The number of confirmed instances of aircraft noise near the U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi (in Yamato and Ayase cities) drastically declined at all of the 11 noise measurement points in six neighboring cities after the relocation of carrier-borne aircraft. This was announced by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government on Oct. 25. But the prefectural government pointed out, “Concerns about serious noise damage have not been completely dispelled” because there remains a plan to secure a permanent jet training facility. It called on the Japanese and U.S. governments to take further measures.
The “Conference on Measures against Noise from Atsugi Base,” comprising the nine cities near the base and the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, held a meeting in Tokyo. It released the noise survey result as a midterm report on the prefectural government’s comparison of the number of confirmed instances of noise before and after the relocation of carrier-borne aircraft.
The prefectural government has set up noise meters in the cities of Sagamihara, Zama, Ebina, and Fujisawa in addition to Yamato and Ayase cities. The number of confirmed instances of noise dropped in all of the measurement points after the relocation of carrier-based aircraft to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture was completed at the end of March. In particular, at a measurement point one kilometer north of Atsugi base, the closest measurement point to the base, the number of confirmed instances of noise of more than 100 decibels hovered between 250 and 500 in April and May, when an aircraft carrier was moored at Yokosuka. But number of instances of noise dropped to 23 in April and 39 in May.
The prefectural government analyzes that the decrease is “attributable to fewer arrivals of jets and other carrier-based aircraft” but also points out that carrier-based aircraft continue to use Atsugi base even after their relocation to Iwakuni. It also expressed concern that Atsugi base will be designated as a “backup base” for the takeoff and landing practice of the U.S. military’s carrier-based aircraft because a permanent training facility to replace Ioto in Tokyo has yet to be chosen.
At the Oct. 25 meeting, Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa underscored, “The most important thing is that residents who have been suffering from noise damage for a long time can from the bottom of their hearts feel relieved.” The Conference on Measures against Noise from Atsugi Base asked the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the Japanese government to (1) conduct all takeoff and landing practices [of the U.S. military’s carrier-based aircraft] on Ioto Island, (2) secure a permanent training facility, and (3) provide information on the operation of and noise at Atsugi base.