1971: U.S. Pledges to Return Okinawa to Japan


Credit…International Herald Tribune

TOKYO, June 17 (WP).— The United States formally pledged right this moment to return Okinawa to Japan in a controversial settlement reaffirming the continued function of the island because the pivotal American base advanced within the western Pacific.

Demonstrators protesting the army provisions of the accord snake-danced via the streets right here whereas Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Foreign Minister Kiichi Aichi put the ultimate seal on 18 months of delicate negotiations in simultaneous televised ceremonies linked by satellite tv for pc relay.

Japanese officers made no secret of their irritation that President Nixon had determined towards attending the White House signing ceremonies. The normal perception right here is that Mr. Nixon meant to convey persevering with displeasure with Japanese commerce insurance policies.

[In the Washington ceremony, Mr. Rogers read a statement by Mr. Nixon saying both nations “have much to be proud of this day.”

[The President said: “The friendship and mutual respect which enabled our negotiators to resolve the many difficult issues will, I am sure, enable us to work together for the continued progress of our two countries and for that of the entire world.”

[Addressing “our friends in Okinawa,” Mr. Rogers said: “Today’s agreement signals the next to the last step leading to your reunification with Japan. We share your anticipation of that day. We are grateful for the friendship and cooperation which have marked our relations throughout these last 26 years and which we sincerely hope will continue in the years ahead.”]

In the Tokyo proceedings, the ghost on the banquet was Okinawa’s in style governor, Chobyo Yara, who politely however firmly rejected an invite from Premier Eisaku Sato to attend the signing.

Gov. Yara gained a landslide election victory in 1968 on a platform demanding a nuclear-free Okinawa. He voiced remorse in an announcement right this moment that the settlement left most key U.S. bases on Okinawa.

Mr. Sato and his complete cupboard watched the signing within the grand corridor of his closely guarded official residence. Unsmiling, Mr. Sato mentioned in a short speech that he hoped ratification of the settlement by the Japanese Diet and the U.S. Congress would “take place at the earliest opportunity in 1972.”

— The International Herald Tribune, Jun. 18, 1971.



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