About 1,000 people attended a marc in Okinawa on Saturday, calling for peace and the scaling down of American military bases in the province a day before the 50th anniversary of its return to Japan on May 15, 1972.

The nine-km march was the first in three years after the Covid-19 pandemic that had halted the annual event.

It began near the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the middle of a residential area in Ginowan in the island prefecture of southwestern Japan.

The rain did not stop the protesters, who wore bands with messages such as "Okinawa without bases,” a popular demand of island residents since the US handed over the territory to Japan after 27 years of colonial rule at the end of World War II. EFE