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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 October 17 - 23  > Iwakuni City Assembly cross-party members’ group asks JCP for its efforts in restoring government subsidy
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2007 October 17 - 23 [US FORCES]

Iwakuni City Assembly cross-party members’ group asks JCP for its efforts in restoring government subsidy

October 19, 2007
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on October 18 met in the Diet Building with an Iwakuni City Assembly members’ group made up of 10 members of various parties in opposition to the planned relocation of a U.S. carrier-borne aircraft unit to the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni Air Station.

They asked Shii to make efforts to have the government pay a subsidy for the construction of a new city hall in the city as promised.

The government promised to provide the subsidy in 1997 when the Iwakuni City government accepted the relocation of a U.S. air-refueling aircraft unit from Okinawa to the U.S. base in the city. However, after the city expressed its opposition to the plan to relocate carrier-borne aircraft as part of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the government arbitrarily canceled the subsidy of 3.5 billion yen in FY 2007, although the new city hall is under construction.

City Assembly member Shigeoka Kuniaki handed a statement to Shii and said, “The government measure to cut the subsidy amounts to denying local autonomy and democracy.”

Shii said, “I fully agree with your demands and appreciate the fact that you raise your voice regardless of party affiliation,” and promised that the JCP will urge the government to fulfill its promise.

The JCP chair explained that under the law to promote the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan that was forcibly enacted in the last ordinary Diet session, the government grants subsidies to municipalities that accept the realignment plan. He criticized the way the government grants subsidies and for outrageously intervening in local autonomy.

The Japanese and U.S. governments agreed in 2005 to relocate the carrier-borne aircraft unit to the Iwakuni Base. In 2006, residents of Iwakuni City showed their opposition to the relocation in a referendum. Mayor Ihara Katsusuke has maintained his refusal to oppose the plan. - Akahata, October 19, 2007
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