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Okinawa reacts strongly to parachute training at Kadena

  • October 30, 2019
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported extensively on the strong reactions of local officials and residents to the parachute training conducted by the U.S. military at Kadena AB last night. According to the articles, the drill was the fourth of its kind this year and was conducted despite a request issued by Defense Minister Kono earlier in the day not to go ahead with it. While noting that the two governments agreed to relocate parachute drop training to Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield in the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement and limit the use of the Air Force installation for the drills to “exceptional cases” in a follow-up pact in 2007, Okinawa Times speculated that the two sides appear to differ on what is meant by “exceptional cases.” Local officials reportedly expressed concern that the U.S. military may be determined to use both facilities as platforms for parachute drills. Ryukyu Shimpo claimed that the U.S. military’s disregard of Japan’s pleas not to conduct the drill at Kadena indicates that Tokyo is not able to restrict U.S. military operations as the U.S. side apparently interprets bilateral accords however it pleases to conduct training where and when it likes. 

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