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Japan's Kagoshima stages rally to protest U.S. base relocation

05-09-2010 12:47 BJT

TOKYO, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Some 5,000 people rallied at a park in the city of Kagoshima Saturday to protest against the government's plan to relocate some functions of a major U.S. military base from Okinawa Prefecture to Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, said reports from the port city on the southern coast of Kyushu island.

Present at the gathering were the three mayors from the island, including Isen town mayor Akira Okubo, who rebuffed Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama when talking about his relocation proposal in a meeting held Friday. "I conveyed (Tokunoshima) residents' firm sentiment against (the proposal)," Okubo was quoted by Kyodo News as saying at the rally, which was organized by members of the Kagoshima prefectural assembly, excluding assembly groups of the Democratic Party of Japan.

On Friday, Hatoyama asked in vein for the mayors to accommodate some of the functions of a U.S. air base in Okinawa central to a controversial relocation debate.

"I would be grateful if you accept some of the functions of the Futemma Air Station," the Japanese premier said during talks with the three mayors from the small island of Tokunoshima, located 200 km northeast of the main Okinawa island and home to 27,000 people.

Hatoyama added that, "It is ruthless to speak about relocation to Tokunoshima. I'm awfully sorry for that.''

However, the mayors made it abundantly clear to the prime minister and president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) that they remain unequivocally opposed to Hatoyama's repeated request for them to sign off on his plan for Tokunoshima to help relieve some of the burden from Okinawa, which plays host to the majority of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

 

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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