10,000 residents gather in protest rally against the anniversary of the restoration of Japanese sovereignty

10,000 residents gather in protest rally against the anniversary of the restoration of Japanese sovereignty

At noon on April 28, at the open-air amphitheater in Ginowan Seaside Park, there was a rally protesting against the central government’s celebration of the 61st anniversary of the restoration of Japanese sovereignty after the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect in 1952. Protesters raised their fists in the air as they shouted “Gatinnaran!” five times (photograph taken by Masatoshi Moromizato).


April 29 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

April 28 marked the 61st anniversary of the restoration of Japanese sovereignty after the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect in 1952 and when Okinawa was separated from Japan and placed under U.S. occupation. On this day, from 11:00am at the open-air amphitheater at Ginowan Seaside Park opposition parties, centrists in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly and citizen groups held a rally to protest against the central government celebration of the date of restoration of Japan’s sovereignty.

According to organizers, more than 10,000 people participated in the rally, including some who could not actually enter the theater. They protested against the commemoration ceremony held by the Japanese government around the same time in Tokyo. The participants passed resolutions and put up slogans to protest against the holding of the ceremony, stating, “We will not tolerate the ceremony because it tramples on Okinawa people’s feelings and cuts the prefecture loose again.”

In concert with the rally held in Okinawa, rallies were also held in Miyako-jima and Amami in Kagoshima Prefecture. Citizens held several rallies in Tokyo.

In Okinawa, political parties and municipalities that did not participate in the rally conducted various activities to protest against the ceremony. The anger against the administration led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who forced through holding of the ceremony, has swept through Okinawa.

The rally began with people singing of the song Return Okinawa to Okinawans, a variation of the song entitled Return Okinawa, which the participants in the Okinawa reversion movement used to sing.

Chairman of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Masaharu Kina protested against the ceremony saying, “Japan cannot be termed a democratic country because the current administration is subordinate to the U.S. government and its policies ignore the citizens of Japan.”

Tetsumi Takara, a professor of the University of Ryukyus and a manager of a research group called the Committee for Creating Peace in Okinawa and Regaining Human Dignity, and Masako Ishimine, the head of the Okinawa Prefectural Women’s Groups Liaison Council, both gave speeches.

In an address to express his solidarity, Susumu Inamine, mayor of the Nago region where the U.S. military plans to relocate Futenma Air Station, said, “The Japanese government rides roughshod over the human rights of the Okinawan people. I certainly do not see any restoration of Japan’s sovereignty.”

Hidekatsu Nakamura, the chairman of the Zamami Village Assembly, expressed his anger about the ceremony, saying, ” Japan is not a sovereign nation as long as the Status of Forces Agreement is discriminatory towards Japanese citizens.”

Kiku Nakamura, a survivor of the Shiraume-tai, a group of Japanese schoolgirls assigned by the Imperial Japanese Army to serve as nurse-aides during the Battle of Okinawa, said, “The Japanese government’s stance is entirely insensitive to the suffering of the Okinawan people and reflects a lack of understanding of history.”

Kaoru Kinjo, of the Young Men’s Association in Okinawa, said, “Today is the day on which all Japanese citizens take an important step towards finding a way to resolve issues related to Okinawa.”

The participants passed resolutions and adopted slogans, wind up the rally by shouting “Gatinnaran! (We will not put up with this!)” five times.

As members of the Okinawa branch of the Komeito Party who chose not to participate in the rally criticized the ceremony in a street speech, members of the ruling parties protested against the ceremony.

Slogans of the rally
■ We will not put up with the Japanese government celebrating a day of humiliation on which Okinawa was separated from Japan and placed under U.S. occupation in 1952, as the day Japan recovered its sovereignty.

■We demand that the Japanese government immediately remove the flawed military aircraft the Osprey from Okinawa and rescind the plan to also deploy the aircraft to Kadena Air Base.

■We demand that both the U.S. and Japanese governments move to immediately close Futenma Air Station and remove the base, abandoning the plan to relocate it within the prefecture.

■We will make Okinawa a peaceful place with a rich natural environment free from military bases.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

Go to Japanese

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0
 


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]