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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 April 24 - May 7  > Over 10,000 Okinawans raise voices against gov’t ceremony to commemorate San Francisco Treaty
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2013 April 24 - May 7 [OKINAWA]

Over 10,000 Okinawans raise voices against gov’t ceremony to commemorate San Francisco Treaty

April 29, 2013
More than 10,000 people on April 28 filled the Ginowan Seaside Park in Okinawa Prefecture to protest against the national government’s ceremony held in Tokyo on the same day to commemorate the coming into effect of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

A resolution adopted at the protest rally points out that from 1945 to 1972 in the U.S. occupied Okinawa, people’s dignity was trampled on by the occupation forces through the seizure of land and repeated military crimes. The resolution stresses that April 28 is nothing but a “Day of Humiliation”, and the government-sponsored event is totally unacceptable because it amounts to a reseparation of Okinawa from mainland Japan.

Takara Tetsumi, a professor who teaches constitutional law at Ryukyu University, said to participants at the rally that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo organized the ceremony with the intent to pave the way for constitutional revision, and called on the audience to not let the government amend the supreme law.

Nakayama Kiku, who served as a teenage military nurse in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, criticized the government’s event as lacking any understanding of history and consideration for local people. Having experienced the war, Nakayama said that the current situation in Okinawa can hardly be recognized as peaceful because the U.S. military are acting as they please in Okinawa with the deployment of the Osprey there amidst major protests. She called on the audience to develop public awareness on this issue.

The rally was attended by many local politicians going across party lines, including prefectural assembly members, mayors, and chairs of municipal assemblies. From the Japanese Communist Party, members of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken and Kasai Akira participated in the rally.

On the same day, a similar protest rally against the central government’s ceremony also took place in Amami City, Kagoshima Prefecture, as a part of the Amami Islands was put under the control of the U.S. due to the San Francisco Peace Treaty.
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