Okinawa on Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of its return to Japan on May 15, 1972, which ended 27 years of U.S. rule after one of the bloodiest battles of World War II was fought on the southern Japanese island.
The day is being marked with more bitterness than joy in Okinawa, which is still burdened with a heavy U.S. military presence and is now seeing Japanese troops increasingly deployed amid rising China tensions.
The Associated Press takes a look at the frustration that still lingers in Okinawa, 50 years after it returned to Japan.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF WWII?
U.S. troops, in their push for mainland Japan, landed on Okinawa’s main island on April 1, 1945.
The battle lasted until late June, killing about 200,000 people, nearly half of them Okinawan residents, including students and victims of mass suicides ordered by the Japanese military.
Okinawa was sacrificed by Japan’s imperial army to defend the mainland, historians say. The island group remained under U.S. occupation for 20 years longer than most of Japan, until 1972.
WHY WAS OKINAWA OCCUPIED?
The U.S. military recognized Okinawa’s strategic importance for Pacific security and planned to maintain its troop presence to deter Russia and communism in the region.
A 1946 decision by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, separated Okinawa and several other southwestern remote islands from the rest of Japan, paving the way for U.S. rule beyond April 28, 1952, when the San Francisco treaty took effect, ending the seven-year U.S. occupation in the rest of Japan.
According to the Okinawa Prefectural Archives, imperial advisor Hidenari Terasaki told MacArthur of Emperor Hirohito’s “opinion” that the U.S. military occupation of Okinawa should continue to address worries about Russia.
Economic, educational and social development in Okinawa lagged behind as Japan enjoyed a postwar economic surge that was helped by lower defense spending because of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa.
HOW DO OKINAWANS REMEMBER U.S. RULE?
During U.S. rule, Okinawans used the dollar and followed American traffic laws, and any trips between Okinawa and mainland Japan required passports.
The base-dependent economy hampered the growth of local industry. The local Okinawan government had little decision-making power, and authorities had no access to the criminal investigation of U.S. military personnel.
Demands for reversion to Japan rose in the late 1950s across Okinawa over the confiscation of local land for U.S. bases.
Many Okinawans demanded tax reform, wage increases and better social welfare systems to correct disparities between Okinawa and the rest of Japan.
But the delayed reversion, the heavy U.S. military presence and mismanaged development funds from the central government have hampered the island’s economic development, experts say.
WHAT ARE OKINAWA’S MAIN PROBLEMS TODAY?
Many on Okinawa had hoped that the island’s return to Japan would improve the economy and human rights situation. A year before the reversion, then-Okinawa leader Chobyo Yara submitted a petition asking Japan’s central government to make the island free of military bases.
Today, however, a majority of the 50,000 U.S. troops based in Japan under a bilateral security pact and 70% of military facilities are on Okinawa, which accounts for only 0.6% of Japanese land. The burden has increased from less than 60% in 1972 because unwelcomed U.S. bases were moved from the mainland.
Okinawa’s average household income is the lowest and its unemployment is the highest of Japan’s 47 prefectures. If land taken by the U.S. military is returned to the prefecture for other use, it would produce three times more income for Okinawa than the island now makes from bases, Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said.
Because of the U.S. bases, Okinawa faces noise, pollution, aircraft accidents and crime related to American troops, Tamaki said. A recent NHK television survey showed 82% of respondents in Okinawa expressed fear of being the victim of base-related crime or accidents.
The biggest sticking point between Okinawa and Tokyo is the central government’s insistence that a U.S. marine base in a crowded neighborhood, the Futenma air station, should be moved within Okinawa instead of moving it elsewhere as demanded by many Okinawans. Tokyo and Washington initially agreed in 1996 to close the station after the 1995 rape of a schoolgirl by three U.S. military personnel led to a massive anti-base movement.
Despite 72% opposition in Okinawa’s 2019 referendum, Tokyo has forced the construction of a new runway at Henoko Bay off Okinawa’s eastern coast. Opponents have cited environmental destruction, structural problems and soaring costs. But the prospects for completion remain uncertain.
Tamaki earlier in May adopted a new petition demanding from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government a significant reduction of the U.S. military on Okinawa, the immediate closure of the Futenma base and the scrapping of the Henoko base construction.
Adding to Okinawa’s fears is the rapid deployment of Japanese missile defense and amphibious capabilities on Okinawa’s outer islands, including Ishigaki, Miyako and Yonaguni, which are close to geopolitical hotspots like Taiwan.
HOW DO OKINAWANS FEEL TODAY?
Resentment over the heavy presence of U.S. troops runs deep. Many Okinawans believe their sacrifice made possible the post-World War II Japan-U.S. security alliance.
There are also ancient tensions between Okinawa and the Japanese mainland, which annexed the islands, formerly the independent kingdom of the Ryukus, in 1879.
