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

Society

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)--The U.S. military plans to use Shimojishima Airport on a remote island in 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.

On Wednesday, the prefectural government urged the Marine Corps not to use the airport, stressing its existing position that the airport is for civilian flights and should not be used by the U.S. military except in an emergency.

The airport has a 3,000-meter runway, longer than any other in the Sakishima island chain in Okinawa's westernmost region.

In 1971, the Japanese government concluded an agreement to ban the use of the airport by aircraft other than civilian planes with the then Ryukyu government during the U.S. occupation of Okinawa.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press