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Noise from U.S. carrier aircraft increased in three years after Iwakuni transfer

  • February 28, 2021
  • , Akahata , p. 11
  • JMH Translation

By Shintaro Sakai, staff writer


Reports are pouring in from around Japan about loud noise from U.S. military aircraft flying at low altitudes. Japanese Communist Party Upper House member Tetsushi Inoue, accompanied by former Lower House member Yoshinobu Ohira, visited the area near the U.S. Marine Corp Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the largest airbase in East Asia, and Hatsukaichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture, under the aircraft’s flight path. The trip took place from Feb. 24 to Feb. 25.


About 60 carrier aircraft were transferred to the Iwakuni Air Station by the end of March 2018, doubling the total number of aircraft assigned there to 120. The aircraft returned from sea last November and operate from Iwakuni until May.


On Feb.24, starting at around 9:00 a.m., about 25 fighters and other aircraft took off in a 25-minute period. Four F-35B stealth fighters landed. Iwakuni City recorded 12 cases of loud-noise between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. that day, the loudest being 92 decibels. Throughout the day, 94 cases of loud noise were recorded.


In the afternoon of the same day, four carrier-based fighters took off from Iwakuni, changed course to the west over Hiroshima City, and fell into formation over Hatsukaichi before heading toward the western Shimane Prefecture. At that time, a noise level of 83 decibels was recorded in Nishi Ward in downtown Hiroshima.


Some U.S. aircraft are flying in from other prefectures at low altitudes. On Feb. 24, an F-16 fighter jet arrived from Misawa Air Base (Aomori Prefecture), while three Ground Self-Defense Force Ospreys that had recently arrived took off for the GSDF’s Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture.


On Feb. 25 in Hatsukaichi, three fighter jets flew directly above Itsukushima Shrine (a World Heritage Site) on Miyajima island a little after 9:00 a.m., followed by another 30 minutes later.


According to the prefecture, 489 incidents of noise were recorded in FY 2019, up 2.2-fold from the number recorded in FY 2017 when the Iwakuni transfer was still in progress. The total number of noise incidents recorded at the prefecture’s six separate monitoring sites has nearly doubled.


Lower House member Kazushi Matsuda (Yamaguchi 2nd district), Iwakuni City Council members, Hiroshima 2nd district candidate Satoshi Fujimoto, and Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly member Tsuneo Tsuji also joined the tour. (Abridged)


Noise Level                                                    It is like being…

90 decibels

Very loud

Under an elevated train track

80 decibels

Very loud

Inside a pachinko parlor

70 decibels


On a train

60 decibels


Inside a family restaurant

50 decibels


Near an indoor ventilation fan

40 decibels


Inside a library

30 decibels


Residential neighborhood at night

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