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U.S. Forces in Japan: time to say good-bye?


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The accidental sinking of a Japanese trawler by a U.S. submarine on February 9th has further stirred the discussion on whether it is really necessary to have tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed on Japanese soil. And the timing of the tragic accident could not have been worse: just days before the top Marine in Okinawa, Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston commented on Okinawan officials as being "nuts and a bunch of wimps", expressing his frustration over the fact that the Okinawan authorities didn't counter local protests against the U.S. military presence strong enough. Okinawa's population strongly resents the troops for the congestion they cause on the islands and for several cases of rape and abuse.
We will further delve into the subject by posting relevant articles and resources.

For the time being, please see the official COMSUBPAC Press Release as well as the Good Bye US Marines Project.

The following articles reflect the situation after the sub accident:

Sub Collision Heightens Tension (BBC News)

Japan waits patiently for answers in submarine accident (Christian Science Monitor)

New York Times Editorial:

February 13, 2001

Reaching Out to Japan

The sinking of a Japanese fishing vessel by an American Navy submarine off Hawaii last Friday has prompted apologies from Washington, a promise to investigate and a moment of silent prayer yesterday from President Bush. These actions reflected appropriate sensitivity by the new administration as it moves to renew ties with Japan at a difficult time. Indeed, the submarine episode could force the administration to make some quick decisions on how to handle an apparently growing uneasiness over the presence of American troops in Japan, most of them on Okinawa. The administration also needs to decide how to address Japan's suddenly worsening economic problems.

Three days after the submarine accident, many questions remain. The first is how the 360-foot submarine could have failed to detect the presence of the 190-foot trawler, the Ehime Maru, before proceeding with an extremely rapid emergency surfacing drill. Twenty-six Japanese were rescued, but nine, including four high school students on a field trip learning to fish, are still missing. In Japan, commentators are also openly asking why the submarine did not rescue those thrown into the sea after the accident but instead waited for the Coast Guard to pull them from the water. American officials say the waves were too high for such a rescue operation, but the Japanese captain seems to be disputing that view.

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has also drawn criticism for his handling of the episode after he was reported to have asked journalists why they were interrupting him during a golf game to ask about the disaster. As President Vladimir Putin discovered last August when a Russian submarine sank in the Barents Sea, a nation's citizens can be very unforgiving if officials do not treat such incidents seriously from the start. In addition, a wave of populism is sweeping through Japan right now, and some analysts say that political parties questioning the security relationship with America could gain in the parliamentary election this summer.

Mr. Bush would do well to listen to Japanese concerns about the submarine episode and the larger security issues. Many Japanese are also uneasy over whether the new administration will embark on a missile defense program that could anger their neighbors Russia and China, or take a more confrontational approach to North Korea than was adopted by President Clinton.

Mr. Bush's choice of a new ambassador to Japan will be among his most important diplomatic appointments. Since the days of Mike Mansfield, Japan has come to expect a senior American political figure to represent American interests in Tokyo. The current ambassador, former House speaker Thomas Foley, fits that pattern, which Mr. Bush will surely want to continue when he makes his own choice.

The most urgent problem facing Japan is economic. Once again the country appears to be slipping back into a recession after more than a decade of little or no growth. Its troubles will make it all the harder for the United States to avoid an economic downturn. Recently Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill spoke disapprovingly of Washington's traditional practice of pressing the Tokyo government to change its economic or industrial policies. He said he would prefer working directly with Japanese business executives. That approach sounds unrealistic. The United States cannot afford a hands-off attitude toward the need for Japan to reform its banking system, deregulate its sclerotic industrial structure and stimulate its economy.

Right now, however, the most immediate priority is to do everything possible to investigate the submarine tragedy and make amends for those who may have lost their lives.

Copyright New York Times 2001
Poll Results for March/April 2001

The results of our March/April poll with the topic "U.S. Forces in Japan: Time to Say Good-bye?" are listed below:

Agree   48,1% (65 votes)
Strongly Agree   19,2% (26 votes)
Strongly Disagree   18,5% (25 votes)
Disagree   8,1% (11 votes)
Doesn't matter   5,9% (8 votes)
Total Votes   135
I guess,all that soldiers can bring a lot of problems to Okinawa people,this coz of the cultural difference between western and eastern people.but principally coz many soldiers tend of course to be aggressive and arrogant due to tha fact that military culture is an extreme fascist culture,i am stronlgy antimilitarist and coz i am italian i can say also in my country there are a lot of military US bases....they will never go away by themself.....haven't you noticed they are trying to rule the world in a more efficent way?
they have strongholds everywhere,in Europe especially in Italy coz it is strategically important,then in Asia,Japan,Philippines ecc
i think they could go back home,but they will never.
in italy we cannot know even what are they storing inside their bases....nuke?Maybe..no one know....
Is there a public discussion in Italy in regard to U.S. bases?

