TOKYO (Sputnik) — US Ambassador to Tokyo Caroline Kennedy and Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga issued the statement, according to which four out of a total of 481 hectares of US military land, located in the highly-populated district of Ginowan city, will be returned its residents.
Two decades ago, the Japanese government decided to close the US military base in Ginowan. They initially intended to relocate the base outside the prefecture but earlier this year, the government resumed construction of a US military base in Okinawa.
The Tokyo-US decision to return nearly 1 percent of land occupied by a US military base in Okinawa to local residents is politically motivated, governor Takeshi Onaga said.
"It looks like this is artificial," Onaga was quoted by the Kyodo news agency as saying.
He added that the move demonstrates the influence of "a strong political aspect."
Okinawa witnessed a series of ferocious battles at the end of WWII which many believe attributed to the US move to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which forced the Empire of Japan surrender.
Okinawa constitutes less than 1 percent of Japan's overall territory but hosts some 74 percent of the country's total US military presence, many of which are remnants of WWII, as Okinawa remained under US control until 1972.