Ignoring residents’ requests to desist, military aircraft make noise during a graduation ceremony in Kadena

March 20, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

From March 1, the Kadena Air Base north runway, which had been the focus of construction work, became operational again, causing further aircraft noise for the neighborhood. In the closest district to the north runway, at a place called Yara in Kadena Town, a noise level of over 100 decibels has been recorded on a daily basis. In the morning of March 17, ignoring local residents’ requests to desist, aircraft deployed in Kadena including F-15 fighters, took off during a graduation ceremony at Yara Elementary School and Kadena Elementary School, with the resulting noise provoking anger among people involved in local education.

Kadena Town PTA will approach the Okinawa Defense Bureau about the intensified level of noise. Attending the ceremony at Yara Elementary School, President of PTA, Takeshi Ishiki said, “It was noisy on the day of graduation. The military of course must have their own schedule of operations, but I want them to refrain from flying their planes at times when we need to offer children a quiet educational environment. I would like to see a ban on flights during ceremonies and tests.”

A noise level from takeoffs of around 90 decibels was reported 16 times from 9:00am to 11:30am when the ceremony was carried out.

Since October 2010, repair work on two runways has been carried out at Kadena Air Base. When the south runway was being worked on, the military operated only on the north runway, which is located closer to the residential area, and this increased the level of noise in Kadena Town.

Mayor Hiroshi Toyama said, “Until last month, the noise level was lower because of the runway construction and the relocation of the F-15 flight-training, but the noise is back now after the work on the runway was completed. I would like to request that the government do something tangible to ease the burden on the local residents.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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