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Okinawa City mayor questions safety markings on new tower

Date Posted: 2008-08-22

A new waste incinerator under construction in Okinawa City will have a chimney smoke stack rising nearly 60 meters into the air, a concern to Defense Ministry officials who ask it be given a colorful paint job with red and white stripes as a warning to aircraft.

The sanitary facility sits directly in line with the Kadena Air Base flights take-off and landings pattern, its 59-meters-high chimney a potential safety issue for pilots. Mitsuko Tomon, Okinawa City’s mayor, says “I have heard it’s for safety reasons,” but refused to make the simple decision to order the tower painted red and white striped. Instead, she says “I will ask local residents what they say about it, and then I will decide.”

The Kurahama Sanitary Facility Association headed by Tomon brings Okinawa City, Ginowan City and Chatan Town together to build and operate the new incinerator. The plant, to be completed in 2010, is under construction in the Ikehara area of Okinawa City.

The Association recognizes “this high chimney is dangerous for military airplanes flying from Kadena Air Base”, noting red and white stripes would be ideal for safety, agreeing with the Okinawa District Defense officials.

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