• Kyodo

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Defense authorities on Monday turned down a plea by the city of Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, to scrap the central government’s plan to build additional housing units for the U.S. military in the Ikego forest area.

Zushi Mayor Kazuyoshi Nagashima said the response from the Defense Facilities Administration Agency was regrettable, indicating the city will take the case to court.

Japan and the United States agreed last year to build 800 additional U.S. military housing units in the Ikego area in exchange for the return of four U.S. military facilities in Yokohama.

The Zushi Municipal Government was angered by the deal and urged the central government to reconsider, threatening to file a lawsuit unless the construction plan was scrapped. Monday was the deadline for the response.

In a written response to the city, the defense facilities agency said there are no plans to cancel the housing plan. It added, however, that the government will “give sufficient consideration to the voices of (Zushi) residents who are concerned about damage to the natural environment.”

The city of Zushi plans to propose legal action targeting the central government during a session of the municipal assembly that convenes Sept. 2. It will file the lawsuit later in the month, after getting the assembly’s approval.

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