Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Encircling China: Nuclear Option

Launched from -- where else -- Japan:

"Kaname Harada, 99, Pearl Harbor pilot who became pacifist" by Sam Roberts New York Times   May 07, 2016

NEW YORK — Kaname Harada, a former fighter ace who was believed to be the last surviving combat pilot to fly for Japan at Pearl Harbor, and who became an apostle of pacifism a half-century later out of remorse over the deaths he caused, died Tuesday in Nagano, northwest of Tokyo. He was 99. 

One could say he blazed a trail. 

There are certain others I wished had followed.

His daughter, Chiyoko Tanaka, confirmed his death.

Rather than waiting until he was drafted, Mr. Harada enlisted in the Japanese Marines in 1933 when he was barely 17. After transferring to flight school and becoming a pilot, he was credited by Japan with shooting down nine Chinese, British, and American aircraft on his own. He also shared 10 downings with other pilots in combat over Manchuria, Ceylon, Midway, and Guadalcanal from 1937 to 1942.

“He was Japan’s oldest ace,” said Dan King, the author of “The Last Zero Fighter: Firsthand Accounts From WWII Japanese Naval Pilots,” published in 2012. King described Mr. Harada as the last surviving Zero combat pilot who flew in the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, although that could not be independently verified.

Mr. Harada himself said he had flown at Pearl Harbor and recalled being disappointed at the time that his mission was to protect Japanese carriers rather than to participate in the devastating raid on the American fleet. 

It wasn't as much of a surprise as first reported, and would be impossible today.

Wounded the next year when he crash-landed at Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, he returned to Japan to train pilots for suicide missions against American targets.

After the war he became a farmer, but he hid in fear from American occupiers and was plagued by nightmares.

“I realized the war had turned me into a killer of men,” he told Martin Fackler last year in a profile in The New York Times, “and that was not the kind of person I wanted to be.”

He added: “I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed. They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”

“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he said, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”

Which is why I judge lying, power-hungry leaders most harshly.

His wife suggested that he assuage his guilt by opening a kindergarten.

“If you want to atone for the lives you have taken, what better way is there than to nurture new lives?” he quoted her as saying in a documentary on his life, “Each and Every Battlefield,” released in Japan last year.

Pretty good advice, and Gandhi would have approved.

The couple started a nursery to support local mothers in 1965, and a kindergarten four years later.

Mr. Harada visited Pearl Harbor in 1991, on the 50th anniversary of the airstrike. It was not until then, he said, that he learned that the raid had been a sneak attack and that Japan had at that point not formally declared war on the United States.

He said it was only after the Persian Gulf war that year, when the United States forced Iraqi troops to withdraw from Kuwait, that he could bring himself to speak publicly about his own wartime experience. He said he was appalled that Japanese teenagers were describing the conflict in the Mideast as if it were a video game.

“Until I die, I will tell about what I saw,” Mr. Harada said. “Never forgetting is the best way to protect our children and our children’s children from the horrors of war.”

It's either something that has been forgotten or willfully discarded up at the top there.

He was born in Asajawa, an alpine village in Nagano Prefecture, in 1916. In 1937, he graduated first in his flight school class.

Mr. Harada was among more than 300 pilots whom the Japanese cited as World War II aces, an honorific usually reserved for those who have downed five or more enemy aircraft.

Last year, addressing several hundred accountants and their clients in Nagano, Mr. Harada said that his bitter experiences and those of other aging veterans had contributed to Japan’s aversion to war since 1945.

“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he said. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

But he acknowledged that some conservatives in the Japanese government had been rethinking the country’s pacifist path.

“These politicians were born after the war,” he said, “and so they don’t understand it must be avoided at all costs. In this respect, they are like our prewar leaders.”

No people on this planet would know more.


I'll be late to my own funeral because of this, but....

WWII bomber veteran revisiting a difficult past
Decades after death in WWII, a son of New Orleans comes home
47 years later, Navy officer’s family accepts Purple Heart

He died at sea in a plane crash that killed him.

Mitsubishi Materials Apologizes to Chinese World War II Laborers

This post is off to a very good start! 

In Hiroshima, Obama should celebrate the friendship that the A-bomb made possible

Proving the old cliche, "good things never last," and that idea is so far beyond me it's frightening to think such an idea could even remotely cross the echelons of pre$$ and power.

