Saturday, January 16, 2010

Barack Obama has the worst budget record of any president in American history...and it's intentional! He'll bring us to our knees!

Source: The Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Obama is killing the economy

Democratic red ink is bankrupting America


Barack Obama has the worst budget record of any president in American history. White House budget office spokesman Tom Gavin claimed "a very strong beginning" for the president's purported first-year attempts at controlling spending - for example, zeroing out a $17 million program for work incentive grants. But such paltry efforts are round-off numbers compared to the gush of red ink created by President Obama and congressional Democrats. This government is setting the United States on an inevitable path to permanent debtor status.

The White House entitled Mr. Obama's first budget "A New Era of Responsibility," which essayist Roger Kimball observed should have been called "Gone with the Wind." Mr. Obama's budget, coupled with the $787 billion stimulus slush fund, was the most irresponsible in history. The effects of his ruinous policies can already be measured. The 2009 budget deficit tripled over 2008. The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product went from 3.1 percent in 2008 to 9.9 percent in 2009. The deficit for the first month of fiscal year 2010 was $176 billion, which was greater than the $161 billion deficit for the entire 2007 fiscal year.

The hits keep coming. Public debt as a percentage of GDP was an already-high 40.8 percent in 2008. The Congressional Budget Office - which is run by Democrats - estimates this figure would more than double to 81.7 percent by 2019. That's a rate not seen since the end of World War II. This figure is likely to be revised upward; between June and August 2009, budget scorers had to raise their estimate for the fiscal 2011 deficit by 33 percent. CBO projects a softening but still brisk increase in future debt based on reduced growth in government spending, which is highly unrealistic, and a trillion dollars in new taxes, which is frighteningly likely.

Back in February 2009, at the beginning of the fiscal bloodletting, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag preached that "elevated budget deficits are beneficial." But by November, Mr. Obama warned that, "if we keep on adding to the debt... people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession."

People certainly have lost confidence in the president. A CNN poll from the second week in January showed that 62 percent of the public disapproves of Mr. Obama's handling of the budget deficit, and 54 percent disapprove of his economic policies in general. In a January Quinnpiac poll, 53 percent said Mr. Obama is fiscally irresponsible. A Bloomberg poll from the first week of December showed that 60 percent believe that chronically high deficits constitute a high threat to economic performance, and 57 percent disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the issue. An October 2009 NBC News poll showed that 62 percent believed controlling the federal deficit was more important than boosting the economy.

The debt outlook is increasingly bleak. Congress shows no desire to rein in spending, and is debating a heath care bill that will add even more red ink. The amount of debt owned by foreign countries is increasing, confidence in the dollar is dropping, gold prices are soaring, energy costs are rising, the trade deficit is widening and Mr. Obama's first year Gallup approval rating has fallen faster than any president since records have been kept. Connect the dots. The Obama administration is an unmitigated economic disaster for this country, and most Americans are worried about that.


"The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from the despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

-Noah Webster




The Communist Manifesto represents a misguided philosophy, which teaches the Citizens to give up their RIGHTS for the sake of the "common good," but it always ends in a police state. This is called preventive justice. Control is the key concept. Read carefully:

1. Abolition of private property.

2. Heavy progressive income tax.

3. Abolition to all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of property of all emigrants.

5. A Central bank

6. Government control of Communications and Transportation

7. Government ownership of factories and agriculture.

8. Government control of labor.

9. Corporate farms, regional planning.

10. Free education for all children in government controlled schools.

Think about this...
This quote has been posted so often that we should all have it memorized by now...but little heed has been's like nobody cares...
Well it's happening my friends, it's happening just as Cicero describes. Soon we'll all be under control of it won't be the Democrats or the will be the most corrupt organization ever devised by man, the United Nations. But you can be rest assured a Democrat usurper brought us to our knees and you die-hard party members allowed it to happen.
God Bless what's left to America.

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents* familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies in the heart of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear.

The traitor is the plague..." Marcus Tullius Cicero, speech to the Roman Senate


*Senator Harry Reid would have said it differently, "with no negro dialect"


State Wide Alert - Alabama HB 145 - The Write-In Vote...your last bastion of freedom...they're looking to take it away!

This notice is not just for Alabama...other states may be trying the same tactic! It's all about control! Control over you! As my friend over at the Snooper Report says, "Sic vis pacem para bellum." Fight accordingly! ~ Norman E. Hooben

Source: Politics Alabama
Friday, January 15, 2010

HB145: On Write-In Candidates

By Matthew Givens

It's time to look at House Bill 145, which passed out of committee and has had its second reading in the House. It could be voted on as early as Tuesday. Let's look at the bill summary, shall we?

Under existing law, write-in votes are permitted only in non-municipal general elections. This bill would require that in order to have a write-in vote counted, the voter must write the name on the ballot and register the vote by a mark in the space designated for that particular office.

This bill would require that a write-in candidate be registered with the Secretary of State or the judge of probate as an official write-in candidate and comply with the provisions of the Fair Campaign Practices Act and the State Ethics Law in order to have his or her vote counted and would provide for a procedure for counting write-in votes.

You may read the entire bill at the following link:

Now let's analyze this.

Write-in votes are the electorate's last line of defense against ballot access laws that keep them off. Theoretically, a write-in candidate could win the election, though I don't believe that has ever happened.

This bill will REQUIRE a "write-in" candidate to register 90 days before the election
and fill out all the paperwork that real candidates do. And if you didn't? Then your votes will never be counted.

That's not a write-in candidacy, that's an attempt to make write-in candidacies go away altogether.

Alabama currently has the toughest ballot access and retention laws in the entire nation. In order to get on the ballot as a statewide independent or third-party candidate, you are required to collect more than 40,000 signatures. The time and money you spend doing that just gets you on the ballot, and is wasted as far as campaigning for office is concerned. As intended.

All this bill does is close the "write-in" loophole, and serves to cement the hold that the Democrats and the Republicans have on the electoral process. We could chop our ballot access requirements in half and STILL have the toughest in the nation.

Traditionally, ballot access laws are enacted to keep ballots from being crowded with so many names that voters get confused. But in Alabama we don't have crowded ballots, we have DESERTED ballots. Did you know that, during the 2006 election cycle, more than half of the newly elected legislators had no opponent in the general election?

It's true, more than half the legislators elected in 2006 were unopposed... the very definition of deserted ballots. You can find a complete list of these unelected legislators here:

With this as a fact, why TIGHTEN ballot access laws to keep more people from running? This is not in the best interests of the citizens of this state.

