The Tachikawa Air Force Base (AFB) was a US airfield in western Tokyo. The US military and the Japanese government planned to use this airfield for transporting nuclear weapons. In order to accommodate for the larger aircraft needed to transport these weapons, the Tachikawa AFB needed to expand and lengthen the runway for longer landing and takeoff distances. However, that meant that the government would need to use the surrounding farmland for the expansion. The US military announced the plans for expansion in 1955.
In October of 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Defense proposed a cut in the salaries of Japanese workers employed on United States Military installations. Japan was struggling under huge national debt and the Defense Ministry saw the abolition of a workers’ allowance as a way to save a significant amount of money. The Defense ministry would have been projected to save about 10 billion yen a year with the salary cuts. On the other side, the allowance made up about 10% of each worker’s salary.
The political atmosphere in Japan in the 1950s was anything but calm. Still reeling from the Second World War, citizens were coming to terms with their newly democratic leaders—politicians who, before the war, had been ardently fascist. A growing nationalist movement was forming, as well as strong leftist political factions. These two movements opposed Japan’s strong ties with the United States, and disagreed with the American military presence in their country.