Reporters on the Job

A US-Japanese Hybrid: While reporting today's story about the plan to move a US air base to another location on Okinawa, correspondent Bennett Richardson was struck by the ubiquitousness of US bases and the American influence on the island's ambiance and culture.

"So many of the US bases are now surrounded by busy urban areas. But I also found that Okinawa has many natives who speak excellent English," says Bennett. "A number of radio stations are all-English and play US songs, so Okinawans' listening comprehension ability is fairly good.

"One elderly man I spoke to said Okinawa was probably the most international part of Japan. I don't know about 'international,' but it definitely had a more American feel than Tokyo," he says. "Okinawa's roads are broad - with three or four lanes sometimes. That's unheard of elsewhere in Japan. And like in the US, everyone drives and public transport is minimal. Until the arrival of a monorail recently, there were no trains. But even the monorail seems to cater mostly to tourists coming and going from the airport."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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