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It comprises hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long.The Ryukyus extend southwest from Kyushu (the southwesternmost of Japan's four main islands) to Taiwan.These bases include Kadena Air Base, Camp Foster, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Camp Hansen, Camp Schwab, Torii Station, Camp Kinser, and Camp Gonsalves. Okinawa hosts about two-thirds of the 50,000 American forces in Japan although the islands account for less than one percent of total lands in Japan.As of March 31, 2008, 19 percent of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park; Okinawa Kaigan and Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Parks; and Irabu, Kumejima, and Tonaki Prefectural Natural Parks.The military buildup on the island during the Cold War increased a division between local inhabitants and the American military. and Japan have maintained an agreement that allows the U. to secretly bring nuclear weapons into Japanese ports.Under the 1952 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, the United States Forces Japan (USFJ) have maintained a large military presence. The Japanese tended to oppose the introduction of nuclear arms into Japanese territory by the government's assertion of Japan's non-nuclear policy and a statement of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.The Ryukyu Kingdom entered into the Imperial Chinese tributary system under the Ming dynasty beginning in the 15th century, which established economic relations between the two nations.In 1609, the Shimazu clan, which controlled the region that is now Kagoshima Prefecture, invaded the Ryukyu Kingdom.
In a 1981 interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, Edwin O. In 2009, Japan's former foreign minister Katsuya Okada stated that he wanted to review the deployment of U. troops in Japan to ease the burden on the people of Okinawa (Associated Press, October 7, 2009) 5,000 of 9,000 Marines will be deployed at Guam and the rest will be deployed at Hawaii and Australia.
Although Satsuma maintained strong influence over the islands, the Ryukyu Kingdom maintained a considerable degree of domestic political freedom for over two hundred years.
Four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government, through military incursions, officially annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu han.
Political leaders such as Oda Makoto, a major figure in the Beheiren movement (Foundation of Citizens for Peace in Vietnam), believed, that the return of Okinawa to Japan would lead to the removal of U. The Beheiren became a more visible anti-war movement on Okinawa as the American involvement in Vietnam intensified. Reports by the local media of accidents and crimes committed by U. servicemen have reduced the local population's support for the U. As a result, the media has drawn renewed interest in the Ryukyu independence movement. military are complex, and some of the resentment towards the U. bases is directed towards the government in Tokyo, perceived as being insensitive to Okinawan needs and using Okinawa to house bases not desired elsewhere in Japan.
The movement employed tactics ranging from demonstrations, to handing leaflets to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines directly, warning of the implications for a third World War. Documents declassified in 1997 proved that both tactical and strategic weapons have been maintained in Okinawa. military also imposed a temporary 24-hour curfew on military personnel and their families to ease the anger of local residents. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture within Japan, and the problem of U. bases has become tangled with the sense of colonialist and imperialist treatment of Okinawa by Tokyo. military—contrary to repeated denials by the Pentagon—had kept tens of thousands of barrels of Agent Orange on the island.
At the time, the Qing Empire asserted a nominal suzerainty over the islands of the Ryukyu Kingdom, since the Ryūkyū Kingdom was also a member state of the Chinese tributary system.