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Forty-one years have passed since Okinawa reverted from U.S. administration to Japan on May 15, 1972. But Okinawans are far from happy. The heavy presence of U.S. military bases — occupying nearly 20 percent of Okinawa Island’s land area — continues. In addition, Okinawans are more affected by tensions of arising from the Japan-China territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, which are part of their prefecture.

Okinawans may feel that Japanese living on the mainland do not understand their frustration and stress. To prevent a schism from growing between Okinawans and the rest of Japan, mainland Japanese should be more keenly aware of Okinawa’s history — especially the hardships brought by World War II — and current base-related issues.

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