March 10, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo
On the morning of March 10, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) stationed at Naha Air Base in Okinawa conducted, at Kadena Air Base, its first mobilization/deployment training with the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile system. The training was conducted despite objections and requests from the Kadena Air Base Tri-City Intercommunication Committee (chaired by Mayor Hiroshi Toyama of Kadena Town), which is comprised of people from local municipalities.
According to several interested parties, the PAC-3 system located at Chinen Sub Base in Nanjo City was moved to Kadena Air Base, and was involved in a series of operation trainings ranging from deployment to dismantling. The training was wrapped up in the morning, and the PAC-3 system was moved from Kadena Air Base after 1:00 p.m. the same day.
A JASDF spokesperson mentioned that the training was conducted on U.S. military base grounds that are managed by the U.S. military and used jointly, but the training itself was not joint training and was solely for the JASDF. Hereafter, a policy is being rolled out for nationwide deployment so that similar training can be conducted outside of Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) facilities.
Mobile deployment training for leaders is being planned for March 15, in which 10 vehicles and about 20 people of the Southwestern Aircraft Control and Warning Wing from Naha Air Base will participate.
◆ Okinawa prefectural government also requests sufficient consideration be given to citizens’ daily lives
On March 10 in a phone call with the Coordination Division of the Okinawa Defense Bureau’s Department of Planning, Atsushi Shiroma, a deputy councilor of the Military Base Affairs Division of the Okinawa prefectural government (OPG), requested that there be conscientious explanations so that regional understanding and cooperation can be achieved, and that sufficient consideration be given to citizens’ daily lives, safety, and peace of mind as affected by the training being conducted. Touching on the topic of the objections and requests from the Kadena Air Base Tri-City Intercommunication Committee, and speaking as a representative of the OPG, Shiroma expressed that there must not be an increase of the burden born by the Okinawan people due to training being conducted for joint-use of bases.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)