Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 7 - 13  > Gov’t uses power of money to have residents accept US radar base construction
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 May 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

Gov’t uses power of money to have residents accept US radar base construction

May 11, 2014
The Abe government is using public money to entice local residents to accept a plan to construct a U.S. X-band radar station in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto.

The Ugawa district of Kyoto’s Kyotango City, facing the Sea of Japan, has a population of 1,500. It is suffering from increasing depopulation and aging.

In February last year, Japan’s administration announced the plan to build the facility in that district as part of the U.S. missile defense system. The planned U.S. radar facility is to be the 133rd in Japan and the first one in the Kinki region. In order to acquire sites for the base, the Japanese authorities have worked to divide the local people through the power of money.

At first, the proposed annual rent for the land was 190,000 yen per 1,000 square meters. It was a very high rate compared to that for agricultural land, around 8,000 yen. Two weeks later, the authorities increased the rate to 300,000 yen so as to persuade unwilling landowners. Affected by a nasty rumor that residents are opposing the project in a bid to boost land prices, some landowners consented to the deal against their will.

Tanaka Mariko, one of those who signed the lease agreement, said, “I was told that I will even be ostracized if I don’t agree to the contract. I’m against the construction, but I had no choice but to accept it because I have to continue to live here.”

Nagai Tomoaki, 56, who lives in the district, formed a local group last year to stop the construction project. “Everyone objects to the plan at heart,” he said. In fact, Nagai’s group has already collected signatures against the construction from more than half the population of the district.

Regarding this issue, Okinawa International University Professor Maedomari Hiromori said as follows:

The central government has always employed its financial power to force local citizens to accept the construction of military bases or nuclear power facilities. The more strongly people oppose, the more money authorities offer. This is how local autonomies come to be addicted to the “drugs” called subsidies.

The Abe administration should end such a carrot-and-stick policy as well as review the present political system controlled by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

Past related article:
> Installation of US missile defense radar may damage environment [September 30, 2013]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved