The Japanese government is planning to buy an island in its Kagoshima prefecture for U.S. aircraft-carrier landing practice as soon as March, according to a Thursday report by the Jiji Press.
For decades, Navy pilots have practiced their carrier-landing skills on Japan’s Iwo Jima. The island is known as the site of a fierce World War II battle that killed more than 25,000 Japanese and American troops. A photo taken during that battle inspired the iconic Marine Corps War Memorial in Virginia.
Over the past several years, Japanese defense officials have pressed to move that practice from Iwo Jima — known in Japan as Iwo To — to Mageshima, an island closer to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, where Carrier Air Wing 5 is based.