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30th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion May 15

Date Posted: 2002-05-17

May 15 marks the 30th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan from the U.S. Japan had conceded Okinawa to the U.S. following its defeat in the WWII, and the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1952 formalized the fact.

Following the San Fransisco Peace Treaty Okinawa was governed by the US Civil Administration of the Ryukyus (USCAR) that was headed by the highest-ranking American military office on the island. The first head of the USCAR was Gen. James E. Moore.

Okinawa's reversion to the Japanese rule was decided in a meeting on Nov. 21, 1969, President Richard Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in Washington, although the agreement for the reversion was not signed until June 17, 1971 in Tokyo.

From the beginning of the American rule there was a local movement to have Okinawa reverted to Japanese sovereignty. And when that finally took place, every aspect of Okinawa's life was changed, from currency to traffic rules.

Although Okinawans desired to return to Japanese sovereignty, they credit the American administration for many advances in their lives, one of the foremost being the introduction of better roads. The biggest advantage of the reversion that most people remember is that they did not need a passport any more to visit the mainland.

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