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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 1 - 7  > JCP Hatano protests against window drop accident involving US military helicopter
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2018 August 1 - 7 [US FORCES]

JCP Hatano protests against window drop accident involving US military helicopter

August 1, 2018

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Hatano Kimie on July 31 visited the U.S. Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture to protest against the latest incident in which a U.S. military helicopter dropped a window just after takeoff.

Four days earlier, a U.S. Navy MH-53E helicopter accidentally had a window fall immediately after taking off from the base. No damage or injury was reported.

The protest action was joined by the JCP prefectural committee members, JCP members of local municipal assemblies in Kanagawa, and peace activists. They submitted a written request demanding that the U.S. military find out and make public the cause of the accident.

Hatano said in the protest that flights of U.S. military aircraft should be suspended until the cause of the accident is determined and measures to prevent a recurrence be taken.

On July 30, the JCP Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly members’ group together with Hatano lodged with the Foreign and Defense ministries a protest against the U.S. military window drop accident. The JCP demanded that the Japanese government urge the U.S. military to not fly this model aircraft until the completion of its investigation into the cause of the accident.

In the protest, the JCP said that the latest accident has fueled anxieties over safety among Kanagawa residents, especially those who live near the Atsugi base. The JCP assembly members’ group insisted that the government should request the U.S. military to ground MH-53Es and other military aircraft until it finishes its investigation into the accident and releases the findings.

Defense Ministry officials in reply said that the government is now asking the U.S. forces to provide detailed information, investigate the accident fully, and take preventive measures.

In Kanagawa over the last five years alone, U.S. military aircraft frequently caused accidents. A MH-60 helicopter crashed in Kanagawa in December 2013 and an FA-18E fighter dropped a part in January 2014. In both cases, soon after the incidents, the U.S. military held flight drills without determining the cause of the accidents.

Past related articles:
> Residents bring complaints against FCLP exercises at US Atsugi base [September 8, 2017]
> US fighter aircraft drops parts during flight [August 27, 2017]
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