The Japanese authorities today, May 15, held a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the return of administrative rights to the southern prefecture of Okinawa, which was occupied by the United States after World War II. The ceremony was broadcast on NHK.
“This ceremony is filled with important meaning not only for the people of Okinawan, but for the entire population of our country. The return through diplomacy of the territory that was lost during the hostilities was made possible thanks to the friendship and trust between Japan and the United States,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a visit to the southern prefecture on the occasion of the memorable date.
Viewers were shown a video with archival footage depicting the history of Okinawa from the beginning of the war to the present. The Emperor of Japan also attended the video conference event. Naruhitowhose appearance on the screen the audience met standing and with a bow, after which the national anthem was sung.
Recall that from April to June 1945, a land battle was fought on Okinawa between the US landing force and the garrison of the imperial troops of Japan. Then, until 1972, the prefecture was under American occupation and was turned into a key element of the military infrastructure of the Pentagon in the Pacific Northwest. Although Okinawa occupies only 0.6% of the territory of Japan, more than 70% of the area of American military bases in the country is now concentrated there, including the Kadena Air Base, the largest outside the United States.
According to a Kyodo survey, at least 51% of Japanese residents are in favor of a significant reduction in the number of US military bases on Okinawa. 79% of respondents also felt that the prefectural authorities are facing an unfair burden due to the presence of US bases. Meanwhile, according to a Yomiuri study, more than 80% of Okinawans are satisfied with its development after reunification with the main part of the country, and 54% of the local population said that the US bases located there generally contribute to Japan’s security.