388 municipal heads reject immediate enactment of wartime laws

Many mayors throughout the country are calling for careful deliberations on, or are expressing opposition to, the wartime legislation.

According to a survey of all 3,288 municipal heads conducted by the Japan Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Unions (Jichiroren), a member of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), 81.9 percent of 474 heads, as of May 23, answered negative about wartime legislation.

The number of respondents who called for "careful consideration" was 333 (70.3 percent). Forty mayors (8.4 percent) said they are "against" the wartime legislation itself, and 15 (3.2 percent) of the respondents were against the wartime bills as are now being discussed in the Diet session. Forty-four mayors (9.3 percent) expressed "support" for the wartime legislation.

Resolutions in "opposition" to the legislation or calling for "careful deliberation" have been adopted by many local assemblies.

The Naha City Assembly in Okinawa Prefecture on May 24 unanimously adopted an opinion calling for a thorough Diet discussion as the legislation may add to the already heavy burden on Okinawan citizens.

Taking up Okinawan wishes for the reduction of U.S. military bases in the prefecture and the review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the opinion-note said that the wartime legislation may ignore these wishes.

The Naha mayor stated that, as far as the central government fails to show a satisfactory course to Okinawa concerning the U.S. military bases, he cannot support the wartime legislation.

The Liberal Democratic Party-backed Okinawa governor emphasized that the need now is to discuss the problems arising in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the excessive burden of U.S. bases in Okinawa before considering the wartime legislation. (end)