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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 29 - July 5  > Local Okinawa city remembers 18 citizens killed in 1959 US military jet crash
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2016 June 29 - July 5 [US FORCES]

Local Okinawa city remembers 18 citizens killed in 1959 US military jet crash

July 1, 2016
A memorial service took place at Miyamori Elementary School in Okinawa’s Uruma City on June 30 in remembrance of 18 victims, including small children, killed in the 1959 crash of a U.S. military jet on the school premises.

Along with bereft families, all the service attendees placed flowers on a cenotaph which has an inscription with all the names of the victims and a minute of silence was observed at 10:40 a.m., the time when the incident occurred 57 years ago.

The association of the bereaved families and an NPO working to pass on the history of this tragic accident hosted the ceremony. Iha Yoichi, joint opposition candidate running for the Okinawa constituency in the Upper House election, who the Japanese Communist Party also supports, took part in the event.

A 73-year-old man who lost his 9-year-old brother at that time said, “Because of the presence of U.S. bases here, the horrific accident occurred. The Abe government is now trying to build another U.S. military base at Henoko. I really fear that the new base may cause another tragedy again. I pray that such an incident would never be repeated.

A 63-year-old man who survived the accident when he was in the first grade of Miyamori Elementary School said that the recent case in which a young woman in Uruma City was raped and killed by an ex-U.S. marine saw the similarity with the 1959 incident. “The father of the victim grieved, ‘Why did my daughter have to be killed!’ His cry of sorrow was the very same as what the bereaved families expressed 57 years ago.” The man went on to say, “If we don’t get rid of foreign military bases, we won’t see an end to tragedies occurring.”

Past related articles:
> Okinawans commemorate 54th anniversary of US plane crash at primary school[July 1, 2013]
> 40 years since return to Japan, Okinawans’ struggles still continue [May 13, 2012]
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