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Over 3,000 takeoffs and landings observed at Kadena base in March

During March 2020 while activities both on and off the U.S. military’s Kadena base were restricted in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, takeoffs and landings by aircraft including those from other bases totaled 3,661, almost the same as other months, the Ryukyu Shimpo learned from surveys conducted by the Okinawa Defense Bureau. This shows that the U.S. military put priority on military activities even during the emergency situation associated with the coronavirus, 


The Kadena base disclosed in March that three servicemen were infected by the virus. The U.S. declared a national emergency for the mainland on March 13. In response to inquiries by Ryukyu Shimpo regarding the reason to continue training, the base’s 18th Wing said, “The health and safety of all concerned are the top priority, but maintaining the readiness for performing our mission is as important.”


In order to grasp the actual conditions of base-hosting communities, the Okinawa Defense Bureau conducts visual surveys of aircraft takeoffs and landings on a 24-hour basis. The visual surveys began in fiscal 2017. The bureau recently released the survey results for fiscal 2019. The total number of takeoffs and landings from April 2019 through March 2020 was 45,681, 8% fewer than the previous fiscal year. Of that figure, the total number of takeoffs and landings by aircraft from other bases was 11,155, which accounted for 24% of the total. (Abridged)

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