Alwaght- Residents of Japan's Okinawa have protested the US military's deployment of F-22 fighters to a air base in the island.
Ten of the fifth-generation multirole stealth fighters arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa on Wednesday, with four more expected to join on a temporary base, igniting concerns and anger among local residents.
Local protestors were quoted as saying Monday that the repeated "temporary" presence of the F-22's in Okinawa would lead to increased noise.
A group of plaintiffs in Okinawa has filed a lawsuit against the government over noise issues related to the aircraft, local media reported.
According to the U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), the stealth fighters were deployed to Japan from their regular squadron in Alaska to "signify a continued commitment to regional stability and security."
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday the ongoing temporary deployment of the U.S. military’s advanced stealth F-22 fighter jets to a base in Okinawa is a move that will benefit the Japan-US alliance.
According to the US Pacific Air Forces, the fighter jets are normally assigned to a squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. It is the first time since 2014 that they have been stationed at the Kadena base.
US forces in Japan have a long history of unruly behavior, which together with other reasons, has prompted the majority of the Japanese population to demand their exit.
Numerous anti-US protests have been held in the country, particularly in Okinawa, where some 30,000 US military personnel are stationed.
In April 2016, a US Marine deployed at the Okinawa air base was charged with the murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman. Back in 2013, two American sailors admitted to raping a woman in Okinawa a year earlier in a case that sparked huge anti-US sentiments in Japan.
In 1995, the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen triggered massive protests, prompting Washington to pledge efforts to strengthen troop discipline to prevent such crimes and reduce US footprint on the island.
Since surrendering in World War II on August 15, 1945, and under a peace agreement, Japan has given US forces stationed in the country the right to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction over its own forces.