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2017 November 8 - 14 [US FORCES]

Roar of US F-35A jets interrupts high school classes in Okinawa

November 9, 2017
With the U.S. military's recent deployment of F-35A stealth fighters to the U.S. Kadena base in Okinawa prefecture, local residents face much worse noise pollution than before due to the frequent flights of the aircraft.

In line with the U.S. forces’ plan to station a total of 12 F-35As in Okinawa for six months, the two aircraft arrived at the Kadena base last week from the Hill base in Utah.

The U.S. military in Okinawa started flight training exercises of F-35As on November 7. During the flight drills, Kadena Town government officials measured noise emitted from the rooftop of a building near the Kadena base. The noise levels exceeded 100 dB four times, reaching up to 108 dB. The number of complaints made by residents to the town government rose sharply on the day.

In the Okinawa prefectural Kadena high school, some teachers had to stop their classes for extended periods because of the roar emitted by the military jets. The school’s principal said that he had never before seen a class interrupted by noise from flight drills. He added that the school needs to come up with countermeasures against the noise before entrance exams take place in a few months.

Kadena Town Mayor Toyama Hiroshi observed the flight drills from the roof of the government office building on November 7 and immediately lodged protests to local offices of the Defense and Foreign ministries as well as to the U.S. military in Okinawa.

Toyama told Akahata that he cannot put up with such dreadful noise for six months and that teachers and students must not be adversely affected by U.S. military activities. He said that a liaison council consisting of Kadena Town and two other municipalities hosting the Kadena base is considering making representations to the Japanese government and the U.S. military based on data collected through the monitoring of the flight drills and noise levels.

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