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Prelude to Okinawa: Nuclear Agreements and the Return of the Ogasawara Islands to Japan

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

Diplomacy, like law, is very much based on precedents. In the case of the United States' return of administrative rights over Okinawa to Japan in May 1972, two particularly important precedents were at work—the return of the Amami Islands, just north of Okinawa, in December 1953, and of the Bonin, or Ogasawara, Islands in June 1968. Like Okinawa, both island groups were administratively separated from Japan by Article 3 of the 1951 allied Treaty of Peace with Japan whereby the United States gained administrative rights over them while Japan retained “residual sovereignty.”


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