National

Mayors fight Zama troop increase

The mayors of Sagamihara and Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture lodged a joint petition with Tokyo on Wednesday opposing a reported plan to increase the number of U.S. troops at Camp Zama, which stretches across the two cities.

Sagamihara Mayor Isao Ogawa and Zama Mayor Katsuji Hoshino submitted the petition to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda and Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa.

“The (reported) relocation plan will lead to the reinforced and perpetual use of Camp Zama by the U.S. military, which cannot be tolerated by the 75,000 citizens of the two cities,” the mayors said in a statement addressed to Hosoda and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

The U.S has reportedly proposed the transfer of the U.S. Army’s I Corps headquarters at Fort Lewis in Washington state to Camp Zama.

It is also considering a plan to relocate some 2,600 of the 16,000 Marines currently stationed in Okinawa Prefecture to Camp Zama.

Ogawa and Hoshino also expressed disappointment over the government’s failure to provide them with information on the proposals and urged Tokyo to explain to their governments how it would respond if the U.S. approves the plans, the statement says.

The two mayors also lodged a petition with the U.S. Embassy stating that they are strongly opposed to the reported relocation plans.

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