Facade of national independence

In the March 20 article, “Abe firm on Futenma but vows respite,” we read that the Abe administration is planning to commemorate April 28, the day in 1952 when Japan’s sovereignty was restored under the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

It is likely that Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima will turn down Abe’s invitation to attend the ceremony. In Okinawa, people are furious over the government’s announced plan, as it was this very treaty that severed Okinawa from mainland Japan and put it under a harsh military occupation for another 20 years.

Abe seems oblivious to the fact that Japan regained its independence by the sacrifices of Okinawan people.

Furthermore, one can question whether the restoration of sovereignty was the real McCoy. No sooner had the San Francisco Peace Treaty been signed between the relevant nations than the Japanese delegation headed by Shigeru Yoshida was furtively whisked away to the U.S. Army Presidio in San Francisco, where they signed the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the predecessor of the current Japan-U.S. Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation.

It is said that John Foster Dulles, then U.S. Secretary of State, ordered his staff negotiating the treaty terms to keep hammering away at the U.S. objective of gaining unrestrained rights to bases anywhere in Japan for as long and to the extent desired. Dulles’ conditions survive to this day, permeating every nook and cranny of Japan-U.S. security relations. This suggests that Japan’s independence was a facade that continues to this day.

This state of affairs is most conspicuous in Okinawa, where 74 percent of the U.S. military bases in Japan are concentrated. So why should we celebrate April 28 as Sovereignty Restoration Day?

yoshio shimoji
naha, okinawa

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.