I remember that a few years ago two U.S. Marines pilots stationed in Aviano cut the wires of a cableway with their aircraft's tail fin killing 20 people. It was later found out that their reckless flight manouvres were not part of the original training mission, and the flight tapes mysteriously disappeared. That caused some uproar in Italy, especially since the pilots who were later court-martialed in the U.S. faced a moderate sentence.
Well Thomas,just to answer your question...No there isn't a public discussion in Italy reguarding the US bases on our territory.
Thomas,Italy is a NATO member,our gov is totally subject to America,so our media too...in the case of the plane that killed 20 people during a Rambo style performance of the USForces on a touristic area of Italy,it was full of people;has been a quite big scandal in Italy,yes,the US gov has given something like 50000$or 100000$ to each family destroyed by the disaster and no excuses and like u said with only a moderated sentence in confront of the pilot...only few dollars given....
2 years before a local politician of La Spezia a city that has close to it one of the biggest naval US bases,brought up the incredible fact that all the outhorities of the port and the gov was knowing in that base there was and there are a not well known number of submarines propelled by nuclear engines,but the citizens has never been adviced of this fact and there is not a security plan
that they know(the army has is own security plan in case of accident but it is not pubblic),even if everyone there continue to see this black monsters going in and out the port.

Italy laws force the authoprities to inform the citizens in case of nuclear risks even if the citizens don't ask to be informed.

But again there has never been a public discussion on this issue
this info has never been transmitted in TV but only on local papers 2 years ago...now everyone has forgot.
99%of the citizens don't know or don't care if there are nuke propelled submarines close to them.
But the submarines are still there.And no one know how to protect himself in case of accident.

It is already long time The Big Brother is in italy too,i am risking
speaking this out to you!!!LOL!
i hope my bad english has let you understand me anyway.
Thanks a lot for your interesting contribution, Mattanza.

It's a very touchy subject and I don't want to get too much into politics, but I seriously doubt that the current Italian government will ever bring up this issue...
Well..if u think the US soldier should go out...get urself elected as a member of parliment there and get a petition to get them out of there...which i serously doubt ut will happend due to some laws japan have...
I definately agree that US soldiers should get out of Japan,but they won't go without a fight because the commanders of the military bases are afraid to lose their command.
Japan's self defense force is highly trained and very capable if Japan increases its military spending to 1or maybe 2% of its GNP. Much of the current military structure in the US military is outdated based on a French organization. Efficient armies should be modeled on a German organization focusing on brigades as the primary warfighter. However many former American Generals and Colonels have commited career suicide for criticizing the current structure. The thinking is that hey we won world war II we beat the Germans and the Japanese and later the Soviets. Why change? Well first off it was the Soviets that beaten the Germans not the US. The eastern front was where the Germans were losing tremendous casualties. The Chinese bogged down the Japanese in warfares of attrition and maneuver (particularly by the Communist 8th Route Army). The soviets were out spended by the US (the soviet union went bankrupt while the US got a big *** credit card debt, which we still need to pay off). So where am I going with this? Well first off the Iraq war if not resolved quickly will become another Vietnam. Trust me I been to Iraq. Thus the US will need for its allies to be able to defend itself. Germany, Japan, and South Korea are no longer important strategic centers but the middle east and south east asia is where the terrorist are operating. Possibly extending to south america. Possibly make an unholy partnership with drug lords and then the US will really have problem. So what I can see is that US forces will pull out of South Korea (South Korea has 340,000 troops while american forces only 37,000 about 10% of the total military defense) and they are already showing signs of an eventual pull out of the penninsula. The same will eventually do for Japan. But like South Korea, Japan must tell the US upfront that Japan will defend itself.

Anyways now the question is can Japan defend itself? I would answer yes! Many reasons. For one Japan has a Main Battle Tank ranked number three in the world. (#1 being the German Leopard 2A6, and the #2 being the M1A2 not the M1A1, either way these top three tanks fire the same 120mm Rheinmetall Cannon but the Japanese Type 90 has a fire control system more advanced than either of the above two). Japanese technology can create cheaper and more efficient weapons (such as a missile used for anti-tank and anti-air rather than have two different missiles in the inventory). Japanese team base culture can foster more cohesive combat units and Japanese martial history during the Bakumatsu or the Sengoku Jidai (if brigades were based on a samurai clan affiliation then think of the espirit de corp there, say for example the Shinsengumi brigade where they can traditionaly recruit from the Kansai region especially in Kyoto). Plus the Japanese military can look toward a more efficient command structure ("Breaking the Phalanx" by Douglas A. MacGregor) and basing on Wehrmacht inspired maneuver warfare rather than attrition warfare.

Side note: No army ever enjoyed more expert, even brilliant **tactical** leadership than did the German Wehrmacht in its war with Russia. Time after time, Hitler's generals and battle-group commanders, often greatly outnumbered pulled off stunning victories in individual battles. But the effect of those victories on the overall campaign was constantly and disastrously under-cut by Hitler's deranged flip-flops of "strategic intuition" -- especially his habit of yanking elite formations out it line just as they were abut to capture some major objective, and then redeploying them hundred of miles away to capture some other, less vital target that he'd be obsessed with (such as Stalingrad).

