People renew their commitment to create peace on 70th anniversary of Battle of Okinawa

People renew their commitment to create peace on 70th anniversary of Battle of Okinawa

The attendees offered silent prayers for one minute at noon on June 23, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa at the Okinawa Memorial Day ceremony, at the Peace Park at Mabuni, Itoman.


June 24, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 23, the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the Assembly held the Okinawa Memorial Day ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa at the Peace Memorial Park at Mabuni in Itoman. During the Battle of Okinawa, more than 200,000 people were killed.

Many people, including members of the bereaved families who suffer from sadness even after 70 years have passed, visited the Cornerstone of Peace at the park. The services were held at memorial towers around the prefecture, and prayers and requiem masses were offered. The participants pledged no more war.

At the memorial ceremony held at Mabuni, Governor Onaga pointed out the absurdity that 73.8 percent of U.S. exclusive-use facilities in Japan still are concentrated on Okinawa. He stated, “All people in Japan should bear the load of the U.S. military base issue equally.”

According to the organizers, about 5,400 people took part in the memorial service.

The attendees offered silent prayers for one minute at noon.

Governor Onaga announced the Peace Declaration for his first time after taking office last December. He vowed to work for lasting peace by learning the lessons from the Battle of Okinawa.

The governor urged the government to cancel construction work in Henoko, Nago, where the government plans to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. He asked the government to reduce the base burden on Okinawa.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the related ministers, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tadamori Oshima, Upper House President Masaaki Yamazaki and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy attended the ceremony.

Prime Minister Abe stated, “Having gone through a history of hardship beyond description, those of us living today enjoy peace, safety, freedom and prosperity. We want to appreciate the value of it again.”

However, Prime Minister Abe did not refer to the construction of the new U.S. base in Henoko. He was jeered by some angry citizens.

Masaharu Kina, the chairman of the prefectural assembly, complained about issues arising from the U.S. military base in his speech. He stated, “There is a discriminatory and excessive burden on Okinawa. We are still in the midst of the process of the post-war settlement.”

Naeko Teruya, the chairwoman of the Bereaved Families of Okinawa Prefecture War Dead Joint Association, said, “We will stand resolute against base construction which leads to war.”

Twenty years have passed since the Cornerstone of Peace was built. The names of 241,336 war dead have been engraved on it.

(English translation by T&CT)

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