UCF Global Perspectives


Okinawa Base Faces Anti-American Sentiment

Paul Gill, Intern, East and Southeast Asia

June 9, 2016

Citizens of Okinawa are becoming more opposed to the presence of American military installations (Reuters 1). Recently, American military personnel and contractors have been involved in a wave of crime (Shanghai Daily). An American soldier raped a young Japanese schoolgirl, an American contractor murdered a Japanese woman and an American sailor caused a car accident due to intoxication (Reuters 2, Reuters 3). The continued occurrence of issues between American personnel and Okinawans is creating animosity.

Local elections held in Okinawa demonstrate the resentment forming toward American forces (Reuters 1). Japanese politicians in favor of removing American bases from Okinawa won a majority of seats in the island’s local assembly (Reuters 1). Okinawans have spent decades lobbying for the removal of American forces, but central government officials in Tokyo have ignored this (Reuters 1). Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to ensure that American-Japanese relations remain robust, and so he has not pushed for the withdrawal of American forces (Reuters 1).






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