"Obama will ‘‘highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,’’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. While it scarred a generation of Japanese, many Americans believe the bombing, along with another Aug. 9 on the city of Nagasaki miles away, hastened the end of the war, an act believed to have saved American lives."

Okay, first of all is the historic myth they are operating under there. The demand for unconditional surrender did that, and afterwards the Japanese were allowed to keep the emperor so they would remain compliant under U.S. occupation. That's number one.

Two is the fact that along with the nuclear bombs, Japan's cities had been firebombed into rubble. Turns out it was Russia's entry into the war in the Pacific that forced their hand. 

None of those facts absolve Japanese brutality during their occupations; however, it gives more context to the Good Guy-Bad Guy presentations in AmeriKan history books regarding the "Good War" -- where it turns out there was no good side and plenty of barbarism and atrocities to be spread around. It's only loser that are charged with war crimes.

The third thing is the utter spectacle of the man's pre$$ sec saying such a thing when his boss has ordered a trillion (with a T) dollar modernization while claiming a reduction.

What's the Japanese word for chutzpah anyway?

Those two single greatest war criminal acts in all history scarred more than a generation.

"What about us, some in Nagasaki ask, as Obama’s Hiroshima trip nears" by Motoko Rich New York Times  May 24, 2016

NAGASAKI, Japan — When Miyako Jodai was 6 years old, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on her hometown, the port city of Nagasaki.

She was knocked unconscious, and her home was destroyed. She spent the next several days huddling with dozens of others in a cave.

If it happens here we will all have to hide in Kentucky.

The bomb dropped on Nagasaki the morning of Aug. 9, 1945, killed about 74,000 people, about half as many as those who died in the bombing of Hiroshima three days earlier.

On Friday, President Obama will become the first sitting American president since the end of World War II to visit Hiroshima.

While invoking Hiroshima has become a universal shorthand for the horrors of nuclear war, Nagasaki has mostly lived in the other city’s shadow.

I don't even like talking about it or having the idea or thought out there aloud, really. Makes me feel like the globe-kicking war-planners are considering it.

Yet many in Nagasaki recognize that Hiroshima, in some ways, stands in for both cities. They say the message they want the world to take from Obama’s visit — that nuclear weapons must never again be used — does not require that he set foot in their city. 

Got it and I agree!!

Taue suggested that Nagasaki could also serve as a potent coda to Hiroshima’s opening of the nuclear age. “I would like the president to say, from Nagasaki to the world, that this site should be the last place on earth to experience the atomic bombing,” he said.

That Nagasaki was bombed second has made it an afterthought in the history of and debate over nuclear weapons, even though many historians argue that the bombing was harder to justify precisely because it was a repeated act.

That's why it is an afterthought.

If one accepts President Harry S. Truman’s rationale that the Hiroshima bombing was necessary to force Japan’s surrender and end the war, the moral calculus for dropping a second bomb on a civilian population three days later is more contentious.

I'll never accept a rationale for something that was not needed, and they knew was not needed. I'm sure the times and all that, but to me even that is no longer an excuse.  

I wasn't even born yet and had nothing to do with any of it and I still feel a need to profusely apologize to Japan for what my government did in my name before I even existed.

Close to 700,000 people a year visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, compared with nearly 1.5 million at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, where Obama will lay a wreath on Friday.

As Japan wrestles with its own history of wartime atrocities, and as scholars and politicians here and in the United States continue to debate the use of the atomic bomb, Nagasaki, in many ways, offers a more complex narrative than Hiroshima does....

Will it take 70 years for AmeriKan leadership to face up to what it has done? 

If so, I will no longer be here to bandy it back and forth with you.


All history now, right?

The Bo$ton Globe tells me the stakes are high:

"Presidential stakes are high for nuclear arsenal" May 24, 2016

Aside from anniversaries, Americans don’t think much about nuclear weapons today. Perhaps it is the cultural hangover from the Cold War, which often seemed to test the limits of how much fear societies could endure. Perhaps with the bombing of Hiroshima passing from living memory, we’ve simply lost the vocabulary for talking about the mechanics of midnight, as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists famously christened the end of the world.

