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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 April 3 - 9  > Kishida gov’t’s move to promote military use of civil airports and seaports will increase their risk of being attacked
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2024 April 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

Kishida gov’t’s move to promote military use of civil airports and seaports will increase their risk of being attacked

April 8, 2024
The Kishida government on April 1 designated 16 civil airports and seaports in seven prefectures, including Hokkaido and Okinawa, as “specific-use airports and seaports” which will be upgraded for possible military use in line with its plan to comprehensively enhance Japan’s defense capability under the three key national security documents.

The government, in response to concerns expressed by the seven local governments which administer the selected airports and harbors, explained that these facilities will not be used by the U.S. military.

However, the government explanation has no credibility. Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement allows the U.S. forces to use Japan’s airports and seaports without paying landing fees or harbor charges.

In addition, it is reported that at a meeting to be held on April 10 in Washington D.C., Prime Minister Kishida, under the pretext of disaster response, may agree with U.S. President Biden on a framework that will enable the U.S. forces to use civil airports and seaports in Japan even in peace time.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading U.S. think tank, in January 2023 released a report on its simulation of China’s invasion of Taiwan. In the report, the CSIS pointed out that during the simulation, the U.S. forces and Japan’s Self Defense Forces suffered a devastating loss of fighters due to China’s missile attacks. It recommended that in order to reduce the risk of losing combat aircraft, it is important for the U.S. military and the SDF to decentralize their fighters by such means as utilizing civil airports.

The Geneva Conventions which form the core of international humanitarian law prohibit attacks against civilian infrastructure. If these facilities are used by the U.S. military and the SDF, they will be considered to be military facilities and will face a risk of being attacked. It is inevitable that residents’ lives and livelihoods will be endangered.

Past related article:
> Use of airports in southwestern Japan for military purposes increased [January 30, 2023]

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