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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 6 - 12  > Foreign Ministry official walks out of meeting with JCP petitioners after expressing displeasure
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2008 February 6 - 12 [PEACE]

Foreign Ministry official walks out of meeting with JCP petitioners after expressing displeasure

February 10, 2008
The vice director of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Okinawa Office plainly expressed his “displeasure” and walked out of a meeting with Japanese Communist Party representatives who visited him to request that U.S. F-15 fighter jets stop their flight training exercises. Okinawan papers gave wide coverage to this incident.

The vice director’s response to the JCP petitioners reflects the Japanese government’s cold-hearted attitude toward Okinawans who have been forced to endure the heavy burdens of many U.S. military bases for more than 60 years since the end of WW II.

Following a U.S. F-15 fighter jet crash into the sea off the Hawaiian island of Oahu on February 1, representatives of the JCP Okinawa Prefectural Committee, including its Secretary Furugen Muneyoshi, visited the Foreign Ministry Okinawa Office on February 5 to demand that the Japanese government urge the U.S. forces to suspend flight training exercises with F-15s stationed at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

Vice Director Kuramitsu Hideaki said that Tokyo had already requested the U.S. to investigate the cause of the accident and take all necessary safety measures.

Asked by the JCP petitioners to explain when and how the government made the request, he responded, “I have no obligation to answer questions concerning who and when such a request was made.” Finally he said to the petitioners, “This is so unpleasant a meeting that I ask you to let me go,” and abruptly left the meeting.

On February 6, JCP House of Representatives member Akamine Seiken in the Diet asked the Foreign Ministry to explain this incident. A senior ministry official offered an apology and said, “It was regrettable that the ministry official offended the petitioners.”

The ministry reported to the JCP lawmaker on the next day that Kuramitsu said, “It was inappropriate of me to emotionally respond to the petitioners.”
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