By Shirakawa Toru
On July 29, Kagoshima Governor Shiota Koichi issued a written opinion on the assessment methodology document the Defense Ministry issued in relation to its plan to build a Self-Defense Forces base on Mageshima, an uninhabited island in Nishinoomote City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The governor has already given the go-ahead for the assessment, and in his written opinion he called for an accurate evaluation of the environmental impact of the base construction and a proper assessment of the noise pollution that will be produced during exercises using aircraft on Mageshima. He also requested that the views of local governments in the area be taken into consideration.
The MOD is planning to build a base on Mageshima to serve as the new site for the U.S. military’s field carrier landing practice (FCLP), which is currently conducted on Ioto Island (Tokyo). The deadline for the governor to give a written opinion on the methodology document was July 29.
The MOD’s methodology document does not describe the scale of the port facilities or the nature of the training that will involve aircraft. In his written opinion, the governor requested the MOD include this information as well as environmental protection measures in its draft environmental impact statement. Assuming that aircraft will fly over not only Mageshima but also Tanegashima, an inhabited island, Shiota asked that the MOD study noise pollution estimates during actual flights in addition to conducting a simulation. The governor also requested that any impact on the ecosystem, including the habitat of the Mage sika, an endangered subspecies of deer, be prevented or lessened.
In response to questions from the media, Gov. Shiota said that he “incorporated as much as possible in his written opinion the views of the five municipalities concerned.” The MOD said when replying to a press inquiry that it “is confirming the facts and so will refrain from commenting.” On July 29, Kagoshima Prefecture approved the marine boring survey near Mageshima, which the MOD had requested.