U.S. Military Chopper Part Falls Onto Okinawa School Tennis Court

Politics

Naha, Okinawa Pref., June 5 (Jiji Press)--The object that fell from the sky onto a tennis court of a junior high school in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa on Tuesday has been identified as rubber tape for protecting the rotor of a U.S. military helicopter, sources in the prefectural government said Wednesday.

"The incident could have caused serious consequences," Kiichiro Jahana, deputy governor of Okinawa, told reporters at the prefectural government office in Naha, Okinawa's capital, on Wednesday.

The prefecture will lodge a protest with the U.S. forces in Okinawa shortly, he added.

The 20-gram rubber tape fell onto the tennis court of the school in the city of Urasoe, from a flying CH-53E large transport helicopter, which is deployed at the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in the city of Ginowan in the prefecture.

"I want the Futenma base to be closed and its facilities to be removed as early as possible," Urasoe Mayor Tetsuji Matsumoto told a press conference on Wednesday.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press