Okinawa, made up of a number of islands, is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, with a population of about 1.4 million.
Japan annexed the Kingdom of Ryukyu after the 1868 Meiji Restoration. During World War II, Okinawa became the only battlefield involving civilians on Japan’s soil.
Japan, which lost the war, regained its sovereignty when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect in 1952. Okinawa remained under U.S. military rule until it was reverted to Japan’s sovereignty in 1972.
Okinawa hosts 74 percent of U.S. military installations in Japan. On Okinawa’s main island, the facilities occupy 18 percent of the land area.
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