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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 June 30 - July 6  > Symposium held in Okinawa for removal of U.S. Futenma base
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2010 June 30 - July 6 [OKINAWA]

Symposium held in Okinawa for removal of U.S. Futenma base

December 6, 2009
About 630 people took part in a symposium calling for the unconditional removal of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station on December 5 in the base-hosting city of Ginowan in Okinawa.

Ginowan City Mayor Iha Yoichi, Lawyer Nakayama Tadakatsu, and Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo spoke as panelists. A wide rage of participants, including Okinawa’s municipal heads and prefectural assembly members, discussed ways to establish a base-free Okinawa.

Iha explained that in Ginowan City, about 3,600 residences and 18 schools, childcare centers, and other public facilities are located in the so-called “clear zone,” the area established around military bases where residences would be prohibited due to safety concerns if U.S. regulations were applied. Adding that Japan’s Aviation Law has no effect in the area, he demanded that the Futenma base be relocated outside the nation.

Nakayama, a lawyer representing Okinawan landowners who refuse to lease their land to U.S. bases, pointed out that the “relocation” of the Futenma base will allow the continued existence of the illegal U.S. bases in Okinawa, which have been build on land forcibly taken from local residents.

Shii criticized the Hatoyama Cabinet for sticking to the notion that Japan needs the U.S. Marine Corps as deterrence and that it has no choice but to comply with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. He said that the government must free itself from these illusions and carry out a full-fledged negotiation with the U.S. in order to get the Futenma base unconditionally removed and create a base-free Okinawa.

The JCP chair explained that as they have been dispatched to engage in combat operations in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the U.S. Marines are stationed in Okinawa not to maintain deterrence against threats to Japan's peace and security, but to strike and invade other countries. “To refuse to host bases used for military interventions is a great contribution to world peace,” he stated.

Concerning the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Shii said that although the abrogation of the treaty would provide the solution to Okinawa’s base issues, the need now is to build solidarity regardless of the pros and cons of the treaty, pointing out that the Philippines and other foreign countries forced the removal of U.S. bases on their soil while maintaining their military alliance with the U.S.

“Let us pursue a base-free Okinawa and Japan as a major nationwide struggle this next year, the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” Shii stressed.
- Akahata, December 6, 2009
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