Okinawa Prefectural Assembly opposes central government celebration of the date of restoration of Japan’s sovereignty

March 30, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

In the plenary session of its regular meeting on March 29, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to protest against the Japanese government planning to hold a ceremony on April 28 to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Japanese sovereignty after the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect in 1952. Assembly members affiliated to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) walked out. The resolution states, “Okinawa was separated from Japan that day. We see it as nothing less than a day of humiliation.” It went on to state, “We strongly oppose the central government holding this ceremony, and protest against it.”

The members of the ruling LDP and the Komei Party reacted differently to the issue. The assembly accepted the resolution proposed by members of opposition parties and the Komei Party, which created an unusual situation.

The resolution mentioned the fact that U.S. military bases in Japan are still concentrated on Okinawa after its reversion to Japanese sovereignty. It said, “Okinawan people are still suffering from crimes and incidents involving U.S. military personnel, and noise generated by aircraft flying from the bases.

Furthermore, the Japanese government has deployed the Osprey to Okinawa, and is on its way to constructing an alternative facility for the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko, overriding resistance from Okinawa in the process.” The resolution asserted that “what the central government should do first is ease Okinawa’s burden for hosting U.S. bases.”

In that context, the resolution strongly criticized the Japanese government, saying, “To hold the ceremony is to trample over Okinawan people’s feelings, and to cut Okinawa adrift for a second time. It is unforgivable.”

With regard to the resolution to protest against the April 28 ceremony, while on the one hand members of the LDP appeared reluctant to accept the title of a resolution that included the word “protest,” and the expression “oppose the ceremony.” On the other hand, the Reformation Association asserted that the resolution should include the words “Halt the ceremony.” Parliamentary groups and members of the LDP negotiated for several days in a row, but in the end they could not reach an agreement. In the plenary session, opposition parties proposed the resolution in protest against the ceremony, whilst the members of the LDP proposed their own resolution.

Following this, the members moved quickly to hold a meeting of the General Coordination and Policy Planning Committee to vote on the resolution. The assembly unanimously accepted the resolution proposed by the opposition parties, but in the plenary session held after that, the members of the LDP decided to walk out. The remaining assembly members then unanimously passed the resolution to protest against the ceremony.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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