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Donft give U.S. forces exclusive right to areas within Japanese waters: JCP Inoue


   A Japanese Communist Party representative in the Diet revealed that the U.S. forces have a training area near the site of the recent collision between the Japanese Self-Defense Force Aegis-equipped destroyer Atago and a fishing boat.


   Inoue Satoshi used his questioning at the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on March 17 to reveal this fact, and called on the government to stop giving the U.S. forces such an exclusive right to use the high sea.


   The area in question was one of those set up while Japan was under the postwar U.S. military occupation and has been used by U.S. forces even after Japan technically became an independent country with the San Francisco gpeaceh treaty coming into force in 1952. Japanfs fishing boats have been banned from entering the areas, a fertile fishing ground.


   In response to Inouefs question, a Defense Ministry official said that the government paid 2.96 billion yen in FY 2002 and 1.98 billion yen in FY 2006 in compensation to Japanese fishers for being barred from the areas,.


   Inoue stressed how extraordinary it is for Japan to pay such compensation in order to support U.S. forcesf training exercises.


   Pointing out that Yokosuka Port, located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, is used as the homeport for a U.S. aircraft carrier, Inoue said, gNow is the time to reconsider the situation.h


   Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru said, gIt (the U.S. base) is located in Yokosuka because the location is near the capital city of Tokyo and has the appropriate maintenance capability.h


   Criticizing the government for taking a gmilitary -firsth attitude, Inoue said, gIt is unusual for a sovereign nation to allow a foreign military base to be established near a densely-populated capital city.h

- Akahata, March 19, 2008

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