50 Years On: Old, Young Okinawans Split over U.S. Bases

Politics Society

Naha, Okinawa Pref., May 15 (Jiji Press)--Some 60 pct of elderly people in Okinawa Prefecture feel unfair about the prefecture continuing to bear a burden of hosting many U.S. military bases five decades after its return to Japanese rule, while younger generations tend to accept the status quo, an attitude survey has found.

The survey was conducted by the Okinawa prefectural government for 5,000 residents in August-September last year, asking them about any requests they have to local authorities over U.S. bases and issues including child poverty. Valid answers were given by 69 pct of them.

The attitude survey started in 1979 and has since been conducted every three to five years.

In the latest survey, carried out ahead of the 50th anniversary this year of Okinawa's return to Japan from post-World War II U.S. occupation, about 66 pct of all respondents said they think the fact that roughly 70 pct of all facilities in Japan for exclusive use by the U.S. military are in Okinawa is discriminatory or somewhat discriminatory.

By generation, the proportion of respondents who answered that the situation is discriminatory stood at about 57 pct among people in their 60s and 63 pct among those in their 70s or older. But the share came to 24-27 pct among people in the age group of 10-39, and 21 pct of those in their 20s said they do not think the situation is discriminatory.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press