Visitors looking at the US Futenma Air Base. The base's airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944. With the end of the war, the airfield became a United States Air Force Far East Air Force installation known as Futenma Air Base, and was used as a support airfield for the nearby Kadena Air Base. The airbase has become a focal point of various political controversies in recent years. Due to population growth and encroachment around the base, concerns surrounding flights over residential areas causing noise, air pollution and endangering public safety also became controversial issues. This was heightened after the August 2004 crash of a Marine Corps CH-53D transport helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University.