The people of Okinawa are angry with their government and the United States for continuing to burden the island with 75 percent of the American military presence. On what is in Japan Memorial Day for the 82-day-long Battle of Okinawa, which resulted in the deaths of about 150,000 local residents, this editorial from Japan’s Chunichi Shimbun excoriates the Japanese government for neglecting to consider the pain that Okinawans continue to suffer, and the burden they continue to bare.
Showing unusual emotion for a Japanese publication, the editorial from the Chunichi Shimbun says in part:
About 150,000 local lives were lost as a result of the fierce ground battle in Okinawa. After the war, brutal occupation by the U.S. military was forced upon the prefecture, and even after Okinawa’s return to Japan [in 1972], vast military bases remain. Today is the Memorial Day marking the end of the Battle of Okinawa, and we should all relate to the despair, bitterness and anger felt by Okinawans.
The site of the last battle for the island took place on Mabuni Hill in southern Okinawa’s Itoman City. A memorial service for all the Okinawan war dead will be held today at the Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will be taking part and giving a speech. But what will the prime minister have to say?
Has he ever given a thought to the suffering of “Shimanchu (the Okinawan people),” their sadness at having lost relatives and friends in the war, their anger toward the past U.S. occupation, and their indignation at having to continue living alongside U.S. military bases? Reflecting on the Okinawan policies of the Noda Administration up to now, it is highly doubtful. … The facts show that the government and those on the mainland have neglected to consider Okinawa’s special circumstances.
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