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Reversion or Independence

During the fifties and sixties, anti-base sentiment continued to grow, and many felt that the U.S. military presence would need to be removed. The New Left forces that predominated during the sixties especially embraced the issues surrounding Okinawa's position in national politics, and many positions were taken in Okinawa and Japan on the Okinawa question. These positions included, but were not limited to: 1) Armed struggle against the Japanese state around the Reversion and the 1970 renewal of the security treaty with the United States; 2) The return of Okinawa to Japan without the military bases; 3) Self-determination by the Okinawan people of their own fate; 4) Self-government under the United States; 5) Independence; 6) Maintenance of the status quo; 7) A United Nations Trusteeship; and 8) Reversion.

Despite strong appeals for some form of Okinawan independence, Japanese government officials ignored this perspective, and negotiated with the United States around the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. Despite popular rioting and protests around the issue of reversion in both Okinawa and mainland Japan, with many people arguing against a position of reversion, the leadership of Japan worked out a reversion agreement with the United States that placed Okinawa back under the control of Japan, but maintained the U.S. military forces on the islands. On June 17, 1971, the Japanese government signed the treaty with the United States that authorized the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. In protest, over 100,000 people marched and rallied throughout Japan, in dissatisfaction with the Reversion. Many protestors resorted to violent tactics in protest, and in November 1971 over 300 people were arrested in the Hibiya district in Tokyo, in the riots and protests that followed. Despite these protests, however, the Japanese National Diet eventually ratified the Reversion treaty on November 24, 1971. Despite the Reversion, however, the issues that provided the main impetus for the Reversion - mainly, the U. S. military bases, and the problems that they caused - still remain.







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