Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Monday, May 22, 2006

Base closing plans don’t please all Okinawans

As Okinawa a celebrates its 34th anniversary as a Japanese prefecture, one large group of workers wants to see the American presence continue.

Okinawa reverted to Japan from U.S. control 34 years ago this week, and Americans moved from being the hosts to the guests. Despite the political change in Okinawa, life continued much the same for thousands of local residents who work on the bases. Even as anti-military groups conducted demonstrations Monday, base workers were expressing apprehension at how a reduced American military presence can affect their livelihoods.

“Okinawa’s economy has grown up with the bases,” said a pro-military group leader. “The bases will always be important. He noted that nearly 10,000 Okinawa residents work directly for the U.S. military, and that tens of thousands of others derive significant income as a result of military bases, troops and families spending money here.
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