In the final months of World War Two in the Pacific, the United States and Japan fought a fierce battle over the island of Okinawa, 400 miles south of mainland Japan. The American Army and Marines finally captured the island, but many Japanese residents were killed during the fighting.
Now, the United States and Japan are renegotiating the location of the Futenma Air Station, which the U.S. says is key to stability in the region, especially with rising tensions between North and South Korea, and China and Taiwan.
This video explains why residents of Okinawa want the military base off their island, and why the issue might prove tricky for the newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
"Why does the American military, for over 60 years, have to keep a lot of bases at a small island like Okinawa? What is the purpose of trying to have more bases here? That, I can never understand." - Jumiko Shimabukaro, Okinawa resident
"Stability in the region is due in large part to the U.S. military presence. We are the glue that holds together security in the region." - Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, spokesman, U.S. Marine Corps
"[Prime Minister Hatoyama] overestimated his political charm and was surprised when he came to Okinawa and said, "Please accept the base," and everybody said no." - Doug Lummis, political scientist
1. Which countries did the U.S. fight against in World War Two?
2. Where is Japan? What does its geography tell you?
3. Why does the United States have military bases around the world?
1. Do you think the U.S. should keep its military base on Okinawa? Why or why not?
2. Why might the prime minister have promised to move the military base and then changed his mind?
3. Okinawa residents were shocked and angry after three American servicemen kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old 6th-grade Japanese girl. How should this crime affect the decision to keep or remove the military base?
4. Take a look at the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. How does this document affect the debate over Okinawa? http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/q&a/ref/1.html