At an annual open house event at the US Naval Base in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture residents can enter and take a tour of the military facility and meet some of the people. However, this year some Yokosuka residents were up in arms over a photo showing what appears to be a group of children on a tour holding assault rifles with the marines.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s safe to say that the weapons weren’t fired or even armed and are most likely rubber (thank you readers). However, local organizations in Kanagawa prefecture were upset at the “shooting poses” that the children were taking. The groups claim that such experience is “teaching kinds the wrong things.”

On 27 August they sent a formal letter of protest to the commander of the US Navy in Japan and requested to hear Yokosuka mayor, Yuto Yoshida’s views on the matter. At this time the Yokosuka Naval Base released a statement saying “we cannot comment while we are still confirming the facts.”

Netizens in Japan also expressed displeasure at the news saying “Agh I’m so jealous, I want to hold one too!” and “Aww man, that’s a cool picture. They look like their having so much fun. I envy them.”

Others went further saying “Civic groups are still around? Children, especially boys, like to play with guns. It’s natural.” While some pointed out “Touching a fighter jet is okay, but a gun isn’t? They’re both weapons.”

At the end of the day it is a military base, not a marshmallow store. If you don’t want your kids near guns then that would probably be the worst place in the world to send them… except for maybe a gun factory I guess. It would seem the parents of the children should have had some idea of what the kids were in store for when they went off to the base. Perhaps these civic groups have deeper issues with the Yokosuka base than this.

Source: NHK via Itai News (Japanese)
Image: Xinhuanet