TOKYO, May 17 (NNN-NHK) – Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, on Sunday, marked the 50th anniversary of its reversion to Japan from the control of the United States.
Ceremonies were held by the government to mark the anniversary, while a large number of residents gathered outside the venue, demanding reduction of the U.S. base-hosting burdens and even a total withdrawal of U.S. forces.
50 years on, Okinawans still face discrimination and injustice in Japan. The U.S. military bases on the island are also a nightmare for them, imposing an extra burden on the prefecture.
Okinawa accounts for only 0.6 percent of Japan’s territory, but is home to about 70 percent of U.S. military bases in Japan. From 1972 to 2019, U.S. troops and their families stationed in Japan, committed about 6,000 crimes in Okinawa, including robberies, rapes and murders.
The per capita income of the prefecture is only about 70 percent of that of Japan, which has long been the lowest level in the country.
Okinawa was occupied by the U.S. forces after the end of World War II in 1945, and ostensibly returned to Japan on May 15, 1972.
Historically, Okinawa was the independent kingdom of Ryukyu. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan annexed Ryukyu and established the Okinawa Prefecture in 1879.– NNN-NHK