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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 April 3 - 9  > Law trampling on residents’ constitutional rights should be abolished
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2024 April 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

Law trampling on residents’ constitutional rights should be abolished

April 3, 2024

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The government led by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on March 29, in line with the land-use restriction law, designated 184 locations in 28 prefectures as “monitored areas” and “special monitored areas”.

The Act on the Review and Regulation of the Use of Real Estate Surrounding Important Facilities and on Remote Territorial Islands, which was enacted in June 2021, allows the government to designate isolated islands in addition to areas within a 1-kilometer radius from “important facilities”, such as U.S. military bases, Self-Defense Forces bases, and nuclear power plants, as “monitored areas”. The law also allows the government to investigate personal information of landowners and the users of the land as well as their use of the property. Based on the investigation, the government will issue a recommendation or an order for suspension of the land use if finding an act that “impedes the functions of important facilities or remote territorial islands” or a “clear risk”. Non-obedience to the recommendation and the order will be punished.

Under the law, among “monitored areas”, those which are considered to be especially important will be designated as “special monitored areas”. In these areas, a transaction of real estate having a certain volume of space without prior notification to authorities will be punishable.

The latest designation by the Kishida government came under fire in Okinawa Prefecture as it will impose “new military base burdens” on the prefecture.

In Kadena Town where 82% of the town’s area is occupied by U.S. military facilities including the Kadena Air Base, the entire town was declared to be “special monitored areas”. It is the same with Chatan Town where U.S. military bases account for 51% of the town’s area.

In these towns, due to the vast presence of U.S. bases, the town residents’ housing and public facilities have been squeezed into small areas. Under this situation, the legal obligation of the notification prior to a transaction of real estate having a certain volume of space may become an obstacle to local economic and social development. It is a matter of course for Okinawans to express strong opposition to the designation.

In order to protect Okinawans’ livelihoods from threats caused by U.S. military bases, including crimes and accidents, noise pollution from U.S. military aircraft, and discharge of PFAS environmental pollutants, Okinawans have been conducting health surveys and protest actions. It is unacceptable for the central government to surveil and regulate citizens’ legitimate activities. This law which violates people’s constitutional rights should be abolished.

Past related article:
> JCP Koike protests against law to surveil residents living in vicinity of bases [September 21, 2022]

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