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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 January 23 - 29  > Okinawans suffer from Osprey’s noise and low-frequency emissions
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2013 January 23 - 29 TOP3 [OKINAWA]

Okinawans suffer from Osprey’s noise and low-frequency emissions

January 27, 2013
Akahata Sunday edition

Four months have passed since the forcible deployment of the U.S. Marine Corps tilt-rotor aircraft MV-22 Osprey to Okinawa. Okinawans are in fear of crashes and are suffering from the noise from the aircraft.

In the Ueojana district in Ginowan City hosting the U.S. Futenma base to which the Ospreys are deployed, the level of noise from the aircraft reached 100dB three times. The 100dB is equivalent to the noise under a railway bridge with a train passing overhead.

An 83-year-old man, Higa Masamori, hurries to take hearing aids out from his ears when he hears Osprey’s roar approaching. “If I fail to take them out, my ears will be assaulted with the airplane’s mighty noise and I feel like the noise will rupture my eardrums,” he said.

Hamada Kiyoko, who also lives in the district, says that her house trembles with the sonic boom from the aircraft. “That military aircraft produces strong vibrations. It shakes my body and makes me feel really sick. I’ve never had such an uncomfortable feeling before,” she said.

The noise from the Ospreys has brought about negative effects not only physically but also mentally to Ueojana residents.

An 80-year-old woman, Higa Keiko, suffers from emotional distress due to the sound of the MV-22 military aircraft. The sound causes her to experience an excessive heartbeat and dizziness, leading to a loss of appetite. “When I hear the Ospreys flying overhead, I become agitated. It’s scary to stay at home,” Higa said.

Chair of the Ueojana residents’ association Oshiro Chieko expressed her concern that Higa’s emotional distress may be related to the low-frequency sound emitted from the aircraft.

Associate professor at Ryukyu University Tokashiki Takeshi, who monitors the level of Osprey’s low-frequency noise emissions, pointed out, “When the U.S. forces begin full-scale flight training exercises with Ospreys, it will cause a further serious impact on Okinawan people.”

In September 2012, the Japanese and the U.S. governments prior to the Osprey deployment concluded an agreement on safety measures, including the avoidance of Osprey flights over residential areas and the restriction of flight hours from 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Based on the agreement, the two governments have proclaimed that the aircraft is safe. Surveys conducted by the prefectural and municipal governments, however, indicate that 60% of observed Osprey flights have violated the bilateral agreement.

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