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March 2016 Public Forum Topic Analysis – Okinawa

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Video Transcript

Hello I’m Nikko and welcome to another topic analysis from Debate Clash, we’re dedicated to providing forensics resources to every student that needs them. If you want to learn, you should have the ability to.

In this video we’ll be looking at the resolution Resolved: The United States should withdraw its military presence from Okinawa. We’ll start by defining what the resolution is talking about and then addressing the major arguments you’ll be seeing this March.

Keep in mind that this video is purely for brainstorming purposes only. Please do not use Debate Clash as source in your rounds.

Defining the resolution.

The first part of the resolution, “The United States” simply tells us that the United States are the only ones that are performing the action in the resolution.

The action is “Should withdraw its military presence.” I take this to mean that the United States will take out any and all of it’s equipment, troops, and personnel, but in the spirit of forensics everything is debatable.

The region they are leaving is Okinawa. Okinawa is a small island that is about 500 sq miles large and located on on the southern islands of Japan.

I highly suggest pulling up a map of East Asia and seeing exactly where this island is located. Save or print that map so that you can refer to it in your rounds and get a better image as to what arguments your opponents are making when they refer to other countries in the region.

It’s also important to understand the history of Okinawa before going into your rounds. The simplistic genesis of Okinawa includes the United States brutally taking the island over in 1945 and Japan giving the US permission to have military presence in Okinawa for security purposes.

There are a lot of events that happened over these islands, so please go research and grab evidence on them.

Now, just like the United States moved into Japan, let’s move into the affirmative arguments you’ll be seeing in March.

Major Affirmative Arguments

US Arguments

The first category for the affirmative are the benefits that the United States would receive by withdrawing from Okinawa. One of the primary arguments the United States might leave is that this would force Japan to increase their own military.

The negative will most likely be running arguments saying that if the United States leaves Okinawa that East Asia will be less secure. If you can find fairly conclusive evidence that Japan would fill the United State’s shoes after they left, then there is no security decline at all.

In fact you could argue that if the US withdrew from Okinawa they would most likely relocate or increase troops at another military base nearby. If the US has the same military presence and Japan has an increased military presence then overall the region is more secure.

Another argument you can make is that this would improve the relationship between Japan and the United States. Since 1972 there have been thousands of crimes committed by US soldiers on the island.

Most notably in 1995 there was a case where 3 US soldiers kidnapped and raped a young Japanese girl. The more crimes committed the more the citizens of Okinawa want the US out.

It would benefit the United States to withdraw its military presence before it destroys its relations with Japan. If you can prove that it would improve Japan/US relations by withdrawing troops you can gain a wide variety of impacts from there.

Japan Arguments

The second category for the affirmative are the reasons why a withdrawal would be beneficial for Japan and the Okinawa citizens.

The first benefit is that crime would decrease. With US soldiers committing thousands of crimes as referenced previously, getting them out of Okinawa would only benefit the citizens there.

Along those lines, just imagine you’re living there for a moment. You have a massive military base in the middle of the city, it clogs up traffic, produces an immense amount of noise, and you’re constantly worried that a helicopter or jet might crash causing danger to yourself and your family.

It’s not a pretty picture. Here’s the problem though. If we were debating this topic with judges from Okinawa the affirmative would be winning most of the rounds. They probably hate the military base. So it’s important to get a read on your judge if you’re running these type of arguments.

Some also claim that US presence is destroying tourism and the economy in Okinawa. In fact one of the goals when the US was granted permission to be in Okinawa was to allow the Japanese economy to grow. Well now we’re doing the opposite.

It’s also important to note that the land that the US military base is located on was initially great for farming. It could be worth researching into whether this land could be turned back into farming territory or not.

Along the economic lines we also have to understand that growth is a key indication of a stable economy. If they don’t have room to grow because of the US base, then that could be bringing them down.

There have also been accusations about the US hurting the environment while they are there. If the US simply withdrew from Okinawa it would be much better for Japan.


The first workaround you have at your disposal as the affirmative is that the resolution doesn’t necessarily indicate a timeframe for withdrawal.

Usually troop withdrawals take time. Thousands of soldiers don’t magically teleport back to the US.

You can use this to your advantage in case your opponents make arguments saying at this very moment China is going to attack Japan or there won’t be any troops in that region at all for when Kim Jong Un has a panic attack and hits the nuke button.

You can explain that if the US made the decision to withdraw it would be gradual and likewise Japan might gradually increase troops as the US leaves.

Keep in mind that all of these arguments need to warranted. You need to explain to the judge why we should debate about the real world of implementing actions instead of the hypothetical unrealistic debate world where troops magically disappear.

