Okinawa Islands: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Japan and the Okinawa Islands, the history of the American occupation after World War II.

Okinawa Islands


Near the end of W.W. II Japan's retreating armed forces made Okinawa a major base. In early 1945 U.S. forces invaded, setting off W.W. II's last major battle. Approximately 12,500 American troops, 65,000 Japanese troops, and 110,000 Okinawan civilians died in the fighting, which devastated the islands.

The U.S. now maintains 88 bases, with 40,000 air, land, and sea forces on the Okinawa chain. These include huge logistics facilities, a jungle warfare school, and a Voice of America transmitter (to be phased out).

The U.S. used Okinawa as a base to support its minor intervention in the Chinese civil war. During the Korean War U.S. planes flew bombing missions from Okinawa. Also, Okinawa was a major transshipment point for the Indochina War.

In 1970 American and Japanese business began to build major aluminum and oil refineries on Okinawa, thus avoiding the legal environmental restrictions of the Japanese main islands.

Commodore Perry captured an ancient Okinawan bell during one of his visits. It now rings out the score at Army-Navy football games.

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