Okinawan town revokes decision to invite SDF

In Irabu Town, Okinawa, people power has forced the town assembly to give up a plan to allow the Self-Defense Forces to be permanently stationed in the town.

The Irabu Town Assembly on March 25 retracted the resolution it adopted to host an SDF base at Shimojijima Airport in the town.

Knowing that the town assembly adopted the resolution in return for government assistance in the promotion of the local economy, residents raised a strong objection in a rally the previous day with about 3,500 people, half the town population, attending. Some assembly members who had been in favor of SDF basing plan voted against.

Fukushima Masaharu, the Shimojijima Airport employees' union chair, said, "This is a victory of people power. We'll continue to band together to oppose any move towards the military use of the airport.

The Japanese Communist Party has supported the people's struggle in opposition to the use of Shimojijima Airport for military purposes.

In relation to the realignment of U.S. forces, they are planning to co-use the airport with the SDF or use it as an alternative site for the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa's Ginowan City instead of the sea off the Henoko District of Nago City.

Shimojijima Airport was opened in 1979. Before Okinawa was returned to Japan, Japan's government and Okinawa's Ryukyu government signed an agreement that the airport will be used only for civil purposes. (end)

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