NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly who belong to opposition political groups are planning to stage a protest rally when the central government holds a ceremony later this month to mark the restoration of Japan’s sovereignty in 1952.
“We are hardly in a mood to celebrate because April 28 is the day Okinawa citizens were severed from Japan,” assembly member Satoru Nakasone, who is organizing the protest, said Tuesday.
Nakasone said he wants the people of Okinawa to make their voices heard through the rally.
April 28, 1952, is the day the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect, officially ending the Allied Occupation of Japan. Okinawa, however, remained under U.S. control until it was returned to Japan in 1972.
The protest rally is to start in a park in Ginowan at 11 a.m. to coincide with the sovereignty restoration event in Tokyo, where the administration led by the Liberal Democratic Party will hold center stage.
The rally in Okinawa will involve political groups other than the LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito.
Last Friday, the Okinawa assembly passed a unanimous resolution to oppose the government-sponsored ceremony, calling April 28 “a day of ignominy for the Okinawa people.” The LDP members in the assembly walked out when the vote was held.
The assembly groups who support the protest will ask all assembly members to attend, but it remains to be seen how many Okinawa politicians will do so.
Such gatherings in Okinawa over the years have frequently turned into scenes of massive protests over the security policies of the Japanese and U.S. governments.