Instead, what is left is the absurdist shorthand: “the finger on the button.” What that cliched phrase means today is this: The US president could order a nuclear strike on, say Moscow, and the 12 million inhabitants there would be incinerated about 15 minutes later. Today, the United States has more than 7,000 nuclear weapons. Of those, 2,000 are deployed, which means they can be launched on a 15-minute alert on the authority of one human being.

This has to be leading towards some sort of anti-Trump thing, right?

Nine months after Obama’s finger was first placed on the button, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in part for his stated goals of nuclear nonproliferation. The administration’s deal with Iran and its efforts to get more than a dozen nations to surrender bomb-grade material are important steps toward checking the spread of cataclysmic weapons.

Have they asked Israel for theirs?

At the same time, however, the Obama administration oversaw the development of the B61 model 12,  a new nuclear weapon that is small, accurate, and adaptable. In truth, this is what might be called a contradiction bomb: It is the most expensive nuclear weapon project in history, yet it is intentionally designed to get the least bang for the buck. It is a nuclear weapon that looks and feels and can be used like a conventional smart bomb. This ease — even plausibility — of use is what makes this weapon so dangerous.

The Pentagon is also in the process of taking advantage of the already extreme accuracy of missile warheads by changing their fusing mechanisms so as to increase their ability to successfully destroy the hardest targets by a factor of three. This program will vastly increase the killing power of the entire missile arsenal and, in so doing, create the appearance that the United States is preparing to fight and win a nuclear war against Russia.

(Blog editor's eyes popped out of his head when he saw that. Are they nuts?)

Americans today have lots of pressing concerns — paying their bills, paying their debts, deciding whom to vote for.

Which brings us to — Donald Trump.

I knew it, I knew it.

Just because one political party feels that Trump is the most suitable soul to command the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal doesn’t mean the wider electorate should lose sight of the stakes.

President Richard Nixon was famous for his “madman” theory of foreign policy, whereby his administration tried to convince leaders of enemy nations that he was mentally unstable and thus not to be antagonized. 

Yeah, I mentioned that in my whole role of posts capping off the conventions last month. 

Good a thing a woman would never commit to such a thing.

Should he win in November, Trump will have to go to extraordinary lengths to persuade friend and foe alike that he is both predictable and worthy of trust. The fate of nations may depend on it....

Based on the current news coverage he isn't doing a very good job, and there are others screaming about the possibility that it could be Hillary who has to use them to prove she has the balls to wage war.



"If the United States wants other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and restrain their nuclear war plans, it must take the lead. It cannot preach nuclear temperance from a bar stool. Instead of wasting billions of dollars on dangerous new nuclear weapons that do nothing to keep our nation safe, Obama should scale back his nuclear weapons expansion plan. The United States already has the world’s most powerful military capabilities; it does not need any new nuclear weapons. Instead of lighting the match that could ignite a new nuclear arms race, the United States should lead the world in reducing the threat of nuclear war. Obama’s so-called nuclear modernization plan will end up costing US taxpayers nearly $1 trillion over 30 years. Obama must rein in this nuclear spending insanity."

We all know he is talking out of both sides of his mouth, which is why we have stopped listening.

Obama, in Japan, emphasizes lingering threat of nuclear war 

Yeah, “North Korea is the big worry.”

At Hiroshima memorial, Obama says nuclear arms require ‘moral revolution’

He (and they) are the last ones that should be leading it.

"A new Pentagon census of the American nuclear arsenal shows his administration has reduced the stockpile less than any other post-Cold War presidency. Still, Obama called for humanity to change its mind-set about war. Obama not only did not apologize, he made it clear that Japan, despite a highly advanced culture, was to blame for the war, which “grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes.”

Or made people try to build and maintain empires.

I'm sorry, but that guy is either completely delusional and divorced from the decisions he has made as president, or he is an effing piece of work.

Or maybe he just had too much sake, 'eh? 

"Former US Marine arrested in Okinawa killing" by Anna Fifield Washington Post  May 21, 2016

TOKYO — An American military contractor has been arrested in Okinawa in connection with the murder of a local woman, a case that has reignited anti-US sentiment on the southern Japanese island and will cast a shadow over President Obama’s visit to Japan next week.

The alleged stabbing has already had significant political effects, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying Friday that he feels “strong resentment” over the case and his government summoning US ambassador Caroline Kennedy.

