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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 14 - 20  > ‘Be thankful’ remark by top US military officer fuels Okinawans’ anger
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2016 December 14 - 20 [US FORCES]

‘Be thankful’ remark by top US military officer fuels Okinawans’ anger

December 15&16, 2016
The top-ranking officer of the U.S. military in Okinawa, Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, said that Okinawans should be thankful for the avoidance of an Osprey crash onto local residences, Okinawa Vice Governor Ageda Mitsuo reported on December 14 before the press.

Ageda on this day met with Nicholson, the Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force, and lodged a protest against the crash of an MV-22 Osprey off the coast of Okinawa the previous night.

According to Ageda, during the meeting, Nicholson said that Okinawans should “be grateful” that the Osprey avoided falling on residential areas and landed in shallow water off the coast. The commanding general went on to praise the flight crew as heros. This illuminates his occupier mentality.

Later on the same day at a press conference, Nicholson said that despite serious damage to the blades, the tiltrotor airplane managed to make a landing, which proves Osprey’s solid construction.

Nicholson’s remarks fueled Okinawans’ anger.

In the Takae district in Higashi Village where local protests against the Osprey helipad construction continue, protesters said, “The top U.S. officer here insulted Okinawans,” and “The commanding general disrespects our human rights.”

In Kitanakagusuku Village, a protest rally took place in front of a gate of U.S. Camp Zukeran (Camp Foster), the headquarters for the U.S. forces in Okinawa.

An 80-year-old man from Ginowan City who took part in the rally said, “Ospreys fly over my house almost every day. Removing all U.S. bases from Okinawa is the only way to eliminate Osprey accidents.”

***********

State Minister of Defense Wakamiya Kenji on December 15 said, “The flight of an airplane normally comes with the risk of involvement in a crash or other accidents. Fortunately, no one died in the latest Osprey accident.” He thus took a protective stance toward the U.S. military.

The high-ranking bureaucrat in Japan’s Defense Ministry made this remark in front of the press after the meeting with Okinawa Vice Governor Ageda Mitsuo.

In the meeting, Ageda stressing that the latest Osprey crash could have led to serious consequences protested against the crash and the unruly situation regarding Osprey flights.

Wakamiya in his replay insisted that the accident was a “crash-landing”, not a “crash”.

Past related article:
> 241 accidents involving U.S. military aircraft occur in Okinawa between 2003 and 2007 [November 3, 2008 ]
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