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GOJ elects not to seek reversion of Yokota airspace

Sunday’s Tokyo Shimbun led with a report claiming that the GOJ has decided not to ask the U.S. military to return portions of the so-called Yokota Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) area even though commercial aircraft are expected to pass through the Yokota airspace over central Tokyo temporarily when approaching Haneda airport for landing. As two new flight routes over the skies of central Tokyo will be established ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to accommodate more foreign tourists, some passenger aircraft will need to enter the Yokota airspace briefly for landing at Haneda unless Japan seeks the reversion of the RAPCON area in question. MOFA and MLIT told the daily that the GOJ has no intention to seek the return of the airspace, quoting an unnamed MLIT official as saying: “Reversion would probably be difficult due to operational reasons for the U.S. military.” A USFJ spokesperson also said: “There have been no substantive negotiations regarding the permanent return of any portion of the Yokota airspace.”

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