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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 February 18 - 24  > Local citizens want removal of US base, not its ‘relocation’
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2015 February 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Local citizens want removal of US base, not its ‘relocation’

February 19, 2015
The Abe government has been carrying out its plan to “relocate” the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, located in the middle of residential areas in Okinawa’s Ginowan City, to the Henoko coastal district in Nago City. PM Abe insists that it is necessary to protect the safety of local people, but Ginowan citizens seek the removal of the base, not its “relocation” to another place in Okinawa.

In both the Okinawa gubernatorial and general elections held late last year, the numbers of votes the anti-U.S. base candidates obtained in Ginowan City substantially exceeded those for their pro-U.S. base rivals.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo noted that the Japanese and U.S. administrations are trying to create a huge, state-of-the-art military base in Henoko under the guise of a “relocation” of the Futenma base (Feb.17, the House of Representatives). He pointed out that the number of runways will increase to two at the planned base; the new facility will also perform a function as a naval port to deploy assault landing ships; the new station will have a large area to load aircraft with ammunition and supplies, which is not available at the Futanma base; and the base functions will be intensified dramatically by being operated with the adjoining Camp Schwab.

Regarding Shii’s question, Abe made excuses by saying that amphibious assault ships are not going to come to the new base and that it is just the transport aircraft Ospreys that will be deployed there.

Article 3 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) guarantees the U.S. military the exclusive right to manage its facilities in Japan. It is all up to the U.S. Forces how to use their bases or what kind of training exercises they conduct. Thus, Abe’s claim is hollow.

Since Okinawa was under the U.S. military rule after World War II, the U.S. administration has aimed to integrate the functions of its bases scattered around the mainland of Okinawa. Washington is really happy because Tokyo is now working hard to fulfill their desires by using the Japanese taxpayers’ money.

Responding to the demands of local residents, the prime minister should push for the immediate and unconditional removal of the Futenma base.

Past related article:
> Gov’t should stop US base construction in Henoko [February 3, 2015]
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