By Shinji Kurokawa
On Mar. 4, Japan Peace Committee (JPC), a citizens’ group headquartered in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, requested the government to have the U.S. halt the low-altitude flights by USFJ helicopters. JPC said that these abnormal flights, which lead to crashes and noise damage, have been confirmed in various locations throughout the country, and JPC urged Foreign and Defense Ministry officials, saying, “Japan should thoroughly look into the matter and demand that the U.S. government halt these flights immediately.”
JPC pointed out that low-altitude flights have frequently been sighted in Okinawa, Kagoshima, Ehime, and Shimane among other prefectures in addition to the central part of Tokyo, which was reported by the Mainichi Shimbun. “These flights are very problematic as they not only violate [Japan’s] sovereignty but also endanger lives,” said JPC Secretary General Jun Chisaka.
The official in charge of the matter at the Foreign Ministry responded: “We take your views seriously.” The official at the Defense Ministry said the ministry is looking into the matter. “It is not that we think everything the U.S. military says is correct. We would like to find a way where it is not a burden on area residents,” the official said.