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Expert: Government should protest U.S. military helicopters’ low-altitude flights

  • February 24, 2021
  • , Mainichi , p. 25
  • JMH Translation

By Toshiyuki Ito, professor at Kanazawa Institute of Technology Toranomon Graduate School and former retired MSDF vice admiral, who worked as defense attaché in the U.S.


Frequent flights by U.S. military helicopters over Shinjuku may be training to transport VIPs to the U.S. military’s heliport in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. If the helicopters are not returning from the heliport directly to the military base they came from and there are cases where the helicopters take a low-altitude route from Shinjuku Station over to Tokyo Skytree and back, there is also a chance that they are taking pleasure flights for sightseeing while fulfilling their training requirements. On the other hand, these low-altitude flights may also be urban warfare training. U.S. soldiers are tasked with responding to changes in the international situation and they are continuously engaged in training in preparation for actual warfare. It is very problematic, however, if the U.S. military is performing low-altitude flight training over Shinjuku without permission and without contacting the Japanese and Tokyo governments in advance. Rather than letting this go, the Japanese government should lodge a strong protest.

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