United States

The 27-year-old who instigated a referendum in famously apolitical Japan

(CNN)Jinshiro Motoyama is not your average political activist. In a country where politics is dominated by established middle-aged politicians, the 27-year-old Okinawa native is a university student with no party affiliations.But Motoyama has disrupted the norm. He masterminded this month's Okinawa referendum on the national government's plan to relocate a longstanding but controversial United States air base within Japan's southernmost prefecture.Okinawa was occupied by the Americans after World War II, and only reverted to Japan in 1972. The lingering US presence remains a divisive issue.The island represents less than 1% of Japanese territory, but hosts roughly 70% of US bases and half the 47,000 American troops in Japan, according to ...