Foreign Minister rejects a call for an end to U.S. Forces flight exercises

Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko said in the Diet that the government will not request the U.S. government to end U.S. Forces flying exercises in Japan.

She was speaking in answer to a question by Japanese Communist Party Akamine Seiken at the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on June 20. "This is a typical controversial point between the JCP and the Liberal Democratic Party, and what the JCP is calling for can't be achieved till a JCP government is established," Tanaka said.

In his question, Akamine referred to the June 19 unanimous resolution adopted by the Ginowan City Assembly in Okinawa in protest against the June 13 incident when objects were dropped from a U.S. helicopter. The resolution demanded that the U.S. Forces in Okinawa immediately end their flight drills over residential areas of the city.

The JCP lawmaker emphasized that the call is not the voice of Ginowan City alone, but is shared by many municipalities in mainland Japan suffering from damages caused by U.S. Forces night landing practices (NLP).

The foreign minister in answer said, "The JCP is calling for an end to U.S. flight exercises but our position is one of allowing them to hold exercises and asking them to consider safety and noise problem."

Akahata of June 21 said that Foreign Minister Tanaka's answer was actually meant to ask Okinawans to endure any damage U.S. military bases might cause so long as the LDP continues to be in power. (end)