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Kadena launches planes early despite appeals

Date Posted: 2008-05-02

Residents of three communities surrounding Kadena Air Base had asked the Air Force not to permit combat aircraft to take off during nighttime hours, and are angry because the military did it anyway.

The 5:11 a.m. launch of an F-15 fighter jet and two lumbering refueler aircraft Sunday rattled windows, irritating citizens. A vigilant resident in Kadena Town measured the aircraft noise at 96 decibels. “Most residents had been sleeping very well, but the big noise of planes is disturbing people’s sleep and disturbing our peaceful life,” says Masaharu Noguni, the Chatan Town mayor. Chatan Town and Okinawa City also abut the sprawling U.S. base.

“We only ask that they wait 50 minutes more,” said the mayor. “Six o’clock is the agreed upon time. Why can’t the American military listen to our request and be considerate of other people’s lives,” he asks. Noguni says he doesn’t think it is “so difficult to wait until the agreed time.”

“My ears are hurting,” said one area mother. “I can’t sleep anymore. The early wake ups have made our life circle a mess, and we might get sick from the noise.” A 30-year Kadena Town resident says “I love Kadena Town very much, and if we didn’t have noise problems from the planes, Kadena Town would be very beautiful. The noise,” he adds, “has always been a problem.”

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