Okinawa Occupied

Okinawa is a beautiful island in the Pacific.  Although part of Japan, it is culturally and historically distinct, having a long list of diverse occupants and occupiers.  The Allies won a decisive victory at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.  Following a massive amphibious invasion by U.S. forces, the battle was one of the bloodiest of World War II.  More people died on Okinawa than during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

After U.S. forces defeated the Japanese, soldiers from both countries wreaked havoc on the island, allegedly raping up to 10,000 Okinawan women.  The raping of Okinawan women by servicemen has continued.  The most notorious incident occurred in 1995, when three U.S. soldiers beat, bound, and raped a 12-year-old girl, sparking massive demonstrations against U.S. occupation.

Okinawa is the ward of a government (Japan proper) that is, in matters military, the ward of another government (the United States).  To influence political affairs that take place on the island, Okinawans appeal to bureaucrats off the island.  Chalmers Johnson speaks of a “permanent collusion of the United States and Japan against Okinawa.”  Indeed, for 65 years the U.S. military has had a “free ride” off Okinawan taxpayers, who foot the bill for a large portion of U.S. facilities, including utilities, maintenance, and upgrades.  Next to the base are golf courses,...

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