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Okinawa's US Shadow

Okinawans demand closure of American military bases and return of their lands

The defeat in World War II was a heavy burden for the Japanese, and they are still paying the price. The country hosts 47,000 American military personnel, including tactical nuclear aviation and strategic commands for submarines and missile carriers. Furthermore, the Japanese government independently covers the expenses for these bases, including land rent and military salaries. These costs amount to one-third of the entire country's defence budget.

To make way for military bases on Okinawa, an island that hosts 70% of US military facilities in Japan, thousands of indigenous people were displaced from their native lands. Today, protests are echoing across the island as local residents demand the removal of U.S. military personnel and the return of their land. However, throughout the entire history of American military bases on Okinawa, the closure of only one was successfully negotiated – following the 1995 gang rape of an Okinawan girl by a group of American servicemen. Watch the documentary to understand why the Japanese government is reluctant to engage with the locals and resolve the issue of American military bases.