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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 November 21 - 27  > Remove US bases and Ospreys: 2012 Japan Peace Conference
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2012 November 21 - 27 [PEACE]

Remove US bases and Ospreys: 2012 Japan Peace Conference

November 24-26, 2012

The 2012 Japan Peace Conference took place in Tokyo from November 23 to 25, calling for creating a Japan free from U.S. bases and the military alliance.

About 1,500 citizens took part in the three-day conference.

The international symposium, “How to build peace in the Asia-Pacific region”, was held on November 23. Nong Sakal, representative of the Cambodian government, which serves as the ASEAN chair country, said in his speech that the ASEAN will continue to play an important role as a promoter of talks and cooperation between nations to secure peace and stability in the region.

The next day, another symposium took place on Japan’s future after abolishing the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Iha Yoichi, ex-mayor of Okinawa’s Ginowan City which hosts the U.S. Futenma Air Station, strongly criticized the string of crimes committed by U.S. servicemen in recent weeks and the nighttime low-altitude flight training of the accident-prone U.S. aircraft Osprey in Okinawa. He said, “In Hawaii, the American government cancelled the flight exercise plan to protect wild animals. In Okinawa, while local residents are suffering from the ill-effects caused by the U.S. bases, the Japanese administration is feigning ignorance about any need to protect its citizens.”

Yokohama National University Professor Hagiwara Shinjiro referred to the fact that the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party has pledged in its election campaign platform to upgrade the Self-Defense Forces to a “national defense military”. The professor pointed out that both the U.S. and Japanese business circles, promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, are pulling strings to protect their interests under the Japan-U.S. security arrangements.

Around 1,200 people participated in the general meeting on that evening. Japan Peace Committee Secretary-General Chisaka Jun said in his keynote address, “Let’s do our utmost so that the pro-peace force can win the coming Tokyo gubernatorial election and general election.” Former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations Utsunomiya Kenji, the candidate for Tokyo governor, also gave an address.

On November 25, the closing rally was held in Tokyo’s Fussa City where the U.S. Yokota Air Base is located. The participants marched in demonstration towards the base, shouting, “No US bases!” A young woman from Nagasaki who works at a hospital as an occupational therapist said, “I hate the idea of people being press-ganged into war. After returning to my hometown, I will call for young people to take part in various peace movements.”

Related past articles
> Anti-US base candidate challenges incumbent mayor in Okinawa [November 5, 2012]
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