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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 28 - April 3  > Bill to implement U.S. military realignment only to deepen Japan’s aberrations
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2007 March 28 - April 3 TOP3 [POLITICS]
editorial 

Bill to implement U.S. military realignment only to deepen Japan’s aberrations

March 25, 2007
Pouring a large amount of tax money into the U.S. military realignment scheme is tantamount to helping the U.S. in wars in direct violation of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Discussions are underway at the House of Representatives on a bill on special measures to implement the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

The bill is to fund the project to construct housing units and other related facilities using Japan Bank for International Cooperation funds for U.S. bases in Guam where Okinawa-based U.S. marines and their families will be relocated. The bill also is to establish grants to be provided to municipalities that accept the realignment plan, the amount of which will vary according to the implementation of the plan, as well as subsidies to affected municipalities in the name of a promotion of regional development. This law, if enacted, will be in effect for ten years, until March 2017.

The U.S. military realignment will increase the base burdens of municipalities hosting military bases across Japan by spreading noise pollution and increasing the risk of accidents, far from a reduction in base burdens as the government claims.

The Roadmap for Realignment Implementation agreed upon between the Japanese and U.S. governments last May includes the construction of a new U.S. base in Nago City (Okinawa Pref.), the relocation of part of the U.S. Marine Corps units from Okinawa to Guam, the Japan-U.S. joint use of the U.S. Yokota Air Base (Tokyo), the establishment of a new command at U.S. Army Camp Zama (Kanagawa Pref.), and the relocation of a U.S. carrier-borne aircraft unit from the U.S. Atsugi Naval Air Facility (Kanagawa Pref.) to the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni Air Station (Yamaguchi Pref.).

Pouring such a large amount of tax money into the U.S. military realignment scheme is tantamount to helping the U.S. in wars in direct violation of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

The special measures law on the U.S. realignment plan calls for this expenditure ostensibly for reducing Okinawans’ base burden, but this is nothing more than a pretext.

The planned state-of-the-art base in Nago City will be capable of accepting the deployment of the vertical take-off and landing aircraft Osprey and berthing a high-speed transport vessel that can carry 1,000 troops.

The relocation of Kadena-based fighter jets’ training exercises to mainland Japan will only distribute the noise pollution all over Japan.

The relocation of the U.S. carrier-borne aircraft unit from Atsugi to Iwakuni will increase the sufferings and dangers to the residents of Iwakuni City.

Many base-hosting municipalities have expressed their desire for the return of base sites, and with this bill the government intends to suppress such wishes in return for money.

The bill uses a dirty trick in which the government will provide grants to municipalities that accept the realignment plan and the amount of the grant will depend on the speed of implementation.

Worse still, there are no objective criteria for deciding on which municipalities will receive the grant and how much it will be. These questions will totally depend on the whims of the defense minister. Regional development proposals are also in the hands of the minister and military affairs takes precedence over all other matters.

No other country in the world would construct housing units for U.S. personnel on U.S. territory, Guam, using its own tax revenue.

As long as U.S. bases exist in Japan, the anguish of residents will continue. The only way to recover residents’ safety and tranquility is to reject the U.S. military realignment plan and make efforts to remove U.S. bases from Japan.
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