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Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005

Yokota base civil flights have merit: researchers


Staff writer

Allowing civilian flights at the U.S. Air Force Yokota Air Base would have positive effects on the local economy, including the creation of 8,000 jobs and an additional 3.4 billion yen in tax revenue for Tokyo municipalities, researchers studying joint use of the base said Friday.

The team presented its findings to a symposium in Tokyo held by the Institute of Statistical Research, a Tokyo-based think tank.

Allowing airlines to use the U.S. base would also boost the output of airport-related local industries by about 140 billion, yen said Toshinori Nemoto, a professor at Hitotsubashi University's graduate school of commerce and management who worked on the project.

If the base was open to 40 commercial domestic flights a day in 2007, an estimated 3.658 million passengers would use the airport, and the number would rise to 5 million in 2022, said Mitsuo Takahashi, another researcher and professor of Reitaku University.

In addition, the base's location in western Tokyo is convenient for several science and technology universities, and electronic device-manufacturing plants in the area, Nemoto said.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has been a strong advocate of turning Yokota Air Base into a civilian-military airport since taking office in 1999.

Japan and the U.S. are currently negotiating the issue as part of U.S. military realignment talks.



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