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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 21 - 27  > Blind couple protests against plan to deploy carrier-based jets to US Iwakuni base
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2017 June 21 - 27 [US FORCES]

Blind couple protests against plan to deploy carrier-based jets to US Iwakuni base

June 22, 2017
With the U.S. Forces in Japan seeking to deploy dozens of carrier-based aircraft to a U.S. base in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, local residents with visual impairment are urging the city government to not accept the deployment, Akahata reported on June 22.

A blind man and his wife reside about 10 km south of the U.S. Iwakuni base. Morimoto Ken’ichi, 55, is a practitioner of acupuncture and moxibustion and his wife, Naomi, 52, has impaired eyesight. The couple runs a clinic in their home which is located beneath the flight path of U.S. military aircraft. They are exposed to the frequent roar of jets, sometimes every ten minutes. The noise is so loud that they cannot listen to TV/radio programs or communicate with each other. Ken’ichi depends on the read-aloud function for using the computer so he has no choice but to do clerical work late at night when flights are less frequent.

The noise caused health problems for Ken’ichi, who has a keen ear. For two decades, he has suffered from headaches, buzzing in his ears, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Just the other day, at 11 pm, Ken’ichi heard military jets flying overhead in a five-plane formation and was unable to sleep for two hours.

Naomi says that because of frequent flight drills, she is often unable to hear sounds from pedestrian crossings.

According to Ken’ichi, the noise pollution became even more severe after the U.S. military started using a new runway at the Iwakuni base in 2010. Noises tend to last longer and the military conducts drills of formation flights and bombing runs more frequently.

Ken’ichi, who earlier this month urged the Iwakuni city government to oppose the U.S. plan to deploy 61 carrier jets to the Iwakuni base, said to Akahata, “If I have to endure noise from an increased number of jets, I will feel like I will be losing hope for the future. I think that the city government is responsible to help people in trouble. It would be shameful for the city government to endorse the deployment plan.”
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