“This is going to have a massive impact on Okinawa. It’s the kind of crime that will evoke memories of 1995,” said Daniel Sneider, a Japan expert at Stanford University.

He was referring to the brutal incident in which three US servicemen abducted and raped a 12-year-old Okinawa girl, a case that became a lightning rod for anti-American sentiment on the island, which remains home to the majority of US military bases in Japan, 70 years after the end of World War II.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the US government is going to have to move very quickly to deal with this event. It will certainly be raised while the president is here,” Sneider said.

Obama is due to arrive this week for the G-7 summit, hosted by Japan, and will then make a historic visit to Hiroshima, the site of the devastating atomic bomb attack.

Okinawa police have arrested Kenneth Shinzato, a 32-year-old former US Marine Corps who was working as a computer and electrical contractor on the Kadena air base, in relation to the murder of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro.

Shimabukuro’s body was found in a forest in the village of Onna, near where Shinzato told police they would find her, according to local news reports. She appeared to have been stabbed, they said.

Shinzato, a civilian employee born Kenneth Franklin Gadson but who took his wife’s name when they got married, reportedly told police he dumped Shimabukuro’s body in a wooded area after she stopped moving. Shinzato also has been charged with abandoning a body.

Shimabukuro had last been heard of April 28, when she sent her boyfriend a message saying she was going for a walk.

Shinzato’s vehicle appeared in security camera footage from the area at the time the victim was last seen, and DNA tests showed his vehicle held some of her blood.

Multiple news reports said Shinzato, who lives near the base with his wife and baby, tried to commit suicide earlier this week.

While Shinzato was no longer a member of the US Marine Corps, he was employed as a contractor and was included in the Status of Forces Agreement that protects Americans working for the military in Japan.

The agreement stipulates that Japan cannot prosecute people affiliated with the United States for crimes committed during the course of their work. But even though this alleged murder would not be classified as work-related, it is already raising questions about why a person who has a civilian job would enjoy the protections of the deal in the first place.

The world of war and contracted mercenaries is often murky in my ma$$ media.

The continued presence of American forces in Okinawa is already hugely controversial, with the governor, Takeshi Onaga, leading the charge to stop the construction of a new Marine air station on the island and force the current one to close down. There are regular protests against the American military there. 

That astonishes me. 

Who wouldn't want U.S. troops on their soil?

The conflict is a major thorn in the side of the government in Tokyo, which wants to press ahead with the construction as part of its security alliance with the United States. 

If they want us to leave I think we should leave.

Onaga told reporters in Okinawa that he felt “extreme sorrow” over the incident. “I don’t know what to do with this anger,” he said.

Dozens of people demonstrated in front of Camp Schwab, the site of the new Marine Corps air station, Friday. “The bases are the source of crime. We don’t need any bases,” Noriko Shido, a 66-year-old protester, told the Mainichi Shimbun.

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Abe held a special meeting of Okinawa-related ministers over the murder case. “I will urge the US side to make a rigorous response, such as the implementation of thorough preventive measures,” Abe said. 

That's same old, same old.

Separately, foreign minister Fumio Kishida called Kennedy to his office, and defense minister Gen Nakatani met with Lieutenant General John Dolan, the commander of the US forces in Japan, to lodge protests.

Obama is due in Japan this week and is scheduled to visit Hiroshima on May 27, a trip that is much anticipated in Japan.

Josh Earnest, the president’s spokesman, said the murder case was “a terrible tragedy and an outrage.”

“The United States is treating this situation with the utmost seriousness, and the United States military is cooperating fully with local authorities in their investigation,” he said Thursday.


Time for some prohibitions:

"After crash, US enacts alcohol ban on sailors in Japan" by Jonathan Soble New York Times   June 07, 2016

TOKYO — The US Navy imposed a drinking ban Monday on its roughly 19,000 personnel in Japan, ordering them confined to their bases after a sailor who was thought to have been drinking was arrested on the island of Okinawa in connection with a car accident that left two Japanese civilians injured.

The accident on Saturday occurred at a tense time for the US military in Japan, and especially on Okinawa, a small southern island that is home to about half of the 50,000 US soldiers and sailors stationed in the country.

