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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 3 - 9  > Okinawa JCP calls for halt to SDF aircraft use of Naha Airport
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2015 June 3 - 9 [SDF]

Okinawa JCP calls for halt to SDF aircraft use of Naha Airport

June 6 and 9, 2015
The Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Committee on June 8 made representations to the Air Self-Defense Force Naha Base, demanding that SDF aircraft stop using Naha Airport, currently operational for both military and civilian use.

Five days earlier, a near miss accident occurred at the airport in which an SDF helicopter lifted off without permission from the flight control authority, passing right in front of the nose of a civilian airplane accelerating during takeoff.

Those who joined the representations included Maesato Tamotsu, who is in charge of the U.S. base issue in the JCP Okinawa Prefectural Committee, and members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Kayo Sogi, Nishime Sumie, and Tamaki Nobuko, as well as JCP Naha City Assembly member Wakugawa Tomoyuki.

In the representations, the JCP pointed out that the coexistence of military and civilian traffic at the same airport is the causal factor behind the latest accident. They urged the SDF to take measures to prevent a recurrence and to yield to commercial aircraft.

An SDF official in response said that they will offer full cooperation in the investigation into the cause of the accident and take thorough safety measures.

Kayo stated that the amount of commercial traffic at Naha Airport has been on the rise due to the prefectural government’s effort to promote tourism and added that another accident could occur unless safety measures are further stepped up.

Wakugawa said that the latest accident again showed that SDF aircraft and civilian airplanes cannot safely use the same airport. He stated that it is a matter of course that the SDF should stop using the facility.

More and more passenger planes are flying to and from the Naha Airport due to both an increase in the number of tourists, namely from Asian countries, and the entry of low cost carriers at the airport. On the other hand, the SDF plans to double the number of its F15 fighter jets stationed at the airport from the present 20 to 40.
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