Okinawa citizens, U.S. Bases, and the dugong

Masamichi Sebastian Inoue, John Purves, Mark Selden

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

8 Scopus citations


The rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen in September 1995 reignited long-simmering issues surrounding the fifty-year U.S. military domination of Okinawa. When Washington ended its post-World War II occupation of Japan in 1952, it retained the substance of Japanese military subordination in the form of a security treaty, U.S. bases on Japan's main islands, and continued U.S. sovereignty over Okinawa. It then set about constructing a network of military bases to transform Okinawa into—as Gen. Douglas MacArthur had envisaged—America's “Keystone of the Pacific.” Okinawa's strategicmilitary value was demonstrated in the Korean War and then, particularly, in the Indochina War when it housed the B-52 bombers that pounded Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. When Okinawa was formally returned to Japanese sovereignty in 1972, U.S. bases remained intact. Now, a quarter-century later, nearly a decade after the end of the “cold war,” and in the face of sustained Okinawan protests demanding the end of U.S. military domination of the islands, Japan foots much of the bill while Okinawa remains the fulcrum of the U.S.-Japan strategic relationship.The two powers, working in condominium, impose on the Okinawan people a disproportionate burden of the U.S. bases and military forces in Japan: 75 percent of all U.S. military in Japan are located in Okinawa and 28,000 of the 45,000 U.S. troops in Japan are stationed there.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-86
Number of pages5
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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