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Popular opposition foils U.S. Marine Corps' plan for extra firing exercises

Defense Agency Director General Nukaga Fukushiro on February 27 admitted that the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa gave up its plan to include extra training in the planned exercises at Self-Defense Forces Hijudai exercise field in Oita Prefecture.

He stated this to Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken in the House of Representatives Committee meeting.

Nukaga said, "The Oita governor has replied that the plan is unacceptable, and we requested the U.S. to shelve the plan. The U.S. forces gave up carrying out the additional exercise." The DA chief's reply in parliament acknowledged that the opposition movement by local governments and residents had foiled the U.S. forces' plan to increase the firing drills.

The plan had been for the Marine Corps from Okinawa was to hold training exercises for firing 155-mm howitzers, rifles, and machine guns, all using live shells. Live fire exercises for rifles and machine guns were not included in the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement or in the arrangement between Oita Prefecture and the U.S. Residents were firmly opposed to inclusion of these extra exercises.
- Akahata, February 28, 2006

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