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Ginowan mayor takes issue on U.S. parking lot control

Date Posted: 2010-10-07

The U.S. military controls a parking area just outside Futenma Marine Corps Air Station’s Nodake gate, and Ginowan City’s mayor is irritated by the rules imposed on citizens who park there.

Yoichi Iha says “I can’t believe the U.S. military is trying to upset citizens who’re protesting demonstrations,” annoyed that the military locks up the parking area in the wake of demonstrations staged at or near the military air base. The Marines, who’ve controlled the parking lot since 1978, typically permit Okinawa citizens to use the parking lot adjacent to Ginowan City Offices from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Since protest demonstrations earlier this month, the military’s been locking the parking lot, sometimes with civilian vehicles parked inside. “Because of security reasons, we’ve closed,” a military announcement said. “After the demonstrations, we don’t know what will happen.” City offices workers and Assembly members have used the parking area, and the sudden closing stirred panic among workers whose 300 cars were inside. Most are gone now, but 30 still remain. “I think the military should tell us before they close the parking lot,” Mayor Iha says.

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