A tiny but earnest movement is underway to seek independence for Okinawa and the other islands in the Ryukyu Islands chain.

The Association of Comprehensive Studies for Independence of the Lew Chewans, which represents native residents of the islands, said in its charter that "By gaining independence from Japan and removing all military bases from our islands, we Lew Chewans wish to achieve our long sought-after goal of becoming a sovereign island of peace."

The chain, which belongs mostly to Okinawa Prefecture, was ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom from the 15th century to the 19th century. The Japanese first invaded the islands in the early 17th century, eventually annexing them in the late 19th century.