Residents of districts neighboring Hirae oppose plan to deploy JSDF to Ishigaki
January 14, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has proposed Hirae within Ishigaki City as the planned site for deployment of Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF). On the night of January 13, about 20 resident representatives of the neighboring districts of Kainan, Takeda, and Omoto gathered at Omoto Citizens’ Public Hall. Those gathered decided to jointly oppose and protest the deployment plan. The MOD proposed to have a meeting for exchanging ideas with local residents on January 20, but the representatives of the districts have decided to boycott the meeting.
The three districts’ representatives’ choice was not to officially declare acceptance or opposition of the JSDF deployment itself. Rather, they chose to oppose base construction at the proposed site. Since the MOD proposed the plan while offering no explanation to local residents, the representatives concluded a declaration of their opposition and will submit it to the Ishigaki City government on January 15.
Members of the MOD are trying to organize the January 20 meeting between local residents and Ministry for an opportunity to explain the plan. Local representatives have said that holding the meeting at all is unnecessary.
Tetsuhiro Kinjyo, director of Takeda Citizens’ Public Hall, mentioned that local residents were raising their voices to ask if a unilateral plan by the MOD, without any input by involved parties, is really acceptable. He emphasized that if local representatives do not act in accordance with residents’ opposition to the MOD’s plan, then the situation will become serious.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)
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