Residents protest against use of Narita Airport for military purposes

A group of residents living near Narita Airport on January 29 requested the transport minister not to allow the airport to be used for military purposes.

In its letter to Ishihara Nobuteru, minister for land and transport, the group took issue over the Ground Self-Defense Force's advance team departing for Iraq from the civil airport in a civil airliner on January 16.

An official of the National Land and Transport Ministry argued that the SDF personnel were treated as civilians, as they were in civilian clothes and paid their fares.

Refuting this, Koike Akira, Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member who accompanied the petitioning, said, "They wore plain clothes in order to avoid terrorist attacks. The government should keep its promise that Narita Airport will not be used for military purposes."

The transport minister made this promise to residents when Narita Airport was constructed. (end)

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