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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 29 - February 4  > Okinawa JCP protests against US military helicopter crash
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2020 January 29 - February 4 [US FORCES]

Okinawa JCP protests against US military helicopter crash

January 31, 2020
The Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Committee on January 30 made representations to the Defense Ministry’s local bureau to protest against last week’s crash of a U.S. military helicopter off the coast of Okinawa and to demand that all U.S. military aircraft be grounded.

The U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopter on January 25 crashed into the sea area off the east coast of the Okinawan main island. The Navy announced that all crew members aboard were rescued but did not made public the condition of the helicopter.

In the representations, JCP prefectural organization members said that the cause of the accident should be thoroughly investigated and the findings should be published as soon as possible. They also underscored the need to drastically revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and conclude a bilateral friendship treaty on an equal basis by abolishing the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

The JCP members also noted that Japan-U.S. joint military exercises have been underway in training fields in Okinawa and nearby sea areas since January 25. They stressed that the joint exercises are unacceptable and should be cancelled or at the least suspended without delay.

JCP member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Higa Mizuki in the representation pointed out that the U.S. military classified the latest accident as “Class A”, the severest category which is defined as causing a death or property damage worth two million dollars or more. Despite this, he said, the Japanese government states that the helicopter in question “went down”, not crashed, using the same phrases as an announcement by U.S. Naval Forces Japan. Higa criticized the Japanese government for intending to create an impression that the aircraft accident is not so severe.

In response, a defense bureau official insisted that the government understands that the accident hardly deserves to be called a crash.

Past related article:
> Yet another US military chopper crash is impermissible: Okinawa governor [January 28, 2020]

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