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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 31 - April 6  > JCP Inoue urges gov’t to put stop to US military’s low-altitude flight drills over central Tokyo
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2021 March 31 - April 6 TOP3 [US FORCES]

JCP Inoue urges gov’t to put stop to US military’s low-altitude flight drills over central Tokyo

April 3, 2021
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Inoue Satoshi on March 30 at a House of Councilors committee meeting grilled the Suga government about the issue of low-altitude flight training exercises by U.S. military helicopters over central Tokyo.

At the Upper House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Inoue criticized the government for allowing the U.S. military to carry out low-altitude flight drills over Tokyo, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and demanded an immediate halt to the drills. Inoue criticized the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement for working as a mechanism to enable such dangerous flight training exercises and demanded the SOFA revision.

Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu in response said that the government will request the U.S. military to take all possible measures to prevent accidents from happening.

Regarding the low-altitude flight drills by U.S. military helicopters, Inoue referred to a news report which revealed that the U.S. government in its written response stated that U.S. military choppers are excluded from the 1999 Japan-U.S. Joint Committee agreement regarding the scope of the application of minimum safety altitudes set under Japan’s aviation law to U.S. military aircraft.

Noting that the foreign minister has in the past indicated his recognition that the 1999 agreement on minimum safety altitude covers U.S. military helicopters, Inoue requested that records regarding negotiations on the agreement be presented to the Diet.

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