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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 14 - 20  > US military recovers crashed Osprey ignoring Japan’s request
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2016 December 14 - 20 [US FORCES]

US military recovers crashed Osprey ignoring Japan’s request

December 17 & 18, 2016
The U.S. military in Japan has been recovering the wreck of a U.S. tilt-rotor aircraft Osprey which crashed on a beach in Okinawa, in defiance of Japan’s request for cooperation in an investigation into the accident.

On the night of December 13, an MV-22 Osprey stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa crashed on the shore in Nago City. On the following morning, the Japanese 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters based in Naha City asked the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa to assist in an investigation of the crash on suspicion of violating the Law against Dangerous Aviation Practices.

Without responding to that request, the U.S. forces recovered the voice recorder on December 14. In addition, they unilaterally created a “no-go zone” there on December 15 and the following day, they began to raise the remains of the wrecked aircraft, including its cockpit.

In accordance with the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Article 13 of Japan’s Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases requires Japanese authorities to obtain the U.S. military’s consent before they exercise the right to investigate.

On December 16 and 17, some U.S. servicepersons in radiation protection suits were seen at the accident site. It seems that they were recovering the parts containing radioactive substances such as strontium-90. Those harmful materials could have been released into the sea.

When a large U.S. transport helicopter deployed to the Futenma base crashed onto the campus of Okinawa International University in August 2004, U.S. soldiers wearing protective clothing quickly removed the wreckage of the helicopter and even dug up the ground at the site.

Okinawa Vice Governor Ageda Mitsuo visited the crash scene on the beach on December 17. He said to reporters, “The unequal bilateral agreement prevents the Japan Coast Guard from looking into the accident. Under such circumstances, Japan cannot be called an independent state.”
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