United States forces have maintained their strength on the Japanese island of Okinawa, despite withdrawals from other Asian bases after the fall of Saigon to Communist forces.
United States forces have maintained their strength on the Japanese island of Okinawa, despite withdrawals from other Asian bases after the fall of Saigon to Communist forces. The U.S. bases on the island have taken on a new strategic importance for American interests in S.E. Asia.
But the authorities are bracing themselves for a fresh round of demonstrations against the continuing American military presence, to coincide with the opening of EXPO 75, the international exhibition, on the island later this month.
Left-wing Japanese and some Okinawan residents have been stepping up agitation for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces, since the island was handed back to Japan in 1972. after 30 years of American administration.
There are reports claiming that riot police and left-wing radicals have been moving into Okinawa, preparing for an anti-American demonstration on July the 20th when EXPO opens.
However, there are over 30,000 U.S. servicemen based on Okinawa who make a substantial contribution to the island's economy. The U.S. Air Force suggests their withdrawal would have a profound impact on the island.
There are other important factors: the Japanese Government is worried that South Korea could the next "domino"to fall in the Communist advance in South-east Asia. So the defence pact with the U.S. allows the government to strike a delicate balance in Chinese- Soviet relations--and to control demands from nationalists for an increase in the nation's own small self defence force.