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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 31 - February 6  > Opposition party lawmakers lodge protest with US Embassy against repeated US military-caused accidents in Okinawa
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2018 January 31 - February 6 [US FORCES]

Opposition party lawmakers lodge protest with US Embassy against repeated US military-caused accidents in Okinawa

February 3, 2018
A group of lawmakers from six opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, and an Okinawa-elected independent lawmaker on February 2 made representations to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to protest against the nonstop U.S. military aircraft accidents in Okinawa.

In the representations, the parliamentarians’ group also demanded thorough investigations into the causes of the frequent accidents and a halt to flights of all military aircraft.

According to the lawmakers, Aaron Snipe of the U.S. Embassy, who is in charge of security policies, acknowledged that a series of U.S. military aircraft accidents have caused the fear among Okinawans and offered an apology. Meanwhile, regarding the lawmakers’ demand for an investigation into the causes of the accidents, urgent maintenance and check-up of all U.S. military aircraft in Okinawa, and the suspension of flights, Snipe only said that he will convey these demands to the ambassador.

On January 18, three U.S. military helicopters flew over the Futenma No.2 Elementary School where a U.S. military aircraft just one month earlier dropped an 8-kilogram window onto the schoolyard. The Japanese Defense Ministry confirmed the helicopters’ overflight. The embassy official, however, denied this incident by saying that he talked directly with pilots of the copters in question and they said they did not fly over the school.

Okinawa-elected independent member of the House of Councilors Iha Yoichi pointed out that U.S. military aircraft fly over schools, childcare centers, and residential areas in violation of the August 2007 Japan-U.S. agreement on flight routes. Iha urged Snipe to instruct the U.S. military in Okinawa to comply with the agreement.

The Japanese lawmakers are determined to continue petitioning at the U.S. Embassy and pushing the embassy to disclose full information regarding the accidents.

After the representations, JCP member of the House of Representatives Miyamoto Toru said, “We will keep on demanding the suspension of U.S. military aircraft flights.”

Past related articles:
> Okinawans overwhelmed by continuing spate of accidents involving US military aircraft [January 25, 2018]
> Okinawa governor protests against flights of US military helicopters over elementary school [January 19 and 20, 2018]
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