Is establishment of the U.S. Kyogamisaki
TPY-2 Radar Base (The 14th Missile Defense
Battery) in the city of Kyotango really
necessary for defense of the nation? Is it
really for enhancing safety and peace, and for
benefit of people?
According to Government’s announcement, the
purpose of establishing X-band radar base in
Kyotango is for ‘missile defense’ to control
especially attacks from North Korea. It is
uncertain, however, that the X-band radar,
providing data for interceptor missiles attacks
of U.S. Navy Aegis really protects Japan. The
establishment of a radar base in Kyotoango is a
part of U.S. military ‘ballistic missile
defense systems’ strategies for controlling
South East Asia, and it means to defend U.S.
bases in Pacific region and U.S. homeland in
the first place.
The operation of X-band radar of Kyotango
started December 26th, 2014. It has brought a
drastic change on the life of people nearby
small villages, namely Ukawa and Sodeshi
(population 1,400). They live on mainly
agriculture and fishery. The quiet environment
of typical Japanese seaside villages is now a
forefront of modern missile wars under the U.S.
and Japan Security Treaty. With operation of X-
band radar, they are now exposed to threats, or
first attacks from other nations, and also, to
unknown environmental change.
Today, local residents are exposed 24 hours
continuing low frequency noise (55 to 70, over
the limit of 41 decibels) caused by the
engines. It is almost unendurable to human
body. Many complain of headache or insomnia.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense and local
government of Kyotango discussed the matter in
February, and now the U.S. Army has applied
noise reducing mufflers. Yet, it does not seem
to reduce noise effectively. Like Shyariki in
Aomori, they had to have electricity directly
from the electricity company to solve problem,
which takes almost over a year.
Although, more than half of the people in the
region were against the planning of the U.S.
army site at the beginning, they were almost
forced to offer their land for use (300 yen per
They signed the contract, saying it was not for
money the government paid them, but for the
sustenance of villages, as the young generation
tends to leave and forsake their native places.
Moreover, they could not dare say no to the
strong advocacy of ‘defending the nation’, and
of ‘national interest’. Their ancestors who
died during World War II sleep in the graves
faced with the present radar base across the
road. It was only reluctantly that they
All process from the start of construction
through installation of the radar base was
disputable. The related information was almost
completely undisclosed. Before the actual
construction, no satisfactory explanation on
the adverse effects or possible health hazards
was given in the town meetings or in the public
hearings. Neither local governments of Kyotango
and Kyoto Prefecture, nor Self Defense Forces
which was supposed to work with U.S. military
could give appropriate answers to questions
raised by people concerned. No environmental
assessment was conducted by the Government,
since there is no domestic law applicable.
The construction of the site began suddenly in
May 27th, 2014 with no public information until
the very day before. The body of the radar was
brought in, with no proceeding public notice.
It was at midnight of October 21th, as if in
the case of emergency traffic, they drove
trains of trucks from Komastu airport of the
Self Defense Force base. The process reminds us
that Abe regime was preparing for the secret
law to be enacted in the first half of the year
2014. This move was mainly for the sake of the
military cooperation with U.S. Forces. On
December 6th, 2014, the secret law was put in
A group of concerned citizens (Kyoto Citizens
for Preservation of Environment)¹ sent an
inquiry letter to U.S. Forces Headquarters,
Zama Camp, addressed to Commander Angelella
Salvertore in September 2014. The letter
focused on the environmental questions citing
the articles (Chap 12, 13) of Japan
Environmental Governing Standards (JEGS). The
answer from U.S. Army authorities was expected.
In November, an answer letter came from
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Toner. In the inquiry
letter, was a crucial question whether U.S.
Army has already conducted any environmental
research on the base site before starting the
To this question of an environmental research
required in JEGS, their answer was vague,
although they say they will comply with JEGS.
Not referring to an environmental research
directly, they say that natural resources
management plans is not required, as the size
of the site, 8.7 acres is less than the size
applied to regulation, 500 or more. They add
that “in case of smaller size, it is required
if they have natural resources that are
especially vulnerable to disturbance, but the
land is not sustaining or serving for any known
species for concern”.
It is reported that U.S. Forces in Zama asked
Government of Japan for the need of research
before the construction of the new base in Aug,
2013, and was given a negative answer (Kyoto
Newspaper, Aug 8, 2014). It seems that the U.S.
Forces agreed to the idea that no research was
However, under the U.S. regulations of NEPA, it
seems they did conduct a small scale research.
They mentioned that they conducted surveys on
the noise, water, and electromagnetic wave with
assistance of Ministry of Defense, and would
conduct the surveys also after operation
At present, the data of surveys before the
construction turned out to be no help for the
noise problem. The data given on
electromagnetic waves was only at a few spots
and counting data was far from satisfactory.
The adverse effect of electromagnetic waves
(6km radius) is still not clearly explained by
either U.S. Army or Ministry of Defense, even
after the start of operation. No satisfactory
information is given to the public as to water
and water supply system (50 tons’ need) or the
water contamination that might be caused.
They say they conducted a physical survey of
the caves (Ana-monju in Japanese) beneath the
base site, and judged no physical damage would
be caused. This cave is in fact listed in Red
Data of Kyoto Prefecture as a protected
landscape (formed with volcanic rocks 25 to 15
million years ago). The details of the survey
are not given to public. They neglect the cave
itself has been a sacred spot of religious
worship of Monju (one of Buddha’s disciples)
since 17th century, related to a nearby temple
Kuonji. It is notable that they did not put
much consideration into Japanese historical,
To the question on the protection of endangered
species, such as falcon (category II,
vulnerable) and some vegetation (Red Data of
category of Kyoto Prefecture), U.S. authorities
denies direct harm. Their answer indicates that
they limited the area of research to the small
area of the actual site.
However it seems that change of environment at
even one spot affects birds and plants in
various ways, in a larger scale. Without
conducting the proper environmental assessment,
nobody really can predict how operation of
X-band radar base with its electromagnetic
waves, hazardous noise, and other possible
contamination would affect the whole
environment of living creatures.
The area is located at the east end of San’in
Kaigan (Seaside) global Geo Park of UNESCO. It
is evident that the army base would damage the
beautiful landscapes, affecting bio-diversity
environment, and local industries such as
Mayor Yasushi Nakayama requested Major Jason
Albright to call attention to the garrison to
safety and security for citizens of Kyotango in
Sept, 2014. People were worried about
possibilities of traffic accidents or crimes
caused by U.S. service personnel and civilian
In spite of urgent driving lessons given to
U.S. Army garrison, the numbers of traffic
accidents counts 14 cases (at the end of
February 2015), which is unusually high, with
stationing of 160 personnel and civilians. The
details of the accidents were not openly
informed. People still fear for future
accidents. They are worried that the region
would be like Okinawa where many accidents and
crimes are daily reported.
People begin to understand what the
establishment of U.S. base in Kyotango in Kyoto
means. Similar to the situation of Okinawa, the
rights of people are not much regarded in
Kyotango. The threat and danger which might be
caused by the U.S. Army stationing in Japan,
now is becoming a reality in the Kansai area.
People of the mainland of Japan realize that
they share agony with people of Okinawa.
Japan’s defense policy and recent government’s
decision toward closer cooperation with U.S.
Forces, denies rights of people for safety and
peace, damages the environment, and violates
the Constitution of Japan.