Before the Battle of Okinawa, the former community of Ginowan Village occupied the space where MCAS Futenma was later constructed. The village municipal office as well as Ginowan National Elementary School and the main thoroughfare of life in the village was Jinoon-nan-machi, which ran north and south.
According to the official history of Ginowan City, Ginowan Village comprised 22 districts and had a population of 13,635 in 1944 just before the Battle of Okinawa. Fourteen of those districts where located in or across the present site of the airbase. The land where 8,800 people once lived was taken by force to construct MCAS Futenma in the center of what was Ginowan Village.
The U.S. military, which invaded Ginowan, forcibly expropriated land as a policy of occupation and began constructing the runway. In October after the battle ended, residents were gradually allowed to return home from internment camps and evacuation sites. However, many citizens were unable to return because their homes and land had already been seized. As a consequence, these citizens were forced to rebuild their communities on land around the airfield, which had been reallocated by the US military.
In a statement filed in December of last year in the case contesting construction of a new base at Henoko, Governor Takeshi Onaga raised the matter of the forcible land expropriation, stating, “When [Okinawa Prefecture residents] tried to return to their homes from internment camps, the land had been transformed into MCAS Futenma and other US military bases.”