Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara is demanding that the U.S. military halt low-altitude helicopter flights over civilian areas near Yokota Air Base.

The outspoken mayor’s latest demand follows a meeting held Thursday with the mayors of six cities and towns surrounding the military base in Fussa, western Tokyo.

During the meeting, the mayors of Musashi Murayama and Mizuho claimed that residents are suffering from the incessant noise of helicopters circling their cities.

“Tell them to fly (the helicopters) over their own damn yard,” Ishihara told a news conference at the Metropolitan Government Building. “They have such a tremendous plot of land at Tama Recreation Center.”

Ishihara is scheduled to submit his written demands today to Yokota Air Base and national government officials, and to the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday.

However, the mayors involved remain staunchly opposed to Ishihara’s proposal to convert the base into a joint military-civilian facility, and have voiced concerns that noise levels will likely rise if commercial flights are permitted.

“We hope for heightened awareness from the governor on how we are plagued by the constant takeoffs and landings,” said Mizuho Mayor Hisashi Sekiya.

According to the city, noise in central Mizuho, situated north of Yokota’s runway, averaged 88 WECPL (weighted equivalent continuous perceived noise level) between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. in fiscal 1998, significantly higher than the limit of 70 WEPCL set by the Environmental Agency for similar facilities. “We cannot approve his plan,” Sekiya said.

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