The US forces on Okinawa were already under curfew after a Marine veteran who was working as a civilian contractor at a base there was arrested last month in connection with the killing of a local woman.

The arrest caused a public outcry and prompted US commanders to impose a 30-day nighttime curfew on military personnel on the island and to prohibit their drinking in public.

Resentment against the US presence has been on the rise on Okinawa, fueled by concerns over crime and by an unpopular plan to build a new Marine Corps airfield in the northern part of the island.

It's not just Okinawa; it seems to be all across the planet these days. 

In local elections Sunday, voters gave an expanded majority in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to politicians who oppose the airfield and want to reduce the US military presence.

The Japanese foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, raised the possibility of the accident being the result of drunken driving with the US ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, the Foreign Ministry said.

The defense minister, Gen Nakatani, called the case “extremely regrettable,” according to members of the Japanese news media who were traveling with him to a meeting of security officials in Singapore.

The police identified the sailor involved in the car accident as Petty Officer Second Class Aimee Mejia, 21. They said her car had crossed the centerline of a highway shortly before midnight Saturday and had struck two other vehicles.

Mejia was not hurt, but a 35-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man in the other cars were, the police said.

Mejia was in police custody Monday but has not been formally charged, a development that can take several weeks in Japan.

Lieutenant General John L. Dolan, commander of US forces in Japan, said the military had “zero tolerance for driving under the influence,” and that any member of the military convicted of doing so “faces severe consequences.”

“We deeply regret this incident and express our heartfelt sympathies for the accident victims and their families,” Dolan said. “We wish them a fast recovery. The sailor is in Japanese police custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and we are cooperating fully with this investigation.”

That's a switch, seeing as the U.S. government has always made Japan bend low in apology for Pearl Harbor with it never being good enough. Kind of like the old Catholic guilt trip thing.

Under the expanded curfew order issued Monday, all Navy personnel are forbidden from drinking either on or off base and are required to be on base or at home except to perform “essential” activities such as commuting.

The order was not the first curfew or drinking restriction issued by the US military in Japan, but it was the broadest in a number of years.


I don't drink, so....

Time to lighten up:

"US military lifts some restrictions on sailors in Japan" by Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press  June 10, 2016

TOKYO — The Navy lifted some restrictions on off-base activity in Japan on Friday but maintained a prohibition on alcohol consumption as the military tries to repair aggravated relations with a Japanese public outraged by recent alleged crimes.

US Naval Forces Japan said in a statement that sailors are now allowed to leave base when they are off-duty. The restrictions were imposed Monday following the weekend arrest of a US sailor for alleged drunken driving.

In a separate case, Japanese police on Thursday said a US military contractor arrested on suspicion of abandoning the body of a young woman in Okinawa is now officially the prime suspect in her murder and rape.

The arrest took up a significant part of a Japan-US summit that was held a week later, causing President Obama to apologize. The US military in Okinawa issued an order two days later restricting celebrations and off-base drinking.

Police arrested 32-year-old Kenneth Shinzato, who is also a former Marine, on May 19 after he told investigators where they could find the woman’s body in a forest, three weeks after she disappeared. An autopsy on the decomposed body could not determine the cause of death.

Police said that Shinzato hit the 20-year-old woman on the head with a club, dragged her into the woods, and raped her, while strangling her and stabbing her with a knife. Kyodo News service reported that Shinzato told police that he drove around for a few hours to find an assault target.

Born Kenneth Gadson, he is married to a Japanese woman and used her family name, Shinzato. He worked at Kadena Air Base as an employee for a contractor that provides services to US bases on Okinawa.

Tensions were already high over a plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station to a less-populated part of Okinawa. About half of about 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan are on the island, and many residents resent the burden they bear for the defense of Japan and the region. They want the air station to be moved off Okinawa. 

Don't they want protection from North Korea, or are they not worried about that?

The Futenma relocation is part of a broader plan to reduce the impact of US military bases that was triggered by the 1995 gang rape of a teenage girl by three American servicemen. The latest murder has sparked calls for a further reduction of American bases, as well as a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement, under which the handover of suspects accused of crimes while on duty or on base to Japanese authorities is not compulsory.

Doesn't the U.S. have enough islands in the Pacific? 

Do they really need to be on Okinawa?