I recommend that HB145 FAIL. ~ MG


Scott Brown - Martha Coakley Correspondence From The Obama Hacks...this is my response!

Ref: "The stakes are just too high to leave Martha's victory to chance."

The stakes are just too high to allow Coakley's victory! She is nothing but an Obama anti-American, One World Order supporter! ...a hate monger to say the least!

The integrity of our borders shall not be compromised! Allowing more left-wing radicals into the Obama Hate America crowd will certainly do us in as One Nation Under God and we will all be dropped to our knees...the position one takes before he is beheaded!

I firmly believe that America is beginning to wake up...It once took a Japanese to wake up a sleeping giant...

Mr. Stewart, you can take your Martha Coakley and stick her where the sun don't shine!

Norman E. Hooben

ps: Ted Kennedy, unlike his brother John who fought against Communism, Teddy Boy cherished the idea!!! And you can take that to the bank!

pps: How dare you ask me to donate, my name is not, "Judas"!!! ...and don't call me friend!

----- Original Message -----
From: Mitch Stewart,
To: Norman Hooben
Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 10:47 AM
Subject: Urgent: Election in 3 days

Organizing for America
Friend --

There's a crucial Senate election in Massachusetts in just three days. We need your help to win it.

The polls are tightening as right-wing money floods the state, and one even shows the race to be a dead heat between progressive champion Martha Coakley and her extreme opponent. The truth is, special elections often have very low turnout and are notoriously unpredictable.

The stakes are just too high to leave Martha's victory to chance.

If we lose, Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat will be in the hands of someone who opposes everything he fought for. We'll lose a key vote for the President's agenda in the Senate -- and put all the progress we've made toward health reform at risk.

That's why OFA is putting together a massive voter turnout effort to make sure Obama voters get back to the polls this time around -- but we need your help to pay for it. Please donate $5 or more to OFA to help fund our organizing, including our work to elect Martha Coakley.


OFA is going all out in Massachusetts -- we're sending organizers, knocking on doors, and making phone calls by the tens of thousands to make sure that folks know how to participate.

It's a huge effort, it's expensive, and time is short. But with the outcome uncertain and the stakes sky high, I don't want to wake up the morning after the election thinking that we could have done something more. If you feel the same way, please donate $5 or more to help us make Martha Coakley the next senator from Massachusetts:



Mitch Stewart
Organizing for America


Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Contributions or gifts to the Democratic National Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.

This email was sent to:

Update Address / Email Unsubscribe

Now here's a switch! ...she said. "We are casting our vote for the rest of America."

Can you believe this? !!!
Source: The American Spectator

Purple for Brown: SEIU Member Supports Republican

By Robert Stacy McCain

WORCESTER, Mass. - Supporters of Republican Scott Brown lined the sides of a street here outside a Democratic rally at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where former President Bill Clinton came to campaign for Martha Coakley.

More than 75 boosters of the GOP candidate turned out for the counter-rally, standing the sub-freezing weather to wave Brown signs and loudly sing (to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"), "Glory, Hallelujah . . . Send Scott Brown to D.C.!"

Among the Brown supporters were - believe it or not - rank-and-file members of the Service Employees International Union.

"We're Americans - we have our free choice," said one of the SEIU members, who identified herself only as Michelle and said she drove more than 60 miles from Western Massachusetts - "The stepchild of this state" - to show her support for Brown in Worcester.

Not only is Michelle a Brown supporter, but she's also a Tea Party activist who rode 10 hours on a bus to attend last year's 9/12 March on D.C. "I didn't like the slide into socialism," she explained.

Michelle is aware of the importance of Tuesday's election.

"I feel like we're here . . . not just voting for us," she said. "We are casting our vote for the rest of America."

Other links...

The Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Some Things You Really Have To See To Believe (at the very least, read the comments. Also, updated with Clinton Video.)

Has Colbert Swung A Little To The Right? sounds good to me!

Check out these two videos...

When you get to that James Dimon part remember this (link).

Colbert Opposes Health Care...Go this a great country or what!!!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Kathleen Sebelius
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Friday, January 15, 2010

Scott Brown Fans ...we got a winner!

Don't know if I'm the first to make the prediction but we got a winner here! Even when the opposition cheats the guy is a winner! And now the sorry losers are even admitting their cheating ways! Go get 'em Scott! ~ Norman E. Hooben

Source for first story: Washington Times

Boston paper:
Dem operative admits to cheating on Brown '04 state Senate race

In 2004, Brown won a special election to become state senator, despite the state Democrats scheduling the election to coincide with the Presidential primary, when Democrats would be flocking to vote for John Kerry. (As one Democratic operative recently put it to me: "We cheated, and he still beat us.") Brown then won a re-match in November, on the same ballot as Kerry vs. Bush.

There were at least four contributing factors to Brown's victories in 2004. 1) Brown is an outstanding campaigner (a fact the Democrats seem to have forgotten until about a week ago). 2) Brown, a state representative at the time, had a strong voter base compared to his opponent, who did not hold an elected office. 3) That Democrat, Angus McQuilken -- although one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet -- as a candidate is about as inspiring as a low-fat Twinkie. 4) That was the year that Massachusetts allowed men to dress up in tuxedos, put rings on each others' fingers, and smooch.

It should be noted that The Phoenix is indeed a liberal outlet. The paper, in fact, endorsed Ms. Coakley on Wednesday, so this article goes to show just how demoralized Coakley supporters have become.

The Brown campaign is looking for history to repeat itself in the election on January 19, and so far, the players involved have done a remarkable job mimicking the 2004 special election. Notice how the state Democrats may have used their power in controlling the scheduling of the election to give them the best advantage. While 2004 may have worked out in the end for Mr. Brown, does he presently have the perseverence and prudent strategy to deal with any possible post-election shenanigans?


We Got Ourselves A Winner!
Source for second story: Patriotic Nurse
Scott Brown Keeping America Safe
Posted by ericatwitts
Scott Brown is strong on national defense, taking a strong stance against trying the terrorist that are trying to attack our country in our Federal Courts. He is our chance to stop Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in passing the Obama-Care that so many of Americans oppose. We are coming down to the wire and time is running short. Brown has raised more than 1 million dollars in one day! Help him keep the momentum going by donating here. Join the Veterans and support Brown to be our 41st vote!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Obama kids don't vote, why waste my time [Is that the message he's sending?]

Oh he'll be apologetic once his aides brief him...too bad he has such lousy aides to begin never date a response letter before the dated request (see video) ...unless of course you're an Obama aide.

