New base plan without premise for limit of use must be completely withdrawn: JCP in Lower House

A Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member on March 28 demanded that the government scrap the plan to construct a new U.S. military base in Okinawa's Nago City, now that the government admits it cannot honor the 15-year limit on its use. Both Okinawa Prefecture and Nago City governments are demanding that this term-limit be imposed on the new base.

The new U.S. base construction has been planned by the U.S. and Japanese governments as the substitute for the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa's Ginowan City. Okinawa Governor Inamine Keiichi's campaign promise was that a 15-year limit would be imposed on the new U.S. base. But the U.S. government has consistently refused to accept the term limit as a condition for the new base construction. The Japanese government has been reluctant to raise the question with the U.S.

Questioning on behalf of the JCP in the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, Akamine Seiken urged the government to insist on the unconditional return to Japan of the U.S. Futenma base site now that both the Japanese and U.S. governments are unable to promise that the new base would be limited for use to 15 years.

In the recent Japan-U.S. summit talks, U.S. President George W. Bush told Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro that it would be difficult to accept a 15-year limit on the use of the new base.

Akamine asked if the Japanese government shares this view. Foreign Minister Kono Yohei only said in response that the government, "will have to discuss the question with the U.S. because of the difficult international situation."

He also asked the government if it has the will to request a reduction in the number of U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa in response to Okinawans' demands. The foreign minister answered, "We will have to consider it when the international situation becomes stable. We will take no such action now." (end)