Japan’s sovereignty day plan riles Okinawans
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thinks his plan to commemorate the restoration of Japan’s sovereignty and the end of Allied Occupation is a good one for next month, but Okinawans aren’t the least bit pleased by the idea.
The 1952 restoration of Japan’s sovereignty was a big deal on mainland Japan, but to Okinawans, who remained under American occupation until 1972, it’s nothing. Okinawans consider April 28th as “the day of infamy” when Japan came out from under the allies, while Okinawa remained under U.S. control.
At best, Okinawans are giving Abe a slight pass as simply being ignorant of the facts. Both of Okinawa’s largest newspapers –the Ryukyu Shimpo and the Okinawa Times—have published articles on their websites criticizing the Prime Minister for the celebration. The San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect April 28, 1952, officially ending World War II, but it didn’t apply to Okinawa, which remained under U.S. military occupation.
“It is a nice day because Japan because independent” again, says Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, “but it was a day when Okinawa was deserted too.” He told the Okinawa Times “It’s only natural the Okinawan people have various feelings, including resentment and bitterness.” At a Cabinet meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga seemed to agree, telling his colleagues “not to forget Okinawa’s history of hardship” and to keep on pressing for reductions in the burdens carried by Okinawa.