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Naha City to seek protection under a Geneva Convention Protocol

Date Posted: 2009-04-30

It isn’t sure exactly how it would work, but Naha City has decided to seek an Unarmed District Declaration, a protocol of the Geneva Convention.

The Unarmed District Declaration has power to prohibit an attack, even when a war or fighting is under way. The declaration is a part of international law under the Geneva Convention, and Naha City has begun the process of demanding it be covered by law. The city’s first step is to stage a petition drive to collect signatures of 5,000 or more citizens, a requirement that calls for obtaining at least 1/50th of the registered voters’ signatures in a one-month period.

Once the signatures are collected, Naha City must take them to the Assembly, where its members must decide to proceed further. Naha City has a number of hurdles to clear, including debate over whether it can actually be done since there are American military bases within its territory. The U.S. bases are, some contend, enough to preclude an ordinance being established.

Naha City officials are also expected to carry its idea to other districts, seeking others to initiate action to sign on to the same declaration. They note the idea of protection under the Geneva Convention Protocol is spreading across Japan, and predict the debate could be ‘interesting’.

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