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JCP calls for halt to Japan-U.S. joint military exercise on SDF base

The Japanese Communist Party Miyazaki Prefectural Committee on April 6 made representations to the Defense Ministry calling for a halt to Japan-U.S. joint military exercises at the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Nyutabaru Base.

The U.S. forces and the SDF held joint exercises in late February at the Nyutabaru Base in Miyazaki's Shintomi Town. At that time, 60 U.S. military members were secretly billeted off the base, and an F-15 fighter jet leaked fuel during the exercises.

A Defense Ministry official said that it had not informed residents of the locations of accommodations for those 60 U.S. servicemen who stayed off the base because the U.S. side requested that such information not be released due to concern about possible terrorist attacks. JCP representatives criticized the Defense Ministry for giving U.S. military personnel's supposed concerns for "safety" priority over reducing residents' anxieties.

Concerning the F-15's fuel leakage incident, JCP member of the Shintomi Town Assembly Yoshida Takayuki said that residents have never been told the cause of accidents involving U.S. warplanes at the Nyutabaru Base. "In that way, residents' lives and safety are never protected," he added.

The ministry official resonded that the U.S. side does not accept Japanese requests to have them submit a report on investigations.

Yoshida said, "The Japanese government cannot defend the people without demanding the U.S. forces investigate their accidents and make the findings available to the Japanese authorities if not the general public"

JCP House of Representatives member Akamine Seiken accompanied the group making the representations.

- Akahata, April 7, 2009

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