Futenma base will close, but military flights and local complaints persist

April 13, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

Ginowan City, Okinawa—It was agreed 24 years ago that the U.S. Marine Corps base in Futenma would be closed and the site would be returned to Okinawa. In the meantime, the base burden on Ginowan residents has not lessened. The number of military aircraft flights, which operate day and night, is increasing, especially for transient aircrafts. The city receives frequent complaints from residents every day.

While complaints about interruptions of television broadcasts (specifically, land-based digital television broadcasts) persist, recent complaints have focused on the noise levels of the American and Japanese national anthems that are played early in the morning on base.

The number of takeoffs and landings of U.S. aircrafts at Futenma totaled 15,285 in FY2019, excluding the month of March, for which the numbers are yet to be determined. Of these, transient aircrafts accounted for 2,439 flights, exceeding the previous year. Meanwhile, the city received 507 complaints in FY2019, of which 77 were noise complaints related to the national anthems, while 13 were about interruptions of television broadcasts.

The city will gather complaints related to television broadcast interruptions; construction will begin in FY2020 to implement countermeasures, using subsidies from the Ministry of Defense.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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