30,000 people rally to oppose deployment of US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Tokyo Bay

About 30,000 people from peace organizations, trade unions and various citizens organizations held a rally in Yokosuka City on July 9 in protest against the plan to deploy a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at the US Naval base in Tokyo Bay and in opposition to the on-going realignment of US forces in Japan. Participants were not only from various parts of Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo but also from mid-western Japan.

Participants marched in demonstration through Yokosuka City after the rally with determination to make this rally a springboard for increasing public awareness of the danger of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the movement opposing to the realignment and strengthening of the functions of US bases in Japan.

What a plan to allow foreign military command to be established in capital area!

Speaking on behalf of the organizers, KOKUBUN Minoru (chairman of the National Federation of Traders' and Producers' Association -Zenshoren) said: "Deploying a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Yokosuka means putting 30,000,000 residents of the capital area at risk."

He emphasized that the struggle against turning Yokosuka into a stepping-stone for US wars around the world is a just struggle and called on the participants to make this rally the starting point for a major struggle to stop all plans to turn Japan into a "war-fighting country".

Japanese Communist Party Chair SHII Kazuo in his speech stressed that "this big rally in the metropolitan area will certainly be able to deal a heavy blow to the pro-war forces." He drew attention to the problems of safety of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier by stating, "The argument that there will be no accidents is a sheer lie."

Shii said, "Japan's nuclear reactor regulatory law makes it clear that US warships are exempt from the law. The military-first logic supersedes safety."

"How aberrant it is for Japan to allow a foreign military command to be established in the capital area! We must stop the planned use of 3 trillion yen in tax money for the US military while forcing the elderly to pay more in taxes," Shii added.

Citing the growing opposition in Iwakuni, Zama, and Yokosuka to US military realignment plans, he called for a major struggle involving local governments as well as residents.

After adopting an appeal, the participants were divided into two groups for a march in demonstration to the main gate of the US Yokosuka Naval base. Protesters shouted: "No nuclear-powered aircraft carrier deployment!" and "Cancel the Japan-US agreement on the realignment of US forces in Japan!"