On Aug. 13, 2004, a U.S. Marine Corps transport helicopter crashed onto the campus of Okinawa International University, Ginowan, injuring the three service members on board and sparking a large fire. Although the accident occurred on civilian soil, U.S. forces cordoned off the scene and blocked access to police investigators. That night, the national TV news networks either failed to report the crash or afforded it scant attention.
To many Okinawans, the lessons of the accident seemed clear: The U.S. military felt it could operate with impunity on their island and the mainland didn't give a damn.
A decade later, very little has changed.