanese government currently pays the local nationals working on U.S. bases, and employees know they’ll not have jobs if the Americans pull out.

“Don’t tell the military to go home,” says one base worker. Another speaks out “The Americans are here for our safety. Let’s keep them.” Still another tells politicians to “please understand” the workers need their jobs.

Positions on the American bases are lucrative, well paying, and offer significant bonuses and benefits. More than 20,000 applicants vie for the 200~300 new positions each year.

The base workers say they’re afraid they’ll be hearing the dreaded “You’re fired” soon. Normally it is difficult to fire anyone working on the bases, because their union representation is strong. But with troop reductions and III Marine Expeditionary Force moving from Okinawa, there won’t be any protection.
Source:Japan Update

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Nakagusuku at night

This is a cool picture I found surfing the net. If you are the photographer and want it removed let me know, as I don't remember where I found it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 Transfer of 7,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam hinges on Futenma relocation plan

Transfer of 7,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam hinges on Futenma relocation plan

Washington set up a potential showdown between Tokyo and Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine by saying the transfer of 7,000 Marines from the prefecture depends on the planned relocation of the Futenma base, officials said.

Inamine has expressed his determination to reject the plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, currently in Ginowan, to a U.S. military heliport to be built partly on U.S. Marines Camp Schwab land in Nago's Henoko district, and partly offshore.

That means the central government will likely face a stumbling block in Okinawa Prefecture in its efforts to compile a final report by March on U.S. troop realignment in Japan.

In a related story:

just in case you thought this was a new idea, Governor Ota rejected this back in 1998.

Okinawa Governor Ota rejects U.S. heliport project
Posted: February 13, 1998

The governor of Japan's southern island prefecture of Okinawa, Masahide Ota, announced his opposition to the construction of a U.S. offshore heliport, formally at a news conference on Friday.

"Okinawa has decided not to accept the government's proposal," stated Ota.

Tokyo would like to construct the offshore heliport in a secluded location to replace a U.S. air station that is located in an municipal part of the island in conjunction with a deal negotiated with Washington to diminish American military presence in Okinawa.

An overwhelming vote against the heliport in a non-restrictive referendum, by residents of Nago last December, caused the resignation of Nago Mayor Tetsuya Higa, after expressing his support of the project.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Marine presence on Okinawa slashed 50% by agreement - - Okinawa News, Classifieds, Events, Culture, Forums, and more!

Seven thousand Marines will move south to US territory, aircraft will shift to the north and to the mainland, and bases will shuffle as part of a new deal the US and Japanese governments say will reduce the military burdens on Okinawa.

The decisions are part of a troop realignment plan hammered out over the past few months, and agreed upon last weekend during meetings in Washington. Reaction has been swift, and few are happy with the agreement.

Realignment Agreement Highlights

*III MEF headquarters and key support units to move from Okinawa to Guam. Combat units will remain on Okinawa.

*Futenma MCAS will relocate to Camp Schwab in Northern Okinawa. The new airbase will have a 1,800 meters long runway.

*Fighter operations will be downsized at Kadena Air Base, moving F-15 flight exercises to five mainland Air Self Defense Force bases. The move will cut the 70,000 annual takeoffs and landings at Kadena by a significant number.

*Atsugi Naval Air Facility will retain helicopters and turboprop fixed wing aircraft, while Japan Self Defense Forces will move aircraft to Atsugi. Naval Air Wing planes will move to Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station.

*Japanese Self Defense Forces will establish facilities at Kanoya to serve KC-130, P-3 and C-3 aircraft.

*A joint Operations Center will be established at Yokota Air Base. Japan’s air defense unit will relocate to Yokota. Discussions will continue on transferring control of Japanese airspace from U.S.

*Modern radar and weapons systems will be shifted, and new X-Band radar added to Japan’s arsenal. The US. Will bring Patriot PAC-3 and SM-3 missile systems to Japan, when needed.

*I Corps Headquarters will move to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture

*A U.S. Navy nuclear powered aircraft carrier will be assigned to Yokusuka to replace the aging USS Kitty Hawk. The change is expected in 2008.

Okinawa City International Carnival

The festival is not new, but this year’s Okinawa City International Carnival has a dynamic theme.
This weekend’s festival is dedicated to promoting harmony and peace around the world, and carnival organizers want Okinawa to be an example to the world. What makes this year’s festival even more special is that it commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa and the end of World War II.

The Saturday-Sunday events will key not only on tourism, but on lifestyles and music cultures, sports, Okinawa traditions and opportunities for international friendship. Organizers say they’ve hit upon a better...