Japan Commemorates Battle of Okinawa’s 70th Year

August 19, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. heckle / ˈhɛk əl / (v.) – to interrupt or harass a public speaker
Example: The angry crowd heckled the politician.

2. outrage / ˈaʊt reɪdʒ /  (n.) – a strong feeling of anger
Example: There was much outrage over the president’s decision to pass the law.

3. hurl / hɜrl / (v.) – to speak with anger
Example: The mob hurled insults at the police.

4. strive / straɪv / (v.) – to exert great effort
Example: The government strives to keep the country safe.

5. invade / ɪnˈveɪd /  (v.) – to forcefully take control of a place
Example: Foreign forces tried to invade our country, but they failed.


Read the text below.
Japan has commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa through a ceremony held in June.

The ceremony took place in the southern part of Itoman, Okinawa, and was attended by many local people. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also present and gave a speech during the event, but was heckled by the angry crowd.

The locals of Okinawa expressed their outrage over the large number of American soldiers still occupying the islands. They even hurled insults at the Prime Minister, telling him to leave as he took the podium.

Although he was shocked by the locals’ reactions, Prime Minister Abe reminded them of the peace they have experienced since World War II. Despite this, he acknowledges that the presence of American soldiers causes a heavy burden among the locals of Okinawa. Thus, Prime Minister Abe promised that the government will continue to strive in order to lighten this burden.

American soldiers invaded Okinawa in 1945, the last year of World War II, as part of the Allied Forces’ strategy to fully conquer Japan. Even after the war ended, the American soldiers never left the prefecture. To date, Okinawa is home to half of all the American soldiers based in Japan.

Despite protests from Okinawa’s local communities, American authorities announced in June that the US troops will not leave Okinawa. The US State Department stated that having soldiers in Okinawa is part of the Mutual Security Treaty between the United States and Japan.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about the sentiments of the Okinawa locals?
·         What can the Japanese government do to ease the burden on Okinawa locals?

Discussion B

·         Do you think people should commemorate historical battles? Why or why not?
·         How do you think war has changed in the past 70 years?

August 19, 2015