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The Unofficial Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus

This unofficial and anonymously written document (the author is identified by the letter 'F' and described only as a 'public official') was originally published in June of 1981, in the now defunct journal Shin Okinawa Bungaku. As to what sort of stir it created in Okinawa at the time, I have no idea, though it is certainly a provocative piece of writing. Most Okinawans desire to live a peaceful existence and had hoped reversion would result in a decrease in the US military bases, yet this did not occur. This document can be viewed within the context of (widescale) Okinawan dissatisfaction with the final Reversion Agreement that perpetuated the military base system under which Okinawa bears the heaviest burden, and as illustrative of the continued (small scale) existence of the Ryukyuan independence movement.

Realistically, even under present conditions (in the wake of the abduction and rape of a 12-year old Okinawan schoolgirl by a member, or members, of the US forces) it is unlikely that any substantial reduction of military facilities in Okinawa will occur. Japan will attempt to patch up the problem, as usual, and throw more money at the Okinawans in order to gain their understanding of the importance of the Japan-US Security alliance. Given the disparity in opinion regarding the military bases between Okinawa and the mainland Japanese Government and the scant (at best) chance of Okinawans gaining any sort of reduction that would accord with their wishes, one can only wonder whether Okinawa will eventually call for another 'Reversion.' The notion of a separation from Japan may seem far-fetched, but an independent Ryukyuan nation-state would have no security contract with the US, and would therefore have no obligation to host either American or Japanese military bases. Such an independent Ryukyuan state might conceivably adopt the type of constitution presented below.

N.B. As has already been stated, the "Unofficial Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus" originally appeared in Japanese in the June, 1981, issue of the Shin Okinawa Bungaku journal (pp. 174-183). The English translation that appears below is my own work. I'm solely responsible, therefore, for any inaccuracies or misunderstandings.

John Purves (6th December, 1995).

Follow this link for the Japanese version of the constitution

Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus


We, the people of the Republic of the Ryukyus, having suffered centuries of exploitation and oppression under the feudalistic and imperialistic rule of China, Japan, and the United States of America, have finally achieved our long-held goals of freedom and independence through a process of democratic revolution consistent with contemporary global political developments.

We, the people of the Republic of the Ryukyus, enact this Constitution for ourselves and for our descendents, with the aim of preventing the tragedy of war, ensuring peace across our land and harmony with other democratic countries, improving the welfare of the people, preserving domestic calm, and establishing justice.

We, the people of the Republic of the Ryukyus, believe that we cannot just concentrate on the affairs of our own land to the disregard of affairs in other countries. We believe that the principle of popular democratic revolution is a universality. We believe further that it is the duty of all countries to set about the establishment of a global league of governments in order that we may ensure the continued duration of mankind.

The citizens of the Republic of the Ryukyus vow to do their utmost to uphold the noble principles outlined above and to achieve the objectives set forth in this document for the honour of the Republic.

This Constitution will automatically become null and void the day prior to the Republic of the Ryukyus' full incorporation into the global league of governments, should such a body be successfully established.

The Constitution

Article One:

The Republic of the Ryukyus is a democratic republic based on the foundations of love and labour. Sovereignty resides with the people in whom love and labour are born. The people of the Republic of the Ryukyus will exercise all powers of sovereignty according to the Constitution.

Article Two:

The territory of the Republic of the Ryukyus, this small island archipelago which forms the Ryukyu arc, is a spiritual land, incorporating the legendary heaven of Nirai Kanai.

Article Three:

  1. The Republic of the Ryukyus is an alliance of nations based on the principle of decentralised authority, and consists of the four main areas of Amami State, Okinawa State, Miyako State, Yaeyama State, along with other islands.
  2. All citizens of the Republic of the Ryukyus who live on outlying islands at the periphery of our territory possess the freedom to live in whichever state they may choose. They also possess the full freedom to secede from the Republic if they so desire.

Article Four:

The Republic of the Ryukyus will ensure the complete rights of autonomy to each state within the alliance of nations. The overall authority of the Government of the Republic will be exercised in accordance with the autonomous power of each of the states.

Article Five:

Each of the states within the Republic of the Ryukyus has the right to secede from the Republic, or to establish a new state within the boundaries of a previously existing state. Furthermore, two or more states within the Republic have the right to merge, thereby creating one large state.

Article Six:

Use, or not, of traditional Ryukyuan languages is discretionary and will be decided in accordance with the wishes of the component states of the Republic. Each of the individual states will maintain the authority to decide upon the standard languages of their region. The exception will be the languages utilised in governmental and judicial affairs which, out of necessity, will have to be standardised. The official languages of the Republic will, in general, be a combination of Ryukyuan and Japanese.

Article Seven:

The national flag of the Republic of Ryukyus is black, red, and white.

Article Eight:

The act of preparing for war, in name or shape, is a violation of the principles of the Constitution of the Republic of the Ryukyus. It disturbs peaceful coexistence between the citizens of all countries. Any such deed must be punished. The government of the Republic of the Ryukyus prohibits all experimentation, along with the manufacture, transport, and storage of, all materials and equipment which could potentially be used to produce weapons of war, such as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and poisonous gases. This is rooted in the complete opposition of the Ryukyuan people towards war.

Article Nine:

All citizens of the Republic of the Ryukyus, however many in number, possess the freedom to secede from the Republic.

Follow this link for the Japanese version of the constitution

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