Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Struggle against U.S. bases continues in Okinawa

U.S. bases on Okinawa, via Wikipedia. "As of 2006, 75% of all US [Forces in Japan] bases were located on Okinawa, and U.S. military bases occupied 18% of the main island."
The elected governor of the Japanese-controlled island of Okinawa has said no, again, to further construction of a new U.S. base. Okinawans have been trying to reclaim their territory for decades. The island is part of the Ryukyu archipelago which the U.S. conquered at the end of World War II. Japan recovered sovereignty, but although since 1945 Japan has been ostensibly a nuke-free zone, the U.S. has been allowed to bring nuclear armed vessels to Okinawa if not the Japanese mainland.

The 1.3 million Okinawans have repeatedly elected officials who promise to oust the U.S. military. These local officials have then been overruled from Tokoyo repeatedly.

The U.S. Marines are not considered good neighbors on the island: they are seen as the source of drunken louts and rapists who usually enjoy impunity from the local justice system.
Between 1972 and 2009, U.S. servicemen committed 5,634 criminal offenses, including 25 murders, 385 burglaries, 25 arsons, 127 rapes, 306 assaults and 2,827 thefts.
The government of Japan, currently in a phase of newly assertive nationalism, appreciates living under the US. security umbrella, especially since they have offshored the basing tensions.

Okinawans are Japan's largest minority group.

I have written previously about Okinawa's special place and its irritants to the U.S. empire here and here.

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