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Okinawa was discarded, placed under U.S. forces' administration and forced to undergo hard times. It's nothing to be happy about.

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Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, on why he doesn't wish to attend a Japanese government-sponsored ceremony in Tokyo on April 28 to mark the 61st anniversary of the country's restoration of its sovereignty after its defeat in World War II. (Jiji Press)

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Discarded? How's that work? Pretty sure the victors dictated terms. Harder times than all the millions of displaced mainland Japanese in their fire bomb wasteland cities?

He has good cause to be grumpy about the US occupation of Okinawa, but some perspective might be advised. it's not a bad thing to celebrate; rising from the ashes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's as Nakaima says, Japan threw Okinawa to the U.S.A. as an act of propitiation. They had no use for it. They discarded it. If the Americans could use it for bases and it kept them happy, they didn't care.

If that's all there was to the story, Okinawans would have forgotten all about it. But it isn't.

During WWII, there was a huge battle in Okinawa. The Japanese were scared that the Okinawans would become spies for the Americans and so forced fathers to kill their wives and children and commit suicide. They gave out hand grenades for the purpose. Women and children hid in the caves. The Japanese soldiers wanted to hide there so they forced the Okinawan women and children out into the line of American fire.

The government sponsored ceremony mentioned in this article celebrates the return of Japan to Japanese sovereignty. That is to say, Japan MINUS Okinawa, because Japan had given Okinawa to the Americans at that time and so it was under US administration.

What's for Okinawans to celebrate in this?

Once more they have been ignored and used.

And the situation still continues. Nakaima well knows that all 41 of the elected mayors of his prefecture want the US bases off the island. But Abe is intending to go ahead with the Henoko plan and build yet another base.

This "celebration" is seen by Nakaima and Okinawans as yet another snub.

I understand what he feels.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, stop bitching and declare independence then.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Bertie Wooster is one of the few that have an understanding of the Okinawa situation and doesn't go on the immediate defensive when Okinawa complains about something. Japan and American fight, on Okinawa soil, kill off 30% of the civilian population... later the wolves become trading partners and act as if Okinawa is the enemy for not playing up to the interests of the two aggressors.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Having visited the sites of much of the suffering, including the site where an entire village was encouraged to grenade and bludgeon their friends and family to death by Imperial troops, as American troops approached. I can only agree with Mr. Nakaima. I even met one of the survivors, who awoke from being bludgeoned by her father, to find everyone else dead.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My grandfather was among those who fought against the Japanese, and his feelings were quite clear. Japan started a war which killed millions, and Japan lost. Japan then surrendered "unconditionally", and surrendering unconditonally meant that America could do what it damn well pleased in Japan, and could have made Okinawa, or all of Japan an American territory.

If the Okinawa wants to complain about the American forces stationed there, they should remember why the forces came there in the first place. The soldiers should remain there even if only to remind people what happens when you start wars which kill millions, and ignore the Geneva conventions (which Japan signed) on the treatment of captured soldiers and civilians. Too bad young Japanese aren't told about the IJA's Thailand/Burma railway, each meter of which cost one human life, the rape of Nanking, the Bataan death march, or Unit 731. Perhaps these shames are harder to forget when American forces are present, but they should never be forgotten.

Okinawa was bought and paid for with the blood of many from both sides, yet know one seems to remember, or care. Too few people are left who remember those days, those who are old enough know why the soldiers are there, and why they should remain.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Sangetsu03,

This thread is about a "memorial day" that PM Abe wants to instigate to celebrate the return of Japan to Japanese administration.

At the time when this happened, Okinawa was under US occupation. The currency was dollars and cents, people drove on the right hand side of the road and Japanese people needed a visa to get here.

What is there for Okinawa to celebrate?

Why is this difficult to understand?

Okinawa was a separate country with its own language and customs, until the Japanese marched in and annexed it. Okinawa didn't choose to become part of Japan.

And then 61 years ago, the Japanese gave Okinawa to the Americans.

Again, this is nothing for the Okinawans to celebrate.

It's an insult!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US needs to get rid of all the Marines on Okinawa and move them to Guam, US, Hawaii, Austrailia or anywhere but Okinawa. Americans killed 30% of the civilian pop on Okinawa during the battle with the Japanese soldiers, they've suffered at our hand enough and the Japanese allow it because they don't want to have the troops on the Mainland.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Next time don't follow a bunch of suicidal lunatics into a world war that you have no chance of winning. Otherwise be prepared to suck up whatever comes your way after the defeat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@BertieWooster Points taken. I have no contention with the fact that Okinawa has been hard done by as a result of Tokyo's desire to appease the USA. As a matter of national sovereignty it's pretty much shameful. And I can well understand native Okinawan displeasure with Japan, which is probably a lot like native Hawaiian displeasure with the USA.

I was biased by my recollection of the 1960s riots over Okinawa, got school holidays because of them, and the immediate jubilation when Japan got Okinawa back. But popular sentiment doesn't necessarily reflect or affect government policy. And given the history of Okinawa and Japan "getting it back" might not be any kind of big hurrah if it meant, as it seems to have done, reinstatement of a status quo set back in the 17th century...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Realdoll,

Exactly! Mainland Japan won't have more bases at ANY price!

It only took them a day or so to get enough signatures to quash the suggestion of building a base in Kyushu a couple of years ago.

Xeno23,

Thanks for your understanding.

And from what I see on the internet, it seems that US bases are about as popular on Guam and Hawaii as they are here.

In other words not at all!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am with NeoJamal, Okinawa, and Mr Nakaima, should think about independence from Japan so it can do what it likes, including kicking out the US bases, if it wants to. What does it have to lose?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Moonraker,

A lot of people are thinking like you.

Okinawa should be an independent country again!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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