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Citizens in Osaka, Fukuoka calling for moving U.S. bases in Okinawa to mainland

  • 2016-02-01 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: February 1, 2016 – p. 29)


 In an effort to change the situation in which U.S. military bases are concentrated in Okinawa, civic movements calling for “hosting U.S. bases” have started. In opinion polls, many Japanese people have expressed support for the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which serves as basis for Japan hosting U.S. bases. However, 74% of the U.S. military facilities in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa. The work of relocating the U.S. Futenma airfield in Ginowan City to the Henoko area in Nago City is now underway. A member of a civic group that launched such a movement asks: “Is it right to force the U.S. bases on Okinawa even if you feel the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is necessary?”


 A civic group that conducts such activities was formed in Osaka last March. Aki Matsumoto, 33, an organizer of the group and social welfare personnel of Takatsuki City in Osaka Prefecture, started a movement calling for the halting of the relocation of Futenma base to Henoko in 2004. If the base is moved, accidents involving U.S. military aircraft and noise damage will also be transferred. She began to think that “turning her back on the situation in Okinawa could be interpreted to mean that Japan is continuing to force Okinawa to host U.S. bases.”


 Following Osaka, a similar group was formed in Fukuoka last July. Wakako Satomura, 40, a Kyushu University graduate school student, said: “I heard about the activities in Osaka when I was thinking about how to address the views from Okinawa about ‘discrimination,'”


 The civic group in Osaka has called for the relocation of the Futenma base to Osaka and cited nine possible relocation sites, including Yao Airport and “Yumeshima” in Konohana Ward, Osaka City. On Jan. 11, the group handed out leaflets saying, “The Futenma base should be moved to Osaka.” Matsumoto said: “I want many people to view this as their own problem.”

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