"The preliminary deal, announced by the US ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, follows a bout of public outrage over crimes linked to US military personnel and contractors. It appeared intended to quell rising anger especially on the island of Okinawa."

The US is “always 20 years ahead of Japan” -- except when it comes to withdrawing its forces.

"65,000 call for removal of US bases on Okinawa" by Jonathan Soble New York Times  June 20, 2016

TOKYO — About 65,000 people on the Japanese island of Okinawa gathered Sunday to demand the removal of United States military bases in what organizers said was the largest demonstration against the US presence there in two decades.

Good thing Obama got outta town.

The protest, in Naha, the capital of Okinawa prefecture, was billed as a memorial for a 20-year-old woman who was found dead last month. A US Marine veteran who was working as a civilian contractor on the island has been arrested in connection with the killing, prompting a public outcry.

The crowd estimate provided by organizers would make it the largest demonstration since 1995, when two US Marines and a Navy sailor were arrested over the rape of a 12-year-old girl, an episode that shook the tight military alliance between the United States and Japan.

Separate estimates of the crowd’s size from the police or the Japanese news media were not immediately available.

“Vicious crimes cannot be tolerated,” the governor of Okinawa, Takeshi Onaga, was quoted by the Japanese news media as saying during a speech at the rally on Sunday. Onaga wants the US military presence reduced, a position that Japanese newspaper opinion surveys and recent election results indicate is shared by an increasing number of residents.

Onaga told the crowd at the rally that he wanted to apologize to the woman for failing to protect her, even after what happened in 1995.

‘‘We had pledged never to repeat such an incident,’’ he said. ‘‘I couldn’t change the political system to prevent that. That is my utmost regret as a politician and as governor of Okinawa.’’

About 1.4 million people live on Okinawa. Among them are roughly 50,000 Americans, the majority connected to the military.

With just a sliver of Japan’s total landmass, Okinawa is home to about half the US soldiers and sailors stationed in Japan. Of the acreage in Japan taken up by US bases, about three-quarters is on the island, a share that Onaga and his supporters say is unfairly large.

US forces on Okinawa are under a 30-day curfew, billed by their commanders as a “mourning period,” in response to the recent killing. They are prohibited from drinking in public and must be back on their bases or at home at night.

The Navy imposed a separate, stricter drinking ban on all its personnel in Japan this month, after a sailor who was thought to have been drinking was arrested on Okinawa over a car accident that left two Japanese civilians injured. That ban has since been eased.

The sailor was accused of driving the wrong way on a freeway and crashing into two vehicles.

Resentment against the US presence has been on the rise in Okinawa, driven by concerns over crime and by an unpopular plan to build a new Marine Corps airfield in the northern part of the island.

In local elections this month, voters gave an expanded majority in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to politicians who oppose the airfield and want to reduce the US military presence.

Defenders of the military point to statistics that show US soldiers and sailors in Okinawa are charged with crimes by the Japanese authorities at lower rates than locals.

The numbers are difficult to weigh, however, because US personnel spend only part of their time under Japanese legal jurisdiction. Their bases are, in effect, US territory.

Onaga has been seeking to forge a broad political coalition to reduce the US presence. But he is opposed by the national government in Tokyo, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a conservative who has been working to strengthen ties with Washington.

Abe argues that any perceived weakening of the alliance would only embolden Japan’s regional rival, China.

Onaga hails from the same political party as Abe, the Liberal Democratic Party, but broke with it over the base issue.

The party’s Okinawan wing has been more sympathetic to the governor, but it declined to endorse the protest rally on Sunday, leaving organizers dependent on a more traditional antibase coalition of communists and socialists.

A separate rally was held Sunday in front of the prime minister’s residence in Tokyo, drawing about 10,000 people, timed to show support for the Okinawa rally, the Associated Press reported.

The US military has periodically tried to ease tensions on Okinawa, and says the crime rate among its ranks is lower than among the general public.

Last month, Lieutenant General Lawrence Nicholson, the commanding general of Marine Forces Japan, stressed the importance of the bilateral alliance.

‘‘Please do not allow this terrible act of violence to drive a wedge between our two communities,’’ he said on Okinawa, referring to the woman’s death.

They took a couple of atom bombs down the old kisser, I suppose they can handle this.


