• Kyodo

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The Okinawa Prefectural Government will establish in fiscal 2002 an award for individuals or organizations who contribute to international peace as part of celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the island’s return to Japanese rule.

The peace award, the brainchild of Gov. Keiichi Inamine, will be conferred as a message from the Okinawan people to encourage the quest for world peace, reflecting the fierce ground battle that raged across the island in the closing days of World War II and its decades of U.S. occupation, prefectural officials said Friday.

Inamine first conceived the idea for the award in 1999 and intended to establish it in fiscal 2000, but it was postponed until fiscal 2002.

The prefectural government will hold 20 commemorative events including a ceremony and a festival to mark the 30th anniversary of the island’s return to Japan on May 15, 1972.

It had been occupied by the U.S. since the end of the war.

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