Some people say Okinawa’s plight is the end result of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, so that all responsibility for Okinawa’s current state of affairs rests with Japan.

There’s some truth in such a claim, but the catch is that the war ended in 1945 and the resulting occupation is supposed to have ended in 1952 in mainland Japan when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect and in 1972 in Okinawa when its administrative right was returned to Japan. In spite of Japan’s independence and Okinawa’s reversion, however, the virtual occupation of Japan, above all Okinawa, continued, firmly guaranteed by treaties Japan was obliged to sign.

In other words, the treaties that guarantee this state of affairs are shams and fake, and must be scrapped or replaced by genuine ones if need be. A reduction of this enormous U.S. military footprint in Okinawa, for example, the unconditional return of Futenma, may be a first step toward that end.

Remember, also, that Japan’s surrender in 1945 and the resultant treaties don’t exonerate the U.S. from offenses it committed during its occupation of Okinawa from 1945 to 1972, such as the forceful expropriation of private land to build bases. That’s a flagrant violation of Article 46 the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, that clearly stipulates: “Private property cannot be confiscated.”


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.

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