Japan Protests U.S. Military Bases Ahead of Obama Visit


Japan Protests U.S. Military Bases Ahead of Obama Visit

While more police officers patrol Tokyo’s subway and train stations in preparation for U.S. President Barack Obama’s two-day trip to Japan this week, people in other parts of the country have already sent the American President a message. On Sunday, thousands of Japanese — with estimates ranging from 6,000 to 21,000 — gathered in the Okinawan city of Nago to demand that U.S. military personnel, who have been continuously stationed on the island since 1945, find a new place to go.

According to a 2006 agreement between Tokyo and Washington, Nago has been selected as the site of a new airfield to replace the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station, located further south on the island in Ginowan city. That — and an agreement to move 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam — would comprise a major restructuring of the American military presence in Japan, and the U.S. hopes that things will proceed according to the 2006 plan — the culmination of 13 years of negotiations between the U.S. and the former Liberal Democratic Party government.

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