Eight deans in Okinawa call for no more flights from U.S. Marines Futenma base

Eight university and college presidents in Okinawa joined together to call on U.S. President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro to have all military flights from the U.S. Futenma Air Station halted for good.

They published the statement at a news conference on September 3 at Okinawa International University at which the U.S. Marines helicopter CH-53D crashed on August 13.

The statement said: "There is a deep concern about the danger of a similar disaster being repeated in the future and the possible outbreak of PTSD among students, the teaching staff, and the nearby residents. Thus, the aftereffects may be too serious to heal. The U.S. forces rejection of the request from the university and the local government concerned is in violation of national sovereignty and the university's autonomy. We are indignant at the way the accident was handled and the resumption of flights of helicopters of the same type as the one that crashed."

Okinawa University President Sakurai Kunitoshi criticized the Japanese government for neglecting to have the U.S. forces keep their promise to withdraw from the Futenma base.

Okinawa Women's Junior College President Sunagawa Choshin stated that the U.S. forces typically acted as occupation forces.

The eight institutions are: Okinawa Prefectural College of Arts; Okinawa Prefectural College of Nursing; Okinawa Christian University; University of Okinawa, Okinawa Women's Junior College; Okinawa International University; University of the Ryukyus; and Meio University. (end)

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