The U.S. and Japan unveiled plans Friday for gradually returning some land on Okinawa now used by the American military, but still intend to relocate a U.S. Marine base elsewhere on the island, an idea fervently opposed by Okinawans.
The island hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan, fueling longtime protests among residents who lament worsened noise, pollution and crime. Two sailors were imprisoned last month for allegedly raping an Okinawa woman, the latest incident to aggravate tensions on the island. Rallies have also erupted against the use of Osprey aircraft deemed dangerous by locals.
The U.S. and Japan agreed last year to shift thousands of Marines away from Okinawa and want to relocate one especially controversial base to a less-crowded area of the island, but residents insist it should be moved from Okinawa entirely.