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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 August 20 - 26  > Saga City disapproves of use of Saga Airport for Ospreys
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2014 August 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Saga City disapproves of use of Saga Airport for Ospreys

August 21, 2014
A delegation of Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers on August 20 met with Saga City and Saga Prefectural officials to discuss the planned deployment of Ospreys to the civilian airport of Saga. These authorities expressed concern over the use of the airport for military purposes.

The Ministry of Defense is planning to deploy 17 Ospreys for the Self-Defense Forces and tentatively accept U.S. Ospreys to be stationed at Saga Airport. The ministry also envisages the stationing of 50 helicopters of the Ground SDF Camp Metabaru at the same airport.

JCP Nihi Sohei (House of Councilors) said, “Okinawans do not want to shift their base burdens onto other prefectures.”

Akashi Kuniaki, deputy mayor of Saga, conveyed to the JCP delegation Mayor Hideshima Toshiyuki’s position that the city is in no position to host the accident-prone aircraft. The official explained that 80% of opinions of residents the city received so far are opposed to or are concerned about the Osprey deployment at Saga Airport.

At the prefectural government office, Senior Official Nishinaka Takashi stated that the prefecture will maintain its intent to develop the airport into a regional hub airport for low-cost carriers.

JCP Inoue Satoshi (House of Councilors) pointed out that acceptance of a total of about 70 aircraft will make the airport the largest SDF air base in Japan.

JCP Shiokawa Tetsuya (House of Representatives) said, “The number of takeoffs and landings by SDF aircraft at Saga Airport will be far more than that by civilian flights. This won’t be a co-use but a predominantly military use of the airport.”

The JCP delegation also inspected the reclaimed land adjacent to the airport and SDF Camp Metabaru after talking with airport administrators and representatives of the local fisheries cooperative.

Yanagawa City is in another prefecture, Fukuoka, but is located in the vicinity of the airport. Mayor Kaneko Kenji stated that he will object to the deployment plan if the aircraft conducts training exercises over the city.

Past related article:
> 17 Ospreys for SDF may possibly be deployed at civil airport in Saga [July 23, 2014]
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