Ceremonies Held to Mark 50 Years since Okinawa's Return to Japan
Tokyo/Ginowan, Okinawa Pref., May 15 (Jiji Press)--Ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of Okinawa Prefecture's return to Japan from post-World War II U.S. occupation were held simultaneously in Tokyo and the southernmost Japan prefecture on Sunday afternoon.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to reduce Okinawa's heavy burden of hosting many U.S. bases, while Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki called for efforts to make Okinawa "peaceful and prosperous." Okinawa returned to Japanese rule on May 15, 1972.
In the past half century, Okinawa developed thanks mainly to its robust tourism industry. Still, 70 pct of the facilities in Japan for exclusive use by the U.S. military are in the island prefecture, which accounts for only 0.6 pct of Japan's total land area.
The ceremony in Tokyo took place at a hotel in Minato Ward in the Japanese capital, and the event in Okinawa at the Okinawa Convention Center in the city of Ginowan. The two venues were linked online. The ceremonies, which started at 2 p.m. (5 a.m. GMT), were jointly hosted by the Japanese government and the Okinawa prefectural government.
Participants at the ceremony in Okinawa included Kishida and Tamaki. Among those attending the event in Tokyo were the heads of both chambers of the Diet, Japan's parliament, the chief justice of Japan's Supreme Court and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]