Okinawa Prefecture

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Okinawa Prefecture

沖縄県
Flag of Okinawa Prefecture
Flag
Location of Okinawa Prefecture
Capital
and largest city
Naha
Area
• Total
2,281 km²
Population
• 2020 census
1,466,870


Okinawa Prefecture is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. Although it makes up less than 1% of Japan's land area, it contains three-quarters of the U.S. military bases in Japan and 30,000 U.S. soldiers.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Early U.S. colonization[edit | edit source]

Matthew Perry created the first military base in the Kingdom of Okinawa and used it to impose unequal treaties on Japan and Okinawa.[2]

Japanese colonization[edit | edit source]

Okinawa was an independent kingdom until being colonized by Japan in 1879. The Empire of Japan suppressed Okinawan language and culture.[3]

Second World War[edit | edit source]

The United States invaded Okinawa in April 1945. A third of the Okinawan population was killed and over 90% of the survivors became homeless.[1]

Postwar occupation[edit | edit source]

The United States directly controlled Okinawa until 1972, when it became a prefecture of Japan.[4] In 2016, 65,000 people protested against the U.S. military presence in Okinawa.[5]

Pollution[edit | edit source]

Toxic foam at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa

U.S. military bases are polluting the Okinawan environment with carcinogens including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The concentration of PFAS in the blood of Okinawans is more than 10 ng/mL in six towns and cities and above 20 in three.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Moé Yonamine (2017-07-27). "Fighting for Okinawa — My Home, Not a Military Base" Zinn Education Project. Archived from the original on 2021-05-16. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  2. David Vine (2020). The United States of War: 'Going Global' (p. 177). Oakland: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520972070 [LG]
  3. Elliott Gabriel (2018-03-01). "Amid Marine Base Hazards, Okinawa Struggles With New Wave of US & Japanese Militarization" MintPress News. Archived from the original on 2021-05-12. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  4. Lacei Amodei (2008-03-04). "Okinawan women fight against GI abuses" Liberation News. Archived from the original on 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  5. Andrea Germanos (2016-06-20). "‘Our Anger Is Past Its Limit’: Tens Of Thousands Rally Against US Bases In Okinawa" MintPress News. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  6. Pat Elder (2022-12-28). "The U.S. Military is Poisoning Okinawa" CovertAction Magazine. Archived from the original on 2022-12-30. Retrieved 2022-12-30.