Okinawans observe 30th anniversary on their own

About 300 Okinawans gathered in Naha City on May 25 to mark the 30th anniversary of the return to Japan of the administrative rights over Okinawa.

The meeting was organized by the Okinawa Forum for Peace, Democracy, and Progressive Unity and the Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Committee.

Speaking on behalf of the JCP, Vice Chair Ueda Koichiro represented the Okinawa prefectural people's aspirations for a military base-free Okinawa.

He said, "The JCP Central Committee declined to attend the May 19 ceremony jointly sponsored by the central and the prefectural governments on the grounds that its aim is to force Okinawa to live with U.S. bases. The JCP thinks that this meeting here represents what the prefectural people really call for."

He stressed that the reversion of the administrative rights over Okinawa to Japan and the end of occupation rule by the U.S. armed forces, which had been provided for by the San Francisco Treaty, was actually achieved by the prefectural people's historic struggle.

Ueda pointed out that in the 30 years following the reversion, numerous U.S. bases in Okinawa (75 percent of all U.S. bases in Japan) have been maintained. He warned that the U.S. bases in Okinawa might now be used as a new U.S. stronghold for the "war against terrorism in the world."

Demanding that Okinawans be never again sacrificed in U.S. wars under the proposed wartime legislation, Ueda called for the struggle against the three contingency bills to be increased. He stated that there is a perspective for setting Okinawa free from U.S. bases, because the call represents the majority opinion of Okinawans.

Representatives of teachers' unions and other organizations, including the "One-foot Film Movement" to preserve U.S. films on the Okinawa ground war, reported the progress in their struggles for an "Okinawa free of nuclear weapons or bases." (end)