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Judges survey planned new U.S. helicopter landing pad

Date Posted: 2009-10-08

Naha District Court’s chief justice and three other judges have visited Higashi Village, where the U.S. military is planning on building a new heliport landing pad.

The planned site is in the Takae area N4 district entrance side, and Chief Justice Naoto Hirata, and his fellow judges wanted a firsthand look, as the plan has moved into court in cases pitting residents and the Japan Self Defense Forces. Residents are opposed to the new heliport, and have pitched tents along the roadside to watch actions of the Self Defense Force. They’re also engaging in sit down strikes to oppose the action.

The Self Defense Force say “we want residents to move away from obstructing the traffic on the road, and to take down their tent, too.” The residents have countered “we’re not blocking action of anybody; we’re just taking action to protest the new helicopter landing pad here.”

Residents met with the judges and explained “we are so afraid that the helicopters fly so low overhead, not only in housing areas but over the roads, too.” They told the judges “the Japanese government shouldn’t force us abandon our peaceful life. The sacrifice involved is disproportionately large.” The judges were silent after their meeting, offering opinions to no one. Residents are now waiting to hear the decisions from the bench.


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