U.S. Military Plans to Use Airport on Okinawa Remote Isle

Society

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)--The U.S. military plans to use Shimojishima Airport on a remote island of Okinawa Prefecture for the first time since 2006, prefectural government officials have said.

The U.S. Marine Corps submitted the plan to use the airport, managed by the southwestern Japan prefecture, on the island of Shimoji for helicopter flight training on the afternoon of Jan. 31, the officials said Tuesday.

Okinawa plans to ask the Marine Corps not to use the airport.

The airport has a 3,000-meter runway, longer than any other ones in the Sakishima island chain in Okinawa's westernmost region. Some in the central government and the ruling bloc say that the Self-Defense Forces should be allowed to use the airport.

Under a status-of-forces agreement, the U.S. military's aircraft can use Japanese civilian airports free of charges. U.S. military planes used Shimojishima Airport for refueling many times until 2006.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press