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SECURITY > Okinawa

FM Hayashi: U.S. military aircraft can conduct drills outside designated areas

  • March 30, 2022
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

Both Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported that concerning U.S. Navy helicopters’ suspension drills conducted on March 22 in Nago Bay, which is outside areas designated for training, Foreign Minister Hayashi said at a press conference on Tuesday that “drills by U.S. military aircraft that do not involve live firing can be held outside designated facilities for the purpose of achieving the goals of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.” Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that with his comment, Hayashi clarified the GOJ’s position to allow the U.S. military to conduct drills outside designated areas as long as they do not involve live firing. The paper said that Okinawa, which is calling on the GOJ to ban military drills outside designated areas, is reacting sharply by calling the GOJ’s position a “broad interpretation of SOFA.” Meanwhile, Hayashi reportedly expressed the view that the U.S. military must give prior notice of such drills because “consideration must be given to public safety when operating aircraft.” Hayashi also reportedly explained that the GOJ has already asked the U.S. side to minimize the impact on local communities.

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