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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 July 22 - 28  > Local mayor accepts additional U.S. military housing construction
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2009 July 22 - 28 [US FORCES]

Local mayor accepts additional U.S. military housing construction

July 28, 2009
The mayor of Zushi City has accepted the U.S. plan to build 700 more housing units for U.S. sailors and their families at Ikego, a district that stretches over Zushi and Yokohama cities in Kanagawa Prefecture which hosts bases for the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet.

Mayor Hirai Ryuichi overturned his previously stated opposition to the housing construction plan when he announced his acceptance of the plan at the Zushi City Assembly on July 27.

Members from the Japanese Communist Party voiced opposition to the mayor’s change of mind in a protest statement together with the JCP district committee.

On July 22, the Defense Ministry offered to make efforts to get 40 hectares of land on the south side of the Forest of Ikego (former U.S. munitions depot) returned to the city in exchange for the city’s acceptance of the construction of an additional 700 housing units at Ikego for U.S. military personnel and their families.

Around the Forest of Ikego, the Japanese government allows the U.S. forces to use land and facilities in an area totaling 290 hectares. The United States has long demanded that Japan permit the construction of more housing units. This demand was accepted in 1994 in a Zushi City-Kanagawa Prefecture-central government agreement that no additional U.S. military housing units be built in the Forest of Ikego.

In the statement, Zushi’s JCP demanded that the mayor withdraw his support for the additional construction plan and fulfill his public promise. The JCP denounces the central government for breaking the pledge to not build additional U.S. facilities at the site.

Regarding other promises in the 1994 agreement such as the return of the site for a hospital and a public hall as well as free access to an athletic field (within the U.S. facility), the JCP maintains that these promises must be met unconditionally and
immediately. - Akahata, July 28, 2009
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