ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — Japanese officials said they are pleased Atsugi Naval Air Facility did not conduct its planned night landing practice here between Friday and Monday.

However, something else now irks the local officials: an increase in noise before the planned practice.

Officials for Carrier Air Wing Five said Atsugi was planned as a backup if weather prevented pilots from landing at Iwo Jima, a remote island 700 miles south. The weather cooperated and the Iwo Jima landings were successful, they said, so Atsugi was not needed.

However, prefecture officials expressed concern about what they said they suspect is an increase the past few weeks in training and flights before the night landing practices.

Prefecture officials received 269 noise complaints Oct. 7, they said; they received roughly the same number before last year’s practice.

“We think the pilots are preparing” for the night landing practice, said Nobuo Horie, a prefecture base affairs official. “The jets have the same flying pattern as the NLP.” He said flights are conducted day and night.

Navy officials said Tuesday flights have not increased in the past several weeks.

“We have not seen any increase in noise complaints and we are continuing to cooperate in accordance with all agreements and conducting normal training operations,” said Chief Petty Officer James Junior, a facility spokesman.

Juliana Gittler contributed to this report.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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