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CHOCO
Nov 18th, 2002, 11:28 PM
Report: Blasts Near U.S. Japan Base

Nov 18, 4:44 PM (ET)

By ERIC TALMADGE

TOKYO (AP) - Two explosions were reported late Monday outside a U.S. military base near Tokyo, and a projectile launcher was found near the site, U.S. military officials and Japanese police said Tuesday.

Police suspected it was an attack and that leftist radicals may have been involved, according to Japan's Kyodo news service. No injuries or damage were reported, Kyodo said.

In Washington, Maj. Timothy Blair, a Pentagon spokesman, said an explosion had been reported about 800 feet from Camp Zama, the headquarters for the U.S. Army Japan and the 9th Theater Support Command.

Army spokesman Capt. Benjamin Kuykendall said two suspects were believed to be in custody, but added that because the blast occurred off base, the inquiry was being handled by Japanese authorities. He said there were no immediate reports of casualties or even proof that the attack was directed against the base.


Japanese police spokesman Narihito Sasaki confirmed that two suspicious men had been seen near the blast site, but denied that they had been arrested and said he had no further details on them.

Sasaki said two explosions were heard in a park near the base at about 11 p.m. Police found a metal pipe used as a projectile launcher and burn marks nearby, he said.

The pipe was pointed toward Camp Zama, but said no projectile had been found on the base, he said.

Pentagon officials said the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, which is reponsible for U.S. forces in Japan, said there were no reports of injuries at Camp Zama.

Leftist radicals in Japan are known for using similar projectile launchers in attacks on targets related to the U.S. military here or on sites connected to the royal family. The attacks are usually more symbolic than dangerous, and injures or significant damage are rare.

About 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan under a mutual security pact.

In February, an explosion occurred near a baseball field at a high school in Kanazawa Ward of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo near the U.S. Navy's Koshiba Fuel Terminal.

Camp Zama is located about 10 miles south of Tokyo.

CHOCO
Nov 18th, 2002, 11:37 PM
Explosions reported near U.S. military base in Japan; no injuries reported
06:35 PM EST Nov 18
TOKYO (AP) - An explosion was reported Monday outside a U.S. army base in Japan, the U.S. military said, and Japanese media reported a projectile launcher was found in the area. Two suspects were detained.

Police suspected it was an attack and that leftist radicals may have been involved, according to Japan's Kyodo news service. No injuries or damage were reported, Kyodo said. Maj. Timothy Blair, a Pentagon spokesman, said he was told of an explosion about 250 metres from Camp Zama. The base, headquarters for the U.S. army in Japan and the 9th Theater Support Command, is located outside Tokyo.

Army spokesman Capt. Benjamin Kuykendall said two suspects were in custody, and that Japanese officials were handling the inquiry because the blast occurred off the base. He said there were no reports of casualties.

Japanese police had no immediate comment.

According to Kyodo, several explosions were heard in a park near the base about 11 p.m. Police found the launcher and burn marks nearby, indicating that it had been fired, the news service said.

Leftist radicals in Japan are known for using similar projectile launchers in attacks on targets related to the U.S. military here or on targets related to the royal family.

An explosion was reported in February near a baseball field at a high school in Kanazawa Ward of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, near the U.S. navy's Koshiba Fuel Terminal.

There are about 50,000 U.S troops stationed in Japan under a mutual security pact.

CHOCO
Nov 19th, 2002, 01:38 AM
Okinawa re-elects governor pushing for less U.S. troops

2002-11-18 / Associated Press /
TOKYO

The burden of supporting the heaviest U.S. military presence in Japan was expected to weigh on voters' minds as the southern island of Okinawa chose a new governor yesterday.

The future of some 25,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Okinawa, the poorest of Japan's 47 prefectures (states), was a central plank in the campaigns of all four candidates including incumbent Gov. Keiichi Inamine.

Okinawa, about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) southwest of Tokyo, is home to more than half the U.S. troops in Japan but accounts for less than 1 percent of the country's land. Many residents have long felt that base-related problems ranging from overcrowding to crime would be eased if the rest of the country would shoulder more of the burden.

Preliminary results in yesterday's voting were expected about two hours after polling stations closed at 8 p.m., local government spokesman Takashi Okuda said.

At particular issue is a contentious plan to relocate a major U.S. Marine heliport. Tokyo and Washington agreed in July to move Futenma Air Station out of crowded central Okinawa to an offshore site.

Though the project promises to pump hundreds of billions of yen (billions of dollars) into the flagging local economy, the mere presence of the facility continues to stir deep-rooted resentment in the community.

Gov. Inamine, an independent supported by the ruling bloc, has pushed for a 15-year cap on the U.S. military's use of the new heliport -- a condition that the central government in Tokyo refuses to commit to.

Other candidates have stumped for relocating the base to other parts of Japan or doing away with it entirely.

The three remaining candidates are former Vice Governor Masanori Yoshimoto; independent Shigenobu Arakaki, supported by the Communist Party; and Matsuo Matayoshi, backed by a group of smaller political parties.