So all in all I believe it to be the best interest that the US reallocates their troops in Europe and East Asia to regions where they will be needed most (Iraq and Afghanistan) and let Kosovo be handled by the European Union and North Korea to Japan and South Korea and CHINA. Thats right CHINA. Remember folks China will not be just a big player but will be the BIGGEST PLAYER EVER. Yet China will benefit more from trade than war. Especially with Japanese markets being saturated in the US. Japan should look to China as market as well as labor. This will also develop China as well. So Japan need not look at China as a potential enemy.

Last, I am currently a commissioned officer in the US Army finishing up my term of service. I been to Iraq and back. In my short military career I studied military history and tactics as well as studied military reformist wanting to make a more efficient and powerful military.
Its always welcome to see a new face on this board. Its always great to throw another side of the argument into the mix.

After reading your comments I disagree with some of your points. I think your calculations are based upon military calculations and do not take into account political situation. For example lets look at the Korean Peninsula situation. You are completely correct in the assumption that the US forces would not figure heavily in the conflict since they only comprise 10% of the forces deployed, but in the current political context, the 41000 US Forces deployed figures far more than double or even triple the number of ROK forces because they indicate a political commitment of the United States to the crisis. Pulling the US out would signal not only to the DPRK but South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China. The US presence in the region is a stabilizer which prevents conflicts from erupting. If anything the US forces in Japan are not to prevent Japan from outside threats, but from itself. Imagine a situation where the United States withdraws from the region or announces its intentions to withdraw. Japan would quickly conclude a debate about repealing article 9 of its constitution and then remilitarize, undoubtedly unveiling its nuclear capability in the process. What would be the effect on the region? The South Korea would immediately follow suit and China would call it a crisis and start a huge defence buildup. Then Taipai would as well to protect its interests. Now you have 5 nuclear armed neighbours who don窶冲 trust each other armed with a nuclear capability窶ヲ I think the 80000 troops the US has in the region is a small price to pay to prevent that from occurring. Also the US troops in Okinawa are not for South Korea per say, but for Taiwan. Although the Chinese Communist Party may think Trade is important, reintegrating Taiwan as you well know has always been at the top of their foreign policy since 1949. And I would not rule out china using military force to do so. They have consitatnly saber rattled the region, and they have prioritized a massive deployment of short range missiles over their ballistic missile program. The troops in Okinawa are there as a rapid reaction force to put into Taiwan in case the situation collapse, Troops cannot be deployed there now because that would create a crisis.

You may make the argument that the US would maintain a verbal guarantee or mutual assistance treaties, but words never matter as much as troops and the presence there is required to maintain stability. What I don窶冲 agree with is the US窶冱 handling of the DPRK crisis because it has not dealt with it correctly or sufficiently and that has worried several countries, not the least of which is Japan. The rise in nationalist politics and the discussion about a reappeal of the Japanese constitution is directly related to the threat of North Korea. The north Korean testing of a Nodong II missile over the sea of Japan definitely had an adverse affect on the pacifist movement in Japan. I would argue that a greater commitment is needed in the region and that the US should rely on both Hard and soft power instruments, rather than uttering veiled threats and warnings to Kim Jong Il, give him some of the incentives he wants, and don窶冲 reneg on them like Clinton did with the Two light water reactors.

Also the Japanese army should maintain its current structure. The German maneuver brigade theory was a product of offensive theory, and it is best suited for that. Small mobile groups are difficult to operate under defencive situations. Although some German Generals were successful in using it (I can think of General Manstien窶冱 fighting retreat after the 6th army destruction in Stalingrad as one), but the French model is better designed for defensive operations. This is what the JSDF is designed for and should remain. The JSDF has been purposely designed to be utterly deficient in offencive character because of its pacifist constitution.. Any change to this structure might antagonize China and cause a breakdown in relations. An example of this was the outcry of the Japanese purchase of a Helicopter by both Korea and China because it was seen a the first steps towards a power projection capability. The US窶冱 role in the region is so vital and both sides attack it as wasteful.

I don't know if I can see Japan and China as ever having good relations. I work with a Air Force Lt. Colonel and he and I disagree on this issue theoretically. A lot of my research focuses on the EU, and it is a popular argument to use that if Germany and France can make up so can all other nations. Im a bit of an optimist and I say it can. My Air Force Friend is on the other side and he argues that it is European values that has created this situation, and that these values are not repicable across the world. I would disagree, I can't say it will be easy to replicate those values, as they take generations to form. One thing I see in East Asia now is that both parties bitterly dislike each other, Many Japanese look down at China and China is resentful of that. Stuff like this...
Japan's war past sparks Chinese rage
doesn't help at all.

