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Top U.S. diplomat in Okinawa suggests continued use of Navy ramp on Kadena

Okinawa Times took up remarks made on Tuesday to Okinawa municipal leaders by Naha ConGen Joel Ehrendreich, who indicated the possibility of the continued use of a Navy ramp on Kadena AB that the U.S. military had promised not to use any more based on the 1996 SACO agreement. In meeting with local politicians who filed a protest against the use of the Navy ramp by USAF aircraft in February, the U.S. official reportedly hinted at its continued use by saying, “We need to maintain balance” in the event that transient aircraft fly to the Air Force installation. In order to reduce the noise generated by aircraft arriving at and leaving Kadena, the Navy ramp was relocated in mid-January from the northern runway to the center of the base upon the construction of an alternate ramp financed by Japanese taxpayer money. Although Ehrendreich reportedly explained to the Okinawa officials that their request for the discontinuation of use would be relayed to the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. government, and the U.S. military, they were upset because the continued use runs counter to the wishes of local residents who are calling for a reduction in the base-hosting burden.

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