All national dailies wrote that the U.S. military conducted night-time parachute drop training on Tuesday at Kadena Air Base. Asahi wrote that Defense Minister Kono reportedly told the press that the training runs counter to efforts to maintain and strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance. The paper wrote that although the United States and Japan agreed at their 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) final agreement that parachute drop training would be conducted at the Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield, it has been conducted 11 times at Kadena since 2000 and this was the fourth time for it to take place there this year. According to the paper, Kono said at a news conference on Tuesday morning that the training is unacceptable because it violates the SACO agreement. He also reportedly disclosed that he has asked the U.S. government to stop conducting such training at Kadena.
Yomiuri wrote that on Monday the Ministry of Defense asked the USFJ not to conduct the training and that Kono reportedly told the press that it was regrettable because it could affect the U.S.-Japan alliance. Mainichi wrote that according to the ministry, it was notified by the U.S. military on Monday of its plan to conduct parachute drop training at Kadena on Tuesday. The paper wrote that although the GOJ asked the USFJ through the U.S. Embassy to suspend the training, it conducted the drill starting at around 6:40 p.m.
All broadcasters aired similar reports yesterday and this morning, with TBS adding that Kono is set to urge the U.S. side not to conduct such training again at Kadena when he meets with Defense Secretary Esper next month.