Japan islanders reject US base
Three mayors from a Japanese island, slated to host a US military base, are to write a letter to President Barack Obama expressing their refusal to the plan. The move is to protest against the Japanese government’s decision to relocate the Futenma US Marine Corps Air Station in Okinawa to the Tokunoshima Island.
“We, all the islanders, protest against the Futenma air base relocation to Tokunoshima,” a draft written by the three mayors says.
The mayors have also said they are preparing to stage another protest rally next Sunday, which they say will involve about 10,000 residents of the island’s 27,000-strong population. Thousands have already rallied against the relocation of US troops to the island last month.
The Futenma base is currently situated on the southern island of Okinawa. The presence of the US base which is in proximity of residential areas has caused various troubles for local Okinwans, who have expressed their dissatisfaction through repeated demonstrations.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has struggled for months to find a solution that will satisfy the people of Okinawa Island and the security demands of the United States, its key ally. He has promised to resolve the row by the end of May, despite the fact that Okinawa’s residents have long resented the heavy US military presence.
Okinawans consider the American forces there as a source of crime, pollution and noise.