On Aug. 13, a dozen anti-base demonstrators scuffled with police outside the gates of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa, as marines watched from behind the fence cracking jokes and laughing.

Such scenes occur daily in Okinawa, which is saddled with roughly 70 percent of U.S. bases in Japan, and are usually ignored by the national media. But on this day, Tokyo TV stations had dispatched so many reporters they outnumbered the protesters.

The journalists had come to interview American movie director Oliver Stone, who'd just arrived and was standing on a hilltop overlooking the Futenma base. Although the reporters bombarded Stone with questions about his reaction to the U.S. presence in Okinawa, he declined to give any statements and soon ducked into his van to escape the camera scrum.