Okinawans monitoring noise from Ospreys


People living in the village of Ginoza in Okinawa have started measuring noise levels emanating from the U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

After collecting data, Ginoza officials will ask the central government to take steps to reduce noise pollution and also ask the U.S. forces to change the current flight routes for the Ospreys, which are conducting drills around the northern Okinawa village, home to U.S. Marine Corps Camp Hansen.

Since the Ospreys were deployed to Okinawa last October, the village has confirmed that the aircraft passed overhead on at least 38 days. The noise pollution generated by the vertical takeoff and landing transport planes during their low-altitude flights has become a serious problem for the residents.

With the cooperation of some of the residents, the local assembly plans to install noise-measuring devices at nine places around the village.

It recently handed out its first acoustimeter to Tadanobu Izumi, 82, who lives in the Shirohara district. His home is just 300 meters from Camp Hansen’s helicopter takeoff and landing zone.

“The Ospreys barely clear my rooftop and the loud noise makes the house shake,” he said.

Up to 98.9 decibels were registered at a house in Ginoza in late January, said Takeshi Tokashiki, an associate professor at the University of the Ryukyus.

Tokashiki said this level of noise is as loud as what is heard underneath elevated railway tracks when a train passes.

Many Okinawans have argued the Ospreys do not abide by flight rules agreed on by the Japanese and U.S. governments, such as no flights over schools or densely populated areas.

Last October and November, officials of the prefecture and 27 municipalities recorded a total of 318 Osprey flights that violated the rules.