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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 20 - 26  > JCP Shii and Ginowan City mayor agree on the need to immediately shut down U.S. Futenma base
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2008 February 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

JCP Shii and Ginowan City mayor agree on the need to immediately shut down U.S. Futenma base

February 21, 2008
On February 20, Iha Yoichi, the mayor of Okinawa’s Ginowan City which hosts the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, met with Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in the Diet Building to request further JCP cooperation aimed at the withdrawal of the U.S. Marine Corps unit whose members have repeatedly committed crimes as well as the shutting down of the dangerous Futenma base.

Referring to the recent rape of a junior high school girl by a U.S. Marine that occurred in Chatan Town, Ginowan’s neighboring municipality, Iha pointed out that in Okinawa there occur nearly 100 cases of crime every year involving U.S. servicemen. “The presence of the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa is the root cause of danger,” Iha stressed.

Shii attached importance to the fact that since the gang-rape of an elementary school girl by U.S. Marines in 1995, similar felony crimes have continued to occur despite the Japanese government’s repeated requests to the U.S. military authorities to tighten discipline. “Without taking a step forward towards the removal of U.S. Marine Corps units and the reduction and removal of U.S. bases, there will be no solution to this problem,” Shii said.

Iha described how the training exercises U.S. aircraft conduct over residential areas around the Futenma base have been intensified year by year. Pointing out that Ginowan City even has elementary schools in an area where no houses or facilities should be located according to the criteria applied in the U.S. because of the danger posed by base activities, Iha stressed that operations at the Futenma base must be immediately shut down.

Shii agreed that the Futenma base must be immediately closed and said, “By joining hands with Okinawans, we will make all-out efforts to remove the U.S. Marine Corps and to reduce and remove U.S. bases.”
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