Kyushu-Okinawa Summit 2000
Outline of Kyushu-Okinawa Summit Meeting


The Birth of Okinawa Prefecture/World War II/Post World War II Okinawa to the Present

The Birth of Okinawa Prefecture

The Meiji Government, which came into being as a result of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, transformed the Ryukyu Kingdom, first into the domain of Ryukyu in 1872, and later into the prefecture of Okinawa in 1879. The Ryukyu Kingdom was thus brought to a close. This is known as the "Ryukyu Disposition."

World War II

Cornerstone of Peace
Cornerstone of Peace

Okinawa was the stage for a large-scale ground battle during World War II, and many civilians were caught in the crossfire. The Battle of Okinawa began in late March of 1945 and continued until the end of the American military operation on July 2nd. The Battle of Okinawa claimed a great number of lives: 28,228 Okinawan soldiers and affiliated personnel, 65,908 mainland Japanese soldiers and an estimated 94,000 civilians (according to the Okinawa Prefectural Government National Health Insurance and Relief Division) as well as 12,281 American soldiers (according to war history published by U.S. Government).

Post World War II Okinawa to the Present

The San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in 1951 brought Okinawa under temporary U.S. government administration. Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, based on the Okinawa Reversion Agreement signed in 1971. Since the reversion, the Japanese government has been promoting the enrichment of social capital infrastructure and other measures for Okinawa's revival and development.

Based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty ("Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America") and its related arrangements, Japan grants the use of specific facilities and areas by the United States. There are currently 37 U.S. facilities and areas in Okinawa, and a total of approximately 50,000 U.S. armed forces related personnel, composed of approximately 25,000 members of the U.S. armed forces, plus civilian component and their dependents reside in Okinawa Prefecture. The total area of the facilities and areas in Okinawa Prefecture is 23,500 ha (58,070 acres) and comprises 75% of such facilities and areas within Japan as a whole. It is equal to 10.4% of the total land area of Okinawa Prefecture. The Japanese government is fully aware of the heavy burden of the concentration of U.S. facilities and areas in Okinawa poses on the people of Okinawa Prefecture. The government is endeavoring to reduce the burden, specifically, by steady implementation of the plans and measures included in the SACO (Special Action Committee on Okinawa) Final Report of December 1996. Furthermore, the government is promoting Okinawa's economic development as a matter of high priority.


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