Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tanaka Satoshi: The Aftermath

As expected, from the way that the Japanese media interpreted Defense Ministry Okinawa Tanaka Satoshi's off-the-record gross comment (the Mainichi Shimbun's English version euphemistically refers to it as "indiscreet" (E)) Defense Minister Ichikawa Yasuo had no choice but to relieve Tanaka of his duties (E). Tanaka now claims that he cannot remember using the loaded term "okasu" in offering an explanation why there has been no announcement of the date of the release of the environmental impact report on the building of a Futenma Replacement Facility at Henoko (J).

As for the tenuous entente the Noda government was trying to establish with Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu (E) over the move of elements of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, it is now in tatters. "Moving Futenma is now impossible, isn't it?" the Mainichi Shimbun has a senior Ministry of Defense official saying (J).

Over in Washington, DC, the Japan Desks at the State Department and the Defense Department must be, shall we say, "perturbed" over the events of the last two days.


Philippe said...

Is it that the Japanese side is, in fact, quite happy with the turn of events ? Not officially, of course, we're in polite company. It gives them a very good reason to postpone the start of actually implementing the plan(s). Given some documented (growing ?) opposition to that move in the US congress and/or senate, maybe the US side won't be too unhappy either.

Joe said...

From all the news I saw today, everyone in Japan is focusing on the comments ("Oh, he shouldn't have said that; it's insulting to Okinawans because of the rape incident in 1995"), no one seems to be asking why he said it.

Basically, it tells me the environmental aspect of the base move is going to be a bloody nightmare. But no one wants to talk about that.

OW said...

just a question, but since this was off the record and i guess no audio has come out or tanaka wouldn't be saying he didnt remember using a loaded word like okasu, any chance this is another exaggerated hit job like the one on hachiro yoshio?

i mean i dont know who would or why, just that it does seem crazy to me that a politician would use such language, off the record or not. i mean how does someone with such poor judgement rise to such a position?

and since i learned more about what happened with hachiro i find it hard to trust the japanese media at all anymore. the more i learn about japan the less credibility any kind of authority there seems to have. it's like china but they pretend to have a democracy.

Anonymous said...

There may have been a very small window of opportunity to implement the move of Futenma, before the issue was turned into an impossible exercise, guaranteed to fail governments and officials. It should be obvious to any objective observer that the political price to go through with the Henoko solution is too high, not just in attainment, but by the damage resulting from the pursuit. Since there is no mainland solution (a given, though there are plenty of scantly used regional runways, including the one in Osaka bay that would be physically suitable), alternatives must be found. I still suspect that Darwin was discovered for this reason. Darwin may be further away from any potential areas of hostile deployment than is Guam. But where else is there a willing host country/government and appears to be outside territorial USA to satisfy the need for the marines to continue to appear as though they are necessary and is in the approximate time zone of areas of concern? Military strategies are just going to have to be accommodated around bases that are situated where there is hospitality. The real wars will be fought by surrogates and drones, if not by men in suits and ties.