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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 18 - 24  > US radar system in Kyoto hampers medical helicopter emergency service
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2018 July 18 - 24 [US FORCES]

US radar system in Kyoto hampers medical helicopter emergency service

July 23, 2018

Akahata on July 23 reported that radio waves from a U.S. military radar facility in Kyoto Prefecture in May hampered an air ambulance, known as a “doctor helicopter” in Japan, from taking an injured person to a hospital.

The facility in question is the U.S. Kyogamisaki Communication Site in Kyoto’s Kyotango City which is equipped with an X-band radar system used to detect and track ballistic missiles. The airspace near the facility is off-limits to civil aviation because radio waves from the X-band radar system cause false readings on aircraft instruments.

The Japanese Defense Ministry and the Kyoto prefectural government on May 15 announced that the local ambulance squad headquarters near Kyotango City requested the U.S. military to suspend the radar operation at the radar facility in order for a “doctor helicopter” to take the injured to a hospital from a traffic accident site. However, the U.S. side rejected this request. As a result, the helicopter had to fly and land outside the off-limits zone, and this detour took the ambulance team an additional 17 minutes to arrive at the hospital than initially estimated. Fortunately, this delay did not result in a death.

The Kyoto governor on July 19 visited the Defense Ministry to protest against the incident and demanded measures to prevent a recurrence.

An X-band radar system is also deployed at a U.S. military facility in Aomori Prefecture.

Past related articles:
> JCP Kokuta demands cancellation of plan to deploy land-based Aegis Ashore [June 7, 2018]
> Residents near US radar base complain of low-frequency noise [February 27, 2015]
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