Okinawa local governments oppose sending missiles to Kadena
July 1, 2006
KADENA TOWN, Okinawa — Alarmed by reports that Patriot interceptor missiles may be deployed to Kadena Air Base, the three municipalities hosting the base issued a protest Wednesday.
“That the government proceeds with a plan to place Patriots (on Kadena Air Base) without any consultation with the local communities definitely forces local communities to accept the growth of the air base’s operations, which is absolutely unacceptable,” read a statement issued by a council formed by the mayors and council chairmen of Okinawa City and the towns of Kadena and Chatan.
In a broad agreement signed May 1 to realign U.S. troops, the United States and Japan announced that Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles would be deployed on U.S. bases in Japan, “becoming operational at the earliest possible time.”
Last week, amid reports North Korea was preparing to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, a Japanese newspaper, quoting anonymous Japanese government officials, reported that the United States would deploy the missiles to either Kadena Air Base or the adjacent Kadena Ammunition Storage Area by the end of the year, along with 500 to 600 additional troops.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the PAC-3 site locations haven’t been decided.
A spokesman for the 18th Wing on Kadena Air Base declined to comment Thursday on the missiles’ placement and the protest resolution.
Patriot missiles are designed to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and enemy aircraft.