The U.S. Marine Corps has operated a permanent base in Okinawa, Japan continuously since 1955. As of 2015, the base was home to about 19,000 Marines responsible for defending U.S. interests in East Asia. It is one of 15 U.S. Marine bases around the world.
The Marine base on Okinawa was established in the aftermath of World War II, when the United States maintained sovereignty over the island and other parts of Japan. The U.S. occupation of Okinawa did not end until 1972. In the years since, the Marines' continued presence on the island has sparked protests and become a source of tension between the U.S. and Japan.