Japan to Move JCG Drone Base to Kitakyushu Airport
Tokyo, Nov. 20 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government plans to relocate the base for unmanned coast guard aircraft from Aomori Prefecture to Fukuoka Prefecture by the end of fiscal 2024, informed sources said Monday.
The Japan Coast Guard has been using the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Hachinohe air base in the northeastern prefecture since October 2020 as the Sea Guardian surveillance drones' home.
But it is necessary to move the currently three unmanned aircraft because their Hachinohe base lease term ends on March 31, 2025. The government has already made a budget request of 1.59 billion yen for the relocation for the next fiscal year starting in April without specifying the destination.
According to people familiar with the matter, the new base for the drones would be Kitakyushu Airport, built on an artificial island in the southwestern prefecture, where they can take off and land around-the-clock. The government will start talks with parties concerned to realize the relocation.
The airport hosts the JCG's air station that served as a temporary base for the Sea Guardians during the Hiroshima summit of the Group of Seven major democracies in May.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]