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JCP: U.S. military bases should be major election issue

At a press conference in Okinawa's Naha City on August 25, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said that the JCP will bring up the issue of U.S. military bases in Japan as a major issue in the general election. "U.S. military bases have an important bearing on citizens' safety and daily life as well as Japan's future," he said.

Ichida was referring to an interim report published on August 15 by the U.S. Commission on Review of Overseas Military Facility Structure. The report stated that the troops stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa should be relocated to either the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa or the U.S. Marine Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture and that other Marine Corp facilities in Okinawa should remain in the prefecture. He stressed that the government should show voters this realignment plan and ask their opinions.

Pointing out that both the Liberal Democratic and Democratic parties in their election policies are calling for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation to be increased, Ichida said, "These parties share the same basic stance."

He pointed out that U.S. bases "threaten Okinawans' lives and cause unbearable hardships on them," adding, "Removal of those bases is the only way to relieve them of their suffering." -- Akahata, August 26, 2005

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