A page of Okinawa's post-war history closed -- Former JCP Vice Chair Senaga
Kamejiro dies at 94
Senaga Kamejiro, Japanese Communist Party honorary official (former JCP
Executive Committee vice chair), died of old age on October 5 in a hospital
in Tomigusuku Village, Okinawa Prefecture. He was 94.
Okinawa's best-known symbol of resistance under the post-war U.S.
military occupation, Senaga as chairman of the Okinawa People's Party
(1959-1972) led the struggle to get Okinawa free from U.S. military rule.
Until the reversion to Japan of the administrative rights over Okinawa in
1972, he braved constant repression by the U.S. military authorities.
Senaga was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1970 from the
Okinawa People's Party and from 1973 served as a JCP member of the Lower
House until 1989.
After the Okinawa People's Party merged with the JCP, he was elected
chairman of the JCP Okinawa Prefectural Committee. From 1973 to 1990, he was
a vice chair of the JCP Executive Committee.
Fuwa remembers Senaga's great struggle
Japanese Communist Party Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo wrote a
eulogy for Akahata (Oct. 7), stressing how much of an impact he had in
Okinawa's history and on Okinawans.
He recalled that in Okinawa's first election for the House of
Representatives, a major slogan was: "Let's go back to Japan with Kame-san."
Kame-san was Senaga Kamejiro's nickname, and "Kame" literally means a
"turtle," which Okinawans hoped to take them back to Japan, breaking away
from U.S. military rule.
"When Okinawans rose to struggle for Okinawa's reversion to Japan, that
seemed to be seeking an impossible objective. In fact, under the San
Francisco Peace Treaty, which defined Okinawa's status, there were only two
options: continued U.S. occupation or UN protectorate. The road of Okinawa's
reversion to Japan was totally closed."
"However, Okinawans' united struggles in the 1950s and the 1960s broke
through the impossibility. With the San Francisco Treaty intact, they
achieved a reversion to Japan. Senaga Kamejiro was the person who
represented the indomitable struggle and wishes of Okinawans."
"We must succeed the resolute position Senaga maintained and overcome the
unjustifiable reality, the existence of foreign bases for war." (end)