There are complaints of discrimination and claims that Okinawans are forced to serve an “expendable role to protect mainland Japan,” said Hiromori Maedomari, an Okinawa International University politics professor.
Some people have started calling for independence from Japan.
After seeing their requests repeatedly ignored, many Okinawans, including younger generations for whom U.S. bases are part of their daily lives, feel there is no use speaking out, said Jinshiro Motoyama, 31, a key organizer of the 2019 referendum.
There are worries that calls by ruling lawmakers for a further military buildup amid rising tensions around nearby Taiwan could increase the risk of war.
”I’m afraid plans are being made on the premise that Okinawan people can be victimized in a conflict,” Motoyama said.
Richardson and Achong fall in opening round of the NCAA Singles Championship
Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson and fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong, Miami’s two representatives for the NCAA Singles Championship at the Khan Outdoor Sports Complex in Urbana, Ill., lost their respective matches Monday evening in straight sets. For the second time since 2014, a Cane won’t make the Final Four.
“Listen, these are the best players in the country. We didn’t play our best tennis today, but I think that had a lot to do with the players that we played, our opponents,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We’ve got to do better against high-level competition. We’ve got to push a little harder. We’ve got to believe a little more.”
In Miami’s first match of the day, No. 37 Richardson fell to No. 36 Michaela Bayerlova of Washington State.
The contest was initially close, as both players remained deadlocked at 2-2 after trading a pair of games in the first set. However, Bayerlova dominated after breaking Richardson’s serve at deuce to go up 3-2. She didn’t drop a game the rest of the way, cruising to the Round of 32 with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.
With the loss, Richardson’s collegiate singles career is over. In her lone season with the Hurricanes, she downed five ranked foes, including Virginia’s Emma Navarro, the 2021 NCAA Singles Championship victor and the number one seed in this year’s tournament. Before facing Richardson, Navarro had only lost once in her collegiate career, at the hands of another Hurricane – former NCAA Champion Estela Perez-Somarriba.
Around an hour later, No. 33 Achong faced No. 10 Layne Sleeth, the highest-ranked player on Oklahoma – this year’s NCAA Team Championship runner-up. Both competitors held serve through the first two games, until Sleeth broke Achong in the next one to go up 2-1 in the first set. That started an eight-game winning streak, which Achong ended in the second set after winning two straight games without dropping a point. Having closed the gap to 3-2, her comeback would end there. Sleeth convincingly took the next three games for a 6-1, 6-2 triumph.
Despite the loss, Achong had a breakout season, finishing with a spectacular 28-13 record in singles, where she primarily played the No. 2 spot.
“I’m extremely proud of the singles seasons that Daev and Eden put together,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “[They had] two tough first-round opponents today and they came up short, but that is not taking anything away from their seasons. They had incredible singles seasons.”
Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. ET, Achong and Richardson, ranked No. 13 nationally, will square off against Furman’s No. 34-ranked duo of Julia Adams and Ellie Schoppe in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship.
Redistricting Wrangling Goes To Florida Supreme Court
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Voting-rights groups went to the state Supreme Court on Monday as they try to keep alive the possibility of blocking a congressional redistricting plan that would make it harder to elect a Black U.S. House member this year in North Florida.
The filing by attorneys for the groups and other plaintiffs was the latest twist in a legal battle over a congressional redistricting plan that Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislature in April.
Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith on May 12 issued a temporary injunction against the DeSantis-backed plan, but the 1st District Court of Appeal on Friday reimposed a stay on the injunction. That stay could effectively clear the way for the DeSantis-backed plan to be used in this year’s elections.
But in a 59-page emergency petition Monday, the plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to place a stay on the 1st District Court of Appeal’s order. The plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote that such a move would allow county elections supervisors to prepare to carry out the DeSantis-backed plan and a different plan that Smith approved in his temporary injunction.
“A stay of the First District’s decision is necessary to preserve this (Supreme) Court’s ability to adjudicate the parties’ appeals in time for the 2022 elections,” the filing said.
The case centers on Congressional District 5, a sprawling North Florida district that was drawn in the past to help elect a Black member of Congress. DeSantis argued that continuing with such a district would involve racial gerrymandering and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Legislature approved DeSantis’ proposal to revamp the district, condensing it in the Jacksonville area. But Smith ruled that the plan violated a 2010 state constitutional amendment — known as the Fair Districts amendment — that barred diminishing the ability of minority voters to “elect representatives of their choice.”
The overall redistricting plan passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature is expected to increase the number of GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation from 16 to 20, based on past voting patterns. District 5 is currently held by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat, but the revamped district likely would flip to Republicans.
