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#1 07-11-2018 05:56:42

Registered: 10-07-2018
Posts: 264

a local hero, however, received a much

by Jon Day

TOKYO Cheap Nike Air Vapormax Outlet , June 23 (Xinhua) -- Tensions and emotions ran extremely high Tuesday as Japan's southernmost Prefecture marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, one of the bloodiest in the Pacific War, spilling over into jeers and heckles levied at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his hand in the tiny island's seemingly endless role as a pawn in the central government's war games.

Local citizens, some besides themselves with grief, as memories resurfaced of loved ones and entire families being wiped out during what was by far the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War during World War II, that resulted in a long and bloody 82-day-long battle from early April until mid-June 1945, failed to contain their anger when the prime minister attempted to address the crowd at the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman.

"We must take pride in the path of peace we have single- mindedly walked in the last 70 years and make ceaseless efforts to establish world peace," said Abe, concluding with his tired mantra of promising the people of Okinawa that the central government, who is in the process of building yet another U.S. military base on the island, will do its utmost to reduce Okinawa's base-hosting burdens.

But Abe's words were met with skepticism and resentment by the crowd of 5,000 Okinawans at the ceremony, which was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, and the atmosphere was described by local media as "highly-charged" and bordered upon being "hostile."

Abe was meet with jeers of "Go home!" and "Warmonger!" as he took to the podium to make his speech. The prime minister was visibly shaken as it's rare for leaders to be heckled so vehemently at such solemn events, yet the hawkish leader pushed on with his words of peace and hollow promises about reducing Okinawa 's base burdens.

The prime minister's speech took place in the vicinity of thousands of past suicides involving local Okinawans throwing themselves off cliffs to their deaths. They were forced to do by the Japanese Imperial Army, which ordered them never to surrender to the Allies.

Other atrocities recalled by local citizens of Japan's southernmost prefecture towards the end of those bloody days 70 years ago, involved the Imperial Army forcing locals to take two hand grenades; one to be thrown at approaching invaders, while the second was to be detonated in groups causing mass local suicides.

But there was little the Imperial Army could do to stop the advancement of the Allies, who having used islands like Guam and Saipan as bases, had been gaining ground on Japan and once had the upper hand in Okinawa, planned to use the island to launch major offenses by land, sea and air against the Japanese mainland.

In the bloody battle, mainland Japan saw 77,166 soldiers killed or take their own lives, while the Allies lost more than 14,000 troops and amassed casualties of around 65,000. As many as 150,000 local Okinawan civilians were killed or committed suicide in the Battle of Okinawa, which at the time was around 25 percent of the island's population.

All fighting ceased however, two months after the gruesome fighting on Okinawa, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing Japan to surrender and leading to the end of WWII.

But 70 years after the battle ended, some locals are still haunted by the atrocities they'd seen and still feel as though the central government treats them like second-class citizens, or an underclass of Japanese society and not on an equal footing with mainland Japanese, either culturally, socially or politically.

"The island is still littered with human remains and unexploded ordnance," Naeko Teruya, a representative of the bereaved families, was quoted by local media as saying.

"Seventy years since the war has ended, we still feel that the war hasn't truly ended. We continue to find the scars of war in Okinawa today," she said.

Other survivors in attendance at the ceremony, who paid their respects and laid flowers at black marble monuments that are inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the battle, before offering their prayers, also recounted their horrific memories of the events 70 years ago.

"The Japanese Imperial Army had lied to us about the fate that would be facing us if we surrendered to the Allies, so we were so confused, utterly paranoid and just wanted to survive and protect our families. We were, essentially, being used by the Imperial Army as body shields, as puppets, forced to go into the most dangerous areas knowing we wouldn't make it back alive," survivor Kinya Taira told Xinhua by phone.

"We were living from cave to cave, until finally we'd been chased out of them all and were exposed and waiting for death. Some refused to be killed by the Americans, choosing instead to take their own lives by jumping off high cliffs to their deaths, other were forced to do the same by the army. It was horrendous and all the while bullets rained down on us and bombs devoured our land and homes," Taira said, the emotion in his voice palpable, even on the telephone.

He went on to say that 70 years later his people were still victims and were still being treated as an underclass of Japanese, with their land stripped and used as bases by the United States, with the local people just expected to endure the burdens; the crimes including brutal rapes; military accidents and pollution.

Okinawa's Gov. Takeshi Onaga, who has become something of a local hero, however, received a much warmer reception at Tuesday's ceremony, maintaining his stance during his peace declaration that he will do everything in his power to stop the central government' s plans to relocate a controversial U.S. airbase on the island.

Under a current pact between the Japanese central government and the United States, the Marine Corps Futenma air station

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