Mayors, assembly members, and citizens opposed to deployment of U.S. Army lst Corps HQ to Zama
A signature-collection campaign has started in Zama City in Kanagawa prefecture to oppose the planned deployment of the U.S. Army First Corps Command to U.S. Army Camp Zama situated in Zama and Sagamihara cities.
Mayor Hoshino Katsuji of Zama City, which has a population of 130,000, stated, "The relocation plan, as part of the global U.S. military realignment, can be blocked if we collect signatures from more than half of the population."
The signature-collection campaign started on April 18 at the call of the Zama Liaison Association composed of the city, assembly, and the confederation of neighborhood self-governing bodies, which was founded last November and is chaired by Hoshino.
On April 29, in a park packed with many citizens enjoying the holiday, Mayor Hoshino, city officials, the assembly president, as well as over 20 assembly members from all parties, called on visitors to sign their names on petition papers.
Mayor Hoshino stated, "Irrespective of many differences in views regarding security and defense issues, we share opposition to U.S. Camp Zama's function to be further increased and perpetuated into an indefinite future. We are expecting to get major support for this campaign among citizens through this drive."
Zama's assembly members, including those of the Japanese Communist Party, are joining in the drive in front of station terminals.
In Sagamihara City, with a population of 620,000, a similar association was established by 37 organizations. The association, headed by Mayor Ogawa Isao, decided to collect more than 200,000 signatures calling for the deployment plan to be foiled.
JCP Chair Shii Kazuo and some JCP Dietmembers on April 18 held talks with these mayors respectively to share in the campaign against the planned consolidation and perpetuation of Camp Zama. - Akahata, May 4, 2005
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