During the Second World War in Okinawa, local governor Denny Tamaki called for the expedited departure of the United States Armed Forces on the island. The anniversary was held on Okinawa’s main island in Itoman City and attended by some 300 individuals, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Tamaki referenced the ongoing war in Ukraine, saying the destruction of settlements, buildings, and local culture, coupled with the Ukrainian’s constant fear for their safety, “remind us of our memory of the ground battle on Okinawa that embroiled citizens 77 years ago.”

“We are struck by unspeakable shock,” he added. In his address, the Japanese governor pledged to continue pursuing nuclear non-proliferation and renouncing war so that Okinawa will never become a battlefield again.

At the end of World War II, from 1945 to 1952, the US-occupied Japan constructed military bases in Okinawa. An agreement in 1952 noted the Japanese gave up control of the prefecture in exchange for ending the American occupation of the rest of the country. However, the island was kept under US control until 1972. Since then, the Japanese government has allowed the continued operation of US bases in Okinawa under the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty.