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Okinawa, Japan pushes US to draw down base presence 77 years after battle’s end

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Okinawa marked the 77th anniversary Thursday of the end of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, with the governor calling for a further reduction of the U.S. military presence there as local fears grow that the southern Japanese islands will become embroiled in regional military tension.

The Battle of Okinawa killed about 200,000 people, nearly half of them Okinawan residents. Japan’s wartime military, in an attempt to delay a U.S. landing on the main islands, essentially sacrificed the local population.

Many in Okinawa are worried about the growing deployment of Japanese missile defense and amphibious capabilities on outer islands that are close to geopolitical hotspots like Taiwan.

At a ceremony marking the June 23, 1945, end of the…

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