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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 December 4 - 10  > 2 years after US military’s part-drop accident on Okinawa kindergarten, parents make fresh call for flight ban
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2019 December 4 - 10 [US FORCES]

2 years after US military’s part-drop accident on Okinawa kindergarten, parents make fresh call for flight ban

December 7, 2019
On the eve of the second anniversary of a part-drop accident by a U.S. military helicopter at a childcare center in Okinawa, a group of parents and staff of the facility, “Team Midorigaoka 1207”, on December 6 had meetings with government officials and Dietmembers in Tokyo to demand a halt to the flights of U.S. military aircraft.

On December 7, 2017, a U.S. military helicopter during flight accidentally dropped a part on the premises of Midorigaoka Childcare Center in Okinawa’s Ginowan City. The aircraft is stationed at the U.S. Futenma base, which is located near the childcare center. It was only fortunate that the part landed on the roof of the nursery school building and no injuries were reported among children and staff in the playground. Following this accident, parents and staff members formed “Team Midorigaoka 1207” to urge the Japanese government and the U.S. military to take measures to prevent a recurrence.

In the meeting with government officials on December 6, a childcare worker who is a member of Team Midorigaoka 1207 described the current situation at the facility. She said that U.S. military aircraft fly very low over the nursery school and that she can sometimes see the aircraft’s shadow being cast on the ground. She went on to say that the roar of U.S. military aircraft often startle children and many children cover their ears and burst into tears.

The members of the Team Midorigaoka 1207 also had a meeting with Japanese Communist Party members of the both Houses. Principal of the Midorigaoka childcare center Kamiya Takehiro handed to JCP parliamentarians DVDs showing the group’s activities and the current situation of the childcare center. He said that the U.S. military aircraft frequently fly over the childcare center and the situation is getting worse. He added that the U.S. military keeps causing accidents in Okinawa and that this is most likely because the Japanese government is keen to show a subservient attitude toward the U.S. military.

In response, JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira (House of Councilors) said that the JCP will urge the Japanese and U.S. governments to implement rules so that U.S. military aircraft will not be allowed to fly over childcare facilities, something they should do as a matter of course. Koike underscored the need to remove the U.S. Futenma base.

Past related articles:
> US military aircraft should not fly over childcare center: Okinawa parents to Abe gov’t [February 14, 2018]
> US military airplane drops cylindrical part on childcare facility near Futenma base [December 8, 2017]
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