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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 January 8 - 14  > Drop of machine part from US jet arouses anger from local residents
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2014 January 8 - 14 [US FORCES]

Drop of machine part from US jet arouses anger from local residents

January 11, 2014
A fighter jet stationed at the U.S. Atsugi base on January 9 dropped a machine part in a residential area near the base, provoking anger and anxiety from local residents.

A brake part that fell from the carrier-based FA18E Super Hornet is 2 cm wide and 17 cm long, and weighs 170 g. It went through a fence at a house and a side window of a parked car in Ayase City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The Defense Ministry of Japan expressed regret over the accident and requested the U.S. Forces in Japan to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and take measures to prevent recurrence.

On the same day, mayors of the base hosting cities of Ayase and Yamato visited the Atsugi base to demand investigation into the accident and improvement in safety measures. The two mayors in their written requests cited the fact that a U.S. military helicopter last month made a crash landing in Kanagawa’s Miura City and stated, “Local citizens are feeling strong anxiety.” They criticized the U.S. military for not implementing effective preventative measures despite citizens’ repeated requests for thorough safety measures.

Captain Steven Wieman of the Atsugi base in response said that they will look into the cause of the accident and report the results to the local governments. He also promised to suspend flights of the Super Hornets until safety measures are taken.

The Japanese Communist Party Kanagawa Prefectural Committee on the next day issued a statement in protest against the accident. It points out that U.S. aircraft dropped objects 20 times in the last 10 years in areas around the base. “The local residents, suffering from noise pollution on a daily basis, are now facing the fear of being hit by a falling object from military aircraft,” the statement stresses.

It demands that the U.S. military investigate and make public the cause of the accident, put a halt to the flight of the military aircraft, and remove the Atsugi base.
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