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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 December 6 - 12  > Okinawa prefecture demands grounding of US military aircraft after part found on premises of daycare nursery
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2017 December 6 - 12 [US FORCES]

Okinawa prefecture demands grounding of US military aircraft after part found on premises of daycare nursery

December 9, 2017
Stating that a U.S. military airplane during a flight possibly dropped a part by accident onto the premises of a daycare nursery in Okinawa’s Ginowan City, Okinawa Vice Governor Tomikawa Moritake at a meeting with the chief of the Defense Ministry’s local bureau on December 8 demanded a suspension of U.S. military aircraft flights.

On the morning of the previous day, at a childcare center near the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City, staff members heard a loud bang from the roof of the building and found a 9.5-centimeter-long cylindrical part, possibly of the U.S. military aircraft.

Tomikawa summoned Okinawa Defense Bureau chief Nakajima Koichiro and the Foreign Ministry’s ambassador in charge of Okinawa affairs Kawada Tsukasa to the prefectural office to lodge a protest. Tomikawa pointed out that the part in question most likely fell from a U.S. CH-53E helicopter. He noted that an aircraft of the same type was photographed at around the same time as the banging sound on a prefecture’s security camera installed near the accident site.

The vice governor stressed that many children were playing in the playground next to the nursery building when the accident happened and that the part could have hit and killed a child. He demanded that the Japanese government urge the U.S. military to refrain from flying this type of aircraft until an investigation is undertaken.

Okinawa Defense Bureau chief Nakajima admitted to the possibility that the fallen object belonged to the U.S. military and added that he will let the prefectural government know as soon as the bureau obtains additional information about this point.

On the afternoon of December 7, Nakajima visited the day nursery to see the accident site firsthand. The head of the daycare facility said to Nakajima angrily, “You must make serious efforts to figure out how to protect children from such an accident. Remember what the Okinawa Defense Bureau is for.”
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