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Okinawa takes issue with USG statement on Battle of Okinawa

Tuesday’s Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times highlighted local reaction to the White House message on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, highlighting criticism from local academics who took issue with the phrase “the legacy of that sacrifice includes our alliance with Japan.” The scholars claimed that the Trump administration ignores the fact that the island prefecture has been forced to shoulder a disproportionate base-hosting burden. Ryukyu University Professor Emeritus Gabe asserted that the statement represented U.S. “arrogance” and “insensitivity.” Okinawa International University Professor Sato speculated that the message was an attempt to remind Japanese that the U.S. was responsible for Japan’s success in building its postwar system. Sato said that by elaborating on how the bilateral alliance was forged, Washington perhaps intended to warn Tokyo against tilting toward Beijing amid the escalating friction between the U.S. and China. An unnamed scholar cited by Ryukyu Shimpo noted that the U.S. military has consistently taken the view that Okinawa owes its development to the sacrifices of veterans and that the President’s message reflected this belief.

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