MOD reveals that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces conducted drills 13 times in the NTA

 

August 23, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

 

On August 22 the Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced that it is moving preparations forward on a written report for submission to the Okinawa prefectural government and other local municipalities.

The report will include the use history of more than half of the U.S Northern Training Area (NTA) that was returned to Okinawa last year.

At the same time, the MOD’s representative disclosed that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) conducted drills 13 times in the NTA, and have participated in U.S. Marine Corps training as well.

Joint-use between the SDF and Marines is progressing in the NTA.

Members of the No Helipads Takae Residents’ Society, a group consisting of Takae residents who live where the helipads are concentrated, made this appeal about the NTA land returned to Okinawa.

Concerned about the effects on noise levels and the environment, among other things, the society members requested that use of MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft be prohibited and the entire NTA be returned to Okinawa.

The MOD gave a negative response in regards to returning the entire NTA.

As for restoring the roads used for construction to their original condition in the N1 zone through national forest land, although the approval for use of this national forest land only extends to September 30, the MOD representative refused to make a clear statement and simply said that the handling of this matter has yet to be determined.

The Japanese government has already received land use history from the U.S. government, which will be necessary for the smooth implementation of a soil contamination survey on the returned land.

Once the Japanese government has the results of the survey it will provide a final report on the history and related survey results to the Okinawa prefectural government and other local municipalities.

 

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

 

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