Neighbors remind Yokota Air Base to control exercise noise
January 25, 2004
City officials from communities near Yokota Air Base, Japan, are reminding base officials to keep the noise down during upcoming exercises.
A Tokyo Metropolitan Government representative met with Yokota officials last week, submitting a letter to 374th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Mark Schissler asking the base to keep loud noise to a minimum, said Daisaku Niimi, the Tokyo government’s planning and coordination section director.
The letter was from a liaison council consisting of members from Tokyo’s metropolitan government and the five cities and one town adjacent to Yokota. The letter also was submitted to Tokyo’s Defense Facilities Administration Bureau and Yokota’s Defense Facilities Administration Office.
The council’s requests included:
• Reduce loud noise during exercises, especially from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.• Notify local governments of upcoming exercises so they can notify residents.• When broadcasting “exercise, exercise, exercise” over the the base’s public address system, make announcements in Japanese also.• Be prepared to answer questions from the residents during an exercise.
The base receives similar petitions annually and forwards them to U.S. Forces Japan, said Yokota spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Jessica Martin.
“Standard procedure is the wing does not respond directly to these petitions,” she said. While wing resources may be used to address the issues, USFJ works directly with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, she said.
The letter has not yet been turned over to USFJ, Martin noted.
Niimi said the council has made similar requests to the base for the past two years. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the base began using the PA system during exercises, he said.
City officials received about 200 complaints after the first exercise using the system in May 2002, he said. The base, however, took measures to reduce noise and complaints dropped dramatically.
— Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.