Japan's government denies U.S. forces' official statement on low flights

The Japanese Foreign Ministry on February 24 said Japan has never allowed the U.S. Forces to use the airspace in Nakatomi Town in Yamanashi Prefecture as their low-altitude flight training area, contradicting what the U.S. Forces in Japan said.

This was in reply to an inquiry made by Koizumi Chikashi, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors.

In January, the U.S. Forces in Japan officially stated that U.S. military aircraft were carrying out low-altitude flight training over Nakatomi Town based on an agreement between the U.S. forces and the Japanese government. That was what the U.S. Yokota Air Base public affairs office said in reply to an inquiry made by Akahata after what were believed to be U.S. military aircraft were found flying at a low altitude over the town.

Confirming that the three aircraft were C130 transport planes from the base, the U.S. Yokota base stated for the first time that a low-altitude flight training route for U.S. military aircraft exists based on an agreement between the U.S. Forces and Japan's government.

Koizumi has been requesting the government to disclose all relevant information about the flying route. (end)