The United States returned Okinawa and the Ryuku Islands to Japan today (15th May), but the agreement allowing American military bases to remain on the strategic Pacific Island set off demonstrations by leftwingers there and throughout Japan.
GV ZOOM OUT FROM Japanese flag to Emperor and Empress on platform with Spiro Agnew and other officials
LV Emperor making speech
SV Crowd applaud
LV Emperor continues speech
SV Spiro Agnew and other officials listening
GV Crowd at ceremony
SV Agnew making speech
SV Emperor listening
SV and GV Agnew speaking (2 shots)
Initials OS/012 OS/020
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United States returned Okinawa and the Ryuku Islands to Japan today (15th May), but the agreement allowing American military bases to remain on the strategic Pacific Island set off demonstrations by leftwingers there and throughout Japan.
The 27 years of American occupation -- Okinawa was captured in the last major battle of the Pacific War in 1945 -- ended officially at midnight last night. A Visnews cameraman was present as the ceremonial touches were added by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew, Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in Tokyo a few hours later.
But the decision to retain the U.S. military bases on the island sparked off demonstrations by many of the one million population of Okinawa, and by an estimated 140-thousand members of leftwing workers and students groups in Japan itself.
Thirty-three-thousand demonstrators marched past the U.S. embassy in Tokyo shouting "Get out of Okinawa, get out of Japan, get out of Asia". Police used tear gas to end a scuffle with helmeted radicals in a Tokyo park.
For the Japanese government, however, the handover was a major triumph -- in their eyes officially ending Japan's subservient role to the U.S. It was the crowning point of Prime Minister Sato's seven-year administration, and there was speculation that he might choose the time to announce his planned retirement date.
With the return of all war-lost territories in American hands, attention now turns to a group of northern islands still controlled by the Soviet Union. So far the U.S.S.R. has refused to talk on the issue.
SYNOPSIS: On Monday, Emperor Hirohito and the Empress of Japan, together with United States Vice President Spiro Agnew, in a Tokyo ceremony formally acknowledged the return of the Pacific Island of Okinawa to Japan after twenty-seven years of United States control.
Okinawa was taken by the Americans in 1945, during a bloody battle which turned out to be the last major offensive of the Pacific War.
Monday's ceremony was accompanied by demonstrations throughout Japan protesting against the continued presence of United States military bases on Okinawa. But for Emperor Hirohito it was a great moment. Okinawa was the last American-held territory to be returned to Japan.