Navy flight practice closer to moving off Iwo Jima
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Japan has taken a step closer toward providing the Navy with a long-sought replacement base for qualifying pilots to land on aircraft carriers, though the plan faces opposition from nearby island residents concerned about noise and damage to the tourist economy.
Moving to uninhabited Mageshima would be safer than the Navy’s current arrangement at historic Iwo To, the island known during WWII as Iwo Jima, service officials have said.
The national government and the majority private owner of Mageshima, in Japan’s southwestern Kagoshima Prefecture, have agreed to appraise the land’s value, Defense Ministry officials told Stars and Stripes.
The appraisal survey, covering about 1,800 acres, is expected to finish up in March, the Defense Ministry said.
If the Japanese government purchases Mageshima, it would build a Japan Self-Defense Forces base there capable of hosting the occasional U.S. landing practices.
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