Japan to buy tiny island in Kagoshima for Y16 billion to host U.S. landing drills
Japan Times -- Dec 03
The government said Monday it has agreed to buy an uninhabited island in Kagoshima Prefecture with an eye to letting the U.S. military use it for takeoff and landing practice.

The ¥16 billion ($146 million) acquisition of 8-sq.-km Mage Island will pave the way for relocating the practice site for U.S. carrier-borne fighters from Iwo Jima.

“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 agreement was reached Friday.

The U.S. used to conduct takeoff and landing practice at Atsugi air base in Kanagawa Prefecture, but the training site was moved to Iwo Jima in the 1990s on a temporary basis due to complaints about noise.

The fighters were all transferred further south from Atsugi to another U.S. base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, last year, making the flight to the island even longer. As a result, the United States asked Japan to prepare a more convenient and permanent location for the drill.

Mage Island is about 400 km from Iwakuni, while Iwo Jima is 1,400 km away.

News source: Japan Times
Dec 12
A former top bureaucrat at the farm ministry admitted Wednesday to killing his socially reclusive son, during the first day of his high-profile trial in Tokyo. (Japan Times)
Dec 12
Japan's environment minister has suggested his country has no plans to change its coal-fired power generation policy soon. Shinjiro Koizumi was speaking at the UN climate change summit in Spain. (NHK)
Dec 12
An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 struck northern Hokkaido early Thursday and measured lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7, Japan's weather agency said. (Japan Today)
Dec 12
A recent online survey has found that 1 in 10 in Japan identify as LGBT or another sexual minority. (Japan Times)
Dec 11
Japanese scientist Akira Yoshino accepted the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Tuesday at a ceremony in Sweden for his contribution to the development of lithium-ion batteries. (Japan Times)
Dec 11
A former Japanese defense chief has been shot in the leg near his home in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, Sankei newspaper reported on Tuesday citing police sources. (Japan Today)
Dec 11
Russia may be banned from the next two Olympics but the door is open for Russian participation at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games if athletes can meet the rigid criteria laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). (Japan Today)
Dec 11
Police referred a 17-year-old high school student and two men to prosecutors on Tuesday over their alleged involvement in the online trading of uranium in violation of Japanese law regulating nuclear materials. (Japan Today)
Dec 10
It might be the most Japanese of political scandals: a furor over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's guest list at a party to mark the annual cherry blossom season. (Japan Today)
Dec 10
Afghan police said Monday they have detained a total of six men in connection with the shooting death last week of a Japanese doctor who was a well-known aid worker in the central Asian country. (Japan Today)