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横田基地対策に関する要望書

Courtesy Translation
November 2011
Attention: Colonel Paul E. Feather
Commander, 374th AirliftWing,
USAF
Requests for Measures Concerning Yokota Air Base
The existence of Yokota Air Base, in manners such as hindering regional urban activity and
local development, has great administrative and fiscal impact on the surrounding
municipalities.
As Yokota Air Base is located in a densely populated area, the residents of these
municipalities suffer endlessly from aircraft noise both day and night (in this request “aircraft”
includes light aircraft and helicopters). Despite an agreement reached by the Japan-U.S. Joint
Committee on measures for the reduction of aircraft noise, the required environmental
standards in the area surrounding the base have still not been met. Under these circumstances,
if flight training using U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft, which had been implemented at Yokota
Air Base up to 2000, is resumed, the living environment of nearby residents will be
enormously affected.
In addition, residents of the area are always fearful of accidents that may occur at any time.
Accidents that should have been avoided at all costs have occurred frequently in and around
Yokota Air Base, although none of these accidents resulted in a major disaster. These include
aircraft parts falling from transport planes, a plastic bottle falling from a helicopter and
emergency helicopter landings, as well as a large-scale fire on the base, fuel leakage accidents,
and other problems.
Under these circumstances, the governments of cities and a town around the base have
organized the "Liaison Council of Municipalities Surrounding Yokota Air Base Concerning
Yokota Air Base" since 1983, and have strived to resolve such issues attributable to the base
through many various discussions including the consolidation, downscaling and return of the
base.
We understand that the Headquarters of the 374th Airlift Wing of the U.S. Air Force Japan
has been giving due consideration to policies such as safety and environmental measures, but
nevertheless, these efforts, including the exchange of information with nearby municipalities,
are still not sufficient as measures for the area around the base.
Moreover, with respect to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and its operation,
although a certain degree of improvements in operation have been made following the incident
of rape by a U.S. soldier in Okinawa Prefecture in September 1995 and the helicopter crash in
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Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture in August 2004, further review is required.
From the viewpoint of preventing crimes and ensuring safe flights, measures must, of
course, be taken such as further maintenance of discipline, a thorough implementation of
educational programs, assurance of flight safety, and a bolstering of inspection and
maintenance, but in order to solve various base-related issues, including the recent incidents
and accidents, it would also be necessary to conduct an appropriate review of the Agreement.
Issues related to Yokota Air Base cover a wide range of subjects including consolidation,
downscaling, and the return of the base. We, however, wish to strongly request that you
continue to refrain from implementing flight training using U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft at
Yokota Air Base.
We hereby strongly request a deep understanding of the unendurable conditions faced by
the residents and a prompt realization of the attached List of Requests for measures to be taken
by Yokota Air Base.
List of Requests
1. In addition to the complete non-implementation of flight training using U.S. Navy
carrier-based aircraft at Yokota Air Base, we request that necessary measures be taken to
resolve issues concerning the base, including the consolidation, downscaling and return of the
base.
Yokota Air Base is located in a built-up area with a dense population. It has various effects
on the daily lives of the residents such as sufferings from aircraft noise and anxiety over
aircraft accidents, as well as hindering local community development.
If day and night flight training using U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft is executed, its effects
will be enormous and will be significantly detrimental to the peaceful livelihood of residents in
the vicinity.
We request that you continue to refrain completely from flight training using U.S. Navy
carrier-based aircraft at Yokota Air Base and for necessary measures, including also the
consolidation, downscaling, and return of the base, to be taken to protect the safe and peaceful
lives of the residents of the vicinity and to help promote local community development.
2. Promotion of measures for noise reduction.
(1) In order to alleviate suffering by residents of the vicinity from aircraft noise, we request
strict observance of the articles agreed to at the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee meetings in 1964
and 1993, and for measures to be taken urgently with regard to the following items.
a. Ensure that aircraft flights etc. are not carried out between the hours of 22:00 and 6:00, and
to make utmost efforts to refrain from doing so between the hours from 21:00 to 22:00 and
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6:00 to 7:00.
b. Refrain from conducting aircraft engine tests and/or flight training that may have an impact
on the surrounding area between the hours of 17:00 and 7:00.
c. Review operations of the airfield to prevent the generation of noise from aircraft flights
and/or engine tests on Saturdays, Sundays, Japanese national holidays, Bon holidays, year-end
and New Year holidays, and other certain days such as entrance examination dates.
d. Refrain from having the C-130 transport aircraft conduct low altitude flights in built-up
areas surrounding the base.
e. With regard to low altitude flights by light aircraft, cease flights over built-up areas and take
thorough measures for safety and accident prevention, which would allow the surrounding
residents to live in peace. Give particular consideration to Saturdays and Sundays and refrain
from flights.
f. Limit helicopter flight training to the airspace above the base that has been provided to the
U.S. armed forces. If the helicopter is scheduled to go outside this airspace, its flight course
must be clarified in advance and, as with fixed wing aircraft, it must observe the minimum safe
altitude based on the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee agreement of 1999, as well as refrain from
making continuous circuitous flights.
g. Take necessary measures to insulate noise arising from aircraft inspection and other
operations.
h. Study measures to reduce the noise generating from helicopters.
