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Christmas Tree at the roof of the USCAR building
This photo belongs to the Okinawa Prefectural Archives

Popularly known as Beimin Seifu. Its official name is Ryukyu Rettou Beikokumin Seifu: United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, hence USCAR. 

On March 26th, 1945, the U.S. military landed on Aka Island among the Islands of Kerama, and simultaneously issued the U.S. Naval Military Government Directive No.1, also known as the Nimitz Directive to suspend the administrative and judicial authority of Japan over Southwest Islands south of 30 degrees latitude, placing them under U.S. military authority. Later in 1950, Far East Command issued the “Directive for United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands,” replacing the U.S. military administration hitherto to the Civil Administration. At the same time, the Commander-in-chief, Far East, Gen. MacArthur was installed as the Governor of the Ryukyu Islands. However, the supreme commander of the U.S. military in Okinawa took the actual command as the Deputy Governor.

USCAR tried to promote the financial and social welfare of the residents “within the limits of military needs,” by using the GARIOA1 to raise the standard of living to the level before the War. Its aim was to put the finances on a sound footing, without financially burdening the mainland of the United States. 

In theory, USCAR intended to achieve political, economic, cultural, and educational development on a democratic basis; however, in reality, its function was hardly different from a military government. Speaking of, in 1952, USCAR established the Government of the Ryukyu Islands consisting of legislative, administrative, and judicial branches. The Government was fully granted political authority over the Ryukyu Islands; despite the proclamations claiming that “on condition that it follows the proclamations, declarations, and directives issued by USCAR”, or that “the Deputy Governor is assured of the rights to decline, prohibit or suspend enforcement of a law or a regulation enacted by the Government of the Ryukyu Islands or other administrative body if necessary, and can order the proclamation of a law or a regulation the Deputy Governor deems appropriate so that the Deputy Governor can exercise the full authority over the Ryukyu Islands.” As a result, the authority of the Government which was supposed to be based on democratic principles ended as a mere scrap of paper.

Editor’s Note:

  1. Government Aid and Relief in Occupied Areas