Removing helipads now a pledge by Nago City Mayor Toguchi

Removing helipads now a pledge by Nago City Mayor Toguchi

Nago City Mayor Taketoyo Taguchi (reference photograph)

October 16, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Ayako Sakaguchi

On October 15, Okinawa Prefecture Nago City Mayor Taketoyo Toguchi declared he will work to remove all seven helipads within U.S. military Camp Schwab. During the city council plenary meeting, he declared he would “strongly appeal” for the removal. He also declared, “You can take (removing the helipads) as a pledge.” During the city mayoral election in February, Mayor Toguchi had not listed the removal of the helipads in Camp Schwab as one of his pledges. During the city council regular meeting in March, he had expressed his intent to request the removal of the helipad near the National Institute of Technology, Okinawa College. However, this is the first time in which he declared the removal of all seven helipads within Camp Schwab as a pledge.

As a general question, city council member Takuma Higashionna had asked, “Can we take this as you promising to remove all helipads?” To which Mayor Toguchi responded, “I’ve mentioned this several times before. It’s fine if you want to take it as my pledge.”
Regarding the helipad close to the college, only about 300 meters away, Mayor Toguchi visited Itsunori Onodera, the Minister of Defense at the time. Mayor Toguchi had verbally requested the swift removal of the helipad.

Synchronizing the Three Wards of Kube

There is some history surrounding the helipads within U.S. military Camp Schwab. In December 2016 in Abu of Nago City, a U.S. Marine Corps vertical takeoff/landing transport aircraft MV-22 Osprey crash landed. Following this, headmen of Henoko, Toyohara, and Kushi (collectively known as the “Three Wards of Kube) requested to Kenji Wakamiya, the State Minister of Defense at the time, the removal of the helipads. It has been nearly two-years since the accident, but there is no movement to remove the helipads. U.S. military aircrafts continue to fly over communities and local residents continue to be troubled by the noise pollution.

The helipad LZ Phoenix behind the National Institute of Technology, Okinawa College, which Mayor Toguchi requested an early removal, is located about 300 meters from the college grounds. U.S. military aircrafts, such as Ospreys, continue to practice takeoff and landing there.

Sympathizing with the local residents, Mayor Toguchi requested to the Ministry of Defense the removal of the helipads. He will continue to “strongly appeal” his case and will do this in earnest. Except when asked about the process leading up to the removal of the helipads, he merely explained that he verbally made a request to the Ministry of Defense. Specific routes he plans to take are unclear. His competency will be questioned based on how he plans to make the removal happen.

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

Go To Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]