School Kids Pissed At Obama's Lame Staff's Response To Letter Request

Remember with the dems and particularly Obama dems and Michelle, "it's all about the children".

"Kid on President Obama: 'It's kind of like he's paying people to be rude to people in his own country.'

At least that kid is getting an education at that school because that's exactly what he's doing. That gets him an "A" today and Obama's rookie staff an "F" for presidential FUC* ups.

You'd think that correspondence sent to the White House by schoolchildren would be treated with more respect than they give the Republican letters to the president, but apparently they all get answered by the same dumb ass down at the White House.

And I don't mean Obama himself, since they haven't perfected the Teleprompter for letters just yet for Obama's use so he can reply to some of these on his own.

Maybe they can hand over that responsibility to one of his children next time who would certainly do a better job.

"The Government Must Not Reject Restricting Our Freedoms" ...huh? I thought this was America! ...I guess it is no more!

Click on picture to enlarge (and to read small print).
The following from...

Cass Sunstein Conspiracy Theories Ban - Infiltrate, Tax, Spy

President Obama's control-freak, Czarist Cass Sunstein want the U.S. government to ban all "conspiracy theorizing." In a 2008 Harvard law paper, he recommends that government agents infiltrate "extremists" who believe in conspiracy theories.

The paper was written in response to a Harvard law professor, who ask "What can government do about conspiracy theories?" The far-left and dangerous Sunstein also suggested TAXING conspiracy theorists. Read the story at WorldNetDaily.

The above pales beside what we know about Cass Sunstein, Obama's Regulatory Czar, and according to Glenn Beck, "The most dangerous Czar." About a so-called Fairness Doctrine, Sunstein said in an online book, that the government must not reject restricting our freedoms: thing is clear: a system of limitless individual choices with respect to communications is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government, and efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not to be rejected in freedom's cause.

The following are snippets from Glenn Beck's radio show conversations:

Cass Sunstein is a guy who is against the Second Amendment, who believes that the purpose of the Second Amendment is not an individual right but a federal right. He says almost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine and if the Court is right, the fundamentalism does not justify the view.

He believes that the Second Amendment is the biggest ‑‑ I'm looking for the ‑‑ I'm looking for the exact quote ‑‑ is the biggest lie in American history. He also believes that we ought to ban hunting. He believes that animals should have a right, should be able to bring suit because they are not property. You can't own a dog. They should be able to sue you. He says willingness to subject animals to suffering will be seen as a form of barbarity, morally akin to slavery and the mass extermination of human beings.

Sunstein wants to control the Internet, especially discussion groups (conspiracy theorists show their colors in comments and forums):

A legislative effort to regulate broadcasting in the interest of Democratic principles. Wow, that's the words that Chavez always used. Should not be seen as an abridgement of the free speech guarantee. Regulate broadcast in the interest of Democratic principles is not an abridgement of the free speech guarantee. A system of limitless individual choices with respect to communications is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self‑government.

On civil liberties courts should ordinarily require restrictions on civil liberties to be authorized by the legislature.

On taxes Sunstein scolds readers like small‑minded selfish children for opposing the size, scope, expansion and skyrocketing expense of the government. Quote:

In what sense in the money in our pockets and bank accounts are fully ours. Did we earn it by our autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the sport of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live.

Without taxes there is no liberty.

Here is Sunstein's justification for "government intervention:

He also believes that we need a second Bill of Rights. In a nutshell, quoting, the New Deal helped vindicate a simple idea. No one really opposes government intervention. Even the people who most loudly denounce government interference depend on it every single day.

For better or worse, the Constitution's framers gave no thought to including social and economic guarantees in the Bill of Rights.

This will be a gigantic move in the direction of gigantic government because let me explain what he's going to do.

Beck talks about Sunstein's job description:

He doesn't want to change the laws. All he wants to do is just tweak the regulations. So the laws are passed and then he tweaks the regulations.

We've seen this ‑‑ this is what's happening right now in California with the farmers. The animals have to be saved. The smelt, a four‑inch fish, the smelt needs to be saved. Farmers can't use that much water. So they've reduced the water supply to farms by, what is it, 80 or 90%. Well, the farmers ‑‑ this is an area now that has 28 to 40% unemployment. The farmers cannot farm. They don't have enough water. All for the smelt. That is what a regulatory czar does...

The daily outrages are overwhelming. At the time Beck was focusing on Sunstein, we were indeed, outraged. Today he is not such a hot topic, and the Regulatory Czar is still a Regulatory Czar. Let's be reminded that Cass Sunstein is one enormous reason why supporting candidates like conservative Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Marco Rubio's primary race for U.S. Senate, against liberal Republican Charlie Crist in Florida , and conservative Allen West, running for the U.S. House for Florida against incumbent Democrat Ron Kelin. No matter your State, these races are just a few of those matter in a major way, in the possible ouster of communists inhabiting the offices of the White House.


What A Horrible Woman She Is...from CNN Live !!!

Does Anyone Believe Obama? may have read this elsewhere, but that's OK, you can read it again!

Source (graphics partially edited): Pundit and Pundette

Does Anyone Believe Obama?

All is not going well for Obamacare in the Senate. That means it's time for the president to ramp up the fear mongering:

The president said that the costs of Medicare and Medicaid are on an “unsustainable” trajectory and if there is no action taken to bring them down, “the federal government will go bankrupt.”

“This actually provides us the best chance of starting to bend the cost curve on the government expenditures in Medicare and Medicaid,” Obama said.

Obama told Gibson that anybody who says they are concerned about the rising deficit or worried about tax increases in the future has to support this health care bill.

“Because if we don't do this, nobody argues with the fact that health care costs are going to consume the entire federal budget,” the president said.

Sigh. Video at link here.

Most Americans realize by now that he'll say anything to advance his agenda. I doubt they're even listening. Propaganda is inherently boring.

I'd like to see a poll that measures his credibility. He's lost the independents and there's a real sense of betrayal on the left, along with fear that January will be just as wee-weed up as August.


Why write the story when the message is walking the streets...

Click on picture to enlarge.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

沖縄戦2009ーーオバマ対鳩山 Obama vs Hatoyama

"...the treaty was characterized by what in Japanese is known as “gomakashi” – trickery and deceit dressed in the rhetoric of principle and mutuality." Does this sound like Obama? You betcha!

