200 protesters surround Ishigaki City Hall to oppose SDF deployment
June 14, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On June 13, a residents’ group dedicated to preventing the deployment of Japan Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops on Ishigaki Island surrounded Ishigaki City Hall to protest the plan. The Ishigaki city council is in the middle of its June regular session, and people are anxious to see how it will respond to appeals both in favor of and opposed to the plan. Around 200 people joined the protest to demand cautions deliberation and oppose the plan.
The city council’s general committee on public finances has received both a petition favoring the deployment of troops, and a petition newly submitted by Takada Ward, near the potential deployment site, calling for cancellation of the deployment plan. The committee will decide during its June session how to respond to the petitions. However, during the committee session held in March, the ruling party majority in the committee opposed continued deliberation of a petition submitted by the above-mentioned residents’ group, and it was not adopted.
At the organizers’ signal, protesters surrounding City Hall joined hands twice and called on Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama and the city council not to accept the SDF deployment. “We have to stop the movement toward promoting the plan at the June city council session,” said Hidemasa Uehara, co-representative of the residents’ group.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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