May 15, 2012, Speech by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on the occasion of the commemoration ceremony for the 40th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan
May 15 is, furthermore, a day on which to focus our thoughts on the future of Okinawa. We are all living in a period of historic change, where the center of global activity is now shifting to the Asia-Pacific region. For Okinawa, situated as the gateway to the Asia-Pacific, this changing global focus signifies potential for new development in the prefecture. Okinawa has a rich natural environment and warm climate. It has a unique culture, formed against the backdrop of the illustrious history of the Ryukyus. It is brimming with vitality, with the youngest population in all of Japan. Okinawa also boasts an overseas network of uchinanchu, or persons of Okinawan ancestry, who are active on the global stage. By harnessing all these latent strengths Okinawa's radiance and sparkle will continue to further increase. This is the era that Okinawa is now looking to welcome.