Note: I find the article below very interesting for several reasons. First, it caught my eye because I am somewhat familiar with Okinawa having lived there for thirty-four months during my military career (And it wasn't just among the other Americans. I can still recall the little village of Jichatku (spelling?) where I rented a small house among the local populace...and learned enough of the language to get by in the shopping districts.) Second, and I think most would agree, is that it reflects the lack of intelligence by the Obama administration...especially Hillary Clinton's roll as Secretary of State regarding these matters. Such matters as never before heard of in the history of Nations! And there is a third issue that really bothers me in that there is reference to some involvement by the United Nations...a very dangerous situation if allowed to progress in that direction! ~ Norman E. Hooben

ps: I did like that letter sent to Hillary Clinton by the Okinawan Civic Leaders...

partial quote

"...We do not need to remind you that Okinawa is not your territory. Your fifty thousand military members act freely as if this is their land, but, of course, it is not. Please remember that we, the Okinawa people, own “the inherent dignity” and “the equal and inalienable rights of all the members of the human family,” .........." Bravo !!! You tell her like it is and don't let her get away with anything...nor Obama either!


The Battle of Okinawa 2009: Obama vs Hatoyama [Japanese translation and debate here]


Gavan McCormack

The making of an unequal, unconstitutional, illegal, colonial and deceitful US-Japan agreement.

Yes We Can – But You Can’t

Elections at the end of August gave Japan a new government, headed by Hatoyama Yukio. In electing him and his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Japanese people, like the American people less than a year earlier, were opting for change – a new relationship with both Asia and the US, including a much more equal one with the latter. Remarkably, however, what followed on the part of the Obama administration has been a campaign of unrelenting pressure to block any such change.

The Obama administration has targeted in particular the Hatoyama desire to re-negotiate the relationship with the United States so as to make it equal instead of dependent. Go back, it seems to be saying, to the golden days of “Sergeant-Major Koizumi” (as George W. Bush reportedly referred to the Japanese Prime Minister) when compliance was assured and annual US policy prescriptions (“yobosho”) were received in Tokyo as holy writ; forget absurd pretensions of independent policies.

The core issue has been the disposition of American military presence in Okinawa and the US insistence that Hatoyama honour an agreement known as the Guam Treaty.

The Guam Treaty

The “Guam International Agreement” is the US-Japan agreement signed by Secretary Hillary Clinton and Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi in February and adopted as a treaty under special legislation in May 2009, in the first days of the Obama administration. Support for the Aso government in Japan was collapsing and the incoming Obama administration moved urgently to extract formal consent to its plans in such a way as to ensure that any such agreement would bind any subsequent Japanese government.

Okinawa: Futenma and Henoko location

8,000 Marines and their 9,000 family members were to be relocated from Okinawa to Guam, and the US marine base at Futenma would be transferred to Henoko in Nago City in Northern Okinawa, to a new base to be built by Japan. The Japanese government would also pay $6.09 billion towards the Guam transfer cost ($2.8 billion of it in cash in the current financial year). [1] The effect in Okinawa would be that the US military would vacate some of its larger bases in the densely populated south but concentrate and expand those in the north of the island.

Cape Henoko, Projected base Construction Site

Henoko Base Design, showing V-shaped Runways

These matters (save for the detailed financial clauses) had all been resolved by a previous agreement, nearly four years earlier under Koizumi - the October 2005 agreement on “US-Japan Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future” reconfirmed by the May 2006 “United States-Japan Roadmap for realignment Implementation.” [2] Now, to compel compliance, Article 3 of the new Agreement declared that “The Government of Japan intends to complete the Futenma replacement facility as stipulated in the Roadmap [i.e. by 2014]” even though the parties had virtually given up hope that that was possible in the face of entrenched Okinawan opposition. [3]

The Agreement was one of the first acts of a popular, “reforming” US administration and one of the last of a Japanese regime in fatal decline after half a century of LDP rule. It set in unusually clear relief the relationship between the world’s No 1 and No 2 economic powers. The Agreement is worthy of close attention because, as analysed below, it was unequal, unconstitutional, illegal, colonial and deceitful.


First, it was in the classic sense of the term, an “unequal treaty.” The Government of Japan interpreted it as a binding treaty, while for the US it was merely an “executive agreement”, lacking Congressional warrant. [4] It obliged Japan to construct and pay for one new base complex for the US on Okinawa and to contribute a very substantial sum towards constructing another on Guam, while on the American side it merely offered an ambiguous pledge to withdraw a number of troops (on that ambiguity, see below). Though binding on Japan, it was not binding on the US (which even reserved to itself the right, under Article 8, to vary it at will). [5] Furthermore, it may be that the Guam Treaty is in breach of US law: as a revenue raising measure (stipulating the sum of $6 billion to be supplied by Japan), it requires Congressional authorization but has merely presidential executive authority. A treaty binding on one side only is by definition an unequal treaty.


Second, it was unconstitutional . Under Article 95 of the Constitution, “A special law, applicable only to one local public entity, cannot be enacted by the Diet without the consent of the majority of the voters of the local public body concerned, obtained in accordance with law.” The Guam treaty was plainly a special law in its effect on the single prefecture of Okinawa, yet not only was no attempt made to consult the people of Okinawa, but the Diet rode roughshod over their well-known wishes.

Furthermore, to ram the Agreement through the Diet, the Aso government utilized extraordinary constitutional powers under a procedure (Article 59) unused for more than half a century that allowed adoption of a bill rejected by the Upper House if passed a second time by a two-thirds majority in the Lower. Ramming the bill through the Diet on 13 May 2009, Aso was sidelining, in effect abolishing, the Upper House in a kind of constitutional coup d’état. [6] Much of the rest of Aso’s legislative record during his 9 months in office – ten major bills including the Terror Special Measures Law and virtually all the legislation of importance to Washington – was of dubious constitutional propriety for this same reason, though it must have been pleasing to Washington.


Third, the Guam treaty is in breach of Japanese law. Since the Treaty took precedence over domestic law, it also had the effect of downgrading, in effect vitiating, the requirements of Japan’s environmental protection laws. Any serious and internationally credible environmental impact assessment (EIA) would surely conclude that a massive military construction project was incompatible with the delicate coral and forest environment of the Oura Bay area. But it was taken for granted that Japan’s EIA would be a mere formality and the treaty further undermined the procedure.

Further, the Diet and the Obama administration were pre-empting any order that might issue from the San Francisco court where a judge is hearing a suit against defendants including the Pentagon. The judge has already ordered the Pentagon to take conservation measures as required by the National Historic Observation Act, and to require the same of the Government of Japan, in relation to the Henoko construction project. [7]

Sakurai Kunitoshi, president of Okinawa University and a specialist on environmental assessment law, argues that since 2005 Japanese governments have been in breach of the Environmental Assessment Law in the way they have pursued the Futenma Replacement Facility. Therefore, the process must be reopened. He concludes that any serious and internationally credible EIA would conclude that the FRF cannot be built at Henoko. [8] If Sakurai is right, the Japanese government’s EIA is fatally flawed and an internationally credible, independent scientific survey has to be launched.


