When Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and U.S. President Richard Nixon issued a joint statement in 1969 on the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese rule, Sato described the maintenance of peace and security in the “Taiwan area” as “a most important factor” to Japan’s own security.
The statement implied that, in exchange for the return of Okinawa, the Japanese side would guarantee the flexible use of U.S. bases in Japan, particularly in the island prefecture, in the event of an East Asia emergency under their security treaty.
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