KADENA – Mayor Toyama Hiroshi of Kadena Town, Okinawa Prefecture, visited Okinawa Defense Bureau Chief Ono Isao on Nov. 19. Toyama told Ono that the planned construction of a new hangar for the operation and maintenance of HH-60G rescue helicopters belonging to the 33rd Rescue Squadron at the U.S. military’s Kadena Air Base is “absolutely unacceptable if it will inflict further damage” on the town and requested Ono to tell the U.S. military to prevent the planned hangar from imposing a burden on the local community. The mayor also demanded [the U.S. military] submit a detailed plan as soon as possible. He made the same requests to the Okinawa Liaison Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on the same day.
Toyama expressed concerns over the possible use of the Papa Loop, a former ramp adjacent to a residential area, during the construction. He also asked Ono to tell the U.S. not to park aircraft near a residential area during and after the construction, not to allow transient aircraft to use the new hangar, and to try to ease the current burden placed on the town.
Ono explained that the defense bureau has asked the U.S. to provide information. He expressed his intention to convey the requests to the U.S., saying, “We will promptly provide information [to Kadena Town] as soon as we receive it.”
Ambassador in charge of Okinawan Affairs Hashimoto Naofumi of the MOFA Okinawa office said: “I understand the concern about an additional problem in a situation where there are no prospects for resolving the Papa Loop issue. I would like to convey this concern to the U.S.”