Fourth, it was colonial. The US had grown increasingly irritated at the lack of progress following the 2005-6 Agreements and peremptory in spelling out what Japan had to do. In November 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates instructed Japan to resume its Indian Ocean naval station (then hotly debated), maintain and increase its payments for hosting US bases, increase its defense budget, and pass a permanent law to authorize overseas dispatch of the SDF whenever the need arose. It was essentially the position of the Armitage-Nye report on the US-Japan Alliance through 2020 published earlier that year. [9] Armitage, Gates and other US officials generally added the pious sentiment that everything was up to the sovereign government of Japan. Occasionally, however, they spelled out the consequences of non-compliance, as when Secretary Gates bluntly told Japan that it could not hope to receive US support in its bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council unless it pursued the prescribed agenda. [10]

Richard Lawless, who as Deputy Defense Secretary had headed the negotiations that culminated in the Roadmap, told the Asahi in May 2008 that the alliance was drifting.

“What we really need is a top-down leadership that says, ‘Let's rededicate ourselves to completing all of these agreements on time; let's make sure that the budgeting of the money is a national priority’… Japan has to find a way to change its own tempo of decision-making, deployment, integration and operationalizing [sic] this alliance.” [11]

He castigated Japan for “self-marginalization” and for “allowing the alliance to degenerate towards sub-prime because of its withdrawal syndrome.”[12] Under that pressure, Prime Minster Aso appears to have buckled, clinging to power through 2008 and early 2009 at least in part to try to do Washington one last favour by adopting the “top-down” steps it was demanding for “operationalizing” the alliance. That had to be done while the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) still enjoyed the Koizumi majority in the Lower House precisely because support for Aso had sunk below 20 per cent with virtually no prospect of recovery.

In keeping with its colonial character, the Obama administration was firing a shot across the bow of the then opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), assuming without question the prerogative of intervention in the Japanese political process. By pressing the Guam treaty on Japan, sending Hillary Clinton to Tokyo as enforcer in its opening weeks, the Obama administration was maintaining the defining features of Bush diplomacy: paternalistic, interventionist, anti-democratic, intolerant of any Japanese search for an independent, regional or UN-centred foreign policy. Secretary Clinton spoke with satisfaction of the deal: "I think that a responsible nation follows the agreements that have been entered into, and the agreement that I signed today with Foreign Minister Nakasone is one between our two nations, regardless of who's in power." [13] What she meant was this: You in the DPJ had better learn which side your bread is buttered on.

Characteristic of colonial policy, the “natives” were to be guided but not consulted, so the thinking of the people of Okinawa was always irrelevant in the deliberations that culminated in the Guam Treaty.


Fifth, the treaty was characterized by what in Japanese is known as “gomakashi” – trickery and deceit dressed in the rhetoric of principle and mutuality. There is no precedent for a sovereign country paying to construct a military base in another country. Thus the Government of Japan had to minimize debate and rely on lies.

Although reported as a US concession to Japan, a “withdrawal” designed “to reduce the burden of post-World War II American military presence in Okinawa,” [14] it was actually something quite different: a design to increase the Japanese contribution to the alliance by having it pay an exorbitant sum towards construction of US military facilities on Guam, in US territory, and by having it substitute a new, high-tech, and greatly expanded base at Henoko for the inconvenient, dangerous, and obsolescent Futenma.

The Agreement was riddled with deception. It stipulated withdrawal of “8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam” and the Japanese government insisted this was the key to reducing the burden of the bases on Okinawa, yet interpellations in the Diet early in 2009 revealed that there were only 12,461 Marines actually stationed in Okinawa, and since the Government of Japan insisted that 10,000 was the necessary deterrent force, it meant that fewer than 3,000 would actualy be withdrawn. [15] And only in a San Francisco courtroom hearing a suit on behalf of the endangered dugong was it revealed that the so-called “Futennma replacement” included a 214 meter long wharf. The Government of Japan had not thought to mention that the Futenma facilities were to be expanded by addition of a deep-water Oura Bay port capable of hosting nuclear submarines.

One of the last acts of the Aso government was to hand over 34 billion yen, $363 million, as its fiscal year 2010 contribution towards the Guam construction costs, although the US had yet to produce any detailed cost estimates, let alone to appropriate its proportion of the funds. Months later, Congress slashed by 70 per cent the appropriation sought by the Pentagon for the same year, from $300 million to $89 million, about one-quarter of the Japanese contribution. [16] So dire are the US financial straits that it is far from certain that Congress will authorize any more. The Guam Agreement committed the US side to use the moneys only in the stipulated ways, but Japan had no right to supervise the expenditure. Once the Pentagon pocketed the money it seems highly unlikely Japan will ever see it returned, whether the base works proceed or not. Furthermore, the housing for the Guam Marines was calculated at 70 million yen per unit (enough to construct the most extravagant mansions, three-quarters of a million dollars each. Put differently, this was about 14 times the going rate for housing construction in Guam.

One Japanese member of the Diet protested, what happens if, indeed, the US Congress decides not to fund the Guam plan? Would Japan get its money back? [17]

Obama and the DPJ

While working to tie Japan’s present and future governments by the Guam Agreement, the US knew full well that the then opposition DPJ’s position was clear: no new base should be built within Okinawa and Futenma should be returned tout court. [18] US pressure rose steadily through the months leading to the party’s electoral triumph in August 2009 and from then to this day.

When DPJ leader Ozawa began to adumbrate a shift in Japanese foreign and defense policy from a Washington centre to a UN-centre, ending its deployment of the Maritime Self-Defense Forces to the Indian Ocean in service to the US-led war effort in Iraq (then hotly debated), Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer, who till then had refused to meet him, suddenly demanded a meeting, and prominent US scholar bureaucrats joined in issuing thinly veiled threats about the “damage” that Ozawa was causing to the alliance. [19] During Hillary Clinton’s February visit to Japan, Ozawa Ichiro spent a perfunctory 30 minutes with her, while he found three times as much time a week later to meet and discuss the future of the region with the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Section. He also made clear his dissent from the new president’s resolve to expand and intensify the Afghanistan War, and then went further, raising the possibility of reducing the US presence in Japan to the (Yokosuka-based) US 7th fleet. His message was clear. If the 7th Fleet was indeed sufficient to all necessary purposes for the defense of Japan, then the bases – all thirteen of them with their 47,000 officers and military personnel – were unnecessary. Immediately after stating these controversial views, Ozawa was caught up in a corruption scandal involving staff misuse of funds, late in May resigning as party chief and being replaced by Hatoyama Yukio. Though it must have given Washington satisfaction to see Ozawa shunted from party leadership, he remains the party’s undisputed grey eminence. The DPJ issue was not so easily settled.

