Okinawa's local assemblies protest the crash of a U.S. Marines helicopter

Local assemblies in Okinawa Prefecture have one after another adopted a resolution in protest against the August 13 crash of a U.S. Marines transport helicopter at an Okinawa university campus.

On August 17, the city assembly of Ginowan, where the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station is located, adopted a unanimous resolution calling for a review of the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) and the plan to relocate the Futenma base to Nago City.

The resolution emphasized that the crash was foreseeable because the Futenma base is situated in central Ginowan and argued that accidents will never be eliminated as long as the U.S. military base exists.

Local assemblies of Okinawa, Tomigusuku, and Urasoe cities, and Chatan and Kadena towns also adopted similar resolutions, followed by many other assemblies, including the Naha City Assembly.

In the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, however, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties rejected a resolution submitted by opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, calling for a reconsideration of the SACO agreement and the relocation plan and for a cancellation of U.S. flight exercises over residential areas. The assembly passively expressed its position.

Rejecting a request by Okinawa Police to conduct joint on-site investigations, the U.S. Marine Corps. on August 16 began moving out the wreckage of the helicopter from the university campus while Japanese police could not even enter the crash site.

Okinawa International University on the following day issued a statement criticizing such an insincere response of the U.S. force. (end)

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