Okinawa Protesters Call for Removal of U.S. Military

Protesters in Okinawa chanted “Osprey get out” and “We want a peaceful life” against the American soldiers operating military bases. The island has dealt with an extensive U.S. military presence since 1945, after World War 2. Approximately 70% of the military bases in Japan are on Okinawa. The reason is because it is so close to Taiwan, which means that in case of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Okinawa would be a key area for logistical support.

Okinawan citizens have frequently protested agaisnt the U.S. soldiers based there becuase of a multitude of grievances, including sexual assaults by U.S. soldiers, dumping of toxic waste on island, and noise pollution from overflying aircraft. The vote on a moving a military base to a less-dense area on the island, which was billed as a way to decrease traffic congestion, was voted no by 72% of the populace, who wanted to remove the base altogether.