At the end of World War II, the Battle of Okinawa was fought between Allied and Japanese forces on the Okinawa islands. The Battle of Okinawa was a ground war directly involving the people of the prefecture, and 120,000 of the then population of approximately 490,000 were killed. Of these, 94,000 were civilian casualties. After the war, Okinawa was under the administration of the United States, and was not returned to Japan until 1972. Today, more than 75 years after the war, the bones of residents and soldiers remain buried in the ground in the mountains, in dugouts, and in the ruins of military positions on Okinawa, and U.S. military bases on the island remain.
The AEON Environmental Foundation is a solely corporate public interest foundation that works on the theme of the global environment, based on AEON’s basic philosophy of “pursuing peace, respecting people, and contributing to local communities, with the customer as the starting point.” Peace is placed first because the retail industry is a peace industry. Since the AEON group operates a retail business in Okinawa, group members must embody their own desire for peace in various ways. As part of its activities, the AEON Environmental Foundation is involved in creating a new relationship between the natural environment and human beings in order to lay the foundation for peace. Here four support activities are introduced. These are: tree planting at the Peace Memorial Park, tree planting at the former final waste disposal site in Naha, prevention of red soil runoff that destroys the sea, and forest conservation by the “Home of the Okinawa rail” in Yanbaru.