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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 8 - 14  > Okinawa JCP protests against tire drop incident by US helicopter
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2017 March 8 - 14 [US FORCES]

Okinawa JCP protests against tire drop incident by US helicopter

March 10 & 14, 2017
Japanese Communist Party members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly on March 13 visited the local bureau of the Defense Ministry to protest against a recent incident in which a U.S. military helicopter dropped heavy tires near a residential area.

On March 8, a U.S. Marine Corps UH-1 helicopter accidentally dropped some tires it hanged from the aircraft during flight training exercises. They seem to have fallen in the border area between Kin Town and Ginoza Village in Okinawa. The U.S. Forces conduct helicopter flight drills using the landing pad in Camp Hansen which stretches over the two municipalities.

The JCP demanded a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident, a halt to flight training exercises involving the hanging of objects, the removal of the landing pad, and the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

A defense bureau official said in response that it is essential for the U.S. military to hold hanging drills in order to improve flying skills, but expressed his intent to request the U.S. authorities to work to determine the cause of the accident and ensure safety.

JCP assemblyperson Tamaki Takemitsu said, “The U.S. Forces claim that they conduct the training for the purpose of ‘humanitarian assistance’. Then, what about the human rights of residents living near the landing strip?” Another JCP legislator, Senaga Misao, pointed out that just making a “request” to the U.S military cannot prevent the recurrence of an accident like this. He stressed the need to put an immediate stop to such dangerous exercises.

On the same day, the heads of Kin Town and Ginoza Village submitted to the defense bureau a joint request calling for the closure of the landing pad in U.S. Camp Hansen.

Kin Town Mayor Nakama Hajime said to the bureau chief, “Around the scene of the accident are community facilities. I cannot help but suspect that U.S. aircraft intentionally fly over residential districts as part of a hypothetical military drill over populated areas.” Ginoza Village Mayor Toma Atsushi said, “Local residents have already reached the limit of their patience.”

Past related article:
> Okinawans hold urgent rally to protest against US Osprey crash in Okinawa [December 18, 2016]
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