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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 September 30 - October 6  > Yamaguchi JCP demands F-35Bs relocated from US Iwakuni base to US mainland
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2020 September 30 - October 6 [US FORCES]

Yamaguchi JCP demands F-35Bs relocated from US Iwakuni base to US mainland

October 4, 2020
The Japanese Communist Party Yamaguchi Prefectural Committee on October 2 submitted to the governor a written request demanding that U.S. F-35B fighters be transferred from the U.S. Iwakuni Base in the prefecture to the U.S. mainland. This action was taken in the wake of a recent crash of the same type aircraft.

Two days earlier, a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B crashed during flight training drills in the United States. Currently, 16 F-35Bs are stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni station. In addition, the U.S. military plans to deploy another 16 to the base. Yamaguchi Governor Muraoka Tsugumasa gave his approval to this plan on September 29.

The submission of the written demand was joined by JCP prefectural committee vice chair Kawai Kiyo, JCP members of the prefectural assembly Kisaki Daisuke and Fujimoto Kazunori, and JCP candidate for the House of Representatives election Matsuda Kazushi. They met with a prefectural government official in charge of U.S. base issues.

The JCP document points out that F-35Bs are known to have many technical flaws. It continues to state that the Japanese government has downplayed local residents’ concerns over the safety of the aircraft by saying that necessary measures have been taken to ensure safety, but the latest crash disproved the government assertion.

The JCP in its demand claimed that until an investigation report on the crash is finalized and necessary measures to prevent a recurrence are implemented, the prefectural government should withhold its consent to the additional deployment plan and urge the U.S. military to suspend flight training exercises of the F-35Bs at the Iwakuni Base.

In the meeting with the JCP, the prefectural official said that the latest crash is now under investigation and that the Japanese government has yet to inform the prefecture of whether the crashed plane belongs to the Iwakuni Base or not. He insisted that the crash which took place during an aerial refueling drill does not immediately create additional concerns about the safety of the aircraft.

Matsuda, who is scheduled to run for the next Lower House election on the JCP ticket, noted that the latest crash has made local residents more anxious about a possible accident, and stressed, “Why doesn’t the prefectural government wait for the release of the investigation report before making its decision on the F-35B deployment plan?”

Past related articles:
> Japan still intends to buy 105 F35s with its 966 design flaws [February 16, 2019]
> US fighter and Ospreys make emergency landings within just two days [April 25 and 26, 2018]
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