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U.S. F-22 stealth fighters to deploy 3rd time to Okinawa

Date Posted: 2009-05-14

A dozen of America’s most sophisticated jet fighters will be returning soon to Kadena Air Base for the second time this year.

The Langley Air Force Base, Virginia-based F-22 stealth fighters were at Kadena for three months earlier this year after making an initial deployment several years ago. The aircraft will be under operational control of Pacific Air Forces, officials say, and will be at Kadena for four months.

A Hawaii-based public affairs spokesman says “we’re doing planning for training with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, to have beneficial experiences together.” He said the deployment is in line with the West Coast Pacific District security planning.

Negative reaction to the announcement is already popping up. A Japan specialist warns that while the deployment is to show security capabilities, the F-22’s are “going to create protest campaigns around the air force base because of increasing noise damage.” The Okinawa Prefecture Governor’s Office Director has already cautioned the U.S. Air Force, the Okinawa Self Defense Force and the Foreign Ministry that “the F-22 deployment is not proceeding in line with reducing our burden.” Yoshiyuki Uehara said “we’re asking them to reduce the noise burden.”

The Director of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force has already asked the general commanding the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base to insure compliance with noise measurement regulations. The 12 fighters being sent to Kadena will bring an additional 250 personnel to the air base.

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