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Kadena Air Traffic Control Radar Test Raises Ire

Date Posted: 2000-02-20

The Okinawa Air Traffic Landing Control Radar System, operated by the US Military, reportedly went down for about two hours, on Sunday February 13th morning, due to system testing. The technical breakdown led to a raising of voices among the prefecture’s officials, demanding that the radar system be returned to Japanese civilian control. The system has been left under US military control “for the time of being” since Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972.

The Okinawa Prefecture Military Base Policy Section Director, Yoshihito Yamada said, “We should move the operation of the radar system to civilian hands at Naha Airport. We said that clearly last time when the system went down in November.” At that time a power shovel at a construction site inside Kadena Air Base sliced a cable that caused the radar to fail.

Officials at Kadena Air Base said that the testing was necessary and planned. They pointed out that the testing was done early in the morning when there is not much air traffic in the area. They also said that they routinely discuss air traffic safety issues, including this testing with the air traffic control tower in Naha, and they were well in control of the situation.

The test reportedly caused small five to ten minute delays for six scheduled flights.

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