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U.S. may back commercial use of Yokota base during 2020 games: officer

  • April 22, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 4:28 p.m.
  • English Press

A top commander of U.S. Forces Japan backed the idea Monday of allowing commercial aircraft to use the U.S. military’s Yokota Air Base in the suburbs of Tokyo during the period of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

“We will support it a hundred percent” if the State Department approves specifics for it, Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, deputy commander of U.S. Forces Japan, told a group media interview in Tokyo.

 

The Japanese government has requested that the U.S. Air Force base be partially used by commercial aircraft on a temporary basis to address traffic demand which is expected to surge throughout next year’s games.

 

The commander said nothing has been decided yet concerning the possible military-civilian use of the Yokota base but suggested that the two countries are discussing requirements for the plan at working-level talks.

 

In 2003, then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush agreed to start studying the possibility of allowing civilian aircraft to use the Yokota base, but no progress has been made since then.

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