Thousands protest in Tokyo against U.S. military presence in Japan
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:09 PM on 30th January 2010
Thousands of protesters from across
Residents have complained for years about noise, pollution and crime around the bases.
But the new
On Saturday, labor unionists, pacifists, environmentalists and students marched through central
They gathered for a rally at a park - under a banner that read 'Change! Japan-U.S. Relations' - for speeches by civil leaders and politicians.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has repeatedly postponed his decision on the pact, with members of his own government divided on how to proceed.
Last week he pledged to resolve the conundrum by May, just before national elections.
'The Cabinet is saying that it will announce its conclusion in May.
For this reason, over the next few months we must put all of our energy into achieving victory,' Cabinet minister Mizuho
Hatoyama's government must appease such political allies to maintain its majority coalition in parliament, and the public are increasingly vociferous on the U.S. military issue, even outside of
'I'm against having troops here. I'm not sure we can get them all out, but at least some of them should leave,' said Seiichiro Terada, 31, a government tax collector who attended the rally.
Terada said he traveled from his home in the central prefecture of Shizuoka, which hosts a Marine base at the foot of
The deal with
But last week residents of Nago elected a new mayor who opposes the move, ousting the incumbent that supported a
On the other side of the debate, a steady stream of U.S. officials have petitioned
Ambassador John Roos on Friday calling them 'front-line forces' in case of emergencies or security threats.
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