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Yokosuka residents in rally urge city to hold referendum on planned deployment U.S. nuclear carrier


Calling on the city assembly to enact a city referendum bill over the deployment of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a rally was held on May 11 in Yokosuka City in Kanagawa Prefecture, which hosts the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington will reach the port on August 19 to use it as its homeport.


An association held this rally at Park Verny near the base.


About 2,200 participants in the rally later marched in demonstration.


In a one-month drive since March 6, the association collected 52,438 signatures, which is seven times the minimum legal requirement, and is about 10,000 more than the signatures collected in 2006.


It will be discussed by the city assemblyfs special session that will begin on May 13.


Lawyer Goto Masahiko as the association co-chair said, gThe city must allow citizens to freely express their opinions through a referendum over the deployment of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Yokosuka. The mayor is called upon to convey the citizensf response to this plan to the Japanese and U.S. governments. We call on every member of the city assembly to support the petition.h


Yokosuka Mayor Kabaya Ryoichi is expected to submit the referendum bill to the assembly. He will also attach his view that the decision on the homeporting of a U.S. nuclear carrier is a state matter and that it is inappropriate to hold a referendum on it, just as he did in response to the previous 2007 petition.

- Akahata, May 12, 2008


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