As For Iraq, I think the change in US strategy there last week by bush pushing Bremer to speed up handover is a smart strategy. I think it was partly done to get the French aboard. Once a handover is complete, from discussions I have heard, the French look likely to contribute a significantly large enough force. The other reason is a change in tactics for rebuilding the nation itself. It is blatantly obvious that the United States cannot control the country as efficiently as a national authority could. I say this because the military presence is like a blunt object, it cannot penetrate Iraqi society effectively to find insurgents. And attempts to, using informants and the sort are detrimental to the US's image in the region. Giving Iraqis more power and helping them rebuild their nation their way is a more successful strategy.

I suggest you look around this board for other articles I have written, I think you may find it fertile grounds for discussion.
Your argument is rather weak.

First off let me begin with the discussion of the German model as compared to the French. The best deterrent against foreign invasion is the ability to attack not the ability to defend. Clausewitz and Sun Tzu both agree on this: Invincibility lies in the defense, the possibility for victory lies in the attack. However Sun Tzu further adds this: when weak defend when strong attack. The best defense is the good offense they say or in this case the potential for a good offense. The French model is a ridicules structure that is top heavy and quick decision making since many would rather wait for orders from the top rather than seize initiative. Hitler micromanaged his field marshals at the end of the war and lost World War II. Stalin almost did but at the last minute he gave control back to his field marshals especially Georgi Zhukov who later used his knowledge of maneuver to turn the tide of battle at Stalingrad. Even in the United States we abandoned the defensive, passive, and one dimensional Active Defense doctrine of the 1970's for the offensive, active, and multidimensional of Air Land Battle based on maneuver warfare. No defense no matter how well prepared will last constant attacks forever. Successful German tactics of defensive operations always had something that the French did not capitalize, the COUNTER ATTACK. The French idea of defense, try the Maginot Line where mobility is sacrificed for defense, just go around the line through Belgium and watch France fall in a month. If you are attacked and you successfully defend then follow on when the enemy attack culminates or else they can fall back reorganize and attack again. Time and time again this is the invaluable part of defense that the French failed to capitalize. As far as command and control the beauty of the German doctrine at that time as is today is that you don't need to micromanage. The whole concept of the recon-pull has faster decision rates as the command-push that the French model after. In was speed is important. Not necessarily speed for speed sake but rather being faster than your enemy in decisions, reactions to changes, or create some changes to paralyze your slow decision making enemy. Decentralizing command and control is effect and been done before not only in Germany but also in Israel against the Egyptian and Syrian armies during the Yom Kippur war in the 1960's. So much for the French.

Pertaining to US troops in Japan, our presence is not needed there for stability. First off animosities between the nations of east asia are slowly dissipating with each new generation. In Korea many Korean young people bear no ill will towards the Japanese unlike their parents or grandparents. In fact in my visit to Kyoto many Koreans are in fact working for Japanese firms especially in the animation industry. Rikidozan is a hero to many post war Japanese for being a idolized pro-wrestler that consistently beats American Pro-wrestlers at that time (his ultimate victory over Lou Thesz). Most of these matches been scripted of course. However Rikidozan' real name is Kim Sin Nak. Mas Oyama, Japan's greatest karate fighter ever, smashes rocks with his bare hands and have fought with bulls bare handed is really Choi Yong Yi. In my visit to Kyoto many older Japanese know of their real ethnicity but love him anyways. So much for this perceived Japanese superiority. Just because you read an internet article doesn't mean that is true for all cases. Remember that is a generation gap and current sour relations now can become amicable economic partnerships later, depending on the generation (Japan and Germany once enemies became allies against communism) Again you have put forth a weak argument.

Also consider the case of economic factors, not just political or your so call European values. Free trade has already changed China from the very beginning since Deng Xio Ping allowed the five coastal cities open for free trade in the late 60s to the mid 70s. China is fast becoming an economic power because of it. It is further accelerated by the acquisition of Hong Kong in 1997. The acquisition of Taiwan can create great leaps economically only if the country lies intact. So a military invasion of Taiwan is rather remote. Especially since many Taiwan firms have already invested heavily into the mainland. The prospect of reunifying with the mainland is already desirable for many businesses in Taiwan as well as China. South Korea has rebuilt their country from low interest loans from Japan during the Park Chung Hee era. What most politicians and those that study politics fail to realize is that sometimes economics play a bigger role that politics. China has always saber rattled on negotiation tables. That is a typical tactics that communists used throughout the cold war. As for Germany and France the reason they have a more warmer relationship than at anytime in their history is also due to economy. France's major export is electricity and Germany benefits from this trade of energy. Your so called European values did not prevent Yugoslavia from being what it is today now does it. The US is embroiled too heavily into Iraq and Afghanistan to commit in any large scale military operation in asia. So your argument overall is weak.

The whole Korea situation is this. North Korea is broke with their main benefactor the former Soviet Union also broke, North Korea is using nuclear blackmail on the US to get money (not South Korea, in fact many in South Korea are accusing the US for escalating the crisis). All the defectors leaving North Korea are saying this and any regime political or otherwise not backed up by a good economy is always unstable. Hence they use repression to hold on to power but as history has shown there is a point where repression will be returned by internal revolt, peaceful or otherwise. It is only a matter of time before the regime will collapse.

