Okinawa to transfer U.S. base

The 73rd anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II was marked on Saturday. The Battle of Okinawa, a fierce battle that claimed more than 200,000 lives and lasting two and a half months, calls for the reduction of U.S. troops on the island prefecture as well as easing tensions with North Korea.


Gov. Takeshi Onaga said in his peace declaration, referring to the recent historic summit between the America and North Korea. He added that there is a plan in place to relocate a U.S. military base located inside the prefecture to a coastal area despite resistance from the locals.


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Japanese Prime Minister ,Shinzo Abe, said that the government will stick to the plan of relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The base is currently located in Ginowan, a crowded residential area of Okinawa.


Henoko is seen as a better place and the transfer of the base to the coastal area will significantly improve safety. Abe told reporters that the government plans to start reclamation work in the area in sometime in August.


Nearly five thousand people attended the ceremony in the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman, the site of the final stage of the Battle of Okinawa, observing a moment of silence at noon.


Around 94,000 civilians, about a quarter of the local population at the time, along with 94,000 Japanese soldiers and 12,500 American troops died in the two-and-a-half-month battle starting in April 1, 1945 and ended in June 22, 1945.


The names of 58 killed in action were freshly engraved on the Cornerstone of Peace in the memorial park. This brings the total death toll to 241,525. This number disregards nationality and military or civilian status.


At the summit with U.S. President Donald Trump on June 12, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


Reference: U.S.-North Korea summit pushes Okinawa call for easing base burden


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