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U.S. military returns portion of Yokota air space to Japan

UNRELEASED | Sept. 25, 2008

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – As agreed to by the Governments of Japan and the

U.S. under transformation and realignment documents, portions of Yokota air space was

returned today.

The return completes the turnover which began last September with implementation

of “flexible use” of Yokota air space. Flexible use facilitated the movement of civilian

aircraft through Yokota air space by temporarily transferring air traffic control responsibility

to Japanese authorities when not required for military purposes. Now that the air space

has been returned, the Government of Japan will have permanent control. The benefits of

the airspace transfer are:

o Flight times will be reduced by approximately 7,200 hours per year.

o It will save approximately 8.7 million gallons of fuel a year

o It will shorten the flight time of Japanese airliners headed west from Haneda

airport an average of three minutes

o Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 81,000 tons.

o Cost reduction for airlines of approximately 10.9 billion yen per year

“Returning the airspace garners good will toward U.S. Forces by helping to reduce travel

time and pollution in the community,” said Michael Bishop, the 5th Air Force’s deputy

operations director. “It also provides better flow control for Japanese air traffic control and

Yokota, as well.


*The October 29, 2005 Security Consultative Committee Document, “U.S.-Japan Alliance: Transformation

and Realignment for the Future,” and the follow-on May 1, 2006 “Roadmap for Realignment Implementation”

direct implementation of initiatives including those relating to Yokota Air Base and air space. They can be

accessed in English or Japanese at http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/security/scc/doc0510.html.