Hiroji Yamashiro has become a symbol of Okinawa’s movement against U.S. military bases. Listen to him speak elegantly and critically about life on Okinawa Island in the video below. But first here are some quick facts to help understand the situation:
-Okinawans are not Japanese. Check out the Ryukyu Kingdom.
-Japan annexed Okinawa in 1879.
-U.S. kept possession of Okinawa after WW2.
-In 1972, much of the islands were given back to Japan but much of the U.S. military stayed.
-As of early 2018, about 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed on the island, not including families or civilian employees.
-Nearly 20 percent of the island is occupied by U.S. military bases.
Okinawa represents less than 0.6 percent of Japan’s entire landmass. Yet, 74 percent of the landmass taken up by U.S. military bases are on Okinawa Island.
(Source: Okinawa Prefecture Government, Vice, Diplomat, JapanTimes, San Diego Union-Tribune)
Hiroji Yamashiro: a leader of the Okinawa movement against U.S. military bases. A film by Hanayo Oya in collaboration with The Peace Report.