Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. is the only news agency providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan

U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa conducting live-shell drill on mainland Japan as training to fight in Iraq

Okinawa-based U.S. Marine Corps units are conducting live-fire training exercises on mainland Japan in preparation for their mission in Iraq, which has nothing to do with the defense of Japan.

The Defense Facilities Administration Agency has recently announced that the Marine units will carry out live-shell drills with 155 mm howitzers at Higashi-Fuji exercise fields in Shizuoka Prefecture September 16-29. Similar training took place this year at the Hijyudai exercise field in Oita Prefecture in February and at the Ojojihara exercise field in Miyagi Prefecture in July.

In the exercises at Ojojihara, however, the USMC carried out for the first time live-fire drills using machine guns. A USMC bulletin reported that a company lieutenant said, "It's going to give (the Marines who haven't deployed) an opportunity to train to provide fire support in Iraq and Afghanistan."

An Okinawa-based USMC artillery unit took part in the all-out assault on Fallujah in Iraq in October 2004, and fired 155 mm howitzers that killed many innocent civilians.

Despite the Japanese government promise that USMC's live-shell drills on mainland Japan will not exceed the level of the drills it had conducted in USMC Camp Hansen in Okinawa, the drills on mainland Japan have been intensified with longer range targeting and more live-shells. It even conducted exercises at night.
- Akahata, August 28, 2006

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.