Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cherry blossom season starts

Okinawa cherry blossom season gets its official start this Saturday with the opening of Mt Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival in Motobu, the first such event in Japan. The Yaedake season officially lasts until Feb 12. The festival program features live concerts and cultural shows on its opening days of Saturday and Sunday, and, of course, food , drink and game booths.

Admission to the festival grounds is free. To get to Mt. Yaedake, go to Nago, then follow signs to Ocean Expo Park, until just before Motobu, turn left to Mt. Yaedake. You can drive all the way to the top of the hill where there is a camping ground.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

U.S. jet crashes near Okinawa, Japan

A U.S. F-15 fighter jet crashed near Okinawa Tuesday morning, but U.S. military officials said the pilot managed to eject safely from the plane.

The jet went down about 44 miles east of Ikeijima island, part of the Okinawa island chain, during a routine training mission, according to Noriaki Hatake, an official at the Naha Defense Facilities Administration in Okinawa.

The cause of the crash was unknown. The pilot ejected from the plane and was rescued.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ex-JSDF chief warns against moving Marines off Okinawa

Kyuma: U.S. presence deters China from attacking Taiwan.

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A former Japan Self-Defense Force leader has cautioned against any deep cuts in the number of Marines stationed on Okinawa.

That some 13,000 Marines are assigned permanently to Okinawa, with 2,000 to 3,000 more there occasionally for temporary training, keeps China from invading Taiwan, Fumio Kyuma, former SDF chief, said during a recent visit to Washington, D.C. Kyuma now chairs Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party general affairs council.

He was in Washington at the same time Japanese defense and foreign ministry officials were to meet with their U.S. counterparts on a plan to realign U.S. troops in Japan. Part of an interim report released Oct. 29 calls for 7,000 Marines to transfer from Okinawa to Guam and elsewhere in Japan during the next six years.

If China occupied Taiwan, “there would be no Taiwan between China and Japan,” Kyuma said. “China would move right over to Okinawa.”

Residents of Ishigaki and Miyako, Japanese islands between Okinawa and Taiwan, “would grow extremely nervous, resulting in Okinawa having no alternative but to ask for the military to stay,” he said, according to Japanese news reports.

Kyuma praised increased joint...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Six towns become two in a New Year’s merger

A half-dozen southern Okinawa towns and villages argued and fought over the idea of merging into a single community, even knowing their financial survival depended on it.

As the clock ticked down on 2005, the six—Sashiki Town, Chinen Village, Tamagusuku Village, Osato Village, Gushikami Village and Kochinda Town—realized they had to make some compromises. They agreed to disagree, saying they could not form a new city because of philosophic differences.

They chose instead to realign themselves into a new city and a new town.

Nanjou City is the new creation merging Sashiki Town, Chinen Village, Tamagusuku Village and Osato Village. Nanjou City now has a population of 41,000. Kochinda Town decided it could link forces with Gushikami Village; it’s new name is Yaese Town."