Local Leader Opposes SDF Base Plan on Kagoshima Isle

Politics

Kagoshima, Oct. 7 (Jiji Press)--Shunsuke Yaita, mayor of Nishinoomote, on Wednesday voiced opposition to the Japanese Defense Ministry’s plan to build a Self-Defense Forces base on Mageshima, an island belonging to the city in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

“As the local chief, I can’t agree (with the plan),” Yaita said on the island city’s website. It was the first time for the mayor to express clear opposition to the plan.

Under the ministry plan, the envisioned SDF base will host field carrier landing practice for U.S. carrier-based aircraft, based on a Japan-U.S. agreement to move the FCLP operations from Iwoto, also known as Iwojima, a remote Tokyo island in the Pacific, to Mageshima.

The planned new base is expected to have two runways. The SDF plans to carry out a variety of drills and use the base as a logistics hub for defending Japan’s Nansei southwestern islands.

The mayor expressed concerns over potential noise and environmental pollution. “The base could be a target of military attacks that will threaten the safety of the area,” he also said. Yaita criticized the ministry’s moves, describing them as “in a hurry.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press