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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 10 - 16  > Shii: JCP will work hard to prevent US military aircraft from flying over skies of Okinawa
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2018 January 10 - 16 [US FORCES]

Shii: JCP will work hard to prevent US military aircraft from flying over skies of Okinawa

January 13, 2018
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on January 12 at a Ginowan childcare center which experienced a drop accident involving a U.S. military helicopter, promised to work in cooperation with local residents to prevent U.S. military aircraft from flying over the heads of Okinawans.

In December 2017, U.S. military CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters stationed at the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City accidentally dropped parts. On December 8, a cylindrical object fell from a CH-53E copter onto the roof of the Midorigaoka childcare center in the city. The U.S. military admitted that the fallen object was an aircraft part while at the same time denying the drop accident. Only five days later, another CH-53E dropped an 8-kilogram metal-framed window onto the schoolyard of Futenma No.2 Elementary School located next to the Futenma base.

Shii on January 12 visited the two accident sites during his visit to Okinawa.

At the Midorigaoka day nursery, principal Kamiya Takehiro said to Shii, “At the time when the drop accident occurred, about 30 children were playing in the vicinity. He went on to say, “We were subject to vicious slanders attacking the report of the incident as fake. On the other hand, we got encouragement from many people across Japan. For example, 52,000 people signed our petition calling for a halt to flights of U.S. military aircraft.”

Midorigaoka day nursery parents’ association head Miyagi Tomoko handed over to Shii appeal letters written by the children’s parents which demand that flights of all U.S. military aircraft be suspend pending investigations. Stating, “A delegate of the parents will visit Tokyo next month to submit similar letters to the national government,” Miyagi asked Shii for JCP cooperation. In reply, Shii said, “We will continue to grill the government about this issue.”

Shii then visited Futenma No.2 Elementary School. At the school, he listened to vice principal Arakawa Kenji and city education board official Kai Tatsuji at the schoolyard.

Arakawa said that even after the drop accident, U.S. military airplanes continue flying. Kai explained, “The 8-kilogram window fell on the yard ten meters from children who were receiving PE lessons. Even now, for children’s safety, PE classes take place at a place covered by a roof such as the school gym.”

Shii referred to the Japan-U.S. agreement banning U.S. military aircraft from flying over schools and childcare facilities and said, “The JCP will work hard to have the government carry out the agreement in order to protect children’s lives.”

Earlier in the day, Shii joined a local protest against the construction of a new U.S. base in Nago’s Henoko district, appealing for the need for the victory of Nago Mayor Inamine Susumu in the coming mayoral election in February.

Past related articles:
> Okinawans’ anger reaches boiling point due to frequent falling objects from US military aircraft [December 14, 2017]
> Okinawa Gov. Onaga lodges with central government protest against window dropped from US military copter [December 14-16, 2017]
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