[QODLink]
101 East
Okinawa: The future of US bases
Japan's PM is under pressure to resolve the divisive issue of the Okinawa US airbase.
Last Modified: 31 May 2010 11:20 GMT

The recent election was intended to give the country a fresh start.

Almost 50,000 US military personnel are stationed in Japan, more than half on the island of Okinawa.

But their presence has often been controversial.

Cases of rapes, robberies, assaults and drink-driving by US marines has brought thousands of local people on the streets to protest.

And anger has continued to mount about the sheer scale of US operations, which take up 20 per cent of the island.

Japan spends about $4bn per year to support US troops.

Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's prime minister, campaigned last year with a promise to move Futenma airbase out of Okinawa, overshadowing the 50-year anniversary of the US-Japan security treaty.

The Okinawa base is vital to the US in protecting its interests in Asia. But it is also important to Hatoyama, whose popularity is plummeting in the polls and who badly needs to win a majority in the parliament's upper house elections in July.

On this edition of 101 East, we look at the future of US military bases in Japan.

This 101 East episode aired from Thursday, May 13, 2010.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.