Japan seeks to use US air base during 2020 Olympics

Baku, April 20, AZERTAC

Japan is in talks with Washington to use a U.S. airbase during 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the capital Tokyo, local media reported on Friday.

“The [Japanese] government has asked Washington to open the U.S. Air Force base's runway to commercial flights, at least temporarily turning the facility into a civilian-military dual-use airport to increase the capital's air traffic capacity for the 2020 Games,” according to daily Mainichi.

“The U.S. is considering the request,” the daily said.

It was during 2003 Japan-U.S. summit when Washington had agreed to then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s request to examine the Yokota runway for “possible dual civilian-military use”, according to Mainichi.

“A feasibility study outline was set out in the May 2006 United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation, but was not advanced further,” the daily added.

Located in western Tokyo, Yokota Air Base is home to 14,000 personnel and is a United States Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force base in the city of Fussa, one of 26 cities in the Tama area of the Japanese capital.

When Tokyo first proposed turning Yokota into a dual-use airport permanently, the daily said: “Washington's response was cautious because the measure would limit U.S. military flights”.

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