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Thousands in Okinawa protest U.S. military bases

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Large crowds of people in Okinawa staged protests Sunday over the United States’s military bases on the Japanese island.

Tens of thousands of people are calling for the U.S.-Japanese security agreement to be reviewed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

{mosads}Okinawa currently hosts the bulk of U.S. troops in Japan.

Some at the protest Sunday were wearing black to mark the rape and killing of a local woman. A U.S. contractor and former Marine was arrested in connection with the incident but has not yet been charged. The body of the local woman had been missing for several weeks before she was found last month. 

Public anger also similarly erupted in 1995, after the rape of a girl by three American servicemen.

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said during the rally Sunday in Okinawa’s capital, Naha, that the island “had pledged never to repeat such an incident.”

“I couldn’t change the political system to prevent that,” he said. “That is my utmost regret as a politician and as governor of Okinawa.”

People at the rally were pushing for a more peace-oriented Japan, holding signs that called for the military presence on Okinawa to be decreased.

“This is not how we want the country to be,” university student Jinshiro Motoyama told the Journal. “We want the bases gone.”

Tags Japan–United States relations

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