As for Iraq, the French can just sit like they always do. The reason that the US is trying to garner support from other nations is mainly economic. It is too expensive to shoulder the rebuilding of a country by ourselves. The French will only contribute for their interest, possible imperialistic. Remember the war in Vietnam all started because France wanted to keep Indochina as a colony. The problem with Iraq control is one of controlling anarchy. Yes we are getting killed there but so are Iraqis killing Iraqis. The problem with Iraq is that many tribes and groups are trying to gain power the same way that their ancestors have done before them, with force. Order is more important right now. After world war II, many Nazi officials kept power in Germany and same for Japan (heck they still have an emperor don't they, albeit rather more of a figurehead than anything else). These officials were necessary to maintain order. However the mistake for the US is that we tended to hunt down many high ranking Baath party officials that could have maintained some order in the region by keeping the government, law and order, and public utilities running. If we had kept those important officials in power we wouldn't have this problem as we are right now in Iraq. When we raid a home for weapons, the owner could be a terrorists or maybe he is keeping the weapon for self defense from thieves and such. But we don't and the initial cheers we received from the beginning is now gone because of it. We could have control of the country, we had the opportunity to do so effectively we just made bad decisions but we don't need the French unless they willing to commit to the cause for the good of Iraq rather than try to siphon their oil.

In terms of discussion I find your arguments rather superficial overall and I am not particularly interested in reading your posts.

Ehi, Mattanza, capisco che gli Yankee ti stiano antipatici, dopo la guerra in Irack io li odio ancora di piテケ! Perテイ mi pare che tu assuma un tono apocalittico contro una realtテ? radicata da anni in Italia e che certamente non ci mette sotto un pericolo nucleare; io ho due basi, vicino a me, ma ティ come se non esistessero e i soldati non si vedono mai da queste parti; la gente se ne frega di questa situazione perchティ in Italia si sta bene, governo a parte (ma chi si contenta mai?) e tutti si interessano dello stipendio o del nuovo cellulare... ciao, scusa l'intromissione.
Geez, mas oyama, you really are a jerk aren't you? Noyhauser was being quite nice to you and trying to engage you in a friendly debate and you just insult him? Well, I don't think you'll find many people on this board interested in reading your post either.
If I sound rude then I apologize. But his whole post that European values bring about reconciliation (between Germany and France) is rather arrogant.

According to your post you are in Japan but are you really Japanese or are you a foreigner living in Japan. If you are a foreigner then I can understand your ignorance of the facts here. If you are Japanese where is your Yamato Damashii? My home, America, is becoming a fallen empire because countries like Japan won't defend themselves. Such a noble martial culture of 3000 years is destroyed not because of American disarmament of Japan but because Japan refused its own past. Unique to the Japanese is that tradition of honor that people like Mishima Yukio tried to re-instill to the Japanese. His struggle is a direct relation to what many Japanese feel today. Now the Japanese are a people with a lost soul and Noyhouser's argument is only perpetuating that the Japanese are not capable of fighting for themselves nor find peace with its neighbors. I don't care what you say but any country that has foreign troops when that country can clearly defend itself is a humiliated country. In my military studies and experience people that continually struggle no matter what the odds (Vietnamese) will never lose their soul even though they are the enemy. But the Japanese have lost their soul.

Being American is our history focuses only on our victories but not its defeats nor our own atrocities nor the contributions of those that really enable our victories. Japan was an imperialistic power before World War II but guess what so were we (America). We had colonies of our own where we violently crushed independence movements (Philippines, look up Amelio Aguinaldo).

Also personal honor no longer exists as part of the American culture, since our culture is rather young compared to many other civilizations. But ironically the Japanese find everything that we do as something better than their own culture thus leaving many with no sense of themselves. In my country young people have lost their sense of civic duty. Not unlike Japan where civic duty is what it was a civic duty to your country but now a culture of 3000 years has lost itself. In Iraq I was greatly distressed when I saw museums and universities from Baghdad to Tikrit robbed and looted. That area is where the birth of human civilization occured. Now many artifacts are lost forever.

If you are Japanese man or woman, you need to look at yourself and find your Yamato Damashii. This character alone may not define all Japanese but look at where you are now.

However if you are a foreigner then that is what you are A FOREIGNER in Japan and therefore have no right to judge me or what I have to say. You cannot empathize because you are not them. If you think that you are only kidding yourself. Are you willing to give your loyalty to Japan in its defense? I bet not, just make money, sleep with easy women, and be obnoxious by deprecating their culture for not being similar to your own. Many Americans have a bad habit of doing this in every country we visit or have troop presence and it makes me ashamed that we behave in this way from Mexico, Bosnia, and Japan.

