Japan Is Buying an Island to Train American Military Pilots
Japan reported that it will buy an uninhabited island southwest of the country for EUR 132 million to house a training base for the U.S. Army, France Press reported.
In 2011, Tokyo and Washington agreed to move this US Pilot Training Centre to Mage Island, 30 kilometers from Kyushu Island.
On Friday, a contract for the purchase of Mage Island was signed "after negotiations between the Ministry of Defense and the real estate company that owns most of the island," the Japanese Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said.
Currently, US pilots are training on Iwo Jima Island, located about 1,200 km south of Tokyo.
Washington has demanded relocation, arguing that Iwo Jima is too far from the Iwakuni U.S. Air Force Base in the west of the archipelago where the fighter jets are being held.
Mage Island is about 400 km from Iwakuni, while Iwo Jima is 1,400 km away.
“It’s important to secure the site for field carrier landing practice from the viewpoint of security, so we will continue to try to build a permanent facility at an early date,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference.
The Japanese spokesman said the centre would be built "in the near future" and added that it could not provide more details since the deal has not yet been finalized.
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