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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 August 24 - 30  > US military expand land use on base on Okinawa’s Ie-jima Island
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2016 August 24 - 30 [US FORCES]

US military expand land use on base on Okinawa’s Ie-jima Island

August 24, 2016
The U.S. Marine Corps on August 22 launched a project to vastly expand the take-off and landing training field at the USMC Auxiliary Airport on Ie-jima Island in Okinawa.

Currently, local farmers are allowed to mow the grass in their meadows within the military facility site on weekends when no flight drills take place. The expansion of the training field will destroy the meadows and the farmers will be unable to feed their cattle.

The U.S. military plans to deploy 10 CV22 Ospreys to the U.S. Yokota base in Tokyo and 16 F35 fighter jets to the U.S. Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi. These aircraft will conduct flight training exercises on Ie-jima. The expansion work at Ie-jima is part of the measures to strengthen functions of U.S. military bases in Japan as a whole, as is the case with the planned construction of U.S. military helipads in the Takae district in Okinawa’s Higashi Village.

In addition, internal documents of Japan’s Self Defense Forces point to the possibility that the U.S. military airbase on Ie-jima would be jointly used by SDF aircraft, such as the Air SDF’s F35A fighter jets.

A man living near the Ie-jima Auxiliary Airport said that he is totally opposed to the expansion plan. He went on to say that if CV22s and F35s fly to the island frequently, it will make noise pollution much more severe in addition to causing serious damage to the residents’ livelihoods. He expressed his concern that Okinawans will face a situation similar to the one experienced during the Vietnam War when U.S. military airplanes conducted flight training exercises every day on the island.

Past related article:
> Cows give premature births in Ie-jima, linked to Ospreys [September 20, 2013]
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