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Residents' groups call on southwest Japan city to reject US-Japan drone deployment plan

Ryuji Gohara is seen accepting the written opposition to a drone plan under review from Tokuji Matsushita, left, on Feb. 3, 2022, at Kanoya City Hall in the city of Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture. (Mainichi/Yoshikazu Shinkai)

KANOYA, Kagoshima -- Four groups of citizens and others in this southwest Japan city on Feb. 3 called on the municipal government to oppose a plan being considered by Tokyo and Washington to temporarily deploy military drones to a local base.

    Under the plans, U.S. military MQ-9 drones would be temporarily stationed at Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kanoya base in the Kagoshima Prefecture city of Kanoya. The groups opposing the move visited Kanoya City Hall and handed written opposition to Ryuji Gohara, the mayor's chief of staff.

    Only the outset of the meeting was made public. Tokuji Matsushita, the 84-year-old representative for the Osumi association to protect war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, said that because the plans threaten the safety and security of local people's lives, the mayor should "announce that he strongly opposes it."

    In response, the city government stated, "At the present juncture we have not received a concrete explanation from the national government, and therefore cannot respond." Kanoya Mayor Shigeru Nakanishi did not attend the document's handover.

    Matsushita commented, "These kinds of arms races will continue without end. I want the central government to put a full effort into negotiations for peace."

    (Japanese original by Yoshikazu Shinkai, Kanoya Local Bureau)

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