I spent a week in Okinawa and I had the opportunity to drive around the main island, I realized how little it is but also I realized how most of the territory is still owned by the US. Okinawa was officially US land until 1972 when it was returned to Japan, but until now they keep tons of territory and bases to maintain their military control in Asia:
I guess around 30% is US territory. Some people consider Okinawa as the biggest “aircraft carrier” en the world. Map from wikipedia.
The most important base in Okinawa is Kadena, it is located in the area that was first invaded by the US at the end of the WWII. In Kadena there are almost 20.000 US citizens living; their is a school, a high school, supermarkets, beautiful beaches with white sand and they even have a golf course inside the base. In fact, it seems that some of the best beaches in Japan are located inside the Kadena base! But the local people don’t really care about the beaches, what they complain more is about not having enough land, about the noise made by planes and also about the problems that US soldiers sometimes cause nearby the bases (rapes).
Kadena base entrance.
They are playing golf.
They island is full of fences like this one.
From time to time, the US returns some land to Japan, for example, the Elephant cage is already Japanese territory. But it seems the US is not really willing to give to much land, the situation is very strategic to control Asia. For example, Okinawa was a key during the Vietnam and also Korean war.
A video I took at Kadena entrance: