Sagamihara City, Kanagawa – Zama City, Kanagawa 5.7 miles
Today we didn’t march for as long, which was nice since it was raining. For the first half of the day we went through Sagamihara City, which is home to a few US military bases (like many Japanese cities). I didn’t know that the US still occupied Japan, but apparently we have since World War 2.
Last year, there was an unexplained explosion in the US military depot in Sagamihara that damaged many surrounding buildings. The US never released a statement explaining what happened, nor did they pay for the damages. The more I learn about US-Japan relations, the more ashamed and disappointed I am.
We then crossed over into the smallest city yet, Zama City. However, it made up for size with its beautiful traditional Japanese-style houses that, thus far, I’d seen very few of. The bigger cities’ architecture seemed much more American than Japanese, so I was excited to see the houses.
This was broken up by yet another US military base. We stood in front of this one, and as we chanted “No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!” at my fellow Americans, I realized I felt more united with the marchers and the peace movement than the soldiers staring blankly at us. If we could all unite at least for the common goal of peace, which I’m sure at their core everyone wants, we could solve problems in such better ways.
One of the city council members was telling me about how there is disagreement about nuclear weapons among the political officials in Zama, because they fear North Korea, just like America and other big nuclear powers do. I think we probably need to move away from this primal impulse, because fear only fuels irrational decisions. Achieving world cooperation requires us all to rise up to respectful and nonviolent relations between countries. The longer we let fear rule us, the longer we have reason to fear.