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Okinawa, 50 years after return, still heavily in U.S. defense playbook

Calls to cut burden drowned out by need for U.S. and Japan to face off China

Vertical takeoff and landing aircraft Ospreys parked at the Futenma Air Base in Ginowan, Okinawa. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO/NAHA, Okinawa -- Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of Okinawa's return to Japan by the U.S.

Japan's southernmost prefecture, comprised of 160 islands, formed the backdrop of some of the fiercest battles fought in Japan during World War II. A quarter of the local population, some 120,000 people, died.

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