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On May 15, Okinawa marked the 50th anniversary of its return to Japan from U.S. rule. For many Okinawans, it was an important moment to reflect on their past, present and future. How far has the island come since then?

It’s an ongoing discussion with a lot of useful vocabulary. Two words in particular stood out in headlines: 復帰 (fukki) and 返還 (henkan). Both can mean “return,” but they’re not interchangeable.

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