50 Years On: Okinawa Reversion Remembered in Bolivia Settlement

Society Culture

Colonia Okinawa, Bolivia, April 20 (Jiji Press)--A remote area in Bolivia is the unlikely home of Okinawans who moved to the South American country during the U.S. occupation of the island region over 50 years ago.

About 870 people, including Okinawans and their descendants, live in the settlement two hours away by car from the major city of Santa Cruz, called Colonia Okinawa.

They arrived in the region from the other side of the globe under an emigration project launched in 1954 by the government of the Ryukyu Islands, which administered Okinawa during U.S. rule.

Yukifumi Nakamura, 81, who heads an association of Japanese-Bolivians from Okinawa, said he decided to move after feeling a sense of suffocation from U.S. rule.

"I couldn't stay under U.S. rule forever," he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press