Otherwise you are free to respond and speak your mind as do I.
Originally posted by Mas Oyama, Rikidozan
My home, America, is becoming a fallen empire because countries like Japan won't defend themselves.
america is becoming a fallen empire all on its own. i cant believe you are actually trying to pass the blame on to other countries. america is solely responsible for the current state its in. you should know that no one is the boss of america, it does what it wants, it made choices and now will face the effects of those choices, be they good or bad.
I'm sad. @senseiman, I don't insult him, but his was too exaggerated; Italian people are very indifferent for american'a bases and, remember, inside americans, are italian forces too, in strategic grounds 'n sea areas! Americans are not lonely and they aren't the masters of our national ground: you anderstand, Senseiman? If you look Yokosuka, is the same situation for Japan Navy and America's Forces; yes, position of Japan is too adverse, but the concept is the same.

Other doubts? Excuse me, @Mattanza, I'm sorry for my ambiguous reply. Bye!
Perhaps I should speak with some sensibility. I do not blame Japan. What I see is that like many empires collapse follows from a society that loses itself. Sends too much interest in other areas rather than their own. Our troops strength in Italy is only 1 airborne brigades and some supporting units. I love my country but it pains me to see it going the way it is. I despise America becoming an empire for it is empires not nations that always collapse. Did we bring it on ourselves? Yes and no.... remember that the Soviet Union was the threat that all looked to the United States for protection. Now that mission is done we must go home and allow countries their own destiny. But the war on terror is a real war. Can any of you deny this? Japanese martial tradition has always been of national fervor and patriotism that is now lacking. For the interest of Japan they need to bring back their army and for the sake of America we need to concentrate on the threat to our country. Japan needs to rearm so we can then send our troops there to rebuild Iraq. If we let Iraq fail then remember Germany after World War I and reprecussions of ignoring Germany. Japan is not a threat anymore. They must build for their own defense. What I hate are those that seem to think we are the world policemen. Instead our soldiers sometimes tend to act like conquorers. That attitude will only tarnishes our reputation and later our history. Many foreigners in Japan seem to take advantage of the fact that Japan seems to be emasculated. I believe that rather than the being the big guy on the block the US needs to be more a participate of the UN than anything else. Remember Germany was humiliated after World War I and so was Japan who fought with the allies during World War I, only both to be humiliated. If a country is humiliated then their nationalism will grow but in a more negative way. In South Korea, US soldiers tend to think that we are the sole defenders of Korea, but that is not true. We only have 37,000 troops while the ROK army has 370,000 who are just as capable and really better trained than the US military. Our withdrawal from Korea is inevitable and best done under amicable terms. The British seems to do so in India rather well. Right now the popular opinion has US as the biggest threat to peace in Korea. Japan is in a similar dilenma with North Korea. Our removal of troops and allowing them to rebuild their military will give them some self respect. That in itself will be the greatest gift as an ally.

Trust me for all you that are studying foreign policy especially when it come to military affairs don't treat us like we are simple chess pieces and listen to what we have to say. As for the US Gen Shinseki, (retired) warned us about Iraq but the politicians did not heed his warning.

As for @noyhouser and @senseiman, I apologize. You must realize that you need to see the perspective from a military stand point as well not from Canada but from the US. And you must be free thinkers. Just because Henry Kissinger was an experienced and respected diplomat did not mean that he was right (especially when it came to Vietnam).
Mas oyama, my saying that you were being rude to noyhauser shouldn't be taken as a defence of what he wrote. You should just be more polite.

I'm not Japanese, I am a foreigner living in Japan. I resent the caricature you paint of foreigners living in Japan. I've lived here for several years, speak the language and am married to a Japanese. I don't make much money, I don't sleep with easy women and I don't deprecate the culture just because it is different from my home country's.

As for 'honor', the Samurai were wiped out more than a century ago and I don't think there is much chance they will be resurected. And I'm not sure that it would be much of a healing tonic for Japan's cultural malaise even if they could be (a la Yukio Mishima), it was the rigid adherence to the bushido that led Japanese troops to commit some of their worst atrocities during world war 2 after all. Have you ever seen the nationalists in Japan? They drive around in massive shiny black trucks blaring imperial music at top volume in order to intimidate everyone. They all wear pretend-army uniforms. The only thing they know how to do is beat people up and endlessly repeat a few lines about the emporer's divinity that have been drilled into their tiny brains. They have the intelligence of 8 year olds. Do you honestly think that this group of fascists are going to give the Japanese a sense of 'civic duty'? I certainly hope not, because I know that the only civic duty these people are interested in is spreading violence and racism throughout society.

I don't know how true it is to say that Japanese society lacks self respect. What do you mean when you say that 'Japanese find everything that we do to be better than their culture..."? That is an extremely condescending thing to say and I think you need to elaborate in order to back it up. Japan's traditional arts and culture certainly are suffering, but I think that it is truly bizarre to be saying that the answer to this problem is to spend more money on the military.
Originally posted by Mas Oyama, Rikidozan
However if you are a foreigner then that is what you are A FOREIGNER in Japan and therefore have no right to judge me or what I have to say.
According to such logic, you have no right to judge anyone else either. That leaves us all just talking to air.

