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U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa says it will improve training program

In connection with the issue of derogatory expressions against Okinawa and obviously inaccurate explanations being used in the training materials of the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa, the U.S. Marines responded to questions from the Ryukyu Shimpo by saying: “We believe the materials in question were used until 2014. The current curriculum was revised in January 2015.” However, they did not directly answer questions about whether they interpret the expressions used in the training materials as looking down on the Okinawan people or whether these expressions are the U.S. Marine Corps’ official position, instead saying, “We will continue to improve” the curriculum in the future.

 

The Marine Corps explained to prefectural government officials and media outlets that “they will make the curriculum more effective by reflecting the productive voices of the local community.” They also explained that they have conducted the training program “to reduce misunderstandings about Okinawan culture and increase understanding in order to be a productive partner in Okinawa.”

 

According to the Marines, the training program is conducted once a week for service members who have arrived in Okinawa by splitting them into small groups. About 6,000 service members participate in the program every year. The training manual used until 2014 included derogatory expressions and inaccurate explanations such as that Okinawa “takes advantage of the base issue for its relations with mainland Japan” and “Okinawan people are not hoping for the early withdrawal of U.S. bases because land rent is the only source of income they have.”

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