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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 4 - 10  > JCP survey: US military aircraft fly over Nagano at low-altitude in violation of Japan-US agreement
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2019 September 4 - 10 [US FORCES]

JCP survey: US military aircraft fly over Nagano at low-altitude in violation of Japan-US agreement

September 5, 2019

Two U.S. military aircraft in May flew over Nagano’s Saku City below the minimum safety altitude in violation of a Japan-U.S. agreement. This was revealed on September 4 by a Japanese Communist Party project team which includes JCP members of the Saku City Assembly.

The enforcement regulations of the Japanese Aviation Law require aircraft to fly at least 300 meters higher than the tallest object within a 600-meter radius in densely-populated areas.

Two U.S. C-130 transport aircraft attached to the U.S. Yokota base in Tokyo on May 30 flew along the Sakuma River over the central area of Saku City. The JCP project team analyzed videos taken by local citizens and conducted on-site surveys in order to estimate flight altitude. They found that one of the two U.S. military airplanes flew at an altitude of 215-230 meters and the another at 230-290 meters.

At one point, the project team was able to make a more accurate estimate than at other points because two images from different angles, on the east and west of the river were available. The team discovered the aircraft were flying at an altitude of 230 meters. Near the point are elementary and junior high schools and residential areas.

Project team secretary general Fujioka Yoshihide, former JCP member of the Nagano Prefectural Assembly, said, “It is obvious that the two U.S. military aircraft conducted a low-altitude flight drill in a densely-populated area in the city,” and added that the team will provide the data to municipalities concerned and urged the Saku City government to look into the matter.

Past related articles:
> Low altitude flights of US aircraft accepted even without SOFA stipulation [November 18, 2018]
> US F-16 fighter jet flies at ultralow altitude, violating aviation rules [April 27, 2018]
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