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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 November 26 - December 2  > Residents protest against Japan-U.S. joint military exercise
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2008 November 26 - December 2 [US FORCES]

Residents protest against Japan-U.S. joint military exercise

December 2, 2008
About 200 people staged a protest in a park in Wako City near Tokyo on November 30 against the Japan-U.S. joint military exercise that was to start on December 1 at the Ground Self-Defense Force Asaka Base with code name “Yama Sakura 55.”

Criticizing the GSDF and the U.S. forces for conducting the two-week “command post exercise” without providing local municipalities with information about it, the protesters after the rally marched in demonstration to Wako-shi Station.

Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Shiokawa Tetsuya took part in the rally.

The GSDF Asaka Base stretches between four municipalities: Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, Saitama’s Asaka City, Niiza City, and Wako City.

About 4,500 SDF members and 1,200 U.S. servicemen, mainly from the JGSDF Eastern Army and the U.S. Army Pacific Command, are taking part in the exercise.

As it is led for the first time by the commander in chief U.S. Pacific Command, who is in charge of the U.S. Army’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region, the exercise is aimed at promoting Japan-U.S. military integration under the U.S. forces’ command.

* * *

A U.S. commander has posted a notice in the GSDF Asaka Base urging his soldiers taking part in the joint exercise to comply with Japanese laws.

The notice is put up inside of two gates of the base so that U.S. military personnel can see it before going outside as a reminder.

The notice, signed by Lieutenant General Benjamin R. Mixon U.S.Army Pacific Command commanding general, is as follows:

Yama Sakura 55
General Order #1 – Summary

1. Curfew
You must be on-spot from 0001-0500 nightly

2. Buddy Rule
Anytime you go off-spot, sign in/out at USARPAC STB Operations and be with a buddy.

3. Authorized Travel Distance
Do not go beyond 15KM/9 miles of Camp Asaka without an authorized pass/liberty from your Command.

4. No Hard Liquor
Do not drink hard liquor anytime/anywhere unless at STARTEX/ENDEX social events.

5. Drinking Age
You must be 20 years old to consume alcohol in Japan.

6. Alcohol Storage & Consumption
No alcohol storage or drinking in the barracks. Drink alcohol only in the
Friendship Hall or other authorized locations.

7. No Gambling

8. No Unauthorized Weapons
No blades longer than 2.3 inches in length off post.

9. Uniform Wear
Do not wear your uniform off post unless commuting to from the exercise.

This is a lawful order under the UCMJ.

Signed: LTG Benjamin R. Mixon, USARPAC, Commanding

Respect Japanese Laws & Customs

This is only a summary. Contact USARJ JAG in the Exercise Support Cell with questions.

Nerima Peace Committee Secretary Sakamoto Shigeru said, “I believe it is the first time for the Asaka Base to put up such a notice. It shows the pressure U.S. forces are facing from the residents and municipalities that are calling for their anxiety over the major exercise to be removed.”
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