Okinawa Chief Protests against Repeated Accidents by US Military (News)


Tokyo, Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)—Onaga Takeshi, governor of Okinawa Prefecture, submitted to the central government on Thursday a written protest against the latest accident caused by the US military in the southernmost Japan prefecture.

Meeting with State Defense Minister Yamamoto Tomohiro in Tokyo, Onaga said, "I can't endure these repeated accidents."

The meeting was held in the wake of the accident in Ginowan on Wednesday, in which a window dropped from a flying CH-53E large helicopter onto an elementary school's ground adjacent to the US Marine Corps' Futenma air base. A student was slightly injured in the accident, which came after a part fell off the same type of helicopter and hit the roof of a nursery near the base on Dec. 7.

In the protest letter, Onaga said he was gravely shocked by the latest accident and that such an incident is totally impermissible. He then demanded comprehensive inspections of all US military aircraft and a flight ban until the checks end.

Stressing that US aircraft have repeatedly caused accidents at what are supposed to be among the safest places for children, such as a nursery and an elementary school, the statement blamed the Japanese government for giving priority to facilitating US military operations in Okinawa over securing the safety of local residents.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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