Hashimoto’s distracting hoopla

Regarding the June 7 front-page article “Hashimoto to Abe: Fly Ospreys at Yao” by Eric Johnston: Yao Airport is a general aviation airport (a second-class airport under Japan’s aviation law) with two runways that intersect, one 1,490 meters in length and the other 1,200 meters. An aerial photograph shows that the airport is in the middle of a densely populated residential area of greater Osaka. Thus the location seems more dangerous than the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa.

It is said that there are 650 hazardous objects such as tall buildings and trees with heights exceeding aviation law-sanctioned limits on four approach areas to the airport.

So, how could Mayor Toru Hashimoto say Osaka is ready to host MV-22 Osprey flight drills at such an airport? Is this is just lip service to Okinawa because he knows too well that residents near Yao will never accept this political hoopla? Or is it a red herring to distract people’s attention away from his recent gaffe?

Why can’t he simply ask Washington to relocate Futenma’s functions to the U.S. mainland where flight training for Ospreys can be carried out without any heed to hazardous conditions inherent at Yao Airport and Futenma Air Station?

yoshio shimoji
naha, okinawa

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.