Smith’s temporary injunction ordered use of a map that would keep the current sprawling shape of the district, which stretches from Jacksonville to west of Tallahassee. Using that map also would affect some other districts.
The state quickly appealed Smith’s temporary injunction, which led to an automatic stay on it. Smith lifted that automatic stay, but the appeals court Friday reimposed a stay.
The state’s underlying appeal of Smith’s temporary injunction remains pending at the 1st District Court of Appeal. But in reimposing the stay, the Tallahassee-based court signaled it did not agree with the temporary injunction.
“Based on a preliminary review, the court has determined there is a high likelihood that the temporary injunction is unlawful, because by awarding a preliminary remedy to the appellees (the plaintiffs) on their claim, the order ‘frustrated the status quo, rather than preserved it,’” the appeals court said, quoting a legal precedent.
The appeals court also cited the “exigency of the circumstances and the need for certainty and continuity as election season approaches.”
But in the filing Monday at the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs also cited the approaching election season. A qualifying period for candidates will be held in mid-June, with primary elections Aug. 23.
“A remedial plan (the plan included in Smith’s temporary injunction) must likely be implemented within the next few weeks to ensure that the 2022 congressional elections proceed on time under a lawful districting plan,” the filing said. “But resolution of the parties’ multiple appeals will make that deadline almost impossible to meet. Consequently, if petitioners (the plaintiffs) are to obtain relief, election administrators must continue preparing the remedial plan now to ensure their ability to effectuate any relief granted by this (Supreme) Court. The First District’s preliminary order reinstating the stay makes that impossible.”
The plaintiffs also filed a motion May 13 to have the underlying appeal bypass the appeals court and go quickly to the Supreme Court, a move known as seeking “certification” of the case to the Supreme Court.
But attorneys for the state on Monday urged the appeals court to decline the certification request. In a nine-page filing, they said the plaintiffs’ “supposed need for an urgent resolution falls flat. The secretary (of state) has made clear since the inception of this case that it is already too late to provide any relief for the 2022 election cycle.”
(©2022 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders contributed to this report.)
NOAA: ‘Above Average’ 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Predicts 6-10 Hurricanes
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In its initial outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season when we kick it off on June 1st.
NOAA is predicting we’ll see 14-21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6-10 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), and 3-6 will strengthen into major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
NOAA is forecasting a 65 percent likelihood of an above-average hurricane season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season.
The increased activity anticipated is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon which supports the waves that come off of Africa.
This is the seventh consecutive year they’ve forecast an above-average hurricane season.
An average hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
When the busy 2021 Atlantic hurricane season came to an end, there had 21 named tropical storms and hurricanes, which was the third-most for any hurricane season, behind only 2020’s record 30 storms and the 28 storms that formed in 2005.
The season included seven hurricanes with four of those becoming major hurricanes reaching Category 3 strength.
Of the 21 named storms, only two impacted South Florida. Elsa and Fred, both tropical storms while near South Florida, were mostly rainmakers and gave the area brief tropical-storm-force winds.
Louisiana was hit hard again when Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall.
The 2021 season was the second year in a row that exhausted the list of storm names. Dissipating in early November, tropical storm Wanda marked the 21st named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
Booker T on Mark Henry: “It seems like going to AEW just makes you forget about how the business actually really works”
Mick Foley set to launch ‘Foley is Pod’ with Conrad Thompson
Complete details on how you can order AEW Double Or Nothing on Bleacher Report
Proposed law in Maryland would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 28 days after birth
California introduces new bill that would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 7 days after birth
100+ nations have global agreement now being deployed called ‘Project Sandman’ to drop and end dominance of U.S. dollar and petrodollar
Wuhan bio lab carried out gain of function research on monkeypox virus
Miami Gardens woman arrested after she told neighbors she killed her husband and buried him in her backyard
HHS Secretary admits Biden administration knew about baby formula shortage last year, did nothing about it
Politics23 hours ago
VIDEO: Jack Posobiec Detained At World Economic Forum Summit In Davos
Politics20 hours ago
Bill Gates Spent Millions in Dark Money to Attack Elon Musk, Report Claims
Politics17 hours ago
KAMALA: ‘When We Talk About The Children Of The Community, They Are A Children Of The Community’
Politics23 hours ago
Kemp Continues Lead in Georgia, but Trump Endorsed David Perdue May Force Runoff
News17 hours ago
Wuhan bio lab carried out gain of function research on monkeypox virus
Politics20 hours ago
Watch: Journalists Detained by Swiss Police Outside Davos WEF Summit
Sports23 hours ago
Watch: Steph Curry drills signature no-look triple from corner in Game 3 vs. Mavs
Politics16 hours ago
Video: Russian Pranksters Trick George W. Bush Into Talking ‘Information War’ & Ukraine Biolabs