Originally posted by Mas Oyama, Rikidozan
You cannot empathize because you are not them. If you think that you are only kidding yourself.
Please see this thread and take it for what it is worth.


Perhaps you would care to vote too? There are not to many for the "no criticizim is valid.." but I am sure folks would like the chance to hear your views. I am curious as to how you balance telling the Japanese people they need follow people like Yukio, yet tell Senseiman all his views on Japan are invalid. Seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

Originally posted by Mas Oyama, Rikidozan
Are you willing to give your loyalty to Japan in its defense? I bet not, just make money, sleep with easy women, and be obnoxious by deprecating their culture for not being similar to your own.

This is one of the most insulting things I have come across on this board in a long time! It is rude to Senseiman and every other foreigner, including me, who has tried / is trying to make Japan their home! If you had taken a moment to read over Senseiman's other posts, you would have realized he is not the type of person you seem to want to cast all ex-pats in Japan to be. I sincerely hope you will take the time to apologize.

Mas Oyama - you have some interesting things to say and a unique viewpoint. I think it would help keep things flowing in a productive way if the tone could be a bit less inflammatory in parts. - M
Mishima Yukio is called "last samurai", in Italy.
Another italian poet, Moravia Alberto, said :"Japan boys have eyes of warriors"; If Japan will return to his military origin, I think, he return on his real nature.
Have you ever read the code of Bushido, ever? Well here they are the seven codes.

* Justice
* Honor
* Benevolence
* Courage
* Politeness
* Veracity
* Loyalty

They go into more detail but I won't go into detail here.

What the Japanese did in World War II was not because of Bushido remember that Bushido was a code followed by samurai, the officers in the Army. The conscript Army were never indoctrinated in this. The Code of Bushido are these seven precepts. What caused the atrocities was a lack of effective Non-commissioned officers (the Sergeant ranks) and frontline officer leadership (due to a lack of trained junior officers), rather than Bushido. The same problem occured in Vietnam when Lieutenants and senior NCOs had the highest casualty rate compared to any other rank. The platoon loses its moral obligations and when junior leaders that are inexperienced are thrust into leadership positions they usually don't make right decision. And remember not all soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army committed attrocities, many German soldiers in World War II knew nothing of the death camps. Now these "nationalist" that you speak of are not nationalist but the Japanese equivalent of Neo-Nazi's. Nationalism by definition is a progressive movement of a country made possible by strong central control. Remember that the Chinese were fighting a civil war before and after World War II. They were the Communist that have eventually won and now control the country, and the Nationalist that have escaped to an island know as Taiwan. Nationalism is not the same as fascism. Fascism has put power into a very small group of people with absolute power. Nationalism can still be democratic but the federal government has much more power and influence over regional governments. The Japanese diet (parliament) makes it difficult for Koizumi to effect economic reform because the local prefectures are muddling in pork barrell politics. Nationalistic ideology can basically get these local self interest prefectures to put aside such petty things for the greater good of their country. Unique to the Japanese culture is their samurai and martial tradition. Remember the Choushuu Ishin Shishi, led by Katsura Kogorou, Takasugi Shinsaku and Kusaka Genzui who fought to modernize Japan to prevent it from becoming like China, carved by foreign power into colonies. These were Nationalist. Also samurai were those from the Tokagawa shogunate who fought to preserve their tradition and they way things are. Can you say that if the Nationalist have lost that eventually Japan would not become a colony of a foreign power. No they won and brought about the Meiji Era. Nationalism did make them imperialistic but so was much or Europe and even the United States were imperialist. The civic duty of citizens back then was try to modernize for the greater good of Japan or else occupation by a foreign power. Modern samurai's can return and clan affiliations can be used as NCO class as well as battalion or brigade as modern equivalents. However if you have made Japan your home will you fight for its defense? Answer that question for me.
If you want to talk about this "Bushido code," Japan's so-called "unique samurai and martial tradition" etc. please start another thread. We shouldn't clutter up Thomas's on things not really related to the original topic. Feel free just to copy / paste your above post in a new thread (maybe in the history and traditions forum). It won't take you more than a minute. I will be more than happy to join you on it as I have a lot to say about some of the topics you raised, as you maybe can tell.

Plus, I think other people who would find such a topic interesting won't think to look for it buried in a thread on US-Japan relations.


Originally posted by Mas Oyama, Rikidozan
However if you have made Japan your home will you fight for its defense? Answer that question for me.

What makes you think I wouldn't?
No, masoyama, as a matter of fact I haven't read the Bushido because of course it isn't a written code. At least, nobody wrote it down until relatively recently, after the decline of the samurai and it became a subject of historical interest. But as Mandylion says, perhaps this is too big a topic to be discussing in a thread that really has nothing to do with bushido.