The Futenma replacement issue gradually became the centrepiece in the confrontation between the Obama and Hatoyama governments. Obama’s “Japan team” simply inherited the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld agenda and applied steadily heightening pressure on Japan to “honour” its Guam Treaty commitment. So much for those in Okinawa who hoped that Obama’s administration might actually mean “change”.

With the exception of the new US Ambassador to Japan, John V. Roos, Obama retained the same personnel who had played formative roles in the negotiation of the agreements since 2005: Kurt Campbell, who had been responsible for the Futenma negotiations under Bush became Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State for East Asia, Wallace Gregson, marine commander in Okinawa under Bush became head of the Department of Defense’s Asia-Pacific section, and Kevin Maher, Consul-General in Okinawa under Bush became director of the State Department’s Office of Japan affairs. [20] The policy settings of the Nye-Armitage vision were adopted, apparently without question. Joseph Nye, principal architect of post-Cold War US Japan policy, issued two unmistakable warnings to the DPJ. In a Tokyo conference in December 2008, he spelled out the three acts that Congress would be inclined to see as “anti-American”: cancelation of the Maritime Self-Defense Agency’s Indian Ocean mission, and any attempt to revise the Status of Forces Agreement or the agreements on relocating US Forces in Japan. [21] He repeated the same basic message when the Democratic Party’s Maehara Seiji visited Washington in the early days of the Obama administration to convey his party’s wishes to renegotiate these agreements, again warning that to do so would be seen as “anti-American.” [22]

As the year wore on and as the new agenda in Tokyo became apparent before and after the August election, the confrontation deepened. Warnings became more forceful. Kurt Campbell told the Asahi there could be no change in the Futenma replacement agreement. [23] Michael Green, formerly George W. Bush’s top adviser on East Asia, though moved under Obama to the private sector at the Centre for International and Strategic Studies, warned that “it would indeed provoke a crisis with the US” if the Democratic Party were to push ahead to try to re-negotiate the military agreements around the Okinawa issue.” [24] Gregson, for the Pentagon, added that the US had “no plans to revise the existing agreements. [25] Ian Kelly, for the State Department, stated that there was no intention on its part to allow revision. [26] Kevin Maher (also at State) added a day later that there could be no reopening of negotiations on something already agreed between states. [27] A “senior Department of Defense spokesperson” in Washington said it would be a “blow to trust” between the two countries if existing plans could not be implemented. [28] Summing up the rising irritation in Washington, an unnamed State Department official commented that “The hardest thing right now is not China. It’s Japan.” [29]

The drumbeats of “concern,” “warning,” “friendly advice” from Washington that Hatoyama and the DPJ had better not implement the party’s electoral pledges and commitments rose steadily leading up to the election and its aftermath, culminating in the October Tokyo visit by Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen. Gates is reported to have insulted his Japanese hosts, refusing to attend a welcoming ceremony at the Defense Ministry or to dine with senior Japanese Defense officials. [30]

Gates’ message was no-nonsense:

“The Futenma relocation facility is the lynchpin of the realignment road map. Without the Futenma realignment, the Futenma facility, there will be no relocation to Guam. And without relocation to Guam, there will be no consolidation of forces and the return of land in Okinawa.” [31]

For Michael Green, architect of Japan policy under George W. Bush, this showed that Gates was a “shrewd judge of his counterparts,” and that Hatoyama and his government would not be able to “continue slapping around the United States” or to “play with firecrackers.” [32] In case there remained any shadow of doubt in Japanese minds, Admiral Mullen added that the Henoko base construction was an “absolute requirement.” [33] “Challenge the Guam Treaty at your peril,” was the Obama administration’s unambiguous message.

Intimidation had an affect. Defense Secretary Kitazawa Toshimi was first to yield and suggest that there was no real alternative to construction at Henoko. [34] Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya began to waver. In late July, a month before the election, Okada had a brief exchange with U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy: [35]

Fluornoy: The reorganization of US forces in Japan is in accord with agreement between the two countries.
Okada: There are 64 years of history dragging along behind the US-Japan relationship.

Weeks after the victory, he told British journalist Simon Tisdall, “If Japan just follows what the US says, then I think as a sovereign nation that is very pathetic.” [36] He seemed clear on the point that building a new base at Henoko was not the way to reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa. “It should be inconceivable in ordinary thinking,” he said, “for the sea to be destroyed to construct a base.” [37] It was also Okada who said, “The will of the people of Okinawa and the will of the people of Japan was expressed in the elections … I don’t think we will act simply by accepting what the U.S tells us…” [38]

One day after the Gates and Mullen statements, however, Okada shifted ground to say that moving the Futenma base out of Okinawa was “not an option” (kangaerarenai) and to suggest (23 October) that the functions of the Futenma Marine base might after all be transferred within Okinawa. He declined to endorse the Henoko project, but proposed Futenma’s functions be merged with those of the relatively close US Air Force base at Kadena, and that the agreement be limited to 15 years.

Okada’s suggestion of a transfer of the Futenma functions within Okinawa, even though through this rather novel formula, caused shock waves of disbelief in Okinawa. 80 per cent of Kadena township is already occupied by the existing base. The prefecture’s Ryukyu shimpo in a passionate editorial lamented the incapacity of the new Hatoyama government to counter the “intimidatory diplomacy” of Gates and Mullen, and the drift back towards “acceptance of the status quo of following the US.” If that is to be the new government,” it concluded, “then the change of government has been a failure.” [39]

The Okinawan Perspective

Okinawa “reverted” from the US to Japan in 1972, but nearly four decades later most major US bases remain intact, taking up one-fifth of the land surface of Okinawa’s main island. Nowhere is more overwhelmed by the US military presence than the city of Ginowan, which has grown around the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The US and Japan agreed in 1996 that Futenma would be returned, but made return conditional on construction of a replacement, which would also have to be in Okinawa, and not just anywhere in Okinawa but in environmentally sensitive north, the coral and forest environment of Henoko in Nago City, where a precious colony of blue coral was discovered only in 2007, where the internationally protected dugong graze on sea grasses, turtles come to rest, and multiple rare birds, insects, animals thrive.. Thirteen years on, there the matter still stands.

