Aviation Safety

U.S. Military's Controversial Parachute Training in Okinawa Sparks Tensions and Raises Concerns

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U.S. Military Conducts Controversial Parachute Training at Kadena Air Base

On the evening of July 8th, 2023, the U.S. military conducted its fifth controversial parachute training exercise at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. This exercise sparked renewed concerns as it violated a bilateral agreement between Japan and the U.S.

Kadena Air Base, located in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, is surrounded by urban areas. Despite repeated requests from the Okinawa Prefectural Government to halt such practices, the U.S. military has continued to conduct parachute training at the base. This is in direct contradiction to the agreement between the two governments, which stipulated that parachute training should be conducted on Ie Island, with drills at Kadena Air Base considered "exceptional cases."

The training on July 8th involved U.S. servicemen jumping from American military aircraft and landing at the base by parachute. This follows a series of similar exercises conducted at Kadena Air Base from December 2023 to April 2024, raising concerns about the safety of residents and the potential for accidents.

The U.S. military justifies these exercises by citing the deteriorated condition of the runway at Ie Island Auxiliary Airfield, which prevents safe takeoffs and landings of large aircraft used in the training. However, the Okinawa Prefectural Government and local residents remain concerned about the impact of these exercises on the community.

The continued disregard for the bilateral agreement and the concerns of the local population has strained relations between the U.S. military and the Okinawan people. It is crucial for both parties to find a solution that addresses the training needs of the U.S. military while also ensuring the safety and well-being of the Okinawan community.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09