‘The Targeted Village’ – A Lightning Rod for Okinawans’ Discontent

The Targeted Village (標的の村) is a 91-minute documentary based on Chie Mikami’s 2012 award-winning TV program produced for an Okinawa station. Mikami, 48, is a newscaster at Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting. The village, Takae, is in northern Okinawa. At issue is the construction of heliports for the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft at Futenma air base. Residents, fearing accidents and environmental destruction, have been protesting to stall the project. The central government has been locking horns with the protesters to maintain access to and from the base and to keep the incident out of the media. This news blackout is the impetus for the documentary.

As an issue, Futenma looms much larger than the heliports and Ospreys. It has become a lightning rod for the Okinawans’ discontent with their burden of the US military bases in Japan. Okinawa accounts for less than 1% of Japan’s land mass, yet it houses 75% of all US bases in the country. Nearly 20% of Okinawa, the main island, is taken up by bases. Thus, this local issue has grown to capture the hearts of people throughout the country and the world as a fight for civil rights and self-determination. The videos below provide a glimpse into the movement.

Mika Kurokawa, “Film Depicts Okinawans’ Fight Against Ospreys,” Japan Times, 8/12/13.
In Okinawa, the War Isn’t Over: Protests Aimed at US Base Expansion,” NBC News, 4/13/13.

This entry was posted in Culture, Film, History, International, Media, Op-ed, Politics, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

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