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Okinawa requests U.S. consulate and MOFA office to reduce aircraft noise

  • September 11, 2020
  • , Okinawa Times , p. 27
  • JMH Translation

Two officials from the Okinawa Prefectural Government, environmental and community affairs department head Satoru Matsuda and military base affairs division chief Norikazu Kinjo, visited the U.S. Consulate General Naha and the Okinawa liaison office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sept. 10 to ask them to reduce noise from aircraft that fly in and out of the U.S. military’s Kadena Air Base and Futenma Air Station. The two officials asked for the strict enforcement of existing regulatory measures. They also requested that the current implementation status be reported to the prefectural government and local municipalities. The officials made similar requests to the Okinawa Defense Bureau on Sept 9.


According to FY2019 measurements of aircraft noise compiled by the Okinawa government, noise levels exceeded the reference value of the environmental standard at 6 out of 19 measurement sites in the vicinity of the Kadena Air Base and at 2 out of 13 measurement sites in the vicinity of the Futenma Air Station. Furthermore, noise was confirmed during the period between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the next morning, which is restricted under “aircraft noise abatement countermeasures.”


In May 2019, a noise level of 124.5 decibels was recorded near the Futenma Air Station, which was the highest level recorded since 1998, when records first started to be kept.


Jessica Megill, deputy principal officer at the U.S. Consulate General Naha, reportedly said that the U.S. would like to take a well-balanced approach to address the issue by incorporating both security and local environmental considerations, adding that she will convey the requests to the U.S. State Department and the U.S. military.


Matsuda said, “The noise level remains high. We will continue to make requests to preserve a good living environment for local residents.”


A similar request was sent by postal mail to the U.S. Forces’ senior regional coordinator for Okinawa. This method of delivery was selected as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

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