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CAMP ZAMA, Japan — Thousands of protesters are expected to gather outside Camp Zama on Sunday afternoon, base officials and Japanese police said Thursday.

Zama police said the demonstration, organized by a Kanagawa trade union and a group opposed to the U.S.-Japan security treaty, will kick off at Yatoyama Park at 1 p.m. The protesters then will divide into two groups, with one group marching to Zama’s Gate 1 and other to Zama station, police said.

Between 5,000 and 10,000 people are expected, said U.S. Army Japan spokesman Maj. Jim Crawford. The protest is expected to last one hour.

Organizers said Sunday’s event is in response to several issues, including the upcoming arrival of the I Corps’ forward headquarters at Zama, noise issues and the deployment of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which is to replace the conventionally powered USS Kitty Hawk at Yokosuka Naval Base in the summer.

Japanese police said they would have an increased presence around the base during the demonstration.

“We will have a full security presence on base at all times,” said Crawford, explaining that no change to the base’s force-protection level has been made. He said Sagamihara Depot’s Gate 5 would be closed.

“On base, it will be business as usual,” he said.

Still, Camp Zama community members are strongly advised to avoid Gate 1, Highway 51 and the surrounding areas from noon until 5 p.m.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.


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