July 4th Fireworks and Concerts Canceled for US Forces in Japan, Citing "Respect for Okinawans"

Posted: Jun 23, 2016 10:00 AM

Fireworks and concerts on the Fourth of July have been canceled for American forces in Japan this year after a government contractor was accused of the rape and death of an Okinawan woman.

Over 20,000 Americans consisting of the 10th Army combined with three U.S. Marine divisions were killed in the Battle of Okinawa, which proved to be the bloodiest of the Pacific War. 

"No U.S. installations in Japan will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with fireworks displays or concerts" to demonstrate respect for Okinawan residents said U.S. command on Thursday.

After the suspect's arrest in May, the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy imposed strict restrictions on their personnel, including prohibitions on alcohol consumption and off-base activities.

"Crime and accidents have been repeated for years because of U.S. military bases occupying vast areas (of the island)," Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said at an annual ceremony Thursday marking the end of the Battle of Okinawa.  More than half of the 200,000 Japanese who were killed in the battle were Okinawans.