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Kadena F-15 drills to be transferred to five ASDF bases

Japan and the United States have agreed to move some of the F-15 fighter jets’ flight exercises held at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa to five Air Self-Defense Force bases outside the prefecture, sources said Friday.

The move to the five bases — located in Chitose, Hokkaido; Hyakuri, Ibaraki Prefecture; Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture; Tsuiki, Fukuoka Prefecture; and Nyutabaru, Miyazaki Prefecture — is aimed at reducing Okinawa’s burden of hosting the bulk of U.S. bases, the sources said.

The agreement was reached during bilateral negotiations on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and will be included in an interim report to be adopted at a top security meeting on Saturday in Washington, they said.

Local residents in Okinawa have been opposed to flight exercises by F-15s due to the high noise levels.

About 70,000 takeoffs and landings take place every year at the Kadena base. That will be reduced by several thousand after the transfer, the sources said.

Defense Agency Director General Yoshinori Ono told a news conference Friday morning that no decision had been made on the transfers.