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Women dancing on a 'red beach' in Betio town. During WWII the Gilbert Islands were occupied by the Japanese. In planning for the campaign to retake Betio three northern beaches were named Red 1, Red 2 and Red 3. Betio is now the most populated place in Kiribati with about 16,000 people living in slum-like conditions in an area of 1.54 square km (0.59 sq. miles).