Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Okinawans, Japanese don’t see eye-to-eye on U.S. troop presence

Mainland Japanese have a stronger belief in the need for American troops stationed in the country than do their Okinawan brethren.

Two new polls conducted this month during the buildup to the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa found widely varying perceptions about reliance on foreign troops to help defend Japan.

A survey by the Mainichi Shimbun asked Japanese from across the nation, including Okinawa, if they thought Okinawa bases were important. Some 47% of the mainlanders said it was a necessity.
In a similar poll taken by the Ryukyu Shimpo here in Naha, Okinawans were asked the same question about bases being needed. Only 30% said they were essential. Seventy-five percent of the U.S. bases and troops in Japan are situated on Okinawa.

Both surveys asked about the bases themselves, 45% of the mainland Japanese said the bases are needed, while 70% of Okinawans said they are not.

A further question posed to those supporting bases in Okinawa showed half answered positively because they believe the military presence promotes the local economy. Another 40% cited security as a reason for keeping the troops on Okinawa.

Nationally, only 49% of the mainland people surveyed thought keeping troops here was a burden, while 70% of the Okinawans say they are shouldering an unfair burden in stationing of troops."


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