【PART 1】 Mystery of Okinawa: Military Bases and the Constitution


【17】 They simply changed the name from “occupational forces” to “USFJ”


Review again the photo of U.S. bases viewed from top of the hill. At the top right, you see the coastline of the U.S. Forces landing in 1945. The coast extends longer to the right, and nearby areas are all occupied by U.S. military bases. In the map on p.29, you can see the same coast, which is the one on the left of the Kadena base. Seventy years ago, U.S. Forces arrived on this coast with many war vessels, first blew up all the buildings with naval gunfire, and then came ashore to occupy the whole area.

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Residential district for U.S. Forces officials and the Futenma base, viewed from a nearby hilltop/ c Shintaro Suda


And as a result, they have stayed ever since. If you go to an upland area in Okinawa and look down at the lower lands below, it’s obvious at first sight that U.S. Forces have continued to occupy the flat, prime lands near the coast. Some coastal areas have partially been returned to Japan to become commercial districts, so you may not really notice anything if you are just driving around the island. However, if you go to an upland area it dawns on you: “Oh, U.S. Forces came ashore there in 1945, and have remained since.” In other words, they changed their name from “occupational forces” to “USFJ,” but have essentially stayed the same, occupying the same areas. The mainland supposedly regained sovereignty by the Peace Treaty in 1952, as did Okinawa by being returned to the mainland in 1972. Nevertheless, the reality is that military occupation has continued.