Under government’s nationalist campaign, Japan celebrated on Sunday, for the first time, the day the country ended the occupation of the United States and regained its sovereignty in 1952 after its defeat in the World War II.
The Japanese imperial couple, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and about 390 lawmakers, prefectural governors and government officials were present at the ceremony, the international press reports.
On April 28, 1952, Japan recovered its sovereignty, except for Okinawa prefecture. The San Francisco Peace Treaty ended the seven-year occupation of Japan by United States-led forces.
Okinawa, which was returned by the United States in 1972, called April 28 a “day of insult” and protested against the celebration, with the prefecture’s governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, skipping the ceremony.
Around 10,000 people gathered for a rally in a park in the city of Ginowan at the same time that the government-sponsored commemoration ceremony commenced in Tokyo.
“The holding of the ceremony is totally unacceptable as it makes a mockery of the feelings of the people of Okinawa and cuts Okinawa off once again” from mainland Japan, a resolution adopted at the protest rally said, according to Kyodo news agency.