Monument for wartime Okinawa governor unveiled in Naha
Local residents on Okinawa unveiled a monument in Naha, Friday, to honor the memory of Akira Shimada, who was the governor of Okinawa Prefecture during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, and is credited to having saved many lives during the fighting. June 26th is believed to be the anniversary of his death near Itoman shortly after the battle ended, although no official record exists.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and Toshizo Ido, the governor of Hyogo Prefecture, Shimada’s native prefecture, attended the ceremony, and offered prayers for eternal peace.
In his speech during the ceremony, Onaga said, “Shimada’s achievements during the battle were truly significant, as he worked hard for people of Okinawa in difficult conditions during the war.”
Hyogo Governor Ido stated, “We must learn from the way the former governor lived with resolve to protect citizens to the end. We must hand down what we have learned to future generations.”
Japan’s central government sent Shimada to Okinawa to serve as the governor in January 1945, two months before the U.S. invasion and the start of the battle. He promoted evacuation of civilians and worked hard to secure food saving the lives of many local residents.
In November 2013, a group of local residents started collecting donations from the public to build a monument to Shimada. They aimed to have the monument unveiled in 2015 that marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.