Okinawa, formerly a Japanese possession and now controlled by the United States, is presently (November 15) the subject of talks between Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and U.
Okinawa, formerly a Japanese possession and now controlled by the United States, is presently (November 15) the subject of talks between Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in Washington, D.C.
The United States took Okinawa and other smaller islands of the Ryukyu group from Japan in World War II. In a peace treaty 15 years ago the U. S. promised to return the islands some day. The Japanese government thinks it is time. Okinawa has become an important domestic political issue with many Japanese agitating for the U.S. to give it back. Mr. Sato and many of his fellow countrymen would like to have a commitment from Washington for the return of the island.
U.S. officials have not been eager to give an answer about Okinawa. During two decades of US.occupation more than one billion dollars has been invested in a military base that includes airfields, barracks, a sea port, a modern hospital, warehouse and repair shops.
Okinawa is strategically located on a direct flight line between the western coast of the United States and Viet Nam. U.S. military officials say the island is of incalculable value to the Viet Nam war effort. In four hours, jet transport can fly to the war zone from Okinawa's Kadena Air Base -- one of the finest field in the Far East. Daily, transport wait in line to fly cargo to the Viet Nam front. Between trips pilots practice making battlefield deliveries (planes dropping cargoes with parachutes on the runway). Acres of supplies are lined up for shipment to Viet Nam, Damaged equipment is returned to Okinawa for repair.
The island is also strategic for reasons other than Viet Nam. It is less than 400 miles from China--a short flight for war planes and missiles.