Government to allow military use of civil airports

A Cabinet Councillor reneged on the stated government policy when he said civil airports, including Narita Airport, may be used for military purposes in contingencies.

Masuda Kohei, Cabinet Councillor, stated this at the meeting of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Contingency Bills on April 28 in reply to Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken.

Concerning the bill on the use of designated public facilities, which would give the U.S. forces and the SDF priority in the use of civil airports and harbors, Akamine quoted Ogi Chikage, then Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, as saying in the July 3, 2003 House of Councilors committee meeting that she was resolutely opposed to the military use of Narita Airport.

Pointing to the government's agreement with Okinawa Prefecture rejecting military use of Shimoji-shima Island's civil airport, Akamine blamed the cabinet for neglecting these statements by giving military priority. (end)

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