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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 April 11 - 17  > U.S. forces realignment bill passes Lower House committee
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2007 April 11 - 17 [POLITICS]

U.S. forces realignment bill passes Lower House committee

April 13, 2007
On April 12, The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties used their force of majority at a House of Representatives Security Committee meeting to approve a bill to promote the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. The Japanese Communist, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties voted against it.

Pointing out that the bill still leaves many questions to be answered, JCP representative Akamine Seiken demanded a thorough discussion on it. He called for the committee to provide the opportunity to listen to the voices of municipal heads hosting the U.S. bases that are planned to be realigned.

However, the ruling parties proposed a vote without giving parties a chance to express their opinions on the bill. Committee Chair Kimura Taro (LDP) exercised his authority to take a vote on the bill with no more discussions.

The bill will establish the extraordinary scheme of allowing Japan to pay the costs for the relocation of the Okinawa-based U.S. Marine Corps to Guam. It will also provide subsidies to local municipalities hosting the U.S. bases in accordance with the degree of progress in their implementation of the realignment plan, aiming at forcing the local governments to cooperate with the central government in implementing the realignment plan.

In the committee discussion prior to voting, Akamine emphasized that the bill is unacceptable since it is in violation of Article 9.

He pointed out that the facilities to be built in Guam with Japanese tax money will be used for U.S. military operations like the war in Iraq, stating, “This amounts to paying a share of the expenses for U.S. wars.”
- Akahata, April 13, 2007
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