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YWCA of JAPAN TOP > NEWS Seopember 19, 2009
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Iwakuni Report (Seopember 19, 2009)

A group of YWCA members toured Iwakuni this year again, in order to witness the facts about the gradual and firm strengthening of the U.S. military forces in Iwakuni and the lives of the locals.

Iwakuni is a small city located only 35km (approx. 22 miles) away from Hiroshima city. Having a natural bay, sea and mountain resources, it used to be a prosperous area with various kinds of industry. After the WW II, the U.S. military started to station in Japan by using former Japanese military bases including Iwakuni, and continues strengthening its military presence in Japan until today. Due to the restrictions such as air supremacy, Iwakuni is no longer able to expand its industry for its economy. Now, only a limited option is left before Iwakuni; live with military but try to keep the military’s effect on their lives at a minimum and prevent the expansion of the military power.

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Reclaimed land. It used to be a bay with full of sea grass.

Right/ the U.S. military base. Left/ residential area. Military base is up to the residents’ nose.

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It used to be Atagoyama-hill. Now it is a fenced flat land.

Participants viewing Iwakuni city from the hill side.

YWCA of Japan Hiroshima Committee has reported various issues around the U.S. military and Iwakuni, especially about a local grove of the village shrine called Atagoyama-hill and destruction of its natural resources back in March 2009. Please check the following URL for detail. http://www.ywca.or.jp/english/topnews.html

In fact, Japan and the U.S. authority are tactically advancing the U.S. military power in Iwakuni. The Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron transferred from Futenma base (Okinawa prefecture) and the relocation of U.S. carrier-based aircraft from Naval Air Facility Atsugi (Kanagawa Prefecture) has been on their plan.

The Atagoyama-hill project (check the above URL) has advanced much further than last year, and Iwakuni locals are losing the sea, mountain, and the sky all at once. But they are not just waiting passively to lose them; they started fighting for their rights for living and rights for the sea, mountain, and the sky in court.

Let us introduce the voices of YWCA members who visited Iwakuni this summer.

Front/ residential area. Now many U.S. soldiers live in the area. Back/ entire land beyond the river on the right is the base of the U.S. military and partially SDF of Japan.

flagMy last time visit to Iwakuni was 2 years ago, and there still seemed a little hope in the community… read more

flagI was ashamed that I didn’t know much about Iwakuni nor tried to know it until visiting there… read more

flagThis was my first time to visit Iwakuni. Until now it had been Okinawa and/or Atsugi which came up to my mind when people talked about U.S. military… read more

flagThe reclamation work on the tideland off the U.S. military base has been advanced so much even though ecology and environmental issues are a world concern.… read more

(September 19, 2009)
previous page TOP next article : Call for Action! Sign a petition to Stop the use of Mt. Atagoyama development site for the installation of new U.S. Military housing