FLASHBACK - Japanese people want the US military out, and they’ve rioted over it in the past | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

FLASHBACK - Japanese people want the US military out, and they’ve rioted over it in the past

“Military bases on Okinawa are hotbeds of serious crimes!” read one sign at a protest in Okinawa on Sunday. And the protester had a point: in May, a Marine veteran was arrested in connection with the murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman, whose body was found in the woods near a US air base. And in June, a US Navy sailor was found responsible for a drunk driving crash that left two Japanese civilians injured.

Okinawans say they’ve have had enough. On Sunday, 65,000 people assembled to protest the American military presence in their backyard. That’s more than the number of US service members in Japan, but not by much: We currently have 50,000 troops and military-adjacent citizens stationed in Japan, the majority on Okinawa.

Since World War II, the US military has crowded the small island, which makes up less than 1% of Japan’s land mass but hosts 62% of the America’s forces in the country. The Japanese government officially sanctioned the military’s presence in 1951, but then, it had little choice. After World War II, the US had stripped Japan of its army and then offered to protect the nation in return for uncontested land use.

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