The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was up for extension or abrogation in 1970, and American officials were concerned that a row over Okinawa could bring the alliance down. The U.S. had administered the island for two decades, and it had come to rely on it as a key storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons. Beyond its strategic role in the U.S.’s defense of Japan, Okinawa was also part of war planning for contingencies in South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Analysis by the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded that the return of Okinawa might be an administrative inconvenience, but that the health of the U.S.-Japan alliance made it worthwhile.
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