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Iwakuni voters are being asked to vote March 12 to register their opinion about moving part of Carrier Air Wing 5 from Naval Air Station Atsugi to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

The shift is called for in an interim U.S.-Japanese report on realigning U.S. military forces in Japan.

Iwakuni Mayor Katsusuke Ihara called for the nonbinding vote.

“The mayor’s stance is that the transfer plan should be cancelled and he wants to hear voices of citizens through a referendum,” Ihara’s military affairs office spokesman, Mitsuhiro Murata, told Stars and Stripes earlier this month.

The referendum only would measure opinion, Murata said. It would not be a legally binding direction to Japan’s government.

When Ihara first announced plans for the vote earlier this month, Iwakuni base spokesman Maj. Stewart Upton said: “It would not be appropriate for us to comment … because of ongoing discussions between our two governments.”


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