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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 16 - 22  > Defense Minister admits possible use of SDF in survey on new U.S. base construction in Okinawa
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2007 May 16 - 22 [SDF]

Defense Minister admits possible use of SDF in survey on new U.S. base construction in Okinawa

May 16, 2007
At a House of Representatives Security Committee meeting on May 15, Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio, in reply to Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken, admitted that the Self-Defense Forces may be used for the ministry to conduct the on-site survey in preparation for the construction of a new U.S. base on the shoreline of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab in Nago City in Okinawa.

On May 11, the MSDF minesweeper tender Bungo departed the MSDF Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture for Okinawa amid the rumor that it may support the survey.

Akamine asked if the Bungo will engage in activities assisting the on-site survey, but the ministry’s Operational Policy Bureau Director Yamazaki Shinshiro refused to make public the information.

Akamine criticized the ministry for refusing to make public the method of survey, the necessary prerequisite for an environment impact assessment. There is a serious concern that the ministry’s survey itself will cause damage to coral reefs and other ecosystems, Akamine pointed out.

* * *

On May 15, representatives of the Nago Peace Committee and the Japan Peace Committee visited the Defense Ministry and the Environment Ministry and demanded that the plan to construct the U.S. base in Nago City be canceled.

The Okinawa Defense Facilities Administration Bureau on April 24 began the on-site research that could bring about serious destruction of the habitat of dugongs and sea turtles. - Akahata, May 16, 2007
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