TOKYO - Protesters calling for their U.S. base-hosting burdens to be reduced marched in Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa on Friday as part of the annual three-day “Peace March.”

The rally, which was divided into two routes and comprised more than 1,000 protesters, coincides with Okinawa this week marking the 47th anniversary of its reversion to Japan from U.S. control.

Okinawa was occupied by U.S. forces after the end of World War II in 1945 and ostensibly returned to Japan on May 15, 1972, although many in Okinawa, owing to their disproportionate base-hosting burdens, still feel a sense of continued “occupation” by U.S. forces.

One rally was held in front of the gate of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab in the coastal Henoko area of Nago, which a site under construction by the central government to build a replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The majority of Okinawans want to see the U.S. base relocated outside of Okinawa, or Japan as a whole.

Another group of protesters gathered in Okinawa’s capital, Naha, and began their march from there. Former Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, addressing the protesters in front of the U.S. base, asked whether Okinawans really had democracy.