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US warned: ‘Keep those guns on base’

Date Posted: 2008-03-07

A short-lived directive by U.S. military security workers to take their weapons with them as they moved from base to base has drawn fire from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

US Marine Corps gate guards, contract Japanese workers, had carried their weapons with them as they moved around the Camp Courtney and Camp Zukeran areas February 11th, crossing public roadways with the guns. More than 60 Japanese guards followed the new orders that Wednesday as they traveled by car from Camps Courtney and McTureous, two camps a kilometer apart. The order was rescinded a day later after a public outcry.

American Military Police usually kept weapons as the 59~60 guards left the bases, reissuing them when they returned to the duty location, a practice that has been reinstated after the Japanese Self Defense Ministry asked the military to stop permitting guns outside the bases. MP’s say there is no problem with the rules now in effect, with one officer adding “Of course we don’t give any guns to Japanese workers now.”

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