The contradictions in your statement are bizarre. You seem to be saying that only foreigners who happen to agree with you are allowed to make any comment on Japanese society because, of course, only you are wise enough to understand Japanese honor. Am I mistaken here? Or are you willing to allow a humble civilian like myself to dare to speak his mind?

Have you ever lived in Japan? I am only asking because you write like someone who has read a lot of books about the samurai and yet has absolutely no clue about what modern Japanese society is actually like. Of course, nationalism and fascism aren't always the same things. But the FACT of modern Japanese society is that the right wing nationalists are some of the most outwardly racist, hateful, ignorant people around. The guys in black trucks with loudspeakers are not like Germany's neo-nazis. They are much more powerful, have a lot of money and are politically connected.

Your saying that nationalism is the answer to pork barrel politics is about the most naive thing I've ever heard. Prefectural governments, especially those in rural areas, rely on government handouts to keep their economies afloat. They aren't just going to voluntarily throw half of their constituents out of work just because some jackass in Tokyo tells them 'its good for the emporer' or something. And presumably if we were living in your militaristic utopia all the money being spent building highways would just go towards building missiles, which is in itself just another form of government pork that would go to whichever prefecture had the best political connections.

And talking about clan affiliations is ridiculously out of touch. This is the 21st century, not the 16th. Very few people care about that anymore. Its like saying that you should organize American society into Irish, Scottish, British and German regiments based on where people immigrated from.

Your question about whether I would fight to defend Japan doesn't make any sense either. For starters, nobody is attacking or about to attack Japan. Secondly, they don't allow foreigners into the JSDF. Thirdly, I couldn't just start fighting on my own because I don't have a gun nor do I know where I could obtain one. But, hypothetically speaking, if Godzilla and his lizard army invaded Japan tommorow and overwhelmed the SDF and the government started giving everyone, including foreigners, guns then YES, I would be willing to fight for Japan's defense.
Why would it be out of touch for clan affilitaions to arrise. Many Japanese do keep their Mon or Kannon of their families and from some of the JGSDF that I have talked to, they think that that is a good idea. (I am an US military officer stationed here in Korea and spend my 4 day weekends regularly in Japan). Hell the corporations is already the replacement for clans (Mitsubishi for example?). And you acknowledgement of organizing our regiments based on European regiments is laughable. In the US army we already have regimental affiliations and for us we get people who have their grandparents who fought in World War II who come to our organizational day (1-22 Infantry was the first to hit Normandy and we still have veterans from World War II who come during Veteran's Day). Now if the Japanese don't really care for their samurai tradition, then why are many films are about samurai? Last one I seen was Zatoichi (played by Kitano "Beat" Takeshi). Hmm....

Your post of relying of government handouts is simply welfare. In fact Japan I know for a fact is even tearing down dams because they are unnecessary, or the guy working in construction whose only job is to wave a flag. What you seem to advocate is a welfare state. Welfare states fail (does the Soviet Union ring a bell, how about North Korea, China? well lets just say that with their economic reforms you really can't say that they are a welfare state). I endorse a workfare state. Japan's economy is still weak because of weak banks and their refusal or rather slow to change proposed by Koizumi. Government handouts is not the answer. Welfare in the US only people that won't work and live off of government handouts. Hmm..... So guess what we changed many welfare programs in many states and guess what we didn't get mass starvation now did we. No significant reduction of population in America. No.... we got them to WORK and FIND JOBS.

And for me it is not militarism that I advocate but rather civil duty. Much like Robert Heinlein's ideal. Citizens that don't contribute to federal service in any way will take their freedoms for granted. Hell I believe that here in America we should all do some kind of federal service to gain citizenship. That is honor. In South Korea where military service is mandatory for males there is significantly less crime than in the US.

Also you are WRONG about Bushido not being written down recently. Budo Shoshinshu (often translated as "Code of the Warrior," it might also be called "A Primer on [the] Japanese Martial Arts") is a book written by Daidoji Yuzan Taira no Shigesuke was written and discussed during the middle to late Edo period (1603 - 1867). But this forum is not a topic on Bushido.

And instead of Godzilla how about an attack by Al Qaida or North Korea? I remember how recently about something from Al Qaida disrupting the Nikkei over a supposed threat. Hmm.... I can tell you right now that in South Korea we are already beginning the withdrawal of US ground troops (7000 in fact) as the beginning of the eventual drawdown to focus on Iraq and Afghanistan. Want more details, go to the Washington Times and read about it. Eventually Japan will need to have their Army for them to defend themselves, we won't be in Japan forever.

I also find is so ironic that you don't like my posts because of what I say. Fine you don't have to like them as I don't have to like yours. That is FREEDOM. You can say whatever you like as do I. You can say how you like to as well do I. Don't be thin-skinned about it. If you think that I am just a crazy guy in this forum. Then fine to you I am. I am only writing what I think you can't censor what I have to say and neither can I censor yours. FREEEEEEEDOMMMMM!!!!! 👍
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