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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 February 9 - 15  > Expanded US airspace for training threatens safety of civil aviation
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2022 February 9 - 15 TOP3 [US FORCES]

Expanded US airspace for training threatens safety of civil aviation

February 15, 2022

Japanese Communist Party representative Takahashi Chizuko at a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on February 14 criticized the expansion of U.S. military temporary training airspace in Japan for threatening the safety of civil aviation.

Regarding the U.S.-designated "Magnum", a temporary training airspace under altitude reservation (ALTRV) for U.S. military aircraft based at the U.S. Air Force Misawa Base (Misawa City, Aomori Pref.), Takahashi pointed out that the airspace provided by Japan to the U.S. military was reportedly expanded by about 2,160 square kilometers in June 2019.

Showing materials that confirm the existence of Magnum airspace, she said, "The airspace not covered by Japan's air traffic control was greatly expanded, increasing possible danger to people's lives."

Transport Minister Saito Tetsuo in response said, "Magnum is the name the U.S. military uses," admitting to the existence of Magnum airspace.

The Japanese government, in regard to the ALTRV airspaces, repeats that the U.S. military "temporarily" controls the airspaces for its flight training exercises and that "it ends its control when the time limit expires."

Takahashi, however, said that according to a Transport Ministry's FY2020 report, the U.S. military in 2019 applied for ALTRV about 7,000 times and the number of ALTRV applications doubled in the last five years.

She said that "temporary" ALTRV airspaces, including the Magnum airspace, are actually "in name only" and demanded that the Japanese government disallow the U.S. control of expanded airspace in order to protect people's lives and ensure civil aviation safety.

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