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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 August 1 - 14  > Ospreys to fly low altitude over 138 cities, towns, and villages in 21 prefectures
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2012 August 1 - 14 [US FORCES]

Ospreys to fly low altitude over 138 cities, towns, and villages in 21 prefectures

August 13, 2012
Akahata on August 13 found out that the U.S. MV-22 Osprey aircraft, in low-altitude flight exercises following their deployment to Japan, will fly over at least 138 cities, towns, and villages in 21 prefectures throughout the nation.

People living under the flight paths will inevitably face the increased danger of crashes and noise pollution.

A U.S. Marine Corps “environmental review” for the Osprey deployment to Japan lists six flight routes: green, pink, blue, orange, yellow, and purple. These routes, however, are only part of the air zones for the MV-22s to fly at low altitudes.

In addition to those routes, the USMC has openly hinted at using the Chugoku Mountains as a flight route of the MV-22s: brown. With municipalities under this route included, the affected areas will further increase.

The “environmental review” assesses data on the assumption that the USMC conducts flight exercises of the Osprey aircraft at an altitude of 60 meters as the lowest, which is far below the Japanese safety standards set in the Civil Aeronautics Act.

Just beneath and adjacent to their flight routes, there are many houses, train stations, power plants, and dams as well as such public facilities as local government offices, child-care centers, and schools.

The 1999 Japan-U.S. agreement requires appropriate “consideration” to be paid to densely-populated areas and public safety-related buildings when conducting low-altitude flight exercises. However, in the “environmental review”, the USMC seems to give no such “consideration”.

The Japanese government falls short of obtaining the details of the MV-22 exercises, let alone all their flight routes. Most municipalities under the identified routes are not even provided with pertinent information.

Who on earth owns the skies over Japan, Akahata questions.
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