Transfer of Aerial refuelling aircraft from Futenma to Iwakuni starts

Transfer of Aerial refuelling aircraft from Futenma to Iwakuni starts

A 15 KC-130 aerial refuelling tanker took off for Iwakuni from Futenma on July 15.


July 16, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 15, the United States Marine Corps in Okinawa started moving 15 KC-130 aerial refuelling tankers to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture from Futenma Air Station.

The first batch of the two aircraft left for Iwakuni on the same day.

The U.S. and Japanese governments plan to gradually move the aircraft to Iwakuni, and complete the transfer of all 15 aircraft by the end of August.

This is the first time the U.S. military has moved squadrons from Okinawa to the main island of Japan based on the agreement on the Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan. However, the Marine Corps stated that they would continue to carry out training exercises with the aircraft in Okinawa, even after the redeployment.

Before the transfer, a ceremony was held in the Futenma Air Station. The Japanese and prefectural governments, Ginowan City government, and U.S.military personnel took part. Okinawa Vice Governor Kurayoshi Takara said, “The transfer clearly displays the U.S. and Japanese governments work on reducing the burden of military bases on Okinawa.”

With the transfer, the military will move about 800 of its personnel and their family members to Iwakuni.

Following the rape of a young girl by U.S. military personnel in 1995, the U.S. and Japanese governments agreed to reduce the burden of military bases on Okinawa. The redeployment is part of the plan stipulated in the Final Report of SACO (Special Action Committee on U.S.-Japan) and the agreement on the Realignment of U.S. Forces in 2006.

(English translation by T&CT)

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