50 Years On: Gaps Remain between Okinawa, Rest of Japan


Naha, Okinawa Pref., April 2 (Jiji Press)--Nearly a half century after its return to Japan in 1972, Okinawa Prefecture still lags behind the rest of the country in terms of income, welfare and other areas while seeing substantial progress in infrastructure development.

The southernmost prefecture, the site of grueling ground battles in the closing days of World War II, was occupied by the United States from 1945 to 1972. It will mark the 50th anniversary of its return to Japan on May 15 this year.

Since the special law on development in Okinawa was enacted in 1972, the Japanese government has taken various measures to correct disparities between the prefecture and the rest of the country.

On Thursday, the Diet, Japan's parliament, passed into law a bill to extend the government's Okinawa development program by another 10 years, with emphasis on efforts to tackle child poverty and other issues in Okinawa.

On Tuesday, a ceremony was held to commemorate the second anniversary of the opening of the second runway at Naha Airport in the prefecture's capital.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press