NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda renewed his pledge to lessen the burden on Okinawa residents from hosting U.S. forces as the prefecture marked on Monday the 63rd anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa.
Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima urged the Japanese and U.S. governments to reduce and consolidate the bases in Okinawa and ease the public burden in a “visible” manner.
Fukuda, Nakaima, House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono and House of Councilors President Satsuki Eda were among the dignitaries who attended a memorial ceremony at Peace Memorial Park on a seaside hill in Itoman, southern Okinawa Island.
More than 200,000 Japanese and U.S. combatants and Japanese civilians died during the Battle of Okinawa, which lasted from May through June 1945.
This year, 128 people were added to a list of names carved into stone cenotaphs dedicated to those who perished in the battle.
The number of names now stands at 240,734.
Okinawa was the only inhabited part of Japan where ground fighting took place during World War II.
In his speech, Fukuda said he will give his “best effort to realize an affluent livelihood for the Okinawan people” and “reduce their burden while listening to their long-felts need.”
Nakaima read out an annual peace message.