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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 30 - May 13  > Yokosuka City legislature must embrace residents’ demand for referendum
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2008 April 30 - May 13 [US FORCES]

Yokosuka City legislature must embrace residents’ demand for referendum

May 13, 2008
Akahata Editorial (excerpts)

At the request of the Yokosuka residents' “Association for a Referendum on Pros and Cons of Homeporting Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier”, Yokosuka City Mayor Kabaya Ryoichi will submit a draft ordinance to hold a referendum over the planned deployment and safety concerns of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base in Tokyo Bay.

At the same time, however, he intends to attach his statement of opposition to the enactment of the ordinance.

The number of collected signatures in favor of a referendum reached 48,611, 10,000 more than the number collected last year in a similar effort and is more than 10 percent of the 420,000 Yokosuka residents. Ignoring this number that represents the demand of the citizens is tantamount to denying the constitutional principle of local autonomy and democracy.

Citizens should be the key players

In complete disregard of the Constitution, Mayor Kabaya has said, “The question of deploying U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers is a matter to be dealt with by the national government. It does not qualify for a referendum.”

We have the constitutional principle of local autonomy. The principle is based upon residential autonomy. Residents’ will must be respected above anything else in local administration. Holding a referendum is residents’ means to reflect their will in local government policies.

Rejecting a request for the enactment of an ordinance to hold a referendum means denying citizens the constitutional right to express their will to live in peace.

The Japanese people have the constitutional right to live in peace in their respective local communities. This means that everyone has the right to refuse to tolerate a life that entails risks of nuclear accidents and fears of crimes committed by U.S. soldiers.

Yokosuka City Assembly holds key role

The ordinance to hold a referendum requested by the Yokosuka citizens’ association is over whether the planned deployment of U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is acceptable, and whether a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier can be considered to be safe.

It is reasonable for residents to demand a chance to decide whether the city should accept a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and to express their will to the national government and the Yokosuka City government.

The Yokosuka City Assembly must endorse the citizens’ demand and enact the ordinance. - Akahata, May 13, 2008
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