To our east, 40 km (25 mi) offshore, there are two areas of "Restricted Airspace"; one extending from the surface to 35,000 ft, the other to 80,000 ft, where the JASDF practice. Presumably, they drill on the detection and engagement of intruders. RF-4E and F-4EJ Phantom IIs are their recon and electronic warfare platforms, Kawasaki T-4 trainers are, I would guess, training newer pilots or acting as the intruders, and the defense fighter is the Mitsubishi built F-15J and F-15DJ(a 2 seat variant). We don't see the RF-4s so often, which is OK, as those old engine designs are very loud at any throttle setting.
The favored runway at Hyakuri under usual wind conditions is 03 (ie on a heading of 30 degrees), and the jets returning from the practice area fly over us at about 1000 feet on an extended base leg for landing, the low altitude keeps them well under the commercial traffic going into Tokyo International at Narita. The fighters pass over us heading northwest, then hang a right somewhere over Lake Kasumigaura and line up with the runway.
Far, and I mean far (about 1000 miles), to the southwest, in Okinawa Prefecture, the US base at Kadena has been a local bone of contention for decades. Japan regained "independence" in 1951, yet the US has never ended its military presence. When Prime Minister Abe's grandfather on his mother's side, Nobusuke Kishi, Japan's PM from 1957-1960, made a deal with the US for the US-Japanese Security Treaty in 1960, there were riots in the streets of Tokyo. Kishi, by the way, worked with General Tojo in Manchuria where he also ran the illegal drug trade, during WWII was Tojo's Minister of Munitions and Industry, and after the war was held as a Class A war Criminal (he even signed the order to attack the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor). He escaped prosecution and was released in 1948 thanks to the cold war.
Okinawa has felt the brunt of that security treaty, partly due to its strategic position with respect to Korea, China, and Taiwan, but mostly the fact that at the time it was STILL being governed by the US. Ironic as well because the Ryukyu Islands, of which Okinawa is but one, used to be an independent monarchy, the Ryukyu Kingdom, which had its own culture and language until Japan took it by force in 1869 (an act in which President Grant played a pivotal role) and called it Okinawa Prefecture. After World War II it was governed by the US until handed it back to Japan in 1972.
Many of the people there (including the governor) are fed up with the high crime rate, safety issues, and aircraft noise that the base has brought (along with the 13 other US military installations on the little island, which is only 2/3 the size of Maui), and that tension recently played a major part in the negotiated "realignment" of the US military in Japan. In an effort to ease the noise impact on Okinawans of US-Japanese fighter drills, there has been an agreement reached to distribute the drills to six bases spread out over the length of Japan. Sort of a "share the noise" plan. This move is about taking some pressure off the USA in Okinawa so that the US can continue to project its power in this region with as little local resistance as possible until Japan can be re-militarized itself - a project near and dear to PM Abe's heart, but not so popular with the citizenry.
Some of the drills will now take off from - (insert diminished 7th chord here, as Moody Minstrel would say) Hyakuri Air Base. I have no idea how often this will happen. US planes will not be based there, but will fly in from Okinawa whenever they run the drills (US fuel guzzling tax dollars at work). I will also be interested to see if they utilize any of the new F-22 Raptor fighters recently based at Kadena.
Though we are under the flight path (very close anyway) of returning planes, they are usually throttled back and not making a huge amount of racket. They come by anywhere from a few to several days a week, and the number of aircraft and number of sorties varies as well. I'm not anticipating a big change, but if they pick up the frequency of flights a lot it could become annoying. We'll see.
Of course, if they just want to put on an air show and do aerobatics over the house, I'd be all for that.
Trivia - The Marine Corps base on Okinawa is named for General Smedley D Butler, who (more irony) was an isolationist at the time of his death in 1940.