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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 December 16 - 22  > US military’s live shell drills cause another forest fire in Okinawa
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2015 December 16 - 22 [US FORCES]

US military’s live shell drills cause another forest fire in Okinawa

December 19 & 20, 2015
A large-scale forest fire broke out within U.S. Camp Hansen in Okinawa on the afternoon of December 18. The fire was caused by the U.S. military’s live fire drills.

On that day, the U.S. forces took no action to fight the fire. The next morning, they finally initiated firefighting activities and the blaze was extinguished around noon. Okinawa prefectural government officials said that this is the 14th forest fire in 2015 that occurred on U.S. bases in the prefecture.

Camp Hansen extends over Kin Town and Ginoza Village. Near the base are two residential areas, an expressway, and a national road. The residential districts were filled with smoke and ashes covered roofs and buildings.

Nakama Masaharu, an independent member of the Kin Town Assembly, took photos of the raging flames from the vicinity at about 6 p.m. on December 18. “This was the largest forest fire that I’ve ever seen here. We’ve lodged protests with the U.S. military each time they caused a bush fire, but they continue conducting live shell exercises.”

On one occasion in the past, a stray bullet which seemed to come from a live fire drill was found at a gas station near the base. At another time, a bullet was found lodged in the front of a car which was parked in a garage adjacent to the base. Local residents have repeatedly demanded that the U.S. military not use the mountainous area as a firing range.

Nakama said in anger, “What exactly are the Abe government’s measures to alleviate the burdens on Okinawa? Tokyo and Washington are just trampling on Okinawans’ human rights.”

Past related article:
> 400 million yen spent on SDF drills near Mt. Fuji [August 24, 2015]
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