Nearly 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Okinawa on Sunday to rally for a long-term US air base to shift off the island. This dispute is one of the largest in years, and is driving a large wedge between Tokyo-Washington relations.
Protesters signaled warnings toward Prime Minister Hatoyama by dressing in yellow, reminding him of the promise he made during elections to move the busy base off Okinawa altogether. Hatoyama's efforts to find a new location for the base have not appeased Washington. The original 2006 deal calls for moving the base from its current location, in the center of the city of Ginowan, to Camp Schwab, an existing Marine base in less-populated northern Okinawa.
Japanese have long been resentful of the massive US base on the island, which is home to more than half the 47,000 American troops based in Japan. Hatoyama has given himself till end May to resolve the issue.
90,000 Protest U.S. Base on Okinawa [The New York Times, 25 Apr 2010]
Japanese Islanders Stage Mass Rally Against US Base [ChannelNewsAsia, 25 Apr 2010]
Mass Rally in Japan Against US Base on Okinawa [BBC News 25 Apr 2010]