(2) Develop low-noise technology for aircraft and promote the use of low-noise aircraft.
(3) Take all necessary measures in the use of the Public Address System, the Ground Burst
Simulator and other systems, including giving due consideration to the location of the installed
equipment, to prevent them from affecting areas outside the base.
(4) Ensure that engine testing for aircraft, including inbound aircraft, is conducted at such
facilities.
3. Prevention of aircraft accident recurrence, as well as implementation of thorough measures
to ensure safety in the operation of the base, and the swift provision of information if accidents
or other incidents occur.
Just within recent years, impermissible accidents that are just a step away from a major
disaster have occurred frequently. These include the emergency landing of a helicopter in
September 2010, parts falling from a transport aircraft and a plastic bottle falling from a
helicopter in July 2008, and the fire in the building housing the Defense Finance and
Accounting Service Japan in January 2009. We request that the following improvements be
made to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.
(1) Conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of the accidents and take thorough
measures such as bolstering guidance and training to all personnel who are engaged in the
operation of aircrafts to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents.
(2) Provide information both swiftly and accurately, including provision of on-site
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explanations when necessary, should unforeseen events such as accidents occur.
Notably, establish a system (hotline) through which the surrounding municipalities can be
contacted immediately in the event of a large-scale disaster that will have a major impact
on the surrounding residents.
4. Making thorough efforts to ensure safety as well as taking appropriate measures in operation
of the base.
(1) We request that top priority be given to ensuring the safety of the residents of the vicinity in
the operation of the facilities and areas, with particular care taken to prevent anxiety among the
residents or effects such as damage to their living environment and agricultural products, and
efforts taken to ensure thorough safety.
(2) Due to the extremely high concern expressed by residents of the vicinity on environmental
issues, we request that exhaust gas, smoke and other substances emitted in facilities including
garbage disposal facilities in the base be monitored and the results and contents of
improvements be made public. In addition, we request that government officials of the
surrounding municipalities be permitted to conduct site inspections.
(3) If government officials of the surrounding municipalities request entry to the facilities and
areas, their requests should be promptly met.
(4) We request that the provisions of the minimum safety altitude stipulated in Article 81 of the
Civil Aeronautics Law of Japan be applied to flights by U.S. forces aircraft (including
low-altitude flight training).
(5) We request measures to enable mutual support by the U.S. armed forces in Japan and the
Japanese side in the case of a disaster.
(6) We request the pruning and other proper management of trees affecting the neighboring
residential areas.
(7) In order to preserve the living environment and ensure safety around the facilities and areas,
we request necessary measures for application of relevant Japanese laws for quarantines of
people, animals, and plants as well as human health and sanitation.
(8) We request further maintenance of discipline and thorough implementation of educational
programs to prevent the recurrence of crimes and traffic accidents and to ensure that no trouble
is caused outside U.S. forces facilities and areas.
(9) We request the prevention of transportation (between bases) of dangerous exotic plants and
animals.
5. Swift provision of information and the taking of appropriate measures to prevent the spread
of infection in the event of the outbreak of an infectious disease either in or outside Japan.
Along with establishing measures to appropriately and thoroughly prevent the spread of
infection in the event of the outbreak of an infectious diseases either in or outside Japan,
establish a system (hotline) through which the surrounding municipalities can be promptly
informed of the concrete measures that are being taken.
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6. Provision of appropriate information to the municipalities in which the base is located.
Information concerning the flight of aircraft and other useful information for the
municipalities in which the base is located is requested to be provided in a timely and accurate
manner. In particular, the following information is indispensable for our base related measures,
and should be provided in detail and without delay.
(1) Statistical data concerning the frequency of aircraft take-offs and landings, etc.
(2) Reports on scheduled plans for execution of flight training using U.S. Navy carrier-based
aircraft as well as the contents of the training.
(3) Information on the implementation of training or flights that use the Public Address System,
the Ground Burst Simulator, and other systems.
(4) Information concerning accidents and incidents originating from the base (content, cause,
progress in handling the accident, measures to prevent recurrences, etc.).
(5) Advance notification concerning plans for facility improvement or changes inside the base
(objective, content, timing, etc.).
(6) Information regarding environmental conditions inside the base, and efforts made to
implement environmental protection measures (including bird control, types of waste material
and their method of disposal, and control of smoke emitted from waste treatment facilities and
boiler facilities that affect the lives of residents in the vicinity).
"Liaison Council of Municipalities Surrounding Yokota Air Base Concerning Yokota Air Base"
Shohei Shimizu, Mayor of Tachikawa City
Jouichi Kitagawa, Mayor of Akishima City
Ikuo Kato, Mayor of Fussa City
Masaru Fujino, Mayor of Musashimurayama City
Shin Namiki, Mayor of Hamura City
Kouemon Ishizuka, Mayor of Mizuho Town
Manager: Shin Namiki, Mayor of Hamura City