Futenma Marine Air Station surrounded by Ginowan City

Between 1996 and 2005, a peace and environment citizens’ coalition fought the first version of that plan – for a pontoon-supported structure on the reef just offshore from Henoko (originally a modest “helipad,” as it was referred to in 1996, 45 metres in length according to the first designs), [40] which gradually grew to have a runway stretching to 2,500 meters across the coral – to such effect that in 2005, Prime Minister Koizumi cancelled it, citing "a lot of opposition." It was an unprecedented triumph for a mobilized citizenry over the combined resources of the two powerful states. The second, and current, version, adopted in 2006, was for a significantly expanded project, this time based on an onshore site in the same Henoko district. It would be built on land and landfill extending from the existing Camp Schwab US base into Oura bay and would boast dual 1,800 meter runways stretching out into Oura Bay, plus a deep sea naval port and other facilities, and a chain of helipads scattered through the forest - a comprehensive air, land and sea base able to project force throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Time and again, the project was blocked by popular opposition, but time and again the Japanese government renewed and expanded it. The struggle continues throughout Okinawa against this latest, largest, most environmentally devastating design. On the sea-floor from 2007, teams of divers acting as surveyors for the state, and even backed by a Maritime Self-Defense Force frigate, confronted civic opponents determined to defend the sea and its creatures; in San Francisco, a judge continued hearings in a suit against the Pentagon on behalf of the Okinawan dugong and their marine habitat; and at Henoko and Takae (deep in the forest) the sit-in continued.

Japan’s nation state under the “old regime” to 2009 of the Liberal-Democratic Party insisted that military priorities prevail over civil or democratic principle, the interests of the Japanese (and American) states over those of the Okinawan people, and the US alliance over the constitution. As government in Tokyo struggled to secure the compliance of the Okinawan people to their own continuing subordination to the military, Okinawa became Japan’s domestic “North Korea” in the sense of a prefecture committed to “Songun” (Military-First-ism). Except that in this case, it was a foreign military power imposing its will. It was bitter for Okinawans to have Nobel Peace laureate Obama continuing to thrust such priorities on them.

On the only occasion the people of Nago were consulted as to whether they would accept a new base, in a 1997 plebiscite, despite massive government intervention designed to sway them in favour, the outcome was unambiguously negative. In a bizarre outcome, the then mayor flew to Tokyo to announce the outcome, reject it on behalf of the City, and announce his resignation. For almost a decade thereafter, the views of Nago citizens were studiously ignored save that monies were poured in to “development” projects designed to subvert them. By dint of enormous effort, however, the people thus far have thwarted Tokyo’s and Washington’s plans.

In October 2009, the “sit-in” protest launched by that opposition at Henoko in 2004 passed its 2,000th day, well outlasting the Solidarnosc Polish worker sit-ins to become the longest in modern history. Despite pressures from the state, anti-base opinion in the prefecture seems, if anything, to have strengthened. Where, in 1999, opinion had been almost evenly divided between those who opposed relocation within Okinawa and those who were ready to accept it, a May 2009 survey by the Okinawa Times found prefectural opinion running at 68 per cent against and only 18 per cent in favour. [41] Six months later, in the heat of the current “battle of Okinawa,” a joint Mainichi shimbun and Ryukyu shimpo survey found the number of Okinawans who wanted the Futenma base shifted outside of Okinawa, whether in Japan or overseas, had risen to 70 per cent, while hardly anyone – a derisory 5 per cent – endorsed the Guam Agreement formula – the formula on which Washington and Washington were insisting, for a base to be constructed at Henoko. [42]

In the national elections of August 2009, DPJ candidates swept the polls in Okinawa, recording a higher vote than ever before in the proportional section and sweeping aside the representatives of the “old regime.” Both prefectural newspapers, the majority in the Okinawan parliament (the Prefectural Assembly, elected in 2008), are also opposed, [43] and 80 per cent of Okinawan mayors believe the Futenma base substitute should be constructed either overseas or elsewhere in Japan. [44] On 2 November, the Naha City Assembly passed a unanimous resolution calling for Futenma to be relocated beyond Okinawa, whether in Japan or elsewhere. [45]

Okinawan newspapers hardly circulate outside the prefecture, or mainland ones within it, and mainland Japanese opinion is remarkably ignorant, and unsympathetic, to Okinawa. Even the “liberal” Asahi editorially scolded the Hatoyama government, saying “There is a limit to Washington’s impatience … It would be very unfortunate for both countries if the Futenma issue became blown out of proportion.” [46] Okinawan civic thinking was paid little attention. At the time of Hillary Clinton’s February 2009 February visit to Tokyo, a representative group of Okinawan civic leaders wrote her an “Open Letter.” It read, in part: [47]

“Okinawa, a small island, has lived under such great stress for over sixty years. The presence of US military bases has distorted not only the politics and economy of Okinawa, but also its society itself and people’s minds and pride.

We do not need to remind you that Okinawa is not your territory. Your fifty thousand military members act freely as if this is their land, but, of course, it is not. Please remember that we, the Okinawa people, own “the inherent dignity” and “the equal and inalienable rights of all the members of the human family,” which is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, just as your family and friends do.

The governments of the United States and Japan legitimized the US military occupation of Okinawa with the San Francisco Treaty in 1952, and the reversion of administrative rights in 1972 created a structure of economic and financial dependency in exchange for the presence of US military bases on Okinawa. The governments have changed their strategy for maintaining the base presence from using force to using money.

This is very cruel treatment. The people of Okinawa have increased dependency on such money. The money has created a system which has corrupted our minds. It has taken away alternatives. The acceptance of US bases is seen as the only way to live. … It is as if the Japanese government has made Okinawa a drug addict and the US government takes full advantage of the addiction, in order to maintain its military presence …

In 2005 and 2006, the governments of the United States and Japan reached agreement on the construction of new bases and it seems that they are trying to make the US military presence in Okinawa permanent. This plan would add a further burden on the people of Okinawa who have suffered long enough.”

They ended by demanding cancellation of the Henoko plan, immediate and unconditional return of Futenma, and further reductions in the US military presence.

