Okinawa commemorates its 50th anniversary of its return to Japan on Sunday . The island group stayed under US occupation for 20 years longer than most of Japan .
On Sunday, Okinawa commemorates its 50th anniversary of its return to Japan, which saw the end of 27 years of US occupation, when Japanese troops landed on the southern Japanese island, killing about 200,000 people, nearly half of whom were Okinawan civilians, including students and victims of mass suicides ordered by the Japanese military.The island group stayed under US occupation for 20 years longer than most of Japan, according to imperial advisor Hidenari Terasaki, as the US military recognized its strategic importance for Pacific security and planned to maintain its troops presence in the area, clearing the way for US control beyond April 28, 1952, when the San Francisco treaty took effect, allowing for the continuation of Japanese occupation beyond the rest of Japan.Experts argue that the local Okinawan government had no decision-making power and had no ability to prosecute US military service records.In the late 1950s, demand for reversion to Japan grew even higher in Okinawa, due to a heavy US military presence, and a mismanaged development funds from the central government.However, today, the vast majority of the 50,000 United States troops stationed in Japan under a bilateral security pact and 70% of military installations are located on Okinawa, which accounts for just 0.6% of Japan's land.The burden has increased from less than 60% in 1972 as a result of the removal of unwelcomed US bases from the mainland.Overall, Okinawa's average household income is the lowest and unemployment is the highest of Japans 47 prefectures.According to Okinawa Gov. According to a recent NHK television survey, 82% of Okinawans feared being victim of base-related violence or accidents.Newsletter The biggest sticking point between Okinawa and Tokyo is the central government's suggestion that a US marine base in a densely populated area, the Futenma air station, be relocated within Okinawa rather than elsewhere, as requested by many Okinawans.After a 1995 rape of a schoolgirl by three US military forces sparked a massive anti-base rally, Tokyo and Washington decided to close the station in 1996.Despite a 72% margin of resistance in the Okinawas 2019 referendum, Tokyo has permitted the construction of a new runway off Okinawa's eastern coast.Opponents cite environmental degradation, structural problems, and rising costs as reasons for the increase in costs. Many Okinawans believe their sacrifices made possible the Japanese-American security alliance after World War II, according to Hiromori Maedomari, an academic at the University of Okinawa who annexed the islands, the former independent kingdom of the Ryukus, in 1879.There are accusations of exploitation and bullying that Okinawans are being forced to serve an indispensable service to safeguard mainland Japan, according to Motoyama.