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You are here News Military Okinawans decry noise, chemical pollution at US bases across island

Okinawans decry noise, chemical pollution at US bases across island

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Okinawa bases pollution protestedSeventy years after the end of World War II, there are 32 U.S. military facilities in Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Many of the U.S. bases there are concentrated in the crowded southern part of the island

. The sparsely populated north is home to the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Gonsalves and the Jungle Warfare Training Center (JWTC). The northern and central training areas make up a 37,000-acre expanse of rugged subtropical jungle that includes the U.S.’s only site designated for practicing jungle warfare and have played a major role in training since before the Vietnam War.

Occupying almost 40 percent of the biodiverse Yanbaru Forest, the JWTC has 22 helipads used for training with the MV-22 Osprey hybrids and other military aircraft.

Rie Ishihara, a mother of four, arrived in southern Okinawa from Tokyo in 1993. Nearly a decade ago, she and her family moved north to Takae village just as the construction of helipads was being announced. Like other residents, she’s concerned about noise, pollution, forest fires and the threat of crashes and other accidents as military aircraft fly overhead.

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