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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 24 - 30  > Okinawans overwhelmed by continuing spate of accidents involving US military aircraft
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2018 January 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Okinawans overwhelmed by continuing spate of accidents involving US military aircraft

January 25, 2018
A U.S. military aircraft has again caused an accident in Okinawa. Commenting on the accident, Governor Onaga Takeshi said, “I’m overwhelmed by a feeling of repulsion.”

An AH-1Z helicopter stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma base on the night of January 23 made an emergency landing at a village-run heliport in Okinawa’s Tonaki Village.

This is the third forced landing incident by U.S. military aircraft this year. Another AH-1Z had a forced landing in Yomitan Town on January 8. The Okinawa prefectural government announced that since the December 2016 MV-22 Osprey crash, the U.S. military has had 37 accidents and mishaps. Most of them were caused by aircraft deployed to the U.S. Futenma base.

Following the latest accident, Governor Onaga said, “I have no words to describe my feelings. We protested against past U.S. military-related accidents dozens, even hundreds of times, but we see no improvement.” This remark echoes Okinawans’ feelings.

Despite the repeated accidents, U.S. military aircraft are flying over the skies of Okinawa as if nothing has happened. As a reason for this, Akahata on January 25 said that the U.S. forces are allowed to freely conduct flight training drills anywhere in Japan under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

In addition, the Japanese government considers the presence of the U.S. military in Japan to be a deterrent. In fact, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide in a press conference on the day after the latest accident said that the U.S. forces in Japan play an important role as a deterrent to war. As long as the government sticks to this idea, it will have to ensure that the U.S. military can freely carry out flight training exercises in order to help maintain the U.S. deterrent capability.

The U.S. military, which keeps causing accidents even in peacetime exercises, does not serve as a deterrent but acts as a magnet for foreign missiles.

Past related articles:
> Okinawa governor protests against flights of US military helicopters over elementary school [January 19 and 20, 2018]
> Okinawa Prefecture demands halt to flights of all US military aircraft in protest against frequent accidents [January 10, 2018]
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