Sometimes protests can get you what you want:

"US to give back 9,900 acres on Okinawa to Japan" Bloomberg News  July 29, 2016

The United States will return 9,900 acres on Okinawa to Japan — the largest hand-back since the island reverted to Japanese control in 1972.

The military will return part of the Northern Training Area, reducing the amount of US-administered land by 17 percent, US Forces Japan said Friday. The area has been used for jungle-warfare training.

‘‘The US is granted the right to certain exclusive-use facilities for the purpose of the defense of Japan and maintenance of peace and security in the Far East,’’ said Major General Charles Chiarotti, deputy commander of US forces in Japan. ‘‘Under the treaty, once facilities or areas are no longer necessary to meet those ends, they will be returned to Japanese government.”

‘‘The construction of several replacement helicopter landing zones to consolidate training within other existing areas will allow the return,’’ he said.

The move could help ease opposition to the US presence, especially after recent incidents such as the arrest of a US citizen working at a military base in connection with a Japanese woman’s death. That event led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lodge a direct protest with President Obama.

The U.S. also apologized for Iwo Jima and the Doolittle Raid.


RelatedAt least 19 killed, about 20 injured in knifing near Tokyo

Someone always has to spoil the party.

"Knife Attacker Wanted to Rid Japan of the Disabled, Authorities Say" by Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press  July 27, 2016

SAGAMIHARA, Japan — Security camera footage played on TV news programs showed details of the attack, including whether the victims were asleep or otherwise helpless, were not immediately known.

Not much is known yet about his background, but 26-year-old Satoshi Uematsu once dreamed of becoming a teacher. In two group photos posted on his Facebook, he looks happy, smiling widely with other young men, but somewhere along the way, things went terribly awry.

In February, Uematsu tried to hand-deliver a letter to Parliament’s lower house speaker that revealed his dark turmoil. It demanded that all disabled people be put to death through ‘‘a world that allows for mercy killing,’’ Kyodo news agency and TBS TV reported.

Uematsu boasted in the letter that he had the ability to kill 470 disabled people in what he called ‘‘a revolution,’’ and outlined an attack on two facilities, after which he said he will turn himself in. He also asked he be judged innocent on grounds of insanity, be given $5 million in aid and plastic surgery so he could lead a normal life afterward.

‘‘My reasoning is that I may be able to revitalize the world economy and I thought it may be possible to prevent World War III,’’ the letter says.

The letter was delivered before Uematsu’s last day of work at the facility, but it was unclear whether the letter played a role in his firing, or even if his superiors had known about it....

That's about the time I disabled myself of reading this slop.



"The emperor’s role is now entirely ceremonial. Until the end of World War II, the Japanese public revered the emperor as a demigod, and he served as commander in chief of the army. After Hirohito surrendered at the end of World War II, the country’s US occupiers stripped him of all political authority. Today, many Japanese still hold Akihito, 82, who in 1989 succeeded his father, the wartime Emperor Hirohito, in high regard."

The report that “he’s getting old” was denied, but not the reports of disability.

Those who wield real power in Japan:

Japan’s ruling coalition wins election, promises revival

"Japan election, a landslide for Abe, could allow a bolder military" by Motoko Rich New York Times   July 11, 2016

TOKYO — Even by the standards of Japanese politics, Abe’s landslide victory in national elections Sunday was stunning — a supermajority that could allow Abe to realize his long-held ambition of revising the clause in the constitution that renounces war and make Japan a military power capable of global leadership. 

Another rig job! 

What do they use, Diebold machines over there?

Opinion polls show only lackluster support for Abe’s security agenda or even his program to revitalize the Japanese economy, but the public appeared unwilling to take another chance on the opposition Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party stumbled badly in its last stint in power, notably in its response to the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ooooh! I think I just heard a HAARP in addition to that quick flit of a word rarely mentioned these days!

The vote for stability at home, though, is likely to provoke unease across Asia, where memories of Japanese militarism in World War II endure and the prospect of a more assertive Japan will add to worries over China’s territorial ambitions and North Korea’s nuclear program.

In China, Xinhua, the state news agency, warned in a commentary Monday that the election results “could pose a danger to Japan and regional stability.”

Analysts say Abe’s governing coalition will not be able to push through constitutional revisions immediately, given that some of the partners have differing opinions on what needs to be amended and how.

