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by Akito Konishi
Map Showing location of Okinawa
The island groups of Okinawa are very important to the Japanese. They are Japan's most southwestern prefecture (State), consisting of 50 inhabited islands and 110 uninhabited islands scattered over an area 1,000 km (from east to west) by 400 km (from north to south). The Okinawa Prefecture is located between Kyusyu and Taiwan. The islands are divided into three major groups: the Okinawa Island Group, the Miyako Island Group, and the Yaeyama Island Group. Okinawa Island is by far the largest, followed in turn by Iriomote Island, Isigaki Island, and Miyako Island.
Americans land on the Coast of Okinawa
On April 20, 1945, the United States Marines made an amphibious landing on Okinawa. The Japanese had 40,000 soldiers on this island determined to stop the Americans by fighting to the death. This meant that the Americans would have to kill almost every Japanese soldier who refused to surrender before they could take Okinawa. In the process the Japanese tried to kill as many American soldiers as they could. Unfortunately, the Japanese soldiers also killed or hurt many Okinawa civilians, which meant that they were really hurting their own people.
Japanese Generals sign cease-fire
Okinawa was to remain an American territory from 1945 to 1972. After Japan surrendered in 1945, Secretary of State Dean Acheson and the Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson made it a goal that the United States retain exclusive strategic control of the islands.
In 1954, President Eisenhower gave his State of the Union Address during which he declared "We shall maintain indefinitely our bases in Okinawa."
President Nixon offers the Japanese ambassador a cigarette.
The ambassador had quit smoking until the issues regarding Okinawa were resolved.
"The American Years, 1945~1972" @ http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/pphotos.htm/ , 5/04/00.
Picture #1 - "Map of Okinawa" from: http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/sarantakes/Photos.html
Picture #2 - "American military land on the coast of Okinawa" from: http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/sarantakes/Photos.html
Picture #3 - "Japanese General signs cease-fire" from: http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/sarantakes/Photos.html
Picture #4 - "This is the flag of Okinawa" from: http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/sarantakes/Photos.html
Picture #5 - "President Nixon offers the Japanese ambassador a cigarette." from: http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/sarantakes/Photos.html
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