|Adoption Date||Subject||Addressed to:|
|Resolution of Protest Over The U.S. Forces' Parachute Drop Training at Kadena Air Base(adopted unanimously)
U.S.Ambassador to Japan
Commander U.S.Forces Japan Okinawa Area CoordinatorOAFO,U.S.Forces Japan
Commander,18th Wing Kadena Air Base
On February 16,the U.S.Air Force conducted parachute drop training within Kadena Air Base despite protests and calls for its cancellation from the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the surrounding municipalities.It was the first parachute drop training conducted at Kadena Air Base in four years,with the last one taking place in October 2007,and this recent training was the fifth time since Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972.The areas surrounding Kadena Air Base is densely populated with a great number of residents and numerous schools, which increases the risks where one small mistake can result in a major accident enmeshing the local residents.In addition to this,we have seen a series of temporary deployments and frequent flights of fighter aircraft from other bases to Kadena Air Base which has intensified the training and exercises conducted by Kadena-based aircraft and those based elsewhere.Taking these factors into consideration,conducting this parachute drop training at such a time only increases the risks,to which the local residents and the citizens of Okinawa Prefecture are voicing their considerable anxiety and fears.The stance of the Government of Japan concerning this recent parachute drop training is that ‘operationally,such training can also be implemented at Kadena Air Base on exceptional circumstances,’which goes against the Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO).Further,it has come to light that although the two governments of Japan and the United States had verbally verified these ‘exceptions’ at the Japan-U.S.Joint Committee in January of 2007,explanations have not been given to the OPG or the local municipalities.The residents of Okinawa feel strong resentment toward the central government’s stance of approving the one-sided approach of the U.S Forces in conducting the training at Kadena Air Base rather than at Iejima Auxiliary Airfield due to unfavorable weather conditions,and also toward the approach taken by both the Japanese and U.S.governments in accumulating circumstances where citizens of the prefecture are not provided any information but instead,are left with no options but to accept these circumstances as accomplished facts; which may result in the training becoming constant and entrenched.Despite the promises made by the central government to reduce the excessive base burden posed by the Air Base,there have been no improvements in the circumstances.In addition,the ‘exception’ claimed by the U.S.Forces is highly ambiguous and tenuous,and can only be perceived that the bases are being operated in an arbitrary manner.For these reasons,the residents also feel a sense of crisis in the limitless use of the Air Base and the enhancement of its functions.To that end,we,the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly,in our duty to protect the lives,safety and the living environment of the people of Okinawa,and in view of the excessive base burden currently posed by Kadena Air Force Base,strongly protest the recent parachute drop training that took place.At the same time,we strongly demand measures to promote the alleviation of this excessive burden of Kadena Air Force Base by not conducting such parachute drop training at the Air Base in the future; by prohibiting flights of aircraft that are not based at the Air Base; and by discontinuing flight training and exercises over residential areas.
The above is resolved as stated on this 24th day of February,2011.
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly