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    誠意

    Citizens in Iwakuni voted against the relocation of USMC facilities there:

    An overwhelming majority of residents of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Sunday said “no” to the planned relocation of 57 carrier-based aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Iwakuni Air Base, casting a shadow over plans to realign of U.S. forces in Japan.

    According to the Iwakuni municipal election administration commission, 43,433 citizens voted against the plan while 5,369 approved it.

    The voter turnout was 58.68 percent, exceeding the 50 percent required for the votes to be counted.

    Japan and U.S. governments are scheduled to make a final report on the realignment plan by the end of March. The central government is unlikely to change the relocation plan due to the Sunday’s results because the plebiscite is not legally binding.

    On March 20, eight days after the referendum, Iwakuni will be merged with six towns and a village. Six of these municipalities have already notified the central government of their general agreement with the plan.

    This morning Shinzo Abe says:

    [Abe] stated emphatically, “I’d like to be mindful of the result as we move forward and explain things to the residents in good faith.” At the same time, “We’re at the stage at which our negotiations with the US have basically gelled; that’s our conclusion,” he related, indicating that his view was that the relocation plans would not change.

    The US agreed last week to return three facilities in Okinawa to Japan.

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