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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 20 - 26  > Uruma citizens oppose gov’t plan to build GSDF training field near youth center
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2024 March 20 - 26 [SDF]

Uruma citizens oppose gov’t plan to build GSDF training field near youth center

March 21, 2024

A rally took place on March 20 in Uruma City (Okinawa Pref.), with approximately 1,200 residents participating, in opposition to the central government plan to turn a former golf course in the city into a Ground Self-Defense Force training field.

A group formed by 17 organizations, both conservative and reformist, hosted this action. Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny sent a message in solidarity, and several opposition party Dietmembers elected from Okinawa, including Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken, took part in the event.

Regarding the project to build a new GSDF training area in the city, Akamine at a meeting of the Lower House Security Committee on March 15 asked about the selection process of a candidate site for the GSDF training range.

It was only in December of last year when the Ministry of Defense suddenly revealed a plan to build a new training field on the former site of a golf course in Uruma City. Surprised local residents, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, began calling for the abandonment of the plan.

Akamine pointed out that the proposed site is located right in front of the prefecture-owned Ishikawa Youth Center which 40,000 children annually use for nature study and overnight stays. He criticized the government for even considering conducting night-time training exercises near where children enjoy campfires and night walks.

Defense Minister Kihara Minoru said, “After careful consideration so that the impact of the training area development will be minimal,
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