“It’s like clockwork, well calendar-work anyway. Here they are again, right on schedule. You would think they would be tired of it by now. I know we are. Another day, another dollar; more like another Tuesday, another protest. What do these people hope to accomplish anyway?”
“It’s Tuesday, and I have my trusty placard. We will assemble near the post office and make our way to the base gates. We will stay out of the way, no blocking of traffic, but our presence will be felt. It’s been forty years since the battle; forty years of them being here. Okay, the ‘occupation’ is over, but then why are they still here? They fire artillery over our village, there have been rapes of our girls, and disrespect to our way of life. Hopefully the politicians in Tokyo will listen some day.”
In the 1980s, when I was stationed on Okinawa, there were regular protests outside the gates of the base. They may not have been every Tuesday as the fictional account above suggests, but they were regular enough. They became larger on occasions when artillery live fire training took place, or when an American serviceman committed a crime in the community. As a young man I did think that the protests to close the bases were ill conceived, after all “we were there to protect them from the Soviets and Chinese.” Now in my more mature days, I can see the affront of perceived “occupation” and the frustration of the sense of a lack of control over one’s own destiny that is caused by crimes, training operations, and by people who speak to you slowly and loudly in English when dealing with you (even if you don’t speak the language).
And it still goes on: Okinawa calls on US to leave