US Flies Choppers over Okinawa School Again (News)
Naha, Okinawa Pref., Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)—US military helicopters flew in formation over an elementary school in Okinawa Prefecture on Thursday, despite Japanese protests over an incident last month in which US chopper parts fell onto the ground in the same school.
In the wake of the incident on December 13, the school in the city of Ginowan had demanded that the US side never fly aircraft over it again, and US Forces Japan had agreed with the Japanese Defense Ministry to avoid flights over any schools as much as possible.
But on Thursday, a US UH-1 helicopter and two AH-1 gunships were spotted over the school at around 1:25 pm, according to the ministry's local bureau in the southern prefecture.
At the school on the same day, evacuation drills were held in the morning on the assumption of US military aircraft parts falling from the sky. The school is located next to the US Marine Corps' Futenma air station.
The Marine Corps in Okinawa denied the flights over the school, citing accounts of pilots, according to a Japanese Defense Ministry source. The Marine Corps said pilots have been instructed not to fly over schools and that they understand the instruction, according to the source.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]