What was there to celebrate?

As for the front-page April 29 article “Sovereignty celebration hit by protests“: Soon after the security treaty between Japan and the United States was furtively signed on Sept. 8, 1951, the San Francisco Peace Treaty was gloriously signed between Japan and the relevant countries.

It was Kiichi Miyazawa, a future prime minister, who contended that if U.S. military bases continued to be operated after the peace treaty as they were during the Occupation, Japan’s independence would appear meaningless.

Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who signed both treaties, was also keenly cognizant of the deceptive nature of the 1951 security treaty, which the U.S. side thought was more important than the peace treaty and which Yoshida himself thought was a mere arrangement of the transition from the occupation regime to the Anpo (security treaty) regime. He alone signed the security treaty, admonishing an accompanying plenipotentiary delegate not to do so because it might smear his political life in the future.

The old security treaty was revised when Nobusuke Kishi (the maternal grandfather of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) was prime minister. It’s probable that Kishi, just like Yoshida and Miyazawa, was also aware of the serious problem contained in the security treaty. So he made overtures to Washington for its revision.

Washington foiled this revision attempt by agreeing only to the addition of a new provision that the U.S. military presence essentially was for the defense of Japan. Thus all U.S. bases were to remain intact. But in mainland Japan, many bases were closed in the face of strong protests from base-hosting localities, reducing the area they occupied on the mainland almost by half.

Did the functions of these bases relocate to the U.S. mainland? Never. The bases, mostly of U.S. Marines, were relocated to Okinawa, thus increasing Okinawa’s burden twofold.

That was in the late 1950s, years before the sovereignty of Okinawa was returned to Japan. Okinawa, where 74 percent of all [U.S.-exclusive-use] bases in Japan concentrate, exemplifies the most aberrant operation of the equation: Anpo = Occupation.

People must know that Okinawa is still under a virtual occupation by the U.S. military today. It was nothing but a farce for the Abe administration to celebrate April 28, the day in 1952 when the peace treaty took effect, as Sovereignty Restoration Day. It was in complete disregard of the true state of affairs in Okinawa.

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.