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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 March 30 - April 5  > Kasai: Disaster victims need help more than US forces
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2011 March 30 - April 5 [POLITICS]

Kasai: Disaster victims need help more than US forces

March 31, 2011
“It’s not the U.S. forces in Japan but the victims of the major disaster who need help,” Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Kasai Akira said when criticizing the special arrangement requiring Japan to use one trillion yen in five years as the sympathy budget for the U.S. forces in Japan.

In the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on March 30, the JCP representative asked if it is reasonable for Japan, faced with the on-going unprecedented postwar disaster, to keep paying 200 billion yen per year for the U.S. forces for the next five years.

Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi said, “The Japan-U.S. alliance and the Security Treaty have important roles to play. I don’t think it appropriate to discuss them in the context of the financial difficulty related to the disaster.”

Referring to U.S. President Obama’s hotline on March 17 in which Obama was reportedly telling Prime Minister Kan Naoto that the U.S. government is prepared to provide aid for middle and long-term reconstruction efforts, Kasai called on the government to tell the United States that the situation regarding the special agreement has changed since it was concluded between the two countries.

Kasai pointed out that the special agreement allocates a budget to introduce solar and other renewable energy systems to U.S. military facilities. The JCP representative stated, “Now is the time for Japan to provide enormous sums of money for relief and reconstruction from the disaster. The victims are waiting impatiently for temporary dwellings and state compensation for the damage. Is the government going to use the Japanese people’s taxes to make U.S. military housing eco-friendly? Do you think that the public in Japan can accept such ways of spending money?”

Kitazawa: “I know that people have concerns about this. However, the U.S. forces promptly assisted in the disaster. At U.S. expense, they earnestly worked to provide relief and the victims are aware of this.”

Kasai: “Governments throughout the world are selflessly offering help, no matter if Japan is their ally or not. It is unreasonable to pay back the United States alone asserting as justification that they had spent some money for rescue work in Japan.”

Kasai said that the U.S. Obama administration on the one hand is reducing its military spending and on the other hand is calling on its allies to share more in the financial burdens of U.S. militarization.

Kasai said, “Is the government going to use Japanese people’s taxes to make up for the cuts in U.S. military spending when the Japanese people are suffering from this unprecedented disaster? It is the victims who need our sympathy, not the U.S. forces.”
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