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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 November 30 - December 6  > Miyakojima residents oppose local deployment of SDF
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2011 November 30 - December 6 [OKINAWA]

Miyakojima residents oppose local deployment of SDF

December 2, 2011
Residents of Okinawa’s Miyakojima City on December 1 petitioned the prefectural office and the prefectural assembly to oppose the state government’s plan to deploy the Ground Self-Defense Force to the Miyako-Yaeyama area, Japan’s most southwestern area facing China.

The Japanese government this year budgeted 30 million yen for studying the feasibility of the deployment plan. For FY2012, the Defense Ministry is requesting 1.5 billion yen in funding which includes the cost of acquiring land for the GSDF deployment to Yonaguni Island in the Miyako-Yaeyama district, a 30-minute-flight distance to Taiwan.

The residents in the petition said, “A GSDF deployment to the island will only increase military tensions (on the border). Our industries of agriculture, fisheries, and tourism can’t coexist with the threatening presence of military forces.”

They also requested that the central government not be allowed to use Shimojishima Airport in Miyakojima City for military purposes.

Shimojishima Airport is Japan’s only airport used to train civil airline pilots. In 1971, just before Okinawa’s restoration to Japan, the Ryukyu government at that time and the Japanese government exchanged an official memorandum which stated that the airport should be used only for the training of civil airline pilots and for the flights of civil airlines.

Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Chair Takamine Zenshin said, “Ryukyu had a long history of achieving prosperity through peaceful diplomacy and exchanges with neighboring countries without having any military power. The state has the jurisdiction to address national security issues, but local residents’ support and cooperation is essential.”

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