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U.S. Marine Corps deleted description of resident detention facility from HP

  • January 4, 2018
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

The U.S. Marine Corps in Japan deleted from its homepage a description of the Ourasaki resident detention facility that was part of the history of Camp Schwab (Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture) that explained how the camp was established, the Tokyo Shimbun learned. Okinawa residents were detained at the facility at the end of the Pacific War. The U.S. Marines deleted the description after the Tokyo Shimbun had pointed out that there was an erroneous description on the homepage. Many residents lost their lives at the detention facility. Some experts criticize the deletion as making light of Okinawa history.


According to records of the Okinawa prefectural government and others, the detention facility was established in the village of Kushi (now Nago City) in June 1945 after major combat ended in Okinawa. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications homepage, about 40,000 people were detained at the facility, many of whom lost their lives due to malnutrition and infectious diseases. The construction of  Camp Schwab began in 1956 at the site where the detention facility stood.


There was a description on the Marine Corps homepage saying that Okinawa residents were detained at the facility in 1945 and the name of the district “was changed to Ourasaki.” The homepage added that “Ourasaki City was selected” as a candidate site for the camp.


According to the Yomitan village archive office that keeps records of the Battle of Okinawa, “Ourasaki City” was used for a certain period in 1945 as the name of the organization that handled detained residents, so it is not a geographic name. The name stopped being used in 1956. The Nago City government pointed out that the correct geographical name was the village of Kushi.


On Dec. 12 of last year, the Tokyo Shimbun pointed out to the public affairs office of the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan that there was an erroneous and inappropriate description on its homepage. A public affairs official replied, saying, “We will provide an answer as soon as we confirm the facts,” but as of Jan. 3 this year, the public affairs office has not yet replied. In the meantime, the Marine Corps deleted the description from its homepage as late as the end of last year. The Marine Corps deleted not only the comment that the name of the district was changed to Ourasaki City but the entire account of the detention facility, making the correction that the geographical name  in 1956 was the village of Kushi.


“The U.S. Marine Corps made light of the regional history in which Okinawa was sacrificed to the U.S. occupation,” said Okinawa International University professor Hiroyuki Teruya (political science). “The U.S. Marine Corps deleted the description as if it tried to hide the fact about the detention facility, which is unacceptable to the people of Okinawa. The U.S. marines should describe the facts accurately.”


Currently, the Japanese government is continuing with the construction of a new base off the coast of Camp Schwab in the Henoko district of Nago City.

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