Yokosuka ‘answer people’ hear from Ikego residents at meeting
Stars and Stripes March 5, 2006
ZUSHI CITY, Japan — From catching an ambulance to replacing a parking structure with a fast-food joint, residents brought plenty of ideas to the Ikego Housing Annex Town Meeting on Friday.
The event — usually held once or twice a year — puts residents in a room with about 40 “answer people” from Yokosuka Naval Base and the housing annex to encourage an open dialogue among them. Ikego has 3,300 residents; its 854 housing units currently are 91 percent occupied.
Long waits for U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka ambulances to get to the housing annex, which is about seven miles from the base, was one concern raised.
The base hospital’s commanding officer, Capt. Charles Taylor, encouraged residents to call a Japanese ambulance in an emergency.
“The Japanese health-care system is the best in the world,” Taylor said. “In terms of morbidity and mortality, Japanese hospitals are the same, if not better than what we have in the U.S.”
Residents also were worried about recent incidents in which children found munitions in Ikego, left over from days when the Japanese Imperial Navy used the land as an ammunition storehouse.
Munitions were found twice behind Kamakura Tower and once in another area, said base commander Capt. Greg Cornish.
“One was found by a 10-year-old girl. Another time, a 6-year-old, 9-year-old and an adult found point-detonating fuses and took them home,” he said.
Residents requested pictures of munitions and more education for kids so they won’t pick up anything dangerous.
They also asked for thermostats, more teen activities, better Internet service and a Wendy’s. Accolades and “Bravo Zulu’s” also were given for positive things in Ikego.
Jeff and Kim Hanson said Friday’s town-hall meeting was their first since moving to Ikego a few months ago.
“I was pretty impressed at how many representatives they had here,” Jeff Hanson said.
Ikego’s officer in charge, Lt. Cmdr. Kirstina Shore, called 40 residents “a good turnout — despite competition with several popular television shows and rainy weather.”
“The residents had good questions,” Shore said. “Those that weren’t answered tonight will be examined by the staff to get the answers.”
Those who passed on the meeting can catch up, as all of the comments were noted in meeting minutes that will be mailed to every Ikego address. Another Town Hall meeting is planned for the Negishi Housing Complex next Friday.