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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 6 - 12  > Local residents file lawsuit in a bid to block relocation of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft to Iwakuni base
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2008 February 6 - 12 [PEACE]

Local residents file lawsuit in a bid to block relocation of U.S. carrier-borne aircraft to Iwakuni base

February 5, 7, 8, 2008
On February 7, 18 Iwakuni City residents filed a lawsuit at the Yamaguchi District Court calling for the cancellation of permission granted in 1996 by the Yamaguchi prefectural governor for the reclamation of publicly-owned surface water around the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni Air Station.

The Defense Ministry’s Chugoku-Shikoku Regional Defense Bureau on January 8 submitted to the Yamaguchi prefectural government an application for changing part of the original reclamation plan in accordance with the planned relocation of the U.S. carrier-borne aircraft unit to the Iwakuni base as part of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer Yamada Nobuhiro at a press conference on the same day pointed out that the original plan approved in 1996 to shift the Iwakuni base further offshore was aimed at reducing noise pollution.

However, the Japanese and U.S. governments in 2005 agreed to relocate 59 U.S. carrier-borne aircraft from U.S. Atsugi Naval Station in Kanagawa Prefecture.

“If the relocation plan is carried out, noise pollution from the Iwakuni base will inevitably increase. Therefore, the current plan to expand the Iwakuni base apparently runs counter to the original plan. The prefectural government must either turn down the application for changing the plan or urge the central government to rewrite the whole plan,” said the lawyer.

Japanese Communist Party Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly member Kume Keisuke criticized Yamaguchi Governor Nii Sekinari, saying, “The governor intends to approve the Defense Bureau application in February without making it known to the residents. This amounts to the approval of the carrier-borne aircraft relocation plan and goes against a Prefectural Assembly resolution that expressed opposition to further strengthening of functions at the Iwakuni base.”
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