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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 13 - 19  > Iwakuni City residents are still opposed to relocation of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft
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2008 February 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Iwakuni City residents are still opposed to relocation of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft

February 13, 2008
In the February 10 mayoral election in Iwakuni City (Yamaguchi Pref.), incumbent candidate Ihara Katsusuke, who has maintained his opposition to the relocation of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni Air Station as part of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, was defeated by a narrow margin by Fukuda Yoshihiko, a former Liberal Democratic Party House of Representatives member who supports the relocation plan.

However, the opposition of the residents to the relocation plan, shown in a plebiscite in March 2006 as well as in a mayoral election in April 2006, has not changed. According to an exit poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun, 47 percent of respondents expressed opposition to the relocation plan, while only 18 percent expressed support.

“Public opinion opposing the relocation has not changed. Cooperation in opposition to the relocation plan will not die down,” said a member of a local lawmakers’ group composed of two Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly and nine Iwakuni City Assembly members that supported Ihara because of his stance on the relocation issue.

Stressing the significance of public opinion, Ihara after the election said, “I hope the next mayor will put himself in the position of the residents who are suffering from noise pollution from the Iwakuni base when conducting negotiations with the central government.”

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi at the February 12 press conference also stressed that Iwakuni residents continue to oppose the relocation plan and said that the JCP will further join hands with the residents in order to increase the movement against the relocation.

Ichida praised the efforts of residents in putting up good fight in a difficult situation in which the central government unjustifiably stopped paying subsidizes to the city in order to force the city government and residents to accept the relocation plan.
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