Ishihara takes air base to Washington

Tokyo governor discusses airport conversion plan at White House

Kyodo

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara met senior White House officials Tuesday to discuss his proposal to convert the U.S. Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo into a joint civilian-military airport.

Ishihara spoke with James Moriarty, senior director for Asian affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, and Michael Green, NSC director for Asian affairs.

Ishihara later told reporters he knows the Yokota base issue is intrinsically a matter that should be handled by both national governments.

“(However,) I made the issue an agendum for the talks and had U.S. officials take notes,” he said, emphasizing the significance of the Yokota base issue being on record.

During the talks, Ishihara is believed to have put forward the benefits of his proposal, which would see the base used by commercial aircraft.

Ishihara said he was asked about the noise a jumbo jet might make while using the runway at Yokota.

The base, one of three U.S. Air Force bases in Japan, occupies around 700 hectares and stretches over six municipalities in Tokyo. It houses the command headquarters of the U.S. forces in Japan.

Ishihara, who arrived in Washington on Sunday, is scheduled to hold a series of talks with U.S. government officials during his stay, which ends Friday.