Just a couple minutes from the Okinawa Prefectural Government building and the busy shopping street Kokusai-dori, Sora Shokudo offers jerk chicken on the menu — a Caribbean cuisine that goes well with rum — which is now also produced in Okinawa and attracting interest from domestic and overseas tourists.

"Okinawa grows sugarcane and so it's natural that we'd produce different varieties of rum," says owner and Okinawan rum expert Masahiro Aoyama, where about 10 different varieties of locally made rum are offered.

The bitter struggle between the prefecture and the central government over the unpopular plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from crowded Ginowan to Henoko, a coastal district in Nago further north on the main island, has dominated political commentary and media coverage for the past two decades.