However, although “old regime” thinking, predicated on absolute compliance with the US and on continuing priority to US strategy and planning in determining Okinawa policy, long cultivated by conservative LDP governments in Tokyo, never sank roots in Okinawan society, it did sway high levels of Okinawan administration, especially the prefectural governor and the Nago mayor. In the LDP system, such local dignitaries focussed on “development,” “employment” and the “promotion” of Okinawa, avoiding any stance on base issues, while Tokyo poured in money designed to serve those purposes. A May 2007 law extended nation-wide the policy pioneered in Nago and Okinawa’s northern districts of reward for cooperation and punishment for recalcitrance in promoting US base interests.

Tokyo’s cultivation of regional dependence encouraged cynicism and corruption, while blocking development rooted in local needs. After a decade of such a system, Okinawa’s income levels remained the lowest in the country, unemployment was roughly double the national average, and virtually all local governments were in the throes of unsustainable fiscal crisis.

But, despite the “betrayal of the clerks,” the political winds of 2009 suggested that the Okinawan social consensus against base development had strengthened under the change of government. Certainly the political credibility of the promise of “development” in return for submission had been fatally weakened by failure to deliver. However, when in August 2009 the government of Japan that had tried unsuccessfully by every means to weaken, split, buy off and intimidate those opposed to the construction of the new base was itself thrown from office, the local representatives of the system in Okinawa, the Governor of the Prefecture and the Mayor of Nago, remained in office (till elections in 2010).

Both tried to shield their submission by seeking a slight revision of the Guam Agreement – to shift the construction design a short distance offshore – as if a reversion to the basic scheme of 1998-2005 would somehow solve the problem. Knowing the American resistance to the idea, they made it only in perfunctory way, with no attempt to insist on it. Governor Nakaima also spoke of a “best” solution – even if it was impractical - being relocation somewhere outside the prefecture.

Governor Nakaima

It was characteristic of the Governor’s vacillation that he chose to absent himself from the prefecture on the occasion of the 8 November All-Okinawa Mass Meeting to express opposition to the Futenma relocation within Okinawa. When Okinawans joined in demanding the closure of the “world’s most dangerous base,” their Governor was in Washington. Days before the Mass Meeting, he stood alongside Kanagawa Governor Matsuzawa Shigefumi who, as head of the Association of Base-Hosting Japanese Prefectures, told their hosts that he saw no alternative to construction at Henoko of the Futenma replacement. [48] Nakaima protested only in the most feeble terms.

Regime Change

In the 64 years since the Marines stormed ashore on Okinawa amid a rain of fire and steel, the islands have known no peace. The intractable nature of the prefecture’s problem stems from the fact that the base issue is set in a procrustean bed of assumptions and principles inherited from the US occupation and the Cold War. Hatoyama might declare the aspiration for “equality” in the relation with the United States, but submission, and the assumption that to please the United States was the first principle of Japanese diplomacy was deeply entrenched. Apart from the $6 billion “relocation costs” for the Guam transfer it is estimated that the Henoko base construction, if it went ahead, would cost around one trillion yen (some $11 billion). These sums come on top of the annual subsidy of around 200 billion yen (roughly $2.2 billion) Japan has been paying the US ever since the reversion of Okinawa in 1972 under the rubric of “omoiyari” (consideration or sympathy, known in the US as “Host Nation Support”), [49] the $13 billion subsidy towards the costs of the Gulf War and the many subsequent appropriations towards the costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. [50] It was once said of George W. Bush that he was inclined to think of Japan as “just some ATM machine” for which a pin number was not needed. Hatoyama has made no move to close the “sympathy” spigot, and must know that to do so would provoke Washington even more than his attempts to renegotiate the Guam Treaty.

The Japanese state of the “old regime” became a “mercenary in reverse,” one that paid to subject itself. To explain such a peculiar state formation and its accompanying psychology, I have suggested thinking of Japan as America’s “Client State,” i.e. a state that enjoys the formal trappings of Westphalian sovereignty and independence, and is therefore neither a colony nor a puppet state, but which has internalised the requirement to give preference to “other” interests over its own. [51]

Prime Ministers of the “old regime” sought ways to channel Japanese monies to Washington, while seeking in return help in shoring up their government and resisting the will of the Japanese people. It would be too much to think that a single election could securely install a “new regime,” but the Hatoyama government has taken some steps in that direction.

Throughout the post-1945 decades, there has never been such a confrontation between the US and Japan as grew during 2009 around the change of government in Tokyo. At issue, the Ryukyu Shimpo insisted on the eve of the All-Okinawa Mass Meeting, was nothing less than whether the Japanese constitution’s guarantees of popular sovereignty, basic human rights, and peace applied to Okinawa. [52] The Hatoyama government is split: Defense Minister Kitazawa for implementation of the Guam Agreement and construction at Henoko, Foreign Minister Okada for merger of Futenma facilities with those of the USAF base at Kadena on a 15 year limited basis, while Prime Minister Hatoyama has called for prioritizing the views of Okinawans.

By November, despite their worries, officials in Washington must have felt with satisfaction that they had accomplished a lot in a short space of time, opening divisions within the Hatoyama government. They would have noted with pleasure that Okinawa Governor Nakaima and Nago Mayor Shimabukuro had both kept a low profile as the crisis grew and maintained their distance both from the new Government in Tokyo and the Okinawan popular movement, and that both were conspicuously absent from the platform of the All-Okinawa Mass Protest meeting of 8 November. Washington would be bound to pay more attention to that fact, and to the message of quiet reassurance that Nakaima was delivering to his American hosts, than to the message of the Mass Meeting that followed days afterwards.

All Okinawa Mass Meeting on 8 November, Ginowan City)
Rejecting the Provisions of the Guam Treaty and demanding immediate, unconditional return of Futenma Marine Air Station (Ryukyu shimpo)

With the last shots from the Washington barrage still exploding around him [53] and Obama’s visit imminent, Hatoyama continued to study his options and Washington to insist on its demands. Hatoyama faced an impossible choice: he could reject the US demands, risking a major diplomatic crisis, or he could submit to them, provoking a domestic political crisis and driving Okinawans to despair. The optimism one could feel just a few short months ago as the new Government was elected slowly drained away.

Gavan McCormack is emeritus professor at Australian National University, coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, author, most recently, of Client State: Japan in the American Embrace (in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean), and contributes a monthly column to the Korean daily Kyunghyang shinmun. For his earlier articles on Okinawan matters, see The Asia-Pacific Journal. A much abridged version of this article is to be published in Korean in Kyunghyang shinmun on 10 November and in Japanese in Ryukyu shimpo on 11 November.

Recommended citation: Gavan McCormack, "The Battle of Okinawa 2009: Obama vs Hatoyama," The Asia-Pacific Journal, 46-1-09, November 16, 2009.