Sunday, May 21, 2017

The issue of Okinawa is also the issue of the whole Japan: 45th anniversary of Okinawa’s “Return to Japan”

On May 14, 2017, a rally and a demonstration questioning the 45th anniversary of Okinawa’s “Return to Japan” were held in the Shinjuku district, central Tokyo. TAMAKI Ai (photo), a 22-year old postgraduate student at Ryukyu University in Okinawa, appealed, “45 years ago, I was not born and even my parents were small. They often told me that people in Okinawa drove on the right (Japan had and still has a left-hand traffic rule) and used the US dollars before the return. What has changed in Okinawa since the 27-year US rule and the 45-year Japanese rule? While Okinawa has only 0.6% of the whole area of Japan, 70% of US military bases concentrate in the small prefecture. Violence of US soldiers has killed local Okinawans and Ospreys of the US military have crashed. Why does Okinawa have to suffer from the heavy burden of the US bases even 72 years after the end of World War II? I would like to ask these questions”. Tamaki continued, “You may say you are tired of or fed up with something political like the US military or security. But is the issue of Okinawa only that of Okinawans? It is the issue of the whole Japan, and your issue, isn’t it?”



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