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U.S. military determined to hold on to “perks” in Tokyo metropolitan area

Sunday’s Asahi carried prominent front- and inside-page reports on the Yokota Airspace, claiming that the U.S. military dismissed a Japanese proposal last year to allow commercial planes to use the Yokota Air Base to transport passengers during the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. military reportedly rejected Japan’s argument that allowing commercial planes to use the airspace would give the impression that the U.S. military is serious about cooperating with the international sports event. A senior Defense Ministry official speculated that the U.S. military is perhaps concerned that accommodating commercial flights at Yokota even for a limited period could eventually lead to indefinite civilian use and the possible return of the installation. While quoting a GOJ source as saying, “Even Italy and Germany, which were also defeated in World War II, have retained control of the airspace over their capitals,” Asahi described the Yokota Airspace, Hardy Barracks, and Hotel New Sano in central Tokyo and North Dock in Yokohama as “perks” the U.S. military has enjoyed for six decades. The daily asserted that there is no firm legal justification for the U.S. military to have such perks.  

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