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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 17 - 23  > US parachute drills in Okinawa deepens local fishermen’s anxiety
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2018 January 17 - 23 [US FORCES]

US parachute drills in Okinawa deepens local fishermen’s anxiety

January 21, 2018
The U.S. military on January 18 conducted parachute landing drills on Tsuken-jima Island near Okinawa’s Uruma City in defiance of fierce opposition from local fishermen and residents.

In the past year, the U.S. military repeatedly caused accidents in Okinawa with emergency landings and parts-drop incidents, which has increased Tsuken-jima residents’ anxiety over safety.

On that day, a total of 15 soldiers parachuted from a helicopter stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma base onto a coastal area in western Tsuken-jima. In 2017, the U.S. military conducted parachute landing exercises nine times on the island. The frequency of such exercises was once a year or so until a few years ago.

Many fishermen on Tsuken-jima Island are said to be engaged in harvesting mozuku seaweed. One of them said that the frequent U.S. military-related accidents make him worried and that an aircraft crash near the fishery fields may cause pollution and destroy the seaweed.

A man who operates a gas station on the island said that fortunately, a U.S. military accident has not occurred on the island so far and added that however, with the recent series of mishaps, he cannot help thinking that the island will fall victim to an accident.

On one of the other islands that are part of Uruma City, Ikei-jima Island, U.S. Marine Corps helicopters made two emergency landings in the past 12 months. A man who heads the residents’ association of Ikei-Ijma Island said that local residents urge the U.S. military to refrain from carrying out drills over the mozuku fishery fields but the U.S. military disregards their concerns. He said that Japan as a sovereign nation should put a halt to such training exercises.

Past related articles:
> US military helicopter makes emergency landing on Okinawa beach [January 7 and 9, 2018]
> US military copter makes emergency landing on farm road in Okinawa [anuary 22&24, 2017]
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