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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 October 1 - 7  > Local residents don’t want US military base to be built in Kyoto
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2014 October 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

Local residents don’t want US military base to be built in Kyoto

October 5, 2014
More than 1,400 Kyotango City residents on October 4 gathered in a rally demanding the cancellation of the construction of a U.S. radar facility in their city and marched in demonstration around the construction site.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kurabayashi Akiko, elected from Kyoto, also took part in the rally and spoke in solidarity with their protest action.

A new U.S. communications station equipped with an X-band missile defense radar system is already under construction in Cape Kyogamisaki in northern Kyoto. The start of its operations is scheduled for December. It will be the second X-band radar site in Japan after the one in operation in Aomori.

The Japanese and U.S. governments during a summit meeting in February last year agreed upon the construction of another U.S. communications site. The Ministry of Defense, without informing nearby residents in advance of the commencement of construction work, proceeded with the plan. The residents heard the news just one day before the start of the construction.

More than half the population of the district where the new radar system is to be located is opposing the construction.

A sea cave designated a Kyoto conservation natural monument exists beneath the construction site, and an endangered species of falcons inhabits an area near the site. What is more, the area is zoned as a quasi-national park.

In the United States, environmental standards prohibit the construction of military facilities in areas where historical buildings or precious living things are located.

JCP Kyotango City Assembly member Tanaka Kunio angrily said, “Are the U.S. authorities going to ignore its own law when it comes to Japan to build their facility here?”

The X-band radar system emits high-power electromagnetic waves in order to detect missiles. How it affects human bodies is a military secret.

A local fisherman said, “We were told that electromagnetic waves have no impact on our health but nobody knows. I want to continue fishing, but I’m going to have to give up because I’m worried about my health.”

People in the vicinity of the construction site are complaining about Kyoto Police actions as well.

Many police officers have been assigned to patrol the area to allay the local residents’ concerns regarding U.S. military personnel and the new U.S. facility under construction. However, they often question people who are passing by or taking photos near the construction site which seems as if they are monitoring the residents.

A farmer in the neighborhood said, “Though they are Japanese police, what they are protecting is the U.S. military, not the citizens.”

Past related articles:
> US forcibly begins X-radar construction in Kyoto [May 28, 2014]
> Kyoto residents organize to block installation of US missile defense radar site [May 24, 2013]
> Gov’t uses power of money to have residents accept US radar base construction [May 11, 2014]
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