The Liberal Democrats’ main ally, a small Buddhist party, has said that it opposes changes to the clause that renounces war. On Monday, Abe said that he intended to press for debate on constitutional revision, though he acknowledged that “it’s not so easy.”

Why do they no longer want to set an example for the world?

Abe’s party has also recommended amendments to the clause on freedom of speech and the press that could limit these rights in cases deemed dangerous to the public interest. Another would expand emergency powers for the prime minister. Any revision would have to be approved by a majority in a referendum....


A referendum that could be easily rigged.


Meet the new Tojo:

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised new government spending to help jolt Asia’s second-biggest economy back to life now that his Liberal Democratic Party has won in parliamentary elections. Investors are betting he’ll keep flooding the market with money by expanding bond purchases."

How much is that going to cost

May have to once again move the Japanese inland or render them to Africa

Time to end as we began and let the bells toll:

"Michelle McNamara, 46, writer and wife of Patton Oswald" by Mark Kennedy Associated Press  May 03, 2016

NEW YORK — Michelle McNamara, a crime writer and wife of comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, died April 21 at her home in Los Angeles, according to Oswalt’s publicist. She was 46.

Kevin McLaughlin of Main Stage Public Relations said that Ms. McNamara died in her sleep. No cause was given, but McLaughlin said her death ‘‘was a complete shock to her family and friends, who loved her dearly.’’

Ms. McNamara founded the website True Crime Diary, which covers both breaking stories and cold cases.

In a 2007 online interview, she said she started the blog almost as a lark.

She didn’t focus on the big celebrity murder cases but ones that were smaller and out of the public eye....

It looks like she stumbled on one that became a case of its own.


Also see:

Comedian Patton Oswalt remembers wife in touching essay

Angela Paton, 86, ‘Groundhog Day’ actress

Peace sells, but whose buying?

Hopes for peace dim

Not here because I've long since stopped hoping for peace in the form of a war pre$$. 

"Samuel Billy Kyles, 81, witness to MLK’s last moments" by Sam Roberts New York Times  May 02, 2016

The Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles picked out a necktie for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to wear to dinner.

When they finally emerged from the room, on a second-floor balcony, King was gunned down by a sniper from across the street.

Father Kyles died Tuesday, at 81, in a Memphis hospital. He was the last surviving witness to that motel-room conversation (Abernathy died in 1990) and, from the balcony, to King’s assassination.

Father Kyles vividly recalled that evening in the documentary film “The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306,” which was nominated for an Oscar in 2009, and in an interview for a publication put out by the Funders’ Network, a group of grant makers.

He remembered emerging from the room with King around 5:45. Hoping to keep the 6 p.m. dinner appointment, Father Kyles was trying to hurry him to a white Cadillac, borrowed from a local funeral home, that was waiting for them in the courtyard below.

“You’re not dressed for dinner,” King yelled down to another aide, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

He was an angry man.

From the courtyard, Jackson introduced King to Ben Branch, a local bandleader. (Andrew Young and Hosea Williams were also part of the entourage.)

King was talking to Branch over the balcony railing when a single rifle shot — “kuh-PIE-yah!” was how Father Kyles described the sound — reverberated from across the street.

“I thought I was having a nightmare, but the nightmare was that I was awake,” Father Kyles said. “And then we looked, and there was blood. So much blood.”

King’s murder shocked the world, provoked riots in many of the nation’s cities, and devastated Memphis emotionally. On April 8, tens of thousands of demonstrators silently marched to honor King’s memory.

That May, caravans of protesters converged on Washington for King’s Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice.


“Yes, you can kill the dreamer. Absolutely, you can kill the dreamer. But you cannot kill the dream.”

Dr. Murray A. Straus, 89; UNH researcher studied violence

Father Raymond Helmick, 84, traveled world for peace

Patricia Derian, 86, civil rights activist

Marcus Gordon, 84, judge in ‘Mississippi Burning’ trial

Betsy Sawyer, 60; helped create ‘Big Book’ of peace letters

She was apparently a fascist.

“It’s just sad . . . I just cried and prayed. There’s nothing else you can really do.”

Except get feisty and feeling good!

Donnovan Hill, 18; sought football safety after injury

The game any Safer these days?