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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 October 14 - 20  > Peace organizations demand U.S. Marine Corps drill canceled
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2009 October 14 - 20 [US FORCES]

Peace organizations demand U.S. Marine Corps drill canceled

October 20, 2009
Yamanashi Prefecture’s peace organizations, including trade unions, demanded that the U.S. Marine Corps based in Okinawa cancel its live-fire exercises scheduled for November at the training ground at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Representatives of Yamanashi Prefectural Liaison Council against the Relocation of U.S. Forces to North Fuji on October 19 visited the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry to request the cancellation.

U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa have moved its live-fire exercises to five exercise grounds, including Kita-Fuji exercise ground, based on an agreement reached in 1996 at the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) ostensibly to decrease Okinawans’ burdens related to the U.S. military presence.

The next live-fire exercises at Camp Fuji from November 2 will be the 9th, and the first in two years. Six howitzers and 80 vehicles will be involved. The number of personnel will be more than doubled to 390 personnel from the previous 180.

Members from the Yamanashi Prefectural Peace Committee, the Yamanashi Federation of Trade Unions, and the Japanese Communist Party Yamanashi Prefectural Committee took part in the representations, stating:

“The new Democratic Party-led government is calling for the Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement to be reviewed. Allowing the live-fire exercises at the foot of Mt. Fuji to go ahead as scheduled contradicts this policy.

“The government has argued that the relocation of live-fire exercises from Okinawa will help reduce Okinawans’ burden of exposure to U.S. military exercises. However, facilities for training for urban guerrilla warfare were recently set up at U.S. Marine Corps Camp Hansen in Okinawa. This strengthens the functions of U.S. bases in Okinawa while forcing other prefectures to share the burdens of U.S. military exercises. - Akahata, October 20, 2009
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