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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 23 - 29  > U.S. military realignment bill forcibly enacted
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2007 May 23 - 29 TOP3 [US FORCES]

U.S. military realignment bill forcibly enacted

May 23 & 24, 2007
“The cost for relocating U.S. troops to their home country must be paid by the U.S. The government must also stop their tactics of dividing and co-opting base-hosting municipalities and their residents by using public money as a lever,” JCP Ogata stated in the Diet.

The Liberal Democratic Party and Komei Party used their majority at the House of Councilors Plenary Session on May 23 to enact a bill to implement the planned realignment of U.S. forces.

The Japanese Communist, Democratic, Social Democratic and People’s New parties voted against the bill.

This bill is unprecedented in the world in that it provides the funding of 730 billion yen to relocate Okinawa-based U.S. Marine Corps units to Guam, a U.S. territory. Japan’s cost for the relocation could eventually rise as high as three trillion yen.

The bill will also give the government the tool to impose strengthened base functions on base-hosting municipalities by enabling it to pay or cut subsidies to them depending on their cooperation in implementing the realignment plan.

In complete disregard of the importance of the bill, the ruling parties spent only 17 hours in three days for the discussion on it before putting it to a vote in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Before the vote was taken at the committee meeting, Japanese Communist Party representative Ogata Yasuo expressed his strong opposition to the bill, stating, “It is already clear that the government’s claim that the realignment plan will reduce Okinawans’ base burdens is completely false. Instead, the plan will spread noise pollutions and the possibility of accidents across the country and will increase Okinawans’ base burdens.”

“The cost for relocating U.S. troops to their home country must be paid by the U.S. The government must also stop their tactics of dividing and co-opting base-hosting municipalities and their residents by using public money as bait,” Ogata stressed.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo insisted that the realignment of the U.S. forces is necessary in order to ensure the security of Japan. He said that the payment of subsidies is “a matter of course.”

Ogata also criticized the government plan to expend an extraordinary large amount of money for the construction of housing units for U.S. military personnel and their families in Guam, 85 million yen per unit. Abe, however, took an irresponsible attitude by stating, “This is only a preliminary estimate.”
- Akahata, May 23 & 24, 2007
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