Note: This posting is the first of the “After UTS III” series. We want to continue the conversation that began at Uchinanchu Talk Story III. We hope to bring to people’s attention recent news and developments affecting the people of Okinawa and so provide a forum for discussing our common concerns.
The Okinawan prefectural assembly recently passed a unanimous resolution rejecting the Japan government’s decision to celebrate “Restoration of Sovereignty Day.” The Ryuku Shimpo commissioned a poll that found that approximately 80 percent of the heads of municipalities within Okinawa prefecture oppose any such celebration.
Under the terms of the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952, Japan received back its independence in exchange for Okinawa remaining under U.S. military rule. Thus, for Okinawa the occasion of the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco (April 28) is known as “Humiliation Day.”
The Japan government’s decision to go ahead with the celebration despite vehement objections in Okinawa has caused some to voice concern about whether Japan is a true democracy. The Ryuku Shimpo wrote:
If Japan is a true democracy, and if it’s leaders wish to show they are willing to listen to the voice of Okinawans, their only choice is to forego holding this ceremony. The ceremony is also intended to commemorate the “60 year anniversary of Japan’s return to the international community.” But while the inequalities of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement are ignored, and servile diplomatic relations toward the United States continue, can Japan really puff itself up with pride at a “Restoration of Sovereignty?”
Read more at Moderate Voice: “Prime Minister Abe to Humiliate Okinawa with ‘Restoration of Sovereignty Day’ (Ryuku Shimpo Shimbun, Japan)”
See also Forbes Magazine: “As Japan Commemorates a Postwar Return to Sovereignty, Okinawans Lament a Day of Shame“