Japan: U.S. bases oppress Okinawa
Okinawa has been bearing the burden of Japan’s defense for far too long.
Okinawa has been bearing the burden of Japan’s defense for far too long, said the Asahi Shimbun. One in four islanders died in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, “victims of Japan’s all-out effort to defend its mainland.” After the war, Okinawa was placed under U.S. military rule for nearly three decades and forced to accept U.S. military bases. American troops “threatened local residents with guns and swords and bulldozed their farmland and houses.” Since the island was reunited with Japan in 1972, the land stolen from locals has yet to be returned, yet Japanese mainlanders refuse to concede the injustice. They shrug and say, “Well, Okinawa is strategically located, so of course that’s where the bases must be.” Yet that theory isn’t borne out by history or geography. How can the same island be the perfect base to defend against both a threat from the Soviet Union in years past and a threat from China now? The bases were originally installed on Okinawa not because of geography but “because the human rights of local residents could be ignored.” The truth is, “we simply accept explanations convenient to us and discriminate against the people of Okinawa through our obliviousness and indifference to their sufferings.”