You could also argue that the as the US pulls out of Okinawa they might move to more strategic locations in the region or to a location where they can expand and get comfy. Making arguments like this would allow you to adopt their security impacts.

If you didn’t want to take that route you could make some great arguments talking about how the US Presence in Okinawa puts other countries on edge and that this destabilizes the region more than calms it.

Depending on the circuit you’re in this topic does open up a lot of framework arguments. For the affirmative you could argue that when evaluating the resolution we should look to the initial purpose of why the US established a base there and if that’s fulfilled then they should withdraw. Or maybe we should evaluate the long term effects on Okinawa rather than short term US goals.

I know I sound like a broken record and I’m doing it on purpose, if you’re running these arguments be sure to warrant them.

Major Negative Arguments

US Arguments

The first category for the negative are the negative implications that a withdrawal would cause for the United States.

The first is that Okinawa is debatably the most strategic location in East Asia. It is within 1,000 miles of Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai. It doesn’t seem very smart of the United States to just up and leave this prime territory.

Not to mention we could use this base to keep an eye on the oh so irrational North Korea as well as the growing China and Russia.

Now it seems pretty absurd for the US to leave that specific location, just because of how impressive it is. But then you take into account Japan paying a large portion of the US’s stay and it’s pretty absurd to leave.

This also forces any actions performed by the United States in East Asia to be somewhat multilateral. What we do we can get Japan involved in as well.

There’s also an abundance of other militaristic impacts that you can derive from the US leaving the region. Some might say troop mobility is key to global security or the more bases a nation has the stronger there hegemonic power is.

The negative truly has a lot of ground to get creative and generate hypothetical scenarios. Pull out that map of East Asia again and think what could go wrong in that region and would it be wise to have a couple thousand extremely mobile troops to take care of that issue?

Japan Arguments

We know the United States likes to show its power and have military bases throughout the world. But the second category goes over the negative effects this withdrawal would have on Japan.

Something I learned on the playground when I was younger is that if you’re friends with the buff kid no one messed with you. If the US withdrew its troops from Okinawa it’s the same as your beefy friend moving away.

You just don’t feel so comfy anymore. Especially when two of the kids on the playground are named Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin.

From a safety standpoint it’s wise to keep the United States as close as possible. We spend way too much on military compared to the rest of the world.

If you look into the design of the base itself it can also provide natural disaster relief to the Okinawa citizens in times of need. A tsunami hits, the US is there to help!

It’s also important to note that Japan doesn’t have to invest as much militarily because the US is doing that for them. If the US withdrew Japan would either have to start spending more on military development or accept the fact that their safety is drastically lower than it was with the US there. Neither option is really than grand.

Even if Japan wasn’t going to be attacked per se, Japan would look weaker and more vulnerable if the US left.

We should also understand that the US probably spends a lot of money in Okinawa. They have thousands of individuals that are living there buying food and other commodities.

Imagine you’re an aspiring artist on the beautiful island of Okinawa that makes their living off of selling paintings. You’re barely getting by, but you’re living your dream. If half of your customer up and leave you’re not going to do so well.

This goes for any and all small businesses in Okinawa. If the US leaves, so does the income of a lot of citizens.

The US also could be serving as an aggression deterrent in the region. When they withdraw the potential for aggression in East Asia will increase.

This isn’t good for Japan, it isn’t good for the US, and it’s not good for the world.


The first negative workaround you can utilize is to force the affirmative into defending a withdrawal of ALL military presence. The resolution doesn’t say some, it is a blanket statement.

The landing strip, the personnel, anything with a US flag on it should be withdrawn. Make the judge aware that we are completely withdrawing from the most strategic location in East Asia. Just giving it up.

Another way you can make the affirmative’s job harder is to run a framework argument that makes them defend a present withdrawal. This doesn’t happen in 1 or 2 years. We withdraw right now!

You can also argue that the affirmative should not be able to simply re-locate the troops. The resolutions clearly states “Withdraw” not move to another location. Force them into defending the decreased security that comes with thousands of troops withdrawn in East Asia while their are rising threats.


  1. Be specific when possible. It’s not enough to say, “security will decline in East Asia” be specific and say, “Look North Korea is on the brink of attack, the US leaves and NK goes for it.”
  2. Crystallize the meaning of the resolution in the first cross examination. It’s your obligation to define what withdrawing military presence entails and when it’s going to happen in this first cross x. This will make the round better for you your opponents and the judge.
  3. Impact calculous is your best friend. At the end of the round you need to give the judge specific numbers and why they outweigh your opponent’s specific numbers. Look judge even if you buy their arguments that Okinawa citizens might be disheartened about the noise, voting for the negative will prevent a war from happening.


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Thanks again for all the support and good luck at all those big tournaments in February.

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