Firing exercises near houses are senseless -- Akahata editorial, June 27, 2001

A fighter jet of the Self-Defense Air Force mistakenly fired a 20-mm cannon during an exercise at a firing range in Hokkaido on June 25. Rounds were fired into the facilities of a nursing home adjacent to the training site, and damaged buses and cars in the parking lot. No casualty was reported, and the cause of the incident is still unknown.

Akahata on June 27 warned that such dangerous military exercises near residential areas must not take place.

Why air-to-ground attack exercises?

The firing range in question is close to a housing complex and welfare facilities. The ASDF conducts attack exercises on the ground with rocket artillery.

Similar mishaps have taken place frequently. Not only the SDF but also the U.S. Forces in Japan bring about many accidents.

Military exercises go hand-in-hand with accidents. That is why the U.S. Forces in the U.S. conduct live-fire exercises in deserts where no one lives.

Put residents' safety first

Local residents have to live with the danger from both the SDF's and the U.S. Forces' military bases.

The mistaken firing in Hokkaido illustrates that Japan's government is not interested in protecting the people's lives and properties.

Putting residents' safety first, the government should put an end to military exercises around residential areas. (end)