United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands

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United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands
Military occupation

1950–1972


Flag

Location of the Ryukyu Islands (shaded red)
in the East China Sea.
Capital Not specified
Languages Japanese
Ryukyuan
English
Political structure Military occupation
Historical era Cold War
 -  Battle of Okinawa April 1 – June 21, 1945
 -  Founding of USCAR December 15, 1950
 -  Returned to Japan May 15, 1972
Currency B yen (July 1948 – Sep 1958)
U.S. dollar (1958–1972)

The United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (琉球列島米国民政府 Ryūkyū-rettō Beikoku Minseifu?), or "USCAR", was the government in Okinawa, Japan, after World War II from 1950 until 1972.

History[edit]

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration describes USCAR's history thus:[1]

Following signing of the Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945, Ryukyu Islands were administered by Department of the Navy, September 21, 1945-June 30, 1946, with Commanding Officer, Naval Operating Base, Okinawa functioning as chief military government officer under authority of Commander-in-Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet. Transfer of administration from Department of the Navy to War Department authorized by Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) approval, April 1, 1946, of JCS 819/11, March 5, 1946, with added proviso of JCS 819/12, March 22, 1946. Pursuant to implementing instructions of General Headquarters U.S. Army Forces in the Pacific (GHQ AFPAC), Okinawa Base Command redesignated Ryukyus Command, effective July 1, 1946, by General Order 162, Headquarters U.S. Army Forces, Western Pacific, and made responsible for administration under a Deputy Commander for Military Government. Ryukyu Islands administered successively by Ryukyus Command, July 1-November 30, 1946; Philippines-Ryukyus Command, December 1, 1946-July 31, 1948; and Ryukyuan Command, August 1, 1948-December 15, 1950. USCAR established, effective December 15, 1950, by a directive of Headquarters Far East Command (HQ FEC, formerly GHQ AFPAC), AG 091.1 (5 Dec 50) RCA, December 5, 1950, implementing a JCS memorandum, SM 2474-50, October 11, 1950, directing Commander-in-Chief Far East, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, to organize a civil administration for the Ryukyu Islands in accordance with JCS 1231/14, October 4, 1950. USCAR continued to function under Department of the Army (formerly War Department), 1950-71. Amami Island Group of Ryukyu Islands was returned to Japan by the Agreement between the United States of America and Japan concerning the Amami Islands, signed December 24, 1953, and made effective December 25, 1953. USCAR abolished following entrance into force, May 15, 1972, of the Agreement between the United States of America and Japan concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands, signed June 17, 1971, by which the remaining island groups of the Ryukyu Islands, including the Okinawa Island Group, were returned to Japan.

After the Battle of Okinawa in World War II, the United States Navy initially administered the Okinawa group while the other three groups came under Army control. On July 18, 1945 the Navy transferred control to U.S. Army Forces in the Pacific (AFPAC), but on September 21 assumed control again, organising the United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands.[2] Finally on July 1, 1946, the Army took control again, organising the Ryukyu Command from the previous Okinawa Base Command. On January 1, 1947 AFPAC was reorganised as Far East Command and a unified Ryukyu Command, including a military government apparatus, was placed under General Headquarters, Far East Command (GHQ FECOM), in Tokyo.

In 1952, Japan signed the Treaty of San Francisco and admitted the control of Okinawa by the U.S. government.

USCAR, which was a subordinate organization of the forces of the United States, surveilled the Ryukyuan Government and could overrule all the decisions made by the Ryukyuan Government. Technically speaking, USCAR was thus a civil affairs administration of the United States Military Government (USMG).[citation needed]

The official currency was the B yen from 1948–1958, when the B yen was abolished and the US dollar was brought into use. The government printed Ryukyuan postage stamps and passports. Cars drove on the right in contrast to the main islands of Japan. The island switched to driving on the left in 1978 to bring it in line with Japan.

Peace treaty specifications[edit]

Two important articles of the post-war peace treaty of April 28, 1952 are the following:

Article 3: Japan will concur in any proposal of the United States to the United Nations to place under its trusteeship system, with the United States as the sole administering authority, Nansei Shoto south of 29 degrees north latitude (including the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands), Nanpo Shoto south of Sofu Gan (including the Bonin Islands, Rosario Island and the Volcano Islands) and Parece Vela and Marcus Island. Pending the making of such a proposal and affirmative action thereon, the United States will have the right to exercise all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants of these islands, including their territorial waters.

Article 4b: Japan recognizes the validity of dispositions of property of Japan and Japanese nationals made by or pursuant to directives of the United States Military Government in any of the areas referred to in Articles 2 and 3.

After a formal agreement reached on June 17, 1971, control of Okinawa was given back to Japan on May 15, 1972,[3] and USCAR was abolished. This completed the disposition of this Japanese property by USMG.

Government system[edit]

The post of Governor (民政長官 Minsei Chōkan?) was created in 1950 and replaced in 1957 by the High Commissioner of the Ryukyu Islands (琉球列島高等弁務官 Ryūkyū-rettō Kōtō-benmukan?) until 1972.

Governors[edit]

High Commissioners[edit]

Flag[edit]

Civil ensign of Ryukyu.

The Criminal Code of Ryukyu restricted the flying of any national flags except the flag of the United States.[4] The protesters against the Ryukyu government flew the Hinomaru, the flag of Japan. Civil ships of Ryukyu flew an ensign derived from International maritime signal flag "D" instead of Japanese or American ensigns. The D ensign was not well known internationally, so the Ryukyuan ships were sometimes seized.[citation needed] The ensign changed to "Hinomaru below a triangular flag labeled "Ryukyu" and "琉球" (Japanese for "Ryukyu") in 1967.[5][6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]