Police and demonstrators clashed outside Tachikawa Air Base near Tokyo on Wednesday (27 December) as 2,000 people demanded the return of the former Untied States base to civilian use.
GV Helicopters flying into airbase
TV Demonstrator waving flag on roof
GV Activity around helicopters on base
TGV & CU demonstrators snake-dancing, PAN to police with shields
TV & CU Police guard gates with CU sign
SCU Police tussling with demonstrators
LV & CU Police and demonstrators fighting with teargas exploding (5 shots)
TV Demonstrator led away by police
TGV Demonstrators around base
Initials ES. 1645 ES. 1710
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Background: Police and demonstrators clashed outside Tachikawa Air Base near Tokyo on Wednesday (27 December) as 2,000 people demanded the return of the former Untied States base to civilian use.
Demonstrators surrounded the heavily-guarded base as 128 men of the Japanese defence forces were ferried into the base by helicopter.
About 10 students were arrested after skirmishes with police.
The U.S. air force ended operations from the base three years ago and Japanese aircraft were allowed to use it. The Japanese government plans to equip it with light aircraft and helicopters for relief and emergency rescous work.
The demonstrators fear that the movement of up to 500 men into the base heralds a revival of Japanese militarism.
SYNOPSIS: A suburban Tokyo air base was the site of a clash between demonstrators and police on Wednesday as 2,000 people protested the movement of a Japanese air force unit into the base.
Demonstrators included members of several radical groups, trade unions, and students, and the Mayor of Tachikawa, site of the base. Tachikawa was a base for the Japanese air force before and during World War Two and demonstrators saw the Japanese take-over of the former U.S. base as a revival of militarism.
Scattered fighting broke out between 500 police raining the base and the snake-dancing demonstrators as the crowds rushed and tried to get into the area. Police fired smoke bombs to disperse them.
The base was used by the U.S. air force until three years ago. Since then, Japanese aircraft have been using it. The helicopters and men moving into the base and sparking off the protest are to be part of a 500-man squadron using helicopters and light planes for relief and rescue work.
Ten demonstrators were arrested. The airlift was completed successfully, although several smoke bombs were hurled into the base.