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U.S. Marine Corps armored car trespasses on schoolyard in Okinawa


   A U.S. Marine Corps armored car trespassed on the schoolyard of the Okinawa Prefectural High School for Disabled Students in Uruma City at around 5 p.m. on July 18. Even in Okinawa, where three fourths of U.S. bases in Japan are concentrated, such an incident was unprecedented.


   While students were running in the schoolyard, the armored car drove about ten meters into the schoolyard beyond the gate and then exited.


   A 48-year-old mother of a student who saw the car entering said, gI was very shocked to see that. Ifm anxious about the safety of the students.h Shiohama Yasuo, the principal of the school, said, gThis was really unbelievable. The students were greatly shocked.h


   On July 20 in the afternoon, Mayor Chinen Tsuneo and members of Uruma City Assembly committee on base issues carried out an on-the-spot investigation.


   In response to a city government inquiry, the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau admitted that the vehicle belongs to a U.S. Marine Corps unit but refused to disclose information about the unit name or the type of vehicle on the grounds that such information affects operations. Mayor Chinen criticized the Bureau, saying, gSince the incident endangered the safety of residents, refusal of information disclosure is irresponsible.h


   Japanese Communist Party City Assembly members Tanaka Naotsugu and Imori Sachiko said, gThis incident reflected the U.S. personnelfs attitude that Okinawa is theirs to do as they please. Since the incident endangered the students, we severely